Friday, July 23, 2010

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer - Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts, the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the learned astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Just to Feel Human" - James Tate

A single apple grew on our tree, which
was some kind of miracle because it was a
pear tree. We walked around it scratching
our heads. "You want to eat it?" I asked
my wife. "I'd die first," she replied. We
went back into the house. I stood by the
kitchen window and stared at it. I thought
of Adam and Eve, but I didn't believe in Adam
and Eve. My wife said, "If you don't stop
staring at that stupid apple I'm going to go
out there and eat it." "So go," I said, "but
take your clothes off first, go naked." She
looked at me as if I were insane, and then
she started to undress, and so did I.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"The Finger" - Charles Bukowski

the drivers of automobiles
have very little recourse or
when upset with
they often give him the

I have seen two adult
florid of face
driving along
giving each other the

well, we all know what
this means, it's no

still, this gesture is
so overused it has
lost most of its

some of the men who give
the FINGER are captains of
industry, city councilmen,
insurance adjusters,
accountants and/or the just plain
no matter.
it is their favorite

people will never admit
that they drive

the FINGER is their

I see grown men
FINGERING each other
throughout the day.

it gives me pause.
when I consider
the state of our cities,
the state of our states,
the state of our country,
I begin to

the FINGER is a mind-
we are the FINGERERS.
we give it
to each other.
we give it coming and
we don't know how
else to respond.

what a hell of a way
to not

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

"Minor Seventh" - Jeffrey Bean

Foghorns, grackles, wheat fields sighing in wind. The night
hawk's ricochet. You better come on in my kitchen. Mixolydian
trumpet runs boiling up the Mississippi, turning into urban
blues and smokestacks over Gary, Indiana. Hymns. Grief.
The hiss of sprinklers in timber yards, brawl of log trucks
crawling up Mt. Hood. Chainsaws, see-saws, sneakers,
squeaking in high school gyms. Have you driven a ford lately?
Field hollers. Sorrow. Fat fathers riding their mowers' thick
Chords. Throngs of Santa Clauses all across Wisconsin ringing
bells in snow in front of Wal-Marts. Musac at Costco, Osco,
Piggly Wiggly, Winn-Dixie. Arawaks' shouting, the Santa
Maria creaking onto shore. Cell phones, car alarms, laptops,
the air raid siren's range. Achy Breaky Heart in the flamingo
light of roller rinks. The wheeze of progress. The forests of
Mississippi echoing with Me and the devil was walking side by side.
Grind of church organs, cotton gins, sledge hammers
knocking into granite. No one listening to Monk play
Crepuscule with Nellie at The Open Door. Toyotas starting,
crows screaming, a rabbit snatched by an owl. Gimme a pigsfoot
and a bottle of beer. Reverend Dimmesdale speaking in tongues
of flame. Michael Buffer crooning Let's get ready to rumble!
Chants at NBA games. Weeping. St Louis woman, where's your
diamond ring?

Monday, July 5, 2010

"The Evening is Tranquil, and Dawn is a Thousand Miles Away" - Charles Wright

The mares go down for their evening feed
into the meadow grass.
Two pine trees sway the invisible wind—
some sway, some don't sway.
The heart of the world lies open, leached and ticking with sunlight
For just a minute or so.
The mares have their heads on the ground,
the trees have their heads on the blue sky.
Two ravens circle and twist.
On the borders of heaven, the river flows clear a bit longer.