he woke up
with the word
in his head
maybe to use
in a poem
for his snapshot
he did not know
what it meant
but if he
looked it up
lose its magic
be rather rude
a lady's part
or dead prosaic
or something else
and he sort of
worried about this
to let it float
take a chance
some learned ones
would laugh at him
say what a fool
send an email
what a peasant
and they would feel
preen their feathers
twit a bit trill a lot
but he decided
to do it anyway
cast it to the winds
A rain song
Were never happy when it rains
it melts the sugar
but in this case we wait
tasting each cloud
testing its bag of tricks
Will it let down
on lovers and war-makers alike?
where a breeze fluffs hill breast and body
the grass, that ancient
surrounds and mouldy hay
winter vines splayed in fan prayer
for their sugar too
weve drunk beyond our understanding
my lips stained with recent sicknesses
ennui and bitterness blend in the cup
We camp by the river
where guys stack no reason but fire
their dancing primal, mesmeric
a lazy token for drink
Cows sound out, knelling their timing
platypus wisdom runs from us
only the kelpie pisses on all surfaces
as if we claim
as the rain holds cold and its scent
cow pats and roo scats melt with ground
the graves there opposite the gate
reclaimed marble and disintegrating
language, memoriam, memento
black cockatoos circle their sweet bad news
raw cussing across the valley
with rain happy tongues
Dont cry, were here
with the dams and ponds
the ducks flight forms
then were moving away
to our fences and stanchions
scaffolds that creak with industry
we climb down past the white line
that remembers flowers on the post
We go back to our concrete, our empty skies
curfews, beat boxes, tickets without rain
The dirty platforms are free of all official
terrorisms apart from stations of plastic
looping calls for places
excerpts, rules, fines and fluoro
leaf tremble onto waiting paths
filled with guise and ghosting
imprisoned culture and crusted airwaves
Swing and zing o water
how far from rapturous
levels and falls
perhaps a little green
without its pleasant
leave in the greys blues
perhaps mud brown
treat with treasure in the skin
portal and prepare
no longer a cameo
or the real thing
a call to feeling
happy and uncomfortable
cluster and colour
aloud with the soft
Cloud fledder, ache maker
a song origin
speaks to lips
and cries down
East Gresford, Wollombi, the Putty Road, freeway, highway, Central
Station Queens Birthday weekend and after, 11-15 June 2005
my duty all ended
why the black cat fights
is beyond reason
it can't be race, although
what do we know of
i puzzle over today's
and in my headspin
go to the medicine cabinet
for more pills
life slips away
consumed on this barren cleft
this trust of balance
on this cantilevered equilibrium
this howling detritovore
our species bloomed
the discarded of us
i saw this in the lines of your face
flushed the heat of
our discarded our cleft
our splayed and broken
our beheaded our disemboweled
our raped our tortured
god. our layers
Providence, RI, USA
Very very early on 15 June 2005
the hard rain the pillories
the soft winds millinery
all that summer
four farthing far firthing
the warm air lifting
gifts in hand
and I would
and I would
and I did
across the way
STYLES OF GRIEF
(25 June 2002)
It was Miles the black cat's turn
for liver cancer had turned his life
into something nasty and unmanageable.
So we came to him where we'd left him
at the vet's earlier that day
to say goodbye, to witness--
and, alone with him, I played "Dona Nobis Pacem"
(of course for myself) on a tinwhistle,
when all Miles wanted
was to pry the IV lead out of his paw.
The vet whispered something to the cat
while the technician held him,
then hit him with phenobarb so he died at once.
Tears, inevitably. Tears actually
since 2 that afternoon when I got the word.
Now, at 7:15, stroked the cooling fur,
looked into Miles' sightless open golden eyes,
even the vet weeping because Miles,
seven years old, died too young.
Cried-out and back home, my S.O. suggests
I let my other cat smell my hands,
Pushkin at 11 his surrogate mother and best buddy,
for she had to find out,
"Miles is dead" would not cut it,
but would learn all she needed through her nose.
She sniffed my hands for a few seconds,
surely nosed her friend's dead-liver rot,
then screeched and slashed at my forearm,
purity of grief spoken as rage, but not denial,
only pain and hurt suffered in a great draught,
pure, poured out as a bitter drink
that must be consumed at once, not sipped
to prolong the agony,
straight no chaser, no way to drown loss.
Searching for Words
Searching for words?
No, the words come unasked for
but gratefully received.
What is the word?
Does it have meaning?
Is the sound the allure,
the syllables that make the tongue flap?
Are they the true meaning?
Sound is noise.
Syllables are luring.
The total word a mystery.
Sometimes a misdemeanor.
A busy neat man,
at a desk. The desk is
tidy. Closed books
in a low-rise grid,
inches of recreational distance
between each mass.
Just him, alone.
Around him, an emptiness.
And on the desk top,
at the front, a sign:
of THE BRITISH LIBRARY
I gather roses before Solstice
For my mother, 89. Together
We write an acrostic for my friend,
Amy Trachtenberg, now
Turning 50. I say the letter,
She imagines the word:
Alternatively I read aloud to her
"The Tibetan Book of the Dead."
"I don't understand a thing you are saying"
She says, "But I like the sound of the words."
"Do you accept God?" I ask.
"I am not one to accept anything
I cannot touch, feel or see,
And know to be true."
We look at the high, alabaster vase,
A flotilla of unfurling petals, blush pink,
and white. "Do you like the roses, Mom."
"Oh, yes. Aren't they beautiful?
Don't you love them?"
ED RUSCHA: "PREMIUM"
Excuse me. Excuse me.
Residents of the building,
sit down in it.
Crackers! I forgot the crackers.
Have to go to the store & get the crackers.
A market right here.
Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD US / 6-16-05 (1:39 AM)
This text was not written after provisionally finishing a previous
work from the same sitting. Nor does it follow from it. The process
wasn't exactly simultaneous, but it certainly wasn't serial. Rather,
"FILM, [E]D [R]USCHA", posted last week, was in progress while
"ED RUSCHA: 'PREMIUM'" was in progress. Taking into consideration
this artist's laconic manner and the brevity of his two 16 mm films
from the seventies ("PREMIUM" and "MIRACLE"), I
was trying to increase the odds of eventually completing at least one
work. In fact, my attempt to write an acrostic sixteener during my viewing
of "MIRACLE" failed. Had I known in advance that "PREMIUM"
was based on the same story by Mason Williams from which Ruscha composed
his 1969 artists' book "CRACKERS", I would hardly have attempted
to write watching it. Only one word appears between the covers of that
book amidst numerous film stills snapped by the artists Ken Price, Joe
Goode, and Ed Ruscha. But apparently Ruscha felt that the movie version
gave him "the opportunity to be a raconteur". A surprising
amount of language written/found by Ed Ruscha could be heard/seen, including
5 lines which found their way into last week's contribution to the Snapshot
You were someone who could listen
could stumble upon a love like rain darting towards
We couldn't have stationed better than this:
you, there, everywhere I wasn't;
me, looking towards another like you,
only less foolish, less likely to love.
If memory were mutable, water under the blue bridge,
I would reach, stammer a careless word,
paper cuts galore
the camera would see
little of the sky
piles of boxes
old letters poems
files filed away
& now to be packed
office as midden
Wednesday afternoon June 15 2005