BAGGAGE

Muttering imprecations at the top,
The pinnacle of tensions, highest grade,
The maximum of shaking held within,
While vocalizing silently in screams
Of frequencies beyond all thought of sound.
(Another world arises over all
In counterpoint to what we hope we know.)
I had enough but know I will see more,
Until such baggage eats itself and dies,
Leaving imagery that can work.
I long have had enough of others’ fears,
Those attitudes of structure to maintain,
As how am I to smile and where and when.
Now look at me as caught in Winter swoon,
My inner brabble magnified to war,
Where I can hear the noise, the shouts and shots–
Stomping on this poem–now shut it up!

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ULYSSES

By Alfred Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known—cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all,—
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle,
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me,
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

Oscar Wilde

DIRTY DATA

“A Salesman is an it that stinks”

-e.e. cummings

Mine is theirs, those details of my life,

All listed for whomever comes to take,

But who is that?

Counterfactual, dates and numbers wrong,

The whole of what I like so well obscured

That all who come to sell will have to fail

 

Imagine me in showrooms of your mind,

A customer who grins but never speaks,

And leaves you ponder what I’d buy.

So keep on with your pitches, feckless fools,

Stumble off to find a mind that works for you

To purchase what you peddle with a smile.

 

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WHEN SYNAPSES SYNAP

Need I another MRI, what little brain I have,

A QWERTY keyboard with a clustering of cells,

All else displaced for better room to type, so,

What now do doctors hope to find?

 

Can scans reveal the poetry in cells,

Read within the record of a mind,

The details of what happened in a day

As possibly the current source of pain?

 

Can poems be read directly from the flesh,

In letters formed on cells to spell it out?

I hope for resolution, poems and line,

Scansion for a better-metered mind.

This poem was published in Newpoetry.Net,   It had been rejected by Compose Literary, The Blue Nib, and the Kenyon Review.

(Alber Camus)

albertcamus

EQUINOX

This cold brings home the grimy side of life,
By what it was I had or never knew,
Possessions against need or what was right,
What was my world left frozen through.

I think that every season has a switch,
To activate by equinox precise,
Then turning on the outlook which is which,
The setting now, the world is made of ice.

So yesterday, the heat was off all day,
Some seventeen degrees and how I felt,
How chasing dreams of skill came out this way—
But whose hand dealt the bad hand I was dealt?

Depression is a failure as a word:
Perhaps to say collapsing of a world

 

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This poem was published this past winter in NewPoetry.Net. Equinox had been rejected by Raintown Review, One: Journal of Arts and Letters, and Into the Void. (Note the Oxford comma.)

 

CANTO ONE BLAUSTEIN

And burgle any syllable I want

And then went down to the sea…

Stop that!

Enough!

Why are you fucking up a poem?

Set keel to breaker on your ass

And see how Pound is doing it again.

(Access-A-Ride)

I will not even think to make this rhyme

Or know what I am doing with this poem

Except that I am feeling lines to come

Perhaps from being stalled on Gunhill Road

Awaiting here two others for their ride.

I now am in the mumble state it’s Pound

Who’s forcing up contractions I can’t stop.

I now have time to poke about myself

Make mock of silly nonsense I support

But who can see the banners that I raise

For causes too ephemeral to fade

Surviving in the shadows of the day?

And ah, we had our dreams and crazy hope

Our picture of a world that couldn’t be

(The Bus)

A man with a terrarium got on

Opaque inside a massive plastic bag

(How I can take in all while on a bus)

Within the tank some lizard or a snake.

Are these content to live in glass

Content enough with water, stones and food?

As we, within that bubble of our times,

Those days when we were all that world and not.

 

I forgot what I’m needing for this poem

 

From Pound the Cantos this is mine.

Am I beyond the gondolas this year?

I sat on steps

While everything was all too much this year

And I am seeing rainfall now.

Clearer than solidly as air

The gods in air as Pound described

And of the dead

Who talked to soon-dead sailors through their blood

I number myself one from time to time

As wraith-like in my movements, less than real

 

I have no history as old as what Pound knew

So I can question my existence reading him

Since dawn to my waking brings no local light

See Canto four, gossip of an era long since gone

The people only Pound would know

I cannot rush the matter further on

Pesaro and Sigsmundo household names,

Ah, Sigsmundo, Malatesta Prado’s boy

A wealth of other once-knowns with the name

Canto thirty-six, my own unending me

I do not leave my likeness over where

 

Ezra, what can I say

What can I tell you now

A-stretcher and awaiting tests?

I think they think it is my brain

Would your Italians know now how to think

Of how in Hospitals are set

The contradicting facts of every life?

Your ancient Greeks say nothing of the time.

I don’t know what to tell you in your poem.

This is your poem, my pencil and my book,

My canto but I know this is still yours.

So Ezra, you should see me with the sick.

Walk now with me past stretcher beds and chairs

With fearful muted glance at all the ills,

So here we have a poetry of pain,

The rhythms of the doctors as they speak

From clinical to language of the day, with

Tones reflecting competence and calm.

 

These are not your greasy bastards so well done

The way you play with them through history and time,

A tale of gritty human sordid acts

And blundering through difference to the same,

I think we have to say this is insane.

Ezra Pound, I am not done with you,

In need of other cantos for the times

Your history through Chinese and the Dodge.

With what would your Venetians now contend,

The forms as not so different now as then?

You saw it in the thirties you lived through

Like every age of punish pain and death

Negotiated misery and want.

The few always atop are feeding well

On aspirations, dreams or stupid hopes

(I need your Cantos come complete

The ding an sich not excerpts broken down).

Explain to me the meaning of your rides

The ones you run through history, I mean

Your digging through the faintest most obscure.

 

Today a massive mammoth wait

At bus stop but at least the day is warm

And I can see the street where I was raised

I see how people look at others’ kids

And see in me an empty place they filled.

We have new words for newer things

So would you see the forms that you recall?

I do not know what happened in your head.

Ezra_Pound_2

Ezra Pound