Wednesday, August 17, 2016

If you don't know what I wrote
I think you oughta
"Here lies a poor poet -- his name written in water."
No more mortal death. Goodbye winding sheets.
"Who wrote that?" they ask.  "His name was John Keats.
A poor poet it's true.  But he had the last laugh.
Immortal!  Immortal! Through his epigaph!
Look to the dresser of deal
With the single Wodehouse novel
And the authentic imitation Royal Seal
That his father gave him:
"Put down the book and go to bed.
We are bankers, not poets," his father said.
And he did and did and now is dead.
Strike the timbrel and arise! Arise in song!
And strike the gong for the Banker of B'Hong!
Look at the crushing coffin with its handles of gold.
Cringe at the crypt that says Lo and Behold
Death only will last as long and long
As the silence of the Banker of B'Hong
Who could have been immortal in story and song
But only became the Banker of B'Hong.
Strike the timbrel and arise! arise in song!
And strike the gong for the Banker of B'Hong!
The city whirls. It ticks. It tocks....
"Bring me my brass bound buggering box."
New York city. And Auden shakes his head.
Gin and ginger beer and so to bed.
Thinks " Maybe, maybe a good line."
September 1st, 1939.
Minnesota Love

The night is cold.  Ah, the Big Dipper!
Oh, how I love my Preston woodchipper.
And how she repays all the love I give her...
Chipping this one and that one!  Then into the river!
Goodbye!  Farewell.  You will be missed.
Another dead bastard for my list.
The river bears the strangest cargo.
In Minnesota.  Just north of Fargo.
Fichte met Immanual Kant
And said "Mein Herr I think I want
To illumina the noumena
I thought I'd just assumena
That the noumena is doomena
And does not in fact exist."
And away he went and in that hour
Pissed off Arthur Schopenhauer
Who in Parerga and Paralipomena
Said Fichte was in a comona
Of consciousness alonena
And was astounded
That he had grounded
Der gesamten Wissenschaftslehre
In the ignoble egosphera.
I once read "The Myth of Sisyphus"
And thought of the Australopithecus
An extinct hominid
Whatever he did.
Existence is a very bad bithiness.
The problem with Being is Time.
One day you hear the midnight chime.
And you cry "Adieu!"
Then there's no more of you.
I fear it isn't very sublime.
You embrace the I and the Thou
Love and are loved in the Now
But the I goes away
And the Thou cannot stay.
If this makes sense, I want to know how?
Pity the poor Pre-Socratics
And forgive their nervous dramatics
They felt so forlorn
Socrates still wasn't born
Hence their despairing but endearing acrobatics.
Consider that fellow named Thales
Who threw in his lot with the whales
He felt the universe oughta
Be all based on water
And steadfastly ignored the details.
Anaximenes thought him a square
And thought everything based just on air
And invented the art
Of the philosopher's fart
Perfected, in time, by Voltaire.
Shelley shat on Scotland's Kirk.
Byron buggered boyish Turks.
Wordsworth and Coleridge were boring jerks.

There are great passels
Of Poets who are assholes.
The cavalier poets in their castles
Were all whining snotty assholes.
Leaving Milton there to sing.
But that asshole killed the King.

Ezra Pound despised the Jews
Wallace Stevens hated youse
Blake was all in all goddamn insane
I much prefer Michel Montaigne
To all those assholes
And all their hassles

Man cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen.
Ah, the there more?
How many visitors? Looks like four.
And, I guess, that I am one.
No more mojo. Are we done?
The wolves howl! The gypsies wail!
Where is Whitetree? Where is Dale?
Ah, I see Don. He still is here!
Then there must be a savior near!
Where is Joe -- caught up in work
Or. perhaps, buggered by a Turk!
And where are our friends from far off climes?
Orson Welles can hear the chimes
Of midnight. Orson speak to me!
Are all gone beneath the sea?
Or lost to the usual Fiddle dee?
Or lost to the usual Fiddle dee?
I remember a Halloween of long ago.
There was a Halloween moon.
I was going to go with my Uncle Joe.
"When will he be here?" "Soon."
I sat and waited by the front porch light
And watched as the ghouls crept by.
The leaves tumbled down in the Halloween night.
The clouds were orange in the sky.
With moonlight shining on the steel mill red
As the old and familiar hell.
And Uncle Joe was beside me…. Said
"You're ready, I guess? Oh, well."
And we began walking the dreary beat
I walked every Hallow's eve
To the houses there on our sad street
Just where I wanted to leave.
When my uncle said. "C'mon get in"
As we came up to his car.
Ah, he had a flask and it was full of gin
And the car was a Jaguar.
Silver and white like a god's own ghost
And Joe put it in first gear
Then second and third and then began to coast
And sing like a gondolier.
And I could feel the moon laugh down at us
As we glided through the night.
"Let's just drive." My uncle said.
And I just said "Alright!"
I had a friend Johnny Wasko.
He died on Halloween.
Had a friend named Johnny Wasko.
Died on Halloween.
"And he was a good boy," the old nun said
"Not like you, Mr. Joseph Green."
Mr. Joseph Green.
Next year Halloween wind blowing
There was a big full moon.
That Halloween wind was blowing.
Big old yellow full moon.
Took my Halloween candy.
Gonna put it on Johnny's tomb.
Walk through Fairview Cemetery
Up to Johnny's grave.
Walk through Fairview Cemetery
Up to Johnny's grave.
Gonna give him all my candy.
My poor soul to save.
Gave him one Sugar Daddy.
I don't like them anyway.
He always liked Sugar Daddys
When he came out to play.
Put down the Sugar Daddy.
Then I walked away.
Little skeleton six feet under.
Little skeleton walking away.
Little skeleton six feet under.
Little skeleton walking away.
Lit a Salem cigarette and kept walking.
Had nothing else to say.
After Twitter
Let us go then you and I.
No, we cannot be bitter.
To our new home in the sky
And we will not remember Twitter.
We will go and bid the soldiers shoot
To get with child a Mandrake root
Then stagger to the Mermaid Tavern
Avoid the pit, eschew the cavern
And there cry out just what we know
Tales of weakness, tales of woe.
Then sip our ale and wait for one
William Blake? maybe John Donne!
For God's sake given where we were
I'd take Walter De La Mare
No one comes. We wait an hour.
The off we go to the Dark Tower.
From the Mermaid to the bower.
Tim asks to wait another hour.
We'll wait an hour more at least.
"Ah, look Tim -- what rough beast!"
Slouching out from Bethlehem
To say "Hello!" to me and Tim
Face of Auden. Eyes of Yeats.
Custom built to serve, it waits.
Chats a bit..says it was built in
A railway town by the name of Milton.
Asks the way to Simplon Pass
Says that it must go, alas
Can't find the way. It's lost you see
In Seven Types of Ambiguity.
And we are lost but long for that...
And Macavity the Mystery cat
Is there and then, ah then
We meet the long world's gentleman.
When I was 19 I thought "Damn!
No one knows just where I am!"
Left school... didn't tell my Ma or Pa
To go by train to Mardi Gras...
Well, first a bus to old Chi-town
And then the train. Man, going down
I thought "New Orleans here I come!"
And in my pocket I had some
Six hundred bucks in Cashier checks
It seemed so simple -- not complex
I didn't know what the hell I'd do
Stay a year -- maybe two
Then I could see for me
A year or so in Italy.
What I liked was:. I was alone.
Riding to the great unknown.
No Twitter then. It wasn't hard.
Maybe send a fine postcard
To...whoever...from Bourbon Street
Just one card. A single tweet.
"In New Orleans and I'm doing fine!
Left the college life behind!"
Walked to the bus. It began to snow.
Got on the bus. I know, I know.
We started driving... the snow fell fast
Got off in Chi-Town, Man, at last
Went to buy a ticket for the train
Tried to buy a ticket -- all in vain.
You can read about it. A record storm!
Trains couldn't make it through the swarm
Of snow and ice. So I slept there.
A cop said "Boy are you aware.
That you long hair fuckers just might
Meet someone you don't want to see tonight?"
Man, I got up. Made it to the bus.
Thought I might like to discuss
The "Lake Poets" back in English class
Went back to school. Ah, what an ass.
And even though I was somewhat bitter
I didn't know there wasn't twitter.
So no one knew I was a fool.
And I think that rather cool.
A few years ago my Dad was dying
I sat beside him trying trying
To be anywhere but there
To be anywhere no where.
Held his hand as I read a book.
Didn't really want to look.
The resistance. Nazis in the mist.
Felt him shake and then I kissed
Him...when was the last time I...?
I looked at him. I watched him die.
Then he whispered, "I need you...
There's one thing I want you to do,,,"
Then I couldn't hear just what he said.
I went away then he was dead.
See the granite on his tombstone glitter.
Then we're gone too. Twitter. Twitter.
I was young when I left home.
Left home after I read a poem
About mermaids singing each to each.
Thought I'd go and see that beach.
Made it to Atlantic city.
The taffy was great and the girls we're pretty
Snuck in and saw the Diving Horse
The cops discovered me, of course,
And I was sent home but I did not stay
Left again the very next day.
Left because I read a poem
About being young and leaving home.
This time I went to NYC
Looking for Lady Liberty
Read the poem about the huddled masses
New York World's fair. A bunch of asses
Got in my way so I couldn't see
The wonderful world of chemistry
So I went down to Bleecker street
And said "In every face I meet
I see marks of weakness and of woe."
"What's that that you're saying Joe?
Asked a guy I met with a guitar
Screw it. I had come so far
Just to listen to a silent sound
And pretty soon was homeward bound.
Vaudeville transcends all love
You have a hat and just one glove
And perhaps a cane. It is enough!
You know we are the stuff
Dreams are made on. As was said
By some guy who finally went to bed
After all the shows and shows.
What vaudeville means...why no-one knows.
Love is love and love is nil
Without the thrill of vaudeville
When love is there why love has flown
And you discover you must dance alone
Not for yourself. Ah, that's the key
And is vaudeville's great mystery
You look out always from the stage
And hear the music and feel the rage
Of dancing always against death.
There! And this. You take a breath
And put out one foot and then another
Never wondering why you bother
You dance for you. You dance for her.
You dance and it does not occur
That as you dance you name your love
Or think of the paper moon above
You dance to live and love just then
To conquer where. To conquer when.
And because not to do that would soon kill
The human love that's vaudeville.
A winning show. One sees the mute
Get with child the mandrake root.
You think of the poor boy on the stair
Who, of course, was never there
Who, of course was then nowhere
And then you can see if you dare
That it is all quite debonair
And think I think I know I'm seeing
Myyself as an instance of Non-Being
And then reflect "Goddamn, that's true."
And then wonder "What are you?"
But it wouldn't matter if you knew.
It wouldn't matter if you knew.
Every day I ride the bus.
I think of me. I think of us.
What I see I cannot say.
But I try in my peculiar way.
Look! Don't look.
It is the same.
It's something that I cannot name.
And maybe even if I could
It's not something that I would.
A NOTHING maybe or a hint
Of something ..maybe just a glint
Of meaning ... something naming US.
Every day I ride the bus.
I stood there in my Easter suit
My hair slicked back, She used Wildroot.
My hands are clasped in simple prayer
The 56 Pontiac is there.
My eyes are big. So are my ears.
My grandmother waits and sighs "My dears.
We have to go. We will be late."
My old dog stands barking at the gate.
Perhaps at my Grandma's mink
Which is really weasel is what I think
And she stands smoking a long Pall Mall
And then we hear my father call.
"Where the hell are my goddamn ties?"
And I seem to hear my mother's sighs
As she sits waiting in the car.
"I don't know where the fuck they are"
One minute more. He's still not there.
Darkness falling in the air.
My mother leaves. Won't look back!
Goodbye 56 Pontiac.
NOTHING made Wordsworth sad.
Old Sam Coleridge thought "Too bad."
They kept on writing -- not for spite
But to apprehend the endless night.
And because that is what they did
They even somewhat liked that kid:
John Keats was the poor boy's name
Who couldn't stand the endless same
And one day, well, he just took off
To Rome because he knew his cough
Meant that soon he would be dead.
"Oh, my poor friend" is what he said
To his friend who watched the poor guy die.
And Keats still wondered "Who am I?"
And knew he would be nothing soon.
The endless night. The falling moon.
love reading Shakespeare
And drinking Cutty Sark
But, if you really want me to,
I'll love Nancy Clark.
But I don't really see her
Though I love dancing in the dark.
Tell me where that sweet gal is!
Where is Nancy Clark?"
Don looked at me so pitifully
Said, "Poor boy, why she ain't real
Though she's rendered rather faithfully
Nancy Clark is an ideal.
She's meaning and non-meaning
And. poor boy, ah, well,
You ain't got no chance of seeing
This blissome, lovely belle
She's Being and Non-Being
As per Husserl
And, yes, you'll never comprehend!"
Don looked at me and laughed.
"She's something you have never kenned
For you lack Geisteswissenschaft!"
I remember my old socks
And on those socks I call a pox
They called me once "The Silver Fox."
God, how I hate the goddamn clocks
That tick away. Hear, hear the knocks
Of death upon the gate unlock
The memory of my old socks
And all the trash: the ticks the tocks
The forgetting that forever mocks...
Yet, I remember my old socks.
I fear that I will never go
To watch your lovely photoshow
The reason why I do not know.
I dream instead of a rondeau
Composed, betimes, by young Rimbaud
A fellow I don't care to know
Walking near a sad chateau
Upon which falls eternal snow
He sees, perhaps, a single crow.
Ah, there too I do not care to go!
The reason why I do not know.
The reason why I do not know.
When I was young and sick in bed
I heard just what the Doctor said
" I wouldn't worry Mrs Green
It's nothing that we haven't seen.
Your son is simply tired of living
And is dying and is unforgiving
He can't accept just who he is
And doesn't seem to give a piss
The world is to much with him, yes
He has two days if I had to guess.
And then, after he goes down to dust
You should remember that you must
Forget him. He wasn't meant to be."
And I thought, "Why, yes, that's me."
And just to prove the doctor wrong
I have lived so very long
And have found out that, well, on the whole
I'd like to say in Espanol:
"De noche todos
Los gatos son negros."
Don replies "Yes, there is hope!
I know that there is hope in soap
So be like me and don't despair
That darkness falling through the air
Will obliterate the wise and fair.
And, gaze, if you will upon these socks!"
But I hear the THING that knocks and knocks
As it once knocked on Macbeth's gate:
DeathandNight. And I cannot wait.
To gaze upon Don's photo art.
I hear the cry "Come ye, apart,
And seek surcease in living verse!"
I seem to hear the funeral hearse
And turn my gaze from forms like this
That remind me of the vast abyss.
Beautiful …That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly remold again and ever again, the face of this soiled world. Drum-Taps. Reconciliation Walt Whitman
h, Sylvia Plath and old Ted Hughes
I'm not as patient as I used
To be a few long years ago
Who's fault is it? I don't know.
I like a few of their sad poems
But none for me build crystal domes
Of delight and wonder and all that.
Compared to much they're rather flat.
And I hear Yeats, that cranky seer
Say "Stuck in the blacking of the mirror."
It does suffice for mortal moods...
But I prefer the Faerie woods
True life. True danger. Both at once.
Remain for whoso list to hunt.
Something strange and strange and wild:
The Erl King. The mortal child.
I'll' take Harpo Marx for my money
Whitman never was funny:
And odd sort of bloke
With never a joke
Who called this whole country his honey.
A child asked "What is the grass?"
Now, if Whitman had fallen on his ass
And said "The grass is my ass."
Or "My ass is the grass"
It would tend to surpass
The solemn, alas,
...The man just couldn't be funny.
He would simply awake and sing
I'm me and I'm everything.
And made a long list
And to get to the gist
For him comedy was never the king.
Lawrence of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day; what may be won
From the hard season gaining: time will run
On smoother till Favonius reinspire
The frozen earth; and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
I had a fifth of whiskey then
I had a sixth sixth of whiskey when
I decided to simply try again
And looked into the darkness. "Men!"
I cried! But what was that? Big Ben!
"The curfew tolls the knoll of parting day!"
But day had eftsoon parted. I meant to say
Something witty and so very wry!
"How soon the light departs. And so do I"
This was in London. Of course! For I heard Big Ben
In Londontown though I don't remember when
I was there except through power of rhyme
Londontown. Perhaps, it was the time
I sat at home reading Thackeray
And drinking a banana daiqueri
Reading Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo
Infected back then by the troublesome spiro
chete. It turned out to be syphilis
Infecting my poesy with near terminal dactylisis
Cured by, I think, a tiger's bite
And so I say to you "Good Night!"
I looked and I feel somewhat sad.
This is a picture of my Dad
Standing before the Eiffel Tower
Taken, maybe, just an hour
After Paris was liberated.
My own Dad it seems was fated
To be there as the Nazis fled.
He has a cap upon his head
Tilted at a rakish angle
And from his hands he gaily dangles
A rifle... and with no little grace
Seems to imply that that place
Will be again a place of light
As the Nazis go down to endless night.
He fought the good war as they say
And forgot...but then one day
He seemed to have something to say
When I was leaving then to go
Into the army . He said "Joe,
You know when I was in the war..."
Then nothing else. There was no more.
And I agree. What can you say?
But I remember that strange day.
What's the price for all of that?
Meaning that is where it's at.
Worthless also! So what's revealed?
Only that you sometime feel
That nothing ever makes real sense.
Which is what I felt when I went hence.
But still my Dad stood at that hour
Gaily before the Eiffel Tower.
And in a field not far away
Someone's father died that day.
I could have picked Tide but I chose Fabreze
As I read the poems of Weldon Kees.
You wake up one day and find you learned.
That your ship is gone and the tide has turned.
You are always arriving and always late
Then you jump one day from the Golden Gate.
Or maybe you decide that now you'll go
And take that bus to Mexico.
I could pick Tide but I choose Fabreze
As I read the poems of Weldon Kees.
The broad aisles, the tile beneath my feet,
even the lighting conspires to make me dream
of writing poetry like, for instance, Neruda
who takes up residence as I peruse
the potatoes. Or Lorca, whose crickets
light up as I finger the fruit.
There is Pound, by the cake mixes and
Eliot up high with the imported vinegar.
Dylan shouts at me from the meat counter
though I've never understood why Frost
isn't with the frozen foods.
Things take a darker turn; the baked goods
haunted by Sylvia's voice,
at the cleaning supplies, Anne Sexton
reminds me that things were not
always so good. Near the dairy,
Berryman's voice echoes over the prairies
and then, like a cool drink, Collins
mixes things up. I pick up a bottle of rum
and Dario reminds me I'm no longer young.
And the fact that I'm in Trader Joes?
Well, that one's easy. So it goes.
I hurry back. I forgot the ice.
Milton mutters something of Paradise
Lost as I... Where did I park the car?
The boy looks like Wilfred Owen. The war
Is dreadful. Oh, here we are.
Now what does HE have to say?
Tennyson in front standing in my way.
"Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white."
I need to go home. My mind's not right.
"Get out of the way, Alfred! Screw your poem!"
I drive down the road. No direction home.
The radio plays. Plays "Johnny B Good."
Now goeth Sonne under woode.
"Screw it. Damn it. It's over. I'm done!"
Going down Highway 61.
NOTHING made Wordsworth sad.
Old Sam Coleridge thought "Too bad."
They kept on writing -- not for spite
But to apprehend the endless night.
And because that is what they did
They even somewhat liked that kid:
John Keats was the poor boy's name
Who couldn't stand the endless same
And one day, well, he just took off
To Rome because he knew his cough
Meant that soon he would be dead.
"Oh, my poor friend" is what he said
To his friend who watched the poor guy die.
And Keats still wondered "Who am I?"
And knew he would be nothing soon.
The endless night. The falling moon.


Post a Comment

<< Home