Monday, August 31, 2009

Gogyohka 8.31.09

it is strange
but sometimes
the bed
is emptier
with someone in it

the sky is gray
my face is gray
can't sleep any way
end of summer can't stay
wish it felt better to say

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gogyohka 8.30.09 and One of the more beautiful scenes Hemingway wrote

I don't shrink from pain
nor do I hide from joy
The mountain
is an open bowl
reflected in the lakewater

From "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place," which is /still/ one of my favorite Hemingway short stories:

"You have youth, confidence, and a job," the older waiter said. "You have everything."

"And what do you lack?"

"Everything but work."

"You have everything I have."

"No. I have never had confidence and I am not young."

"Come on. Stop talking nonsense and lock up."

"I am of those who like to stay late at the café," the older waiter said. "With all those who do not want to go to bed. With all those who need a light for the night."

"I want to go home and into bed."

"We are of two different kinds," the older waiter said. He was now dressed to go home. "It is not only a question of youth and confidence although those things are very beautiful. Each night I am reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the café."

"Hombre, there are bodegas open all night long."

"You do not understand. This is a clean and pleasant café. It is well lighted. The light is very good and also, now, there are shadows of the leaves."

"Good night," said the younger waiter.

"Good night," the other said.


"A little cup," said the waiter.

The barman poured it for him.

"The light is very bright and pleasant but the bar is unpolished," the waiter said.

The barman looked at him but did not answer. It was too late at night for conversation.

"You want another copita?" the barman asked.

"No, thank you," said the waiter and went out. He disliked bars and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted café was a very different thing. Now, without thinking further, he would go home to his room. He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia. Many must have it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gogyohka 8.29.09

In a fancy moment
I thought of going to Japan
and climbing Mt. Fuji
But getting there to see it live
will be nearly the same feat

Sometimes I catch a hint
of my first love's
cheap perfume--
the sappy Kmart rose
of teenage passion

Oh! Return, summer sun
if only for a moment
so the beautiful girls
will walk by
one more time

Biking in the rain pro?
Less foot traffic
Biking in the rain con?
When you swerve to miss someone
you slide and knock them down

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gogyohka 8.28.09

The Weather Lately

A water balloon
stretched and sweating
in the bright heat
A cool drenching comes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gogyohka 8.27.09

the clean white tile subway stairs
background the black marker:
I (heart) Carlos
And diagonally down the side

Last night
I dreamed of harmonicas
of playing them up and down
like I knew
I was the tambourine man

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gogyohka 8.26.09

The sunflowers
in the children's garden
peer over the plants
like watchful parents
taking care

The sultry dripping scent
reveals to all the noses
the abundance of the roses
under the canopy of cicada sounds

on the rock wall
a cross-legged young mother
pinches the skin
above her eyebrow
and watches her baby sleep

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gogyohka 8.25.09

Olivia brings home
butterfly bush
and I recall
the glowing meadows
of June

Say what
you want
about New York
The chocolate
is /damn/ good

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gogyohka 8.24.09

The temperature drops
The heaving winds
blow the spider web
slung between the panes
like see-through clothes on a line

Echoes of the hurricane
make the sky a milky marigold
as sulfur blasts
in the clouds
battle with the sun

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gogyohka 8.22.09

The drifting boat
cannot forget
the anchor
nor the lighthouse
seekers can also be found

By the derelict beaver dam
a tree chewed to two pencils
standing tip to tip
so much waste
so much industry

and maybe
means only
lack of experience
wisdom's seedbed

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gogyohka 8.21.09

The knife sits an inch
behind the lobster''s eyes
and cuts its face in half
The tail seizes in my hand
I jump, dropping it

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gogyohka 8.20.09

Over 7th Avenue's buildings
the sky flashes lavender ozone--
A sideways strike of lightning
becomes a whip of thunder
Umbrellas already folding up

The canoe hits sand
and the hawk wheels away
In the rocks
we find a garter's bloody head
wounded by the next-t0-last predator

"I am with you"
Whitman's words make us all silkworms
knotted by shimmering secret threads
They sing of a myself
that is the space between stars

"You think they can't get it that way?"
My bike leans on the sign post
"They picked it up clean over one over there"
"Do you think--" "I don't know"
He shrugs and the bald head looks away

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gogyohka 8.18.09

My copies of Enta Kusakabe's magazine Gogyohka came in the mail today. He carried 9 of mine.

I open the magazine
in a fever
flipping through pages of Japanese
to find two in English
A grasshopper in a field of daisies.

The alarm sting of chiles
The pepper tongue of basil
The skunked out eggplant
The tastes
of summer's spiky spice

amid the buzz buzzing
in the Shakespeare garden
a single honeybee hangs dead
still clutching the nectar stem
that nourished her

Sometimes in Summer
when mischief sneaks up my spine
I want to grab a camera
and take pictures
of all the tourists

The question is not
whether to kill nature
how we might die
with dignity

a carpet
of dried pine needles
isn't a fan of passion
until you throw a handful
on a campfire

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gogyohka 8.17.09

Also, I fixed up a couple of the ones from yesterday's post. Sloppy!

"Coming about!" He hollers
The boom swings
The boat tips
I duck, lean, and--Whoops!
The life vest bobs up and down

I stepped into the canoe
to chase the baby loon
but I rushed
and drenched myself
and my poem book

My home state returns
in the sunburn on my nose
the scrapes on my wrist
the soreness in my shoulders
and the swelling in my breast

At a concrete construction site
a whiff of pine needles
mixed with tangy lakewater
came into sense
and fooled me back to Maine

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gogyohka From Maine and beyond, 8.7-8.16

Hi everyone,

I've been on vacation but now I'm back. Here are some goodies:

If being
leads to
finding reasons
then why not why not?

The loon's wetsuit head
dives sleek into the lake
and leaves gentle ripples
(barely a trace)
and me, wondering, is this home?

"What kind of place doesn't have ketchup?"
"Potatoes? On bagels?"
The beard and yarmulke dart, makes change
"It's for a friend" "Oh, forget it" "Have a good day"
"Here you go--Yes, can I help you?"

The kayak bobs and splashes
in the chop and stride
I sweat and lunge and rest
Now still--
The swirling water catches back in

I want a T-shirt
with the state of Maine
outlined on it
and "Home"
written below

We skim over the lilypads
and they tickle the canoe
with soft patter
like rain from the ground up

The hawk appears
The blue jays squall
with accidental warnings
I thought of Sarah squeezing the air
with her smoke alarm hands

Telling others
what they should do
often results
from not doing
what you want to do

To forget
is to be
about life

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gogyohka 8.6.09

In some seasons
even the burly bear
uses his bulldozer shoulders
that can crack a man's leg
to pick berries and grubs

When I was small
and my dad was big
I'd watch him stand in the doorway
rubbing his shoulders
back and forth like a bear

Technology leaps alone past the starter's gun
leaves the minds behind
leaves emotions
consciousness--all else
in the dust, straining to catch up

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gogyohka overload 8.5.09

Some are wise
and some are otherwise
They hear the owl say, who who
or why why
or the silence in their breath

and maybe
God /is/ love
and we ought to worship
at the shrine
of each other's hearts

and maybe to be afraid
is the most selfish act:
to forget that we love after cruelty
to remember only past pain
present only for inside-out pity

Coming over an Interstate pass
to see wide straight planted rows
astride a white-framed red barn
and two bullet steel silos
ready to be fired into the sky

truth's surprise opens a door
The antlered buck turns toward you
then away
The waving frills of August queen-anne's lace
blast skunky peppered carrot in your nose

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gogyohka 8.1.09

Stopped to watch the sun set over the highway
Instead saw the moon rise
over a gas station sign
over an employee embracing his love
under the soft rose-lavender sky

and maybe
I'll die in Mexico
Fold my arms over my chest
Watch the stick finger
skull puppets dance