Saturday, February 28, 2009

Crystal Clear

child like

paper snow

flakes open

eyes wonder


(from The Intricate Evasions of As)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Terminal Disease

Unworthy the ink
ejaculating

octopus spits
out black pus.


(from The Intricate Evasions of As)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Illumination

conceives the word
perceives

the world within
a mind

less deception.

(from The Intricate Evasions of As)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Poet in the Aviary

1.

No more beating round the bush, boy--
Just murder for the thrill of it,

Fire at will.

2.

Bad chicks' blood seeping under the sill--
That's more like it,

No more mockingbirds to kill.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hot off the Press

Jolted

from still one more slow in-
tense reading

of a hard, demanding article
on Williams' Spring and All

by my wife's shrill
come here quickly,

I shoot down
the stairs thinking

something's surely up,
only to find her

waiting, arms folded, looking
coolly at me from behind

a stack of freshly ironed
still steaming laundry,

her face beaming,
good news all around.


(First published in Poetry Salzburg Review #14, Autumn 2008)

Friday, February 20, 2009

No Haven

he eyes the heavens
infinity

the earth declines


(from The Intricate Evasions of As)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

After A Day Spent Writing

--after William Michaelian


Going out after the end
Of still another hard-working day,

To see if the world is still
There or not, is it not always

This life-giving pleasure
That takes our breath away?


NOTE: Written after reading "Quitting Time" on
William Michaelian's blog.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Constantine Cavafy Ars Poetica


Constantine Cavafy's Ars Poetica was first discovered and "deciphered" by Michael Perides and appeared in K. P. Kavafes: Anekdota peza keimena (C.P. Cavafy: Unpublished Prose Pieces), published by G. Fexis in Athens in 1963, on the hundredth anniversary of the poet's birth.

I first became aware of this "poetics" of Cavafy through a subscription to the remarkable magazine known as The Charioteer: A Review of Modern Greek Culture, which began publishing in the early 60s and which, I think, continued up into the late 80s--an unassuming, beautiful little magazine of seminal importance to those readers who wanted to learn more about Modern Greek culture than what was then available to them--zilch.

From the Introduction to The "Poetics" of Cavafy, by A. Decavalles: "Mr. Perides was going through the poet's archives and came upon fifteen manuscript pages of varying length and age, written partly in ink, partly in pencil, with
corrections, emendations, additions and deletions. All indicated that the text was meant for publication if the poet ever went back to give it its final form. He never did. . . The text was in English, a language which the poet was familiar enough from the days of his childhood so as to speak it fluently at home, with his brothers and friends, and even to use it extensively in his essays, notes, private diary and much of his correspondence. He, however, never wrote his verse in it. . . .It was Mr. Perides who gave the untitled text its quite justified title. The few pages we are in possession of give us a most revealing insight into the theoretical background, the poetics that stood behind and shaped Cavafy's poetry as we know it, its relationship to life and experience, its artistic and philosophical objectives. We regret only the fact that this essay was unfinished."

We do indeed!


Here is the link for those curious enough to read what Cavafy had to say about the Art of Poetry.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mementos of The Morrison

Some souvenirs from my stint as the lone night desk clerk (11 pm-7 am) at The Morrison Hotel, October-May 1974-75, Skid Row, Seattle, Washington before the city was overrun by Microsoft et al., transforming what was once one of the most laid-back cities in the USA into a frenzied condo haven for yuppies and caffeine junkies hooked on Starbucks. Room 207 was the room reserved for the desk clerk--after eight hours working the night shift and dealing with what was considered the city's most difficult clientele, it was my haven when I was too tired to take the bus to a house I shared with four other people in the Madrona District. Incidentally, most of the poems which later found their way into my first book Sentences were started and finished during this hectic period of my life.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Belle of the Ball

Take it from me, sweetie
Way back then, First Street

Was chock-full of taverns,
Booze joints and cathouses,

But nothing to lick
My Whores Galore--

Two suites of tarts
One flight above

Our only candy store.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Aural


A poem in twenty-four parts, first published in an edition of 190 copies by Gil Ott's Singing Horse Press, 1984.





Στην Ελένη

.

An evocation
to live with

the light
uninvited

..

to be that
touch that

time takes
heart.

...

Even as
you bled

the light
years kept
light

years away

....

What we left
unfinished

remains mist
taken innocence

.....

aye

to
see

the
sea-

girl's
curls

......

At depth, solitude's
but a stone.

The thought of water
petrifies me.

.......

the sea
unfolds

its self

conches
nest

........

Perhaps each
image imagines

itself a
mirror

that breaks
its spell.

.........

muse

here you
can

feel light,
here

..........

sense the
wind

shores the
pines'

reticence

...........

As if the light
weren't

answer enough
just to live

by, asking it.

............

Don't breathe a word.
We were warned before

the wind cut us in two.

.............

even the waters
left speechless

on our lips
sound wishes

..............

To speak what
language

pure and simple,
seeks--no

one will hold
his peace.

...............

Mother's washing
the white

nests everywhere
cries of doves

................

aspirations

What we
hope we

care fully
prepare

praise for
the promise
kept

our silence.

.................

Leaf turning
its yellow

coat flaps
over

winter's back

..................

motive

Act, difficult
to live with

the light
day dreams

leaves intact

...................

harbinger

The message was almond blossoms,
a laying down of arms, warmth.

Morning found us under white
sheets, cool as marble.

....................

Snow dance
down

the meadow
an old

soft shoe

tracks.

.....................

White page.
You give

back what
the world

leaves, laughed
at.

......................

He said the dancers become trees
bared limbs his dreams picked clean.

.......................

a light
lit you

alight
on me

night-
fall

's now

........................

Snow. You fled
before

the rose had
fallen.








Monday, February 2, 2009

After Porchia

Chimeras arrive alone,

But have us with them
When they leave.

(from The Intricate Evasions of As)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Close Shave; Mean Tourist; Good Tip

"You think too much--clever people and grocers,
they weigh everything."
--Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Socrates, my barber, once jumped ship,
Spent an eye-opening week in the States,
Now knows all about the New World
And how things work in it,

Tells me Taxes was great. Taxes? Hell, I all but blurt out
You mean Texas, you dumb Greek, but stop--

The stropping of that blunt,
Anachronous Old World tongue
Raises a new cut to things

As I settle in, he works up
A timely lather,

I sweat out his tip.


(First published in Arabesques Review, v.2, issue 4)