June 8, 2007

he asked her please stop quotin' rod mc kuen in your post cards
can't understand it anymore
and if your gonna read your poetry aloud to me
i'll have to show you to the door



Heidi Neff, Iraq

Faure's Second Piano Quartet
-- by James Schuyler

On a day like this the rain comes
down in fat and random drops among
the ailanthus leaves---"the tree
of Heaven"---the leaves that on moon-
lit nights shimmer black and blade-
shaped at this third-floor window.
And there are bunches of small green
knobs, buds, crowded together. The
rapid music fills in the spaces of
the leaves. And the piano comes in,
like an extra heartbeat, dangerous
and lovely. Slower now, less like
the leaves, more like the rain which
almost isn't rain, more like thawed-
out hail. All this beauty in the
mess of this small apartment on
West 20th in Chelsea, New York.
Slowly the notes pour out, slowly,
more slowly still, fat rain falls.


Words
-- by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous ones we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be good as fingers.
They can be trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.

Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.


Contagion
-- 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 staircases
that go forever upward
like twisted branches

of a cemetery willow.
No one has climbed them
since prohibition.
and the overturned automobiles
stripped to their skeletons,
chewed clean
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.

* "One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real." -- Klaus Kinski

2 Comments:

Anonymous Mike said...

While moving cross-country we made sure to add "California All the Way" to our in-car mix Cd in those primitive pre-Ipod days. I think it first came on somewhere outside of Columbus, OH.

2:43 PM  
Blogger The Bird Man said...

Callifornia all the way is my 7 month old daughter's second favorite song...second only to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

4:42 PM  

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