Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gogyohka 10.31.09

You can refresh
the prunes
in brandy
but the wrinkles still show
Grow plums

Walk proud and open
to notice the inchworm
and cloud shapes forming
light in your heart
Sum the total self

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gogyohka 10.30.09

I pretend
it doesn't matter
but I worry
about money
every day

The most profound person
doesn't ask
What is the meaning of life
but creates their meanings
and lives with them

"I got some change the other day
Six dollars sixty six cents."
The prophet on the subway
isn't moving to the next car
Her legs shift weight

Come on down to where I live
big brother, big sister
Talking about bright days
and brighter dawns
Just come on down

when you sit down
for the game
first ask
do I want to play
or do I want to win?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gogyohka 10.29.09

Booming from buildings
Booming from their lawns
Booming into the TV
afraid of silence
these babies getting old

300 million
wasting away
with "I do what I want"
the new diapers alone
enough to suffocate the rest

mushrooms wait
for the right conditions
to appear
but mushrooms
are always there

To all the teenagers:
Normal people
are people
you don't know
very well

Run from the sun
All you'll see
stretched out and lengthening
a shadow before you
blindness behind

Couple Revisions, with thanks to Peter the Fungus:

Moon is low
the windows open
Air wet and cold
blowing over my legs
Billie's still there singing

And this one which was, ga-duh, 6 lines the first time around:

Not even off the plane
Already know I'm back
"Saw them in 57--maybe 58?--with Mantle"
"I was a Dodgers fan, a /Brooklyn/ Dodgers fan"
"So, Joe, you ever been to Yankee Stadium?"

Lines are still kinda long at the end there--may need further attention...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gogyohka 10.28.09

"Ma'am?" She looks up
from a plastic bag tent city
"You forgot your cucumber."
"Oh--thanks!" Stands from the stroller
now empty. "Celeste...Celeste!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gogyohka 10.27.09

can't tell
if the changing oaks
are camouflaging
the buildings
or the other way around

the web of humanity
extending out
and linking us
can also reach back
and choke

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gogyohka 10.26.09

her hair such a fiddlehead
neck into hollow body
that I only wonder
should I bow the strings
or pluck them?

so many faces behind words
dripping down
from the wax pooled up in burning
its intentions either
to play or win

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Everybody, Please Welcome Mont!

Mont is a Japanese Gogyohka poet and new friend I met through the Gogyohka International BBS ( We have since corresponded through email and he has been kind enough to post one of my Gogyohka on his newly created blog (you can find it in my "Good Others" list--it's called "The Lovely Earth").

Now I have the pleasure to present one of his Gogyohka and a photo he took:

When our cat
didn't come home
we made fish smoke hard
fanning it out of the window
pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter

(looks like puss made it back alright)

Gogyohka and Revisions 10.25.09

Ain't singin to tell you
of some trouble I had
This here blues
is just the story
of a good man gone bad

Apathy's coils tangle me
Where are we going?
Are we there yet?
Can't see my feet moving

Some fixes:

I carry the scars
from reaching for stars
that turned into bars
In the mirror
a robin fidgets on a wire

If generations
want to get along
with each other
one can't think it's better
April's better without snow

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gogyohka 10.24.09

on a couch older than me
my uncle's viking beard turns
His mother's ice cube eyes flash
as he shows off something fancy
"Not bad for a Mick from Brewah, eh?"

I see him counting before he stands
See his knees
still remembering morning basketball
I love you, Uncle
I love /you/

Even "cracker"
Nana sits fast in her chair
smiling and full

If generations
want to get along
with each other
one can't think it's better
because it's bigger

the dust settles
on his children's rooms
Grown past the game boys
and college sweatshirts
and twin beds

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gogyohka 10.23.09

Walking along
begging with my face
of the blackboys passing by
Can you make me feel something
other than fear?

Sour smell in the shower
A block into outside
it hit me--
the bile and Kraft parmesan obscenity
of ripe Gingko berries

Summer sun
same color as the last leaves
Sky lovely blue enough
for a polar bear
to drown in

Not even off the plane
Already know I'm back
"I saw them back in 1957--
58?--no, 57-with Mickey Mantle"
And walking home--"So, Joe,
you ever been to Yankee Stadium?"

***With heartthanks to Matt for the next two

used to think
Japanese were delicate
now I think
they're frozen orange juice

surprise in the mail--
1960 Times review of Gatsby
folded into the envelope
My fingers careful with fifty years
so the yellowed paper won't crack

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gogyohka from Maine 10.18-10-21

Just got back--

couldn't make it precious
and so couldn't teach
to keep it within even public walls
cast the net wider
wider still

almost November
and still
there are roses
still roses
wedding dress roses, pink, and white

Dad in the front seat
full of presents
of his gabby gift
watching his water wheel thumbs
twiddle and churn

so excited
about seeing us
and the hike
he fell over
his dog

the dog will mark
the tree stumps
all over the woods
but he only shits
on the vast lawn

a young boy
can sit in the woods
and understand
how every autumn sapling
will lose all its leaves

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gogyohka 10.16.09

two interlocking parts
moving in distinct directions
with an unthreaded stake
binding them together
everything needs a hingepost

catching a whiff
of the cats' spray
like walking past a wall
ripe with the Krylon sting
of drying graffiti

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gogyohka 10.15.09

Everything singing water
The rain popping
on the blue tarp
The slick shish of car tires
The kettle water turning into steam

two doors down
old man swindled
out of his house
child-sized Winnie the Pooh
face down on wet concrete

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gogyohka 10.14.09

Ah, vanity--
the girl across the train car
isn't checking you out
she's checking her hair
in the window

When I saw the peach
at the bottom
of the jar
I knew
I had to make it mine

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gogyohka 10.13.09

First, a revision:

Years and fate
shape the river's rocks
smooth or sharp
glinting or dull
Grand Canyon's got nothing but time

Cat and human
snuggling under the afghan
should I tell her
he just finished
humping it?

These are after seeing an exhibit at the Met's special exhibit on Robert Frank's /The Americans/.

The challenge:
things as they are
the man holding back his face
at the funeral
Humanity's pink juice

the mexican cowboy
leans over a jukebox
deep down the wooden floor
with the sunlight creeping up
past the blast in the doorwindows

these crosses beside the highway
seen them all my life
never stopped
to find a wash of light
eating their shadows

These are after looking at paintings in the Met after going to the special Robert Frank exhibit:

Picasso, how did you do it?
Every day woke up
cracked the eternity
out of your fingers
and painted mile-highs

struck awe-dumb
in front of wheat fields with cypresses
my fingers draw in close
to frantic caked on layers
of vicious wedding cake clouds

saw O'Keeffe in white marble
gaunt sanded cheeks
hawk's mouth
to pick all the bones
littered on pink flesh mountains

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gogyohka 10.11.09

Time shapes us
one way or another
smooth or sharp
brilliant or dull
Shows a river rock's ore

Walking to Ft. Greene's market
I spot the address
of friends since gone
I walk by, head down
dodging sidewalk cracks

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gogyohka 10.10.09

Why does everyone
doctors and patients alike
look sick and tired
in this hospital?
Must be the Taco Bell

Passing the playground
at the Orthodox school
Replaced by wood and thatch
and black Jewish hats
sitting with plastic cups

and maybe
folks have children
so they have someone
to make faces at
blooga blooga blooga

don't tell
the expectant mother
that October
is a month
of waning

black woman profile
round visor hat
knit in purple shades
teeth in her smile
breaking open a pomegranate

out of the gray sky
a magenta rose
on a single thorny vine
lipstick on concrete

different sounds
different size
different lives
on different days
hearts beat in harmony

Friday, October 9, 2009

Gogyohka 10.09.09

still can't
get over
the city sights buses
passing blue overhead
living seen

got the mail
two unsigned rejection slips
and one poetry book
from Japan
inscribed to me

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gogyohka 10.08.09

I like
the way
you say
biting into chocolate

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

10.07.09 Gogyohka and Gusty Haiku

I bet
I'm so hard
on my country
because I've never lived
anywhere else

under the puckered gingko berries
I catch the smell
of vomit
Autumn's rot

when his wife
points it out
it's, "Oh, yeah--the moon."
then the two of us walking:
"Look--at that fucking moon!"

Had a reading
Hardly anyone showed
But it was worth it
to step out the Libary's doors
and smell leaves on the concrete

My fingernails
will keep growing
after I'm dead
and decompose last
Initials in bark

Out on the sidewalks
sometimes I wonder
if this city
disapproves my joy with life
not tough enough

who will love
the man
with warts
all over
his face?

It ain't
It ain't

Crossing 14th Street
Hair blown in my face
Grinning stupidly

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Couple Revisions

From two recent ones:

My bike skids off the road
and I walk it
to the lakeside
to see four gray swans
sailing with the wind

Don't tell
the startling daylilies
it's October sun
they match
Backyard kittens forage

Gogyohka 10.6.09

I like the idea of writing anti-seasonal Gogyohka:

Out on the lake
what a sight!
Four gray swans
amid the mallards
sailing with the wind

Don't tell
the kite
it will soon
crash land
It's made to soar!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gogyohka 10.05.09

Don't tell
the startling daylilies
it's October sun
they match
or kittens foraging around their blooms

The best argument
often consists
of distraction
storytelling's balm
grandpa's bouncing knee

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gogyohka 10.03.09

Divided so much into choices
"Are you A or B?"
How nice to have a swivel spot
neither this nor that
but the other thing

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gogyohka 10.02.09

You can kill
the wolf
but you can't kill
fear of the wolf
inside you

if you live
you're killing something
so if you kill the Earth
where do you live?
and how?

I just want
to avoid
becoming a caricature
of my parents
There are worse things, kid

sleepless sinuses
garden hoses
kinked up
shoved inside
faucet taut

The tide came
It came late
But it came
always does
Gangbuster storm rain

Wild Poem

I'm not

Block out the sun
standing over a clover
if you want to feel complete
I'll take the redwood's shade
and unmade becoming

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gogyohka 10.01.09

Looking up
at the spray
of elm leaves--
They're floating yellow and green
on seafoam

On a crowded sidewalk
or taking a shower
and straddling
the narrow bathtub
I wish I was Japan-sized

I release
the voltage
of a battery full-up charged
Bring it New York!

Let me be
your bonfire
or jumped-in leaf pile
or your jellyfish
floating transparent

All the Chinese women
on the D train
are wearing knit caps
Wrapped huddled
against the poles

Felt so good
I rode the bus
all the way home
Took forever
But got to see everybody

My jean jacket's
cracked and stiff
like it hung
from a hook
in a stable