Monday, February 28, 2011

Huuklyeand Cinquor Telling Us in Fifteen Words or Less Why Poetry is Still Alive

Poetry hasn’t died yet because
Everyone who's anyone's still wondering why

It’s alive.

Moderator’s comments: If this is poetry, no wonder everyone’s wondering.

Sunday, February 27, 2011



In the underbrush, a bed
Of crimson mushrooms;

In the clearing, a quilt
Of blue anemones;

Tucked away in the study,
A burnished copper

Penny for your thoughts.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


No more walls,
No more fight,
No more shadow

Boxing against light,
How deft we were all
At darting left and right.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Frozen Stiff—I Kid You Not!

This has to be far and away my favorite photograph of the “kids” back when they were really kids—somewhere round the summer of ’89 or ’90—checking out the temperature of the water in the Lousios River in Arcadia just a few steps away from the ruins of Ancient Gortys and a stone’s throw away from the monastery of St. John the Forerunner (Prodromou). Judging from the looks on their faces, I think they were expecting much warmer water than the ice pack that greeted them! They should have consulted that seasoned traveler par excellence, Pausanias, who said its waters were “the coldest in the world.” 

All of which reminds me of a poem I once wrote about some other kind of kids here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Huuklyeand Cinquor on MacLeish's Ars Poetica aka The Conundrum Continuum

Yes, yes, I know

We’ve all been told ad infinitum
That a poem should be, not show—

But the last time I sat down
To write one was a minute ago—

So tell me, know-it-all,
Where’d it go?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seizing the Day on 7th Street

—after a photograph by Kevin McCollister

On the wall of what
Looks like a prison,
There is a timely message
Titled One at a Time

A spiel from something called
The Christ Centered Three-step
Life Recovery Program,
Beckoning passers-by

To seize this once-
In-a-lifetime opportunity
For redemption—
All are welcome, it says invitingly

At the end, a scant three steps from
Even those condemned to stay
A lifetime away.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weather Permitting, Visibility is Never Zero

—for Bob Arnold

It’s comforting

And nice to see
The moon that is

As big as our house
As our friend says—

Is the same size
As the one he writes about

Five thousand miles away.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Huuklyeand Cinquor on Bestiality in Poets

Beware of gimp-footed idyllic gambols
That reek of Arcadia—a shepherd’s

Reputation is only as unsullied
As his sheep.

Moderator’s comments: Well, Cinquor, I know this is going to be in bad taste, and some animal lover doggedly plowing in the blogosphere’s lower forty looking for beastly remarks about our four-footed friends might get upset and flag me for promoting cruelty to animals, but I can’t resist this delicious, Orwellian-reeking rejoinder, to wit—“Two legs baaaaad, four legs good?”

Friday, February 18, 2011

Definitely Not Lemmings #34

I’m back after a twenty-four-hour Internet blackout of Upper Messenias which kept me “in the dark” but now I see Andreas Andersson has jumped on board and I thank him for that. Andreas has two blogs—both worth investigating—here and here, do you hear?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black As Only Loneliness Can Be


In our flowering solitary
Almond, one lone starling—

You don't know how black
Loneliness can be.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Huuklyeand Cinquor on Where Ian Fleming Got the Name “Pussy Galore”

After reading  Mr. Zambaras’ latest Weekly Hubris column, I did some more investigation on the small, west coast town of Raymond, Washington, where Mr. Zambaras says he spent his formative years. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that even Ian Fleming was cognizant of the town’s raucous, raunchy, sinful past, primarily because (as knowledgeable sources are quick to point out), he was a great fan of Stuart Holbrook, and as such, is reputed to have read Holbrook’s classic, The Far Corner: A Personal View of the Pacific Northwest, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952. Of course Fleming’s knowledge of the existence of that house of ill-repute par excellence in Raymond called “Whores Galore” explains where he got the inspiration to name his villainess and is a strong counter-argument against the one put forward by Wikipedia.

Moderator's comments: Jesus, the next thing Cinquor will try to prove is that Eric Burdon spent the night in "Whores Galore" waiting for the sun to rise! Mercy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"The Cistern": Seferis and Coulentianos


Here in the earth a cistern has taken root
den of secret water that gathers there.
Its roof, resounding steps. The stars
don’t blend with its heart. Each day
grows, opens and shuts, doesn’t touch it.

The world above opens like a fan
and plays with the wind’s breath
in a rhythm that expires at sunset
flaps its wings hopelessly and throbs
at the whistling of a destined suffering.

On the curve of a dome of pitiless night
cares tread, joys move by
with fate’s quick rattle
faces light up, shine a moment
and die out in an ebony darkness.

Faces that go! In rows, the eyes
roll in a gutter of bitterness
and the signs of the great day 
take them up and bring them closer
to the black earth that asks no ransom.

George Seferis, poem one of the sequence “The Cistern”, translation by  E. Keeley and P. Sherrard.

Published in 1932, “The Cistern” marked Seferis’ abandonment of a rhymed, lyrical mode in favor of a more natural and freer one that is characteristic of all his later poems; the Greek sculptor Kostas Coulentianos (1918-1995) did some drawings for this poem which were first exhibited in Paris in 1950; in 1975 the Greek publishing firm “Themelio” issued a folio containing the drawings as well as the poem in Seferis’ own handwriting—exquisite—the poem seems to be chiseled onto the paper.

Of course I don't remember where/when I found this treasure but at least I know how much I paid for it because it’s penciled in on the last page: 300 drachmas then or approximately .80 euro now or about $1.08 as long as the US treasury lasts.

William Michaelian, eat your heart out!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Definitely Not Lemmings #33

A warm welcome to Zaina Anwar, whose poetry and painting can be viewed on her blog Indigenous Dialogues. Thanks for coming aboard the DNL Express, Zaina!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Huuklyeand Cinquor on Poets Burning for Recognition

A forest

Of white ashes smoldering

After an inferno.

Moderator’s comments: A case of A Burnt-Out Case hot on the heels of “You can’t see the forest for the trees?” How original, Cinquor! You must be glowing with satisfaction whereas my ashen face is turning green with envy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Photograph taken in winter about twenty years ago with my ancient Miranda. A five-minute drive uphill and due west from my village of Remmatia, Chrisova, or Chrisotopos ("Golden Place")--its modern name--is a collection of approximately 20 houses, half of which have been abandoned by their owners who have departed for Athens and other more metaphorical worlds, as has this old woman lugging who knows what into the waiting fog. 

The small, black dirigible getting ready to crash into the bare mulberry tree is a memento left behind by the somewhat careless photographer who developed the picture and who has also taken off for a more perfect world.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Flash in the Pan

The poet’s promising

Day-to-day idiom was now clearly within sight,
But before he could bat an eyelash,

He saw it clubbed to death by vengeful creatures
More adept at flying by night.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tree House

“Houses, you know, grow stubborn easily, when you strip them bare.”
—George Seferis, from “Thrush”

Not your usual idea
Of a child’s elevated playhouse
Full of youthful abandon,
But this

Abandoned, low-lying roofless
Shell of decaying stone walls
Inhabited by stubborn runaway
Brambles and wild olive trees

Rooted firmly to the earth.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Huuklyeand Cinquor on The Poentabulator

Moderator’s comments: I don’t know how or why our boy Cinquor jumped onto the poetry bandwagon to begin with, but the guy who sent me this video swears that Cinquor is the distinguished looking gentleman in the white coat making his video debut waxing poetically some forty years ago about a nebulous sounding contraption known as the Entabulator. If this is indeed true, and I see no reason to doubt it, as my informer is not a poet and thus incapable of imagining such a thing happening, we can now clearly see why Cinquor’s overriding poetic concern—adopted by so many vapid rapid versifiers over the past half-century—has been and will always be “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Mesmerizing, to say the least.

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