Hugo Kobayashi, Level Four and Rising
How To Listen
-- by Major Jackson
I am going to cock my head tonight like a dog
in front of McGlinchy's Tavern on Locust;
I am going to stand beside the man who works all day combing
his thatch of gray hair corkscrewed in every direction.
I am going to pay attention to our lives
unraveling between the forks of his fine-toothed comb.
For once, we won't talk about the end of the world
or Vietnam or his exquisite paper shoes.
For once, I am going to ignore the profanity and
the dancing and the jukebox so I can hear his head crackle
beneath the sky's stretch of faint stars.
-- by James Tate
When I drink
I am the only man
in New York City.
There are no lights,
but I am used to that.
There are the staircases
that go forever upward
like the twisted branches
of a cemetery willow.
No one has climbed them
And the overturned automobiles
stripped to their skeletons,
by the darkness.
Then I see the ember of
a cigarette in an alley
and I know that I am no longer
alone. One of us
is still shaking.
And has led the other
into some huddle of extinction.
-- by Ted Berrigan
My body heavy with poverty (starch)
It uses up my sexual energy
I feel constantly crowded
On the other hand, One Day in the Afternoon of The World
Pervaded my life with a
I'll never smile again
But I'm dancing with tears in my eyes
(I can't help myself!) Tom
when he loves Alice's sonnets,
takes four, I'd love
to be more attentive to her, more
The situation having become intolerable
the only alternatives are:
Murder & Suicide.
They are too dumb! So, one
becomes a goof. Raindrops
start falling on my roof. I say
Hooray! Then I say, I'm going out
At the drugstore I say, Gimmie some pills!
Charge 'em! They say
Sure. I say See you later.
Read the paper. Talk to Alice. She laughs to hear
Hokusai had 947 changes of address
In his life. Ha-ha. Plus everything
else in the world
going on here.
Dream Song 14
-- by John Berryman
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) "Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no
Inner Resources." I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,
who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.
* "There are two things that I hate: analysis and power." -- Sviatoslav Richter