P O E T I C --- P A I N T I N G S

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen" -- da Vinci

To write poetry, you must read and, read some more -- Me

Mar 24, 2008

Howl I by Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg

For Carl Solomon

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the
starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the
supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of
cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels
staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkan-
sas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes
on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in
wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt
of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or
purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and
endless balls,
incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind
leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunk-
enness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring
winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy
Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought
them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain
all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out and sat
through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the
crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue
to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,
a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire
escapes off windowsills of Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and
anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with
brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous
picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of
China under junk-withdrawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wonder-
ing where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward
lonesome farms in grandfather night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah
because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels
who were visionary indian angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse
of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or
soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but
the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in
fireplace Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts
with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incompre-
hensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze
of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and
undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and
wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before
the machinery of other skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for
committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and
who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof
waving genitals and manuscripts,
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and
screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of
Atlantic and Caribbean love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of
public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whom-
ever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind
a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to
pierce them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew
of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the
womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass
and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman's loom.
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a
package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued
along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with
a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of con-
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and
were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of
the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,
who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C.,
secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy to
the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner
backyards, moviehouses' rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or
with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings
& especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a
sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung-
over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams
& stumbled to unemployment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks
waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steam-
heat and opium,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hud-
son under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy
bottom of the rivers of Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions
and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to
build harpsichords in their lofts,

who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the
tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in
the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming
of the pure vegetable kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside
of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and
were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were
growing old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue
amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regi-
ments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertis-
ing & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down
by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked
away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown
soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window,
jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the
street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph
records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whis-
key and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears
and the blast of colossal steamwhistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to the each other's
hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you
had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver
& waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver
is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other's salva-
tion and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals
with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang
sweet blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha
or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or
Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave,
who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with
their insanity & their hands & a hung jury,
who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently
presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with
shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instanta-
neous lobotomy,
and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity
hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & am-
who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table,
resting briefly in catatonia,
returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and
fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns
of the East,
Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid halls, bickering with the
echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench
dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to
stone as heavy as the moon,
with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the
tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 a.m. and the last
telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room
emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper
rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary,
nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination--
ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you're really in the
total animal soup of time--
and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash
of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the
vibrating plane,
who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images
juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual
images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of
consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens
Aeterna Deus
to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before
you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet
confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his
naked and endless head,
the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here
what might be left to say in time come after death,
and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow
of the band and blew the suffering of America's naked mind for love
into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered
the cities down to the last radio
with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies
good to eat a thousand years.

[Personal Note: I'm not a huge fan of Ginsberg but, his first Howl poem is one of the best poems I've ever read. My personal preferences are short poems but, Howl and its length kept me riveted to every word. Read More about Allen Ginsberg]

Mar 4, 2008

La Vie C'est La Vie by Jessie Redmon Fauset

Jessie Redmon Fauset

On summer afternoons I sit
Quiescent by you in the park
And idly watch the sunbeams gild
And tint the as-trees' bark.

Or else I watch the squirrel frisk
And chaffer in the grassy lane;
And all the while mark you voice
Breaking with love and pain.

I know a woman who would give
Her chance of heaven to take my place;
To see the love-light in your eyes,
The love-glow on your face!

And there's a man whose lightest word
Can set my chilly blood afire;
Fulfillment of his least behest
Dines my life's desire.

But he will none of me, nor I
Of you. Nor you of her. 'Tis said
The world is full of jests like these. --
I wish that I were dead.

[Note: Most of the known renaissance writers were men: Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Jean Eugene Toomer but, there were some wonderful renaissance women poets and Jessie Redmon Fauset was one of them. Read more about Jessie Redmon Fauset]

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Feb 26, 2008


When it's done,

all that's left is what

I've carried.

I'm one of those, over-looked

forgotten browns


when you need me

you find me


maybe at Krogers or,

a State Liquor store buried

at the end of the check-out line

smooth and flat.

My progenitors have been

dead for hundreds of years,

but, I'm still here,

wasteful, wasted

dead as they are,

dead as you.

I'm sure you don't remember me,

or the many times you've unfolded

my creases, stuffed

me with fifths of E & J or cans of 211

then, after I'd carry

them to a back alley,

you'd throw me away.

Times during renaissance

I'd earn respect

from fraternities and sororities

with my colorism tests.

But now, you can find me

under the Canal street bridge tenting

a man in the middle of winter,

or emptied, crumbled,

and plastering myself

against a neighbor's fence.

[my newest poem]

The Tropics of New York by Claude McKay

Claude McKay

Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root

Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,

And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,

Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

Sat in the window, bringing memories

of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,

And dewy dawns, and mystical skies

In benediction over nun-like hills.

My eyes grow dim, and I could no more gaze:

A wave of longing through my body swept,

And, hungry for the old, familiar ways

I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.

From the Archives of Claude McKay.

[ Personal Note: Claude McKay was a Harlem Renaissance writer. Admired by many of the young black poets of that time, including Langston Hughes. I'm not not crazy about rhyming poetry but, I found this poem to have wonderful metaphors and rhythm. I do understand stand how some of the young black poets of the time admired him. Read more about Claude McKay]

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Feb 24, 2008

Ballad by Sonia Sanchez

Sonia Sanchez

forgive me if i laugh
you are so sure of love
you are so young
and i too old to learn of love.

the rain exploding
in the air is love
the grass excreting her
green wax is love
and stones remembering
past steps is love,
but you. you are too young
for love
and i too old.

once. what does it matter
when or who, i knew
of love.
i fixed my body
under his and went
to sleep in love
all trace of me
was wiped away

forgive me if i smile
young heiress of a naked dreams
you are so young
and i too old to learn of love.

From Homegirls & Handgrenades by Sonia Sanchez. Copyright 2007

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Feb 22, 2008

Providence by Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey

What's left is footage: the hours before
Camille 1969 -- hurricane
parties, palm trees leaning
in the wind,
fronds blown back,

a woman's hair. Then after:
the vacant lots,
boats washed ashore, a swamp
where graves had been. I recall

how we huddled all night in our small house,
moving between rooms,
emptying pots filled with rain.

The next day, our house --
on its cinderblocks -- seemed to float

in the flooded yard: no foundation

beneath us, nothing I could see
tying us to the land.

In the water, our reflection
trembled, disappeared

when I bent to touch it.

From Native Guard: Poems by Natasha Trethewey. Copyright 2006

Feb 20, 2008

Blues by Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander

I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world.
I sleep during the day when I want to,
'til my face is creased and swollen,
'til my lips are dry and hot.

I eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch, butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.

Sometimes come dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown, the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it.

Many days I do not exercise, only consider it,
then rub my curdy belly and lie down. Even
my poems are lazy.

I use syllabics instead of iambs,
prefer slant to the gong of full rhyme,
write briefly while others go for pages.

And yesterday, for example, I did not work at all!

I got in my car and drove to
factory outlet stores, purchased
stockings and panties and socks
with my father's money.

To think, in childhood I missed only
one day of school per year. I went
to ballet class four days a week
at four-forty-five
and on Saturdays, beginning always
with plie, ending with curtsy.

To think, I knew only industry,
the industry of my race
and of immigrants, the radio
tuned always to the station
that said, Line up your summer
job moths in advance.

Work hard and do not shame your family,
who worked hard to give you what you have.

There is no sin but sloth.
Burn to a wick and keep moving.

I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up dead.

In sleep I am looking for poems
in the shape of open V's
of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.

From Body of Life by Elizabeth Alexander, pulbished by Tia Chucha Press. Copyright 1996 by Elizabeth Alexander.

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Feb 18, 2008

wishes for sons by Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton

i wish them cramps.

i wish them a strange town

and the last tampon.

I wish them no 7-11.

i wish them one week early

and wearing a white skirt.

i wish them one week late.

later i wish them hot flashes

and clots like you

wouldn't believe. let the

flashes come when they

meet someone special.

let the clots come

when they want to.

let them think they have accepted

arrogance in the universe,

then bring them to gynecologists

not unlike themselves.

Copyright ©1991 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted from Quilting: Poems 1987-1990

Lady Day [My tribute to Billie Holiday]

(Billie Holiday 1915-1959)

Momma was thirteen
when I passed through
the delta of her thighs

tho' I never played
with baby dolls -- I sho'
could crank sad
melodic sighs.

My songs mourned
strange fruits hang'n
from south'n trees,

they pleaded
that smack take
his damn hands off me.

me, Ella and Sarah
we'd shine, shine, shine
I wuz melancholy's silk
in twelve bar time.

My name's Lady Day
tho' some called me Bill

if I wuz with y'all

blue, so blue
ma blues be'd

-- still.

Feb 16, 2008

Still I Rise by Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou.

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Feb 15, 2008

Quilts by Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni

(for Sally Sellers)

Like a fading piece of cloth

I am a failure

No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter

My seams are frayed my hems falling my strength no longer able

To hold the hot and cold

I wish for those first days

When just woven I could keep water

From seeping through

Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave

Dazzled the sunlight with my


I grow old though pleased with my memories

The tasks I can no longer complete

Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past

I offer no apology only

this plea:

When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end

Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt

That might keep some child warm

And some old person with no one else to talk to

Will hear my whispers

And cuddle


Feb 13, 2008

Can You, Dear Laureate

What would you think,
Mr. Laureate, if you were reading
this over my shoulder,
capturing each word
as I typed.

Would you sigh to yourself
in exasperation, and mumble
in profane versified disgust.

Would you throw your arms
into a tree stance and grimace

toward the god of poetry
explaining to him
why this writer couldn't possibly
scribble a masterpiece --

none like
Collins, who can ask a reader
to water ski the surface of a poem

or Angelou who somehow
manages to rise from poetic dust.

Would you understand,
that sometimes my muse is bronzed,

a frozen Rodin's Thinker
and that this petrification

has me hunched in this chair
waiting for words to stop
by in pigeon droppings.

Can you, dear laureate,
understand that sometimes,
my measured meters

of emotion are lopsided
antique pillows,

packed with shreds of simile stuffing
sewn together with cliched thread.

Would you agree --

[that, my window watching the world
go by

brooks that talk to much

or homage to canicule's
sweet magnolia scents

are repetitive]

-- with my goldfish
(yes, I have one too, you know)

as he rounds and rounds
his bowl,

silently watching me
from across the room,
with his hypnotic stare

would you too, [then] quietly
why, why, why.

Jan 29, 2008

This Is a Photograph of Me by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

It was taken sometime ago.

At first it seems to be

a smeared

print: blurred lines and grey flecks

blended with the paper;

then, as you scan

it, you see in the left-hand corner

a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree

(balsam or spruce) emerging

and, to the right, halfway up

what ought to be a gentle

slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,

and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken

the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center

of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where

precisely, or to say

how large or small I am:

the effect of water

on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,


you will be able to see me)

From the Circle Game by Margaret Atwood.

I discovered this poet on my usual jaunt along the internet. I was amazed by her writing and poetic eye. This poem is my favorite.

Margaret Atwood is from Ottawa, Ontario. She has a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto, and an M.A. from Harvard. She's the author of over fifteen books . Read More...

Ms. Atwood ranks as my second favorite poet under Billy Collins.

When you're browsing in Barnes and Noble, or sitting in Borders Books, sipping a cup of green tea, invite Margaret to join you, you'll read a masterpiece in verse.

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Jan 26, 2008


Taken off
from life's see-saw

he's hitched a ride
on the tail of cumulus

up, up he goes, beyond

and stratosphere,

leaving exosphere
with the click of his heels.

I see him smiling
he's looking back at me

I speak to him
but nobody's home;

he's laughing,
his eyes blank
as a blown-out t.v.

There he is
swinging from
Saturn's rings --

"catch me if you can"
he mumbles

but I can't
he's gone --

catapulted himself
to orbit

Pluto's cold, cold ball.

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Jan 22, 2008


this afternoon
a lemon-faced drunk


into a daily stupor

no doubt

from continuous


he ignored the two
pie-faced girls
whose braided antennae
and jean clad spindles



and tumbled cartwheels
under his inebriation

so incoherent
was he

no notice
was given
to the poor
scorched crab-grass

who fought
with the seared dandelion
for shade

he continued
to stagger
his evening slump


so slowly

his convergent lover

who patiently waited

over the moss-green

sweeps of the west.

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Jan 19, 2008

Persephone, Falling --by Rita Dove

--Rita Dove is one of America's top Black poets. She once was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993-1995 and won the honor of all honors, the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Her poetry delves deep into the psyche and makes you think.--

One narcissus among the ordinary beautiful

flowers, one unlike all the others! She pulled,

stooped to pull harder—

when, sprung out of the earth

on his glittering terrible

carriage, he claimed his due.

It is finished. No one heard her.

No one! She had strayed from the herd.

(Remember: go straight to school.

This is important, stop fooling around!

Don't answer to strangers. Stick

with your playmates. Keep your eyes down.)

This is how easily the pit

opens. This is how one foot sinks into the ground.

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Jan 17, 2008


storm clouds--

homeless man shivers under

a newspaper coat

Most haiku in English consist of three unrhymed lines of seventeen or
fewer syllables, with the middle line longest, though today's poets use
a variety of line lengths and arrangements. In Japanese a typical haiku
has seventeen "sounds" (on) arranged five, seven, and five. (Some
translators of Japanese poetry have noted that about twelve syllables
in English approximates the duration of seventeen Japanese on.)
Traditional Japanese haiku include a "season word" (kigo), a word or
phrase that helps identify the season of the experience recorded in the
poem, and a "cutting word" (kireji), a sort of spoken punctuation that
marks a pause or gives emphasis to one part of the poem. In English,
season words are sometimes omitted, but the original focus on
experience captured in clear images continues

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Jan 7, 2008

You, Reader -- By Billy Collins

Billy Collins

I wonder how you are going to feel

when you find out

that I wrote this instead of you.

that it was I who got up early

to sit in the kitchen

and mention with a pen

the rain-soaked windows,

the ivy wallpaper,

and the goldfish circling in its bowl

Go ahead and turn aside,

bite your lip and tear out the page,

but, listen -- it was just a matter of time

before one of us happened

to notice the unlit candles

and the clock humming on the wall.

Plus, nothing happened that morning--

a song on the radio,

a car whistling along the road outside--

and I was only thinking

about the shakers of salt and pepper

that were standing side by side on a place mat.

I wondered if they had become friends

after all these years

or if they were still strangers to one another

like you and I

who manage to be known and unknown

to each other at the same time --

me at this table with a bowl of pears,

you leaning in a doorway somewhere

near some blue hydrangeas, reading this.

--What I love about Billy Collins' poems are that they always seem to be a dialog with us, his readers. I love the way his mind works. His poems always make me want to go get a cup of tea -- English TeaTime, then, sit a my computer and stare out the window to watch a poem form on a cloud passing by--

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Jan 3, 2008

Burnt Offerings

You've lost me
within myself,
to levitate
within acidic clouds.

They're pungent
as old worn socks;
oh, bitter bride at the alter,
euphoric as
death's calm.

A need whirls, swirls
in desperation
and I float
within this coma
of burnt offerings.

Jan 2, 2008


I saw you slip past

the curtain of my eyes,
and stoop

in the garden
among the collards, black-eyed peas
and corn.

Your back shunned the sun,
as your gnarled hands picked
their tender leaves, stocks
and buds,

I heard your voice murmured
a prophetic eulogy:

"peace be still,
peace be still"

as if you knew
soon, to soon.

that I'd miss
the oldness of you;

wiseness that weaved through
your hair, shrewdness
that moistened your lips


your ears are deaf,
your eyes are blind

and your whisper
has gone mute

eternally cold.

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Jan 1, 2008

intrusive vagabond

if only you were
just an illusion,
pretentious pain,

intrusive vagrant
who leaves braille-etched
taunts on my skin.

opportunistic hobo,
who hitch-hikes
and implodes every nuclei
and cytoplasm
up and down the tracks
of my being.

and here I lay,
in wait, trapped with you
inside me, a limp-dick lover
who insatiably, pounds
my malleable bones
with a sledge hammer.