On Cue

Jan. 13th, 2017 10:20 am
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Greatpoets has some offerings for me.

The Promotion

I was a dog in my former life, a very good
dog, and, thus, I was promoted to a human being.
I liked being a dog. I worked for a poor farmer
guarding and herding his sheep. Wolves and coyotes
tried to get past me almost every night, and not
once did I lose a sheep. The farmer rewarded me
with good food, food from his table. He may have
been poor, but he ate well. And his children
played with me, when they weren’t in school or
working in the field. I had all the love any dog
could hope for. When I got old, they got a new
dog, and I trained him in the tricks of the trade.
He quickly learned, and the farmer brought me into
the house to live with them. I brought the farmer
his slippers in the morning, as he was getting
old, too. I was dying slowly, a little bit at a
time. The farmer knew this and would bring the
new dog in to visit me from time to time. The
new dog would entertain me with his flips and
flops and nuzzles. And then one morning I just
didn’t get up. They gave me a fine burial down
by the stream under a shade tree. That was the
end of my being a dog. Sometimes I miss it so
I sit by the window and cry. I live in a high-rise
that looks out at a bunch of other high-rises.
At my job I work in a cubicle and barely speak
to anyone all day. This is my reward for being
a good dog. The human wolves don’t even see me.
They fear me not.

by James Tate

Prof of Profs

I was a math major—fond of all things rational.
It was the first day of my first poetry class.
The prof, with the air of a priest at Latin mass,
told us that we could “make great poetry personal,”

could own it, since poetry we memorize sings
inside us always. By way of illustration
he began reciting Shelley with real passion,
but stopped at “Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” —
because, with that last plosive, his top denture
popped from his mouth and bounced off an empty chair.

He blinked, then offered, as postscript to his lecture,
a promise so splendid it made me give up math:
“More thingth like that will happen in thith clath.”

by Geoffrey Brock


Oct. 24th, 2016 05:26 am
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I don't have an attribution.

What I want
is all
of this: each breath,
each step,
each bead on the string,
and the cross, too,
if that's part of the deal.

(posted without comment at 5:30am)


Oct. 12th, 2016 06:40 pm
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Well now, here I am again, and so soon.

I guess I have some things to say.

I guess I have some work to do.

I'm at one of those places in my life where everything is pointing me to working through something, making some mindful decisions, but where I'm scared because I don't think I can get what I want and I'd hate to choose a thing mindfully and then be left bereft.

Going to school was a risk like that, where I knew I could take my life up in my hands and shape it to get the things I wanted: a home, a permanent garden, some assurance for the future that wasn't dependent on friends liking me and thusly being supportive. I went back to school. I started going away for the summers. I did these things to further my own life. As happens when I work strongly on my life, other things changed. A relationship ended because there was no future for it with this new plan of mine. I met someone else. I met another someone else. And I have met another someone else.


What can I do with this, and what do I want to do with this?

The most recent someone is a conversationalist. We talk, we overanalyse, we pick things apart. In short, we do a lot of that internal work that I can only do if I'm writing or talking. I haven't been writing lately, but I have been talking. I've been poking around in there.

He posted something the other day about his wife, a fragment of poetry by Elsse Matthessen

"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."

It has undone me. It's a couple words that have brought me to the heart of a thing that's been ravelling for awhile.

I have people who have been around for a long time, but the people who have been around forever have moved on, and the people that I meet recently come near and then drift away again, or sometimes are forcibly ejected. Either way, I have not found continuity in relationships. I have not found a relationship that could be made to fit actual-me forward into the future, one where I would not need to make myself smaller or resentful to maintain closeness. I have loved a lot of people; I still do. I enjoy time with people. I like knowing them deeply. But.


I've always wanted someone who knows my context; someone with whom I share my day-to-day until the patterns come clear to both of us; someone I learn to read and who reads me, and who can communicate volumes with a glance across a crowded room with that knowledge. I want... daily routine, not every day but often enough, and mutual caretaking, and the kind of trust that's built on years. I want that, and I thought I had it with Kynnin when I was fourteen, and many of my relationships since I've been hopeful about it.

I am well loved right now. I am so well loved. It feels impossible to turn down a gift like that, and yet I think it's what's giving me the space here to think about what I want.

Maybe thinking about what I want isn't good. I can think it to pieces, after all, and I *want* everything: Josh and our greenhouses and making a pizza oven and a still together and that lovely house (but not Josh who doesn't want other people in his space and cares for me very much but just cannot say yes unless he's sure of logistics when I want someone who is willing to bend logistics for me the way I do for other people?), James who loves me so much and a supportive, nourishing home full of the feeling of family and kindness (but not James who is dependent on me as his whole support network in a northern town and who prefers to background in the world rather than reaching his power out into it when I want someone who proactively creates their life and with whom I perhaps do not share so many activities as all that?), Tucker and who knows what yet with words and poetry and his way of catching the nuances of my meaning and his interest in opening up my insides (but not Tucker who is otherwise committed to his wife and life in Vancouver and who, well, honestly is so new to me I don't even know what else yet but that is a pretty big start). I want someone who takes joy in my poly-ness and who can communicate their needs in a household. I want someone I can hook into for a long time and who puts just as much shoulder against the universe, who pushes hard enough to change it, just like I do: but I want them to do it for me.

And I am not willing to give so much of myself up now as I was, so maybe the cracks will show sooner now, or at least I can't put as much hope in any on thing as I did. I am not willing to take a terrible job I dislike. I am not willing to give up my other loves. I am not willing to sacrifice a home that is open, hospitable, and welcoming. I am not willing to sacrifice my land where I plant trees from which I will, in my lifetime, harvest the fruit. These things are me, and to be permanently partnered would require these things to be loved *as* me, to be accepted as extensions of my actual-self.

I don't know. I mean, I do know. I'm that person for myself, I am my own person. Other people come and go but I am my own heart. I suppose that's sad and huge all at once. I know I haven't met anyone else who would have been as fully up to the task as I have been.

There's more work to be done on this, but this is as far as I can go for now.

it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.
-Li-Young Lee
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I most often write when I'm lonely and uncertain. I write when the only voice I trust is my own. I write when the alternative of silence is unbearable and when there is no one to listen.

Sometimes I write when I'm happy.

Always I write when I need an anchor, when the storm of my life threatens to blow me far enough away that I'm frightened of it. Love blows me away so hard and so fast that I write of it often.

There's a hollowing-out feeling before the words come. It starts between my floating ribs and crackles like electricity in the cavern behind them up to the bottom of my sternum. So often that feeling comes and I can't find words to release it and I wander through the next few hours hiding it behind my shields, preserving my vulnerable openness from anyone who looks at me in the flesh.

I'm afraid and unanchored tonight. I root myself in action; I find stability in momentum. When the next move is in someone else's hand it's like trying to balance on a bicycle without moving forward. Everything wobbles. I worry that I will fall. And I am so extraordinarily bad at it that even a couple days of waiting for someone else's move can take me apart.

I'm getting good at putting myself back together again. I'm getting good, too, at knowing that however I feel in the moment I *can* put myself back together again. This continual fracture and repair makes me tired, or maybe tonight it's just that I'm tired, but it adds depth to my experience of the world. Each crack is laced over others upon others until the pattern is so intricate that you can stare into it deeper and deeper.

I get lost staring into those patterns.

Oh, this is useless. Words aren't a release tonight. I'll leave you with Li-Young Lee.

This Room and Everything in It

Lie still now
while I prepare for my future,
certain hard days ahead,
when I’ll need what I know so clearly this moment.

I am making use
of the one thing I learned
of all the things my father tried to teach me:
the art of memory.

I am letting this room
and everything in it
stand for my ideas about love
and its difficulties.

I’ll let your love-cries,
those spacious notes
of a moment ago,
stand for distance.

Your scent,
that scent
of spice and a wound,
I’ll let stand for mystery.

Your sunken belly
is the daily cup
of milk I drank
as a boy before morning prayer.
The sun on the face
of the wall
is God, the face
I can’t see, my soul,

and so on, each thing
standing for a separate idea,
and those ideas forming the constellation
of my greater idea.
And one day, when I need
to tell myself something intelligent
about love,

I’ll close my eyes
and recall this room and everything in it:
My body is estrangement.
This desire, perfection.
Your closed eyes my extinction.
Now I’ve forgotten my
idea. The book
on the windowsill, riffled by wind . . .
the even-numbered pages are
the past, the odd-
numbered pages, the future.
The sun is
God, your body is milk . . .

useless, useless . . .
your cries are song, my body’s not me . . .
no good . . . my idea
has evaporated . . . your hair is time, your thighs are song . . .
it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.

Li-Young Lee
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Nothing is quite right. But, altogether, maybe we begin to approach the gates of the heart.

But Listen, I Am Warning You

But listen, I am warning you
I'm living for the very last time.
Not as a swallow, nor a maple,
Not as a reed, nor as a star,
Not as spring water,
Nor as the toll of bells…
Will I return to trouble men
Nor will I vex their dreams again
With my insatiable moans.
Anna Akhmatova


Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I

have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me

as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let

me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I

began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already

part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you

from what we cannot hold the stars are made.
W. S. Merwin

Another Plot Cliché

My dear, you are the high-speed car chase, and I,
I am the sheet of glass being carefully carried
across the street by two employees of Acme Moving
who have not parked on the right side
because the plot demands that they make
the perilous journey across traffic,
and so they are cursing as rehearsed
as they angle me into the street, acting as if
they intend to get me to the department store, as if
I will ever take my place as the display window, ever clear
the way for a special exhibit at Christmas, or be Windexed
once a day, or even late at night, be pressed against
by a couple who can’t make it back to his place,
and so they angle me into the street, a bright lure,
a provocative claim, their teaser, and indeed
you can’t resist my arguments, fatally flawed
though they are, so you come careening to but and butt
and rebut, you come careening, you being
both cars, both chaser and chased, both good and bad, both
done up with bullets that haven’t yet done you in.
I know I’m done for: there’s only one street
on this set and you’ve got a stubborn streak a mile long.
I can smell the smoke already.
No matter, I’d rather shatter
than be looked through all day. So come careening; I know
you’ve other clichés to hammer home: women with groceries
to send spilling, canals to leap as the bridge is rising.
And me? I’m so through. I’ve got a thousand places to be.
Rebecca Hoogs

An Assignment for Student Playwrights

I told them to go listen to people talking,
To write exactly how some people really
Talked to each other, and one young man
Came to the next workshop, looking bewildered,
Holding his notes by thumbtip and fingertip
To avoid contamination. He said, "This
Is how they talked. They weren't actually
Having a conversation, just interrupting
Each other and saying whatever it was
They wanted to keep on saying. They had to decide
Today, here and now, like whether to go on
With this, this whatever-it-was they couldn't
Think of a name for. They kept looking
This way and that way, even at me (I wasn't
Anybody, just some student scribbling),
But never at each other. You could tell
They felt bad. They were making up their minds
About something important enough to change
Their lives maybe forever. But what was coming
Out of their mouths wouldn't have passed even
Junior high school English. They were both trying
To say what hurt, what was disappointing, what wasn't
Even common courtesy, let alone love.
If they'd been actors, good ones, they'd have been making
Contact. They'd have been improvising something
More interesting than shoving their chairs back
And standing up and trying to split the bill
But dividing it wrong, dropping it, picking it up,
And arguing all the way out. Now what the hell
Am I supposed to make out of this crap?"
David Wagoner
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Looks like I'd better strap in, the rollercoaster is beginning.

I'm starting to miss Blake. I'm starting to love people. I'm starting to feel sad. Tiny bursts of anger occasionally fire in random directions.


I made some graff yesterday -- I will try to give some to Blake. He loves booze, he loves that series. It will be ready to drink in 4/5 weeks or so, so I guess I'd better start getting a handle on things by then. It is ineffably sad to make something with my own hands that is perfect for someone I love and think it might be rejected because of who I am.

I also found something on greatpoets. It's been a long time, no? But she got it:

This is the Nonsense of Love

Our kiss is a secret handshake, a password.
We love like spies, like bruised prize fighters,
like children building tree houses.

Our love is serious business.
One look from you and my spine
reincarnates as kite string.

When I hesitate to hold your hand,
it is because to know is to be responsible for knowing.

There is no clean way to enter
the heavy machinery of the heart.

Just jagged cutthroat questions.
Just the glitter and blood production.

The truth is this:
My love for you is the only empire
I will ever build.

When it falls,
as all empires do,
my career in empire building will be over.

I will retreat to an island.
I will dabble in the vacation-hut industry.
I will skulk about the private libraries and public parks.

I will fold the clean clothes.
I will wash the dishes.
I will never again dream of having the whole world.

Mindy Nettifee

In the meantime the weather is beautiful, it is the ideal fall. My kousa wine is interesting and fun, and I am plotting what to make next.
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Another Poem About The Heart

When the floor drops out, as it has now,
you cannot hear the squirrel on the wire
outside your window, the wheels spinning
on the road below. You want only pity
and are presented with the unbelievable
effrontery of a world that moves on.
But wait: this is not the person you are.
You're the kind of person who
sits in dark theaters crying at the collarbones
that curve across the dancers' chests,
at the proof of a perfection they represent;
a person who goes out walking in a four-day drizzle,
sees a pot of geraniums and is seized, overcome
by how they can bring so much (what else
can you call it?) joy. You love the world,
are sure, at least, that you have. But be truthful:
you only love freely things that have nothing
to do with you. You're like a matchstick house:
intricately constructed but flimsy and hollow inside.
You're a house in love with the trees beside you -
able to look at them all day, aware of how faithful they are -
but unable to forgive that they'd lie down
leaving you exposed and alone in a large enough storm.

Jenn Habel

Hello again.

I'm in a life. It's my life, more-or-less, and almost completely different than any you've been aware of.

This is the life I lived when I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen: a life where I'm a world unto myself, where I speak to almost no-one, where I do a series of things required of me. School and work require the most, people almost nothing.

Once again when I write here the worlds echo inside my own quiet mind with no thought of an audience; I've forgotten what an audience might be like.

I spend a lot of time with Blake, all the shared eating-sleeping-reading time in which time slides by with few major features to mark its passing.

Sometimes I miss people. It happens less often now; generally only for the few days right after some sort of social contact with my old friends, but that happens so seldom these days.

I don't talk to my classmates much. I ordered african violet leaves instead of buying pants without holes for the winter because I wanted to nurture something green and alive.

Some days I forget how to love, or forget to know whether I know how.

It's going to be a dark winter. I'm in the womb again, still: I'll live here awhile. Whatever I'm to be born into this time around, it's far on the horizon yet.

Even typing just these words stirs up a little bit of dust. The love is in there somewhere.

I am, by the way, just finished bleeding and the winter still looks dark. That means something.
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The laughing heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

by Charles Bukowski

am very bothered when I think
of the bad things that I have done in my life.
Not least that time in the chemistry lab
when I held a pair of scissors by the blades
and played the handles
in the naked lilac flame of the Bunsen burner;
then called your name, and handed them over.
O the unrivalled stench of branded skin
as you slipped your thumb and middle finger in,
then couldn't shake off the two burning rings. Marked,
the doctor said, for eternity.
Don't believe me, please, if I say
that was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen,
of asking you to marry me.

By Simon Armitage

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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I want to write, quite a bit, but I have no time whatsoever.

This is finals week. Even my boss has noticed that I'm not fulfilling all my obligations.

At least Greatpoets says this:

Why Rimbaud Went to Africa

Poetry isn't literary
poetry isn't sure which fork to
poetry can't name the parts of speech
fill out a grant application

poetry doesn't like cappuccino
poetry doesn't want to be printed in a
small press edition with its name on the
cover and get reviewed in 2 little magazines
read by 3 people
argued over by 8

poetry doesn't care about glory
glory is nice but poetry figures it's
poetry doesn't want to get laid
poetry might want to get drunk but
that's only self defense

poetry doesn't want to traipse around Europe
and collect stray bits of wisdom
from ruined empires
that it can show like slides when it gets home
poetry has a headache

poetry is a slingshot
a war you can carry in your pocket
a better way to die
the kind of fire that never goes out
and never gives an inchRead more... )

it will have little sense of humor
it will not want cappuccino
or reviews
or girlfriends
or anything else

except the death of
everything we love

David Lerner
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Touched by your goodness, I am like
that grand piano we found one night on Willoughby
that someone had smashed and somehow
heaved through an open window.

And you might think by this I mean I'm broken
or abandoned, or unloved. Truth is, I don't
know exactly what I am, any more
than the wreckage in the alley knows
it's a piano, filling with trash and yellow leaves.

Maybe I'm all that's left of what I was.
But touching me, I know, you are the good
breeze blowing across its rusted strings.

What would you call that feeling when the wood,
even with its cracked harp, starts to sing?

Patrick Phillips


I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth
and go on out
over the sea marshes and the brant in bays
and over the hills of tall hickory
and over the crater lakes and canyons
and on up through the spheres of diminishing air
past the blackset noctilucent clouds
where one wants to stop and look
way past all the light diffusions and bombardments
up farther than the loss of sight
into the unseasonal undifferentiated empty stark

And I know if I find you I will have to stay with the earth
inspecting with thin tools and ground eyes
trusting the microvilli sporangia and simplest
and praying for a nerve cell
with all the soul of my chemical reactions
and going right on down where the eye sees only traces

You are everywhere partial and entire
You are on the inside of everything and on the outside

I walk down the path down the hill where the sweetgum
has begun to ooze spring sap at the cut
and I see how the bark cracks and winds like no other bark
chasmal to my ant-soul running up and down
and if I find you I must go out deep into your
far resolutions
and if I find you I must stay here with the separate leaves

A.R. Ammons

Good Week

May. 11th, 2011 07:45 am
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Yes, this is more-or-less where I stand too.

Three Of Cups

at some point it becomes true that all stories
are love stories. all making, love making.
I didn't make this rule. but it binds me
all the same. I wish there were a law
against condescending against love. against
the economy of fear that says your joy
means less joy for me as if love
were pie, or money, or fossil fuel
dug or pumped from the earth, gone
when it's gone. it's just not true. the heart
with its gift for magnificent expansion
is not coal. not fruit set to spoil or the dollar
cringing in its wallet. when you say darling,
the world lights up at its edges. when mouths
find mouths and minds follow or minds find
minds and mouths, hands, hips, toes, follow –
how about you call that sacred. how about you raise
your veined right hand and swear on the blood
that branches there, yes. I take this crush
to be my lawful infatuation. I will bend toward joy
until the bending's its own pleasure. I will memorize
photographs and street maps, I will acquiesce
to the maudlin urgency of pop songs and dance,
and dance – there's a perfection only the impossible kiss
possesses. there are notes you can only hear naked
in the dark of a room to which you will never
return. anything that moves the world toward light
is a blessing. why not take it with both hands,
lift it to your lips like a broth of stars. this
is the substance that holds our little atoms together
into bodies. this sweet paste of longing
is all that binds us to the earth.
and all we know of the gods.

Marty McConnell
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It seems like a little bit of nothing poetry, but it fills me with light. I guess we all need a reminder.

God Says Yes To Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her is it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

Kaylin Haught
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There's another skin inside my skin
that gathers to your touch, a lake to the light;
that looses its memory, its lost language
into your tongue,
erasing me into newness.

Just when the body thinks it knows
the ways of knowing itself,
this second skin continues to answer.

In the street - café chairs abandoned
on terraces; market stalls emptied
of their solid light,
though pavement still breathes
summer grapes and peaches.
Like the light of anything that grows
from this newly-turned earth,
every tip of me gathers under your touch,
wind wrapping my dress around our legs,
your shirt twisting to flowers in my fists.

Anne Michaels
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Oedipus on Mother's Day by Donald Illich

Hallmark sells no cards for our situation.
I scan the aisle looking for a bittersweet

spot between those for wife, those for
mother. Wife seems too affectionate,

while son feels kind of reserved. I should
kiss you on the cheek when I've seen you

naked, lots of times? Or sit on your lap?
But I'm a big boy now, as you know,

probably too much so. I did find one
for Dad, actually, an apology to you.

A baby on the front accidentally spills
his pudding. A rainbow word balloon

yells, “Oops!” Inside, a puppy licks up
the drops. The text: “Accidents happen.

I hope you can forgive me.” We'll try
to pretend they're not blood. Let's admit,

though, you're glad I'm back this day.
Once you winced at brunch specials

and mimosas, visited places mothers
wouldn't be: sci-fi conventions, cock

fights, rugby matches. We can go out
together on a date, act as if we have

a child at home, baby sat by shepherds,
never left alone, exposed to elements.

Indifference will never be a problem
for us. The only curse we have is love.

That was the poem this morning. I liked it; it suits me: the only curse I have is love.

I've been living on my own for three days. Tonight will be the first night I sleep alone. You might think those previous nights don't count, but already I've learned that if there's no one to protect from my grief by living with me I cry aloud and talk to myself.

The secret to surviving the world is not really ever quite believing in it. Believe around corners, believe at the edges, but never confront the full unflinching weight of it. Douglas Adams said "the one thing you can never afford to have in this world is a sense of proportion". How do we think of his books as comedy?

When I'm alone and crying in the interstice between work and school (I always watch the clock: it's 2:52 and I should be leaving, but can stretch it till 4:30 if I need to) I listen to the things I say: first, into my palms with my face in my hands, I say: okay. Okay. This is how I try to surrender resistance. If there's no resistance there's no pain, is there?

But this isn't about ego. That was crushed out of my quite some time ago.

Next I say, over and over: fuck. I try it louder: FUCK. More quietly, testing: oh fuck. I always wanted to learn to swear well and never did. I thought that colourful language might open me up, vent this pressure inside and release it. I never did learn, but right now suspect it wouldn't help.

I'm too old to pull the darkness all the way over my head and disappear into it. I'm too old to dissolve. All I can do is sit here, in pain, and tell myself that's the way life is. There's no one who would argue with me. We've all been here; we almost all will be here again.

I live in the future, in expectation and in dreams and desire. This hauls me forward along with whatever weights I choose to drag with me along whatever paths I choose to beat through the unknowns of my life. This is why my fingers seek the keyboard so urgently now, why words explode and then falter in a counterpoint to the sobs I have no reason to stifle.

You aren't in my future. I'm not in yours. We've agreed on that time and time again. And I've tried to be open to you despite that, to not fear severance and the pain that will come with it.

Here it is, a moment of pain in a long life. In a month or a year it'll be just that, a moment, and return with less urgency each time I see it. I know that. I've been here before.

And I know too that maybe the point where your life diverges is not this week but later, weeks or months or even years down the road. Who knew this would go on so long, after all, haphazard and circumstantial as it is? And so in this writing I come out of the future where we have already had our last kiss and into the present where neither of us know. I suppose that's always the present: assumptions, but no knowledge of what comes next.

The pain is fading in my ribcage, leaving bruises where it forced itself huge against the bone, and leaving an afterimage.

If I look at the clock (3:14) I don't even have to see it.

I'll sit here looking at the clock for a few more minutes before I leave for school.
greenstorm: (Default)
That's what ee cummings said. In whole, he said:

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

On the weekend I fell open, as I do. Now? Now I'm trying to shut again, to form the steel cladding that lets me batter through the difficulties in my life, to slice away tangental arcs with the laser of focus, to make myself into the enactor of my life instead of the receiver only.

Today has been strange. God has been coming to me all day, singing through me at work and on the evening walk home from school. I soar and dive through music and sunshowers, and my soul can be, while not wholly controlled, at least somewhat guided by my touch.

I remember that I am made of love. I have been so practical of late, all logistics and scheduling and risk-return calculations. My follies have been premeditated, consequences accepted before they begin, and the dangers constrained to reasonable limits.

Today the love is pouring out of me, and at the same time I'm trying to close up. A man in a maintenance coverall with the name "Krishna" on his tag told me to take off my coat because spring was coming. "Look," he said, "my coat's already off." It's a hard spring here though, and I need to keep going through it.

I was chatting online (o, how little sustenance that really is for a soul) last night with Andrew about dating patterns. I was more than a little cynical last night. Those phrases came back to me: the revolving door of my heart, my love's tendency to prey on the innocent. It's when I feel love in me the strongest that I worry about it the most: when my whole body is stood on edge, when I can feel ship's cables stretching out of my chest, when the skin on the back of my upper arms prickles and something dark sits in my throat. That's when I make poor decisions, it's when I surrender good sense, it's when the ground-glass dervish that serves me for a heart gets put between the millwheels once more. I'm no longer sure it's when I'm most alive.

I was circling in on somewhere within me but it's too dark for me to go there now. See, my focus is returning; I need to leave for school in 9 1/2 hours, I can't be self-indulgent. I'm treating myself like I would treat a lover: diverting, edging the mood up and away, distracting a little, not following it deep where damage might lie.

I'll leave you with Li-Young Lee, who in the poem which sticks to my thoughts more than any other, said

useless, useless . . .
your cries are song, my body’s not me . . .
no good . . . my idea
has evaporated . . . your hair is time, your thighs are song . . .
it had something to do
with death . . . it had something
to do with love.

It had something to do with death.

It had something to do with love.
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There can be only two questions that are asked with regard to human relationships:
Where am I going?
Who is going with me?
Do not invert the order of the questions.
Do not - under any circumstances - invert the order of the questions.
Is that clear?
Are you clear about that?
Good. Then we can move on.

- Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God - Book I (via [livejournal.com profile] joyousandjuicy)
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Today's the flip side of yesterday's coin.

I hate secrets, keeping them and kept from me.


the space between

stuck in an unnamed place
half way between love and in love,
you call me late at night and ask
if i'm sleeping. i tell you, i'm writing.
you ask about what? love, i say.

when i write about us, i stop myself
from saying we make love or we have sex.
i search for a euphemism that won't bind me,
won't define us. i arrive at the phrase
move together. and only now, in writing
this poem, do i see how fitting it is.

the way we moved together vertically
is what made me want to move with you
horizontally. music joined us,
but even in the joining, i didn't know
how to behave, how much or how little
to say, how to choose to be me.

an old friend told me if i feel
smaller than myself with a lover
this is the wrong lover for me.

yes, i make myself smaller; i shrink
my politics, my conversation. i shrink
in mind, but i grow in body.

and don't think i don't know
when the movements are fluid
we look for ways to draw each other
nearer, name each other soulmates.

i have been a two-time witness
to how easily the soul-thread can be
cut, leaving the so-called soulmate
dangling in an empty world of one.

the same old friend comes back
to say a lover should love
in me what i love in myself.

trouble is, we don't know what we love
in each other. we exchange tapes of songs
to hint at the possibility of a feeling,
admitting nothing, partially exposed
in lyrics so, if pushed, we can deny
we meant the words that way.

we skirt around edges hoping
the space between will stop closeness
because close is where we are
fighting ourselves not to be.

i preach distance to you. i inflict it
on myself. i invent barriers like age-gaps
and bad-timing. but only now, in writing
this poem, do i learn how the word
distance can magnetize lovers.

you obey my demands. you don't
call. we don't speak, but you find
a strand of my hair in your freezer
and i still write with the taste of
you in my mouth.

elena georgiou


Mar. 21st, 2011 08:04 am
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Yesterday I had class outdoors; we didn't start in the classroom, we met outside, we stayed outside. I biked to class with a friend of mine, biked home with her, and then biked across the city with another friend, had dinner, biked back, had another dinner with another friend, and then basically went to sleep.

That's over 2 hrs on my bike, nice easy riding (the way to school is disappointingly flat, if briefly terrifying where there's construction on an overpass) and I really had no desire to stop. That's just over 12 hours outdoors, most in a big long chunk, and it was the cold that drove me in. It was a good day, and a glorious way to start on the official spring.

I also harvested stinging nettles while at school, just a few small first ones, and tonight will be nettle soup.

I'm happy; I'm well. I feel cared-for.

I found two poems this morning. Here they are. Then I'll wrap myself in warm textiles and waterproof things and go to work with headphones on, surrounded in comfort in every way the opposite of yesterday and good because of it.



If you were made of stone,
your kiss a fossil sealed up in your lips,
your eyes a sightless marble to my touch,
your grey hands pooling raindrops for the birds,
your long legs cold as rivers locked in ice,
if you were stone, if you were made of stone, yes, yes.

If you were made of fire,
your head a wild Medusa hissing flame,
your tongue a red-hot poker in your throat,
your heart a small coal glowing in your chest,
your fingers burning pungent brands on flesh,
if you were fire, if you were made of fire, yes, yes.

If you were made of water,
your voice a roaring, foaming waterfall,
your arms a whirlpool spinning me around,
your breast a deep, dark lake nursing the drowned,
your mouth an ocean, waves torn from your breath,
if you were water, if you were made of water, yes, yes.

If you were made of air,
your face empty and infinite as sky,
your words a wind with litter for its nouns,
your movements sudden gusts among the clouds,
your body only breeze against my dress,
if you were air, if you were made of air, yes, yes.

If you were made of air, if you were air,
if you were made of water, if you were water,
if you were made of fire, if you were fire,
if you were made of stone, if you were stone,
or if you were none of these, but really death,
the answer is yes, yes.

Carol Ann Duffy


Bella fica! (beautiful fig, fine sex) the whore said
in the back streets of Livorno, proudly slapping
her groin when the man tried to get the price down.
Braddock, the heavyweight champion of the world,
when Joe Louis was destroying him, blood spraying
and his manager between the rounds wanting to stop
the fight, said, I won the title in the ring,
I'm going to lose it in the ring. And, after more
damage, did. Therefore does the wind keep blowing
that holds this great Earth in the air.
For this the birds sing sometimes without purpose.
We value the soiled old theaters because of what
sometimes happens there. Berlin in the Thirties.
There were flowers all around Jesus in his agony
at Gethsemane. The Lord sees everything, and sees
that it is good despite everything. The manger
was filthy. The women at Dachau knew they were about
to be gassed when they pushed back the Nazi guard
who wanted to die with them, saying he must live.
And sang for a little while after the doors closed.

Jack Gilbert

Okay, one more...

Ghost Diary

Yesterday I saw the yellow skeleton of a leaf stuck to the sidewalk.

Where are you going, I ask. You say with irritation, To the store. For some bread. Already I’m seeing the tendency of things. Yes, there’s rebirth, but who cares? The new leaves have their own lives, and the old, known ones are gone.

I haven’t stopped expecting you. I hope to find you lying in stale sheets, reading a book on a weekend morning. Buying too many cheeses, watching Playtime, and complaining that your clothes don’t fit.

There was always more time. A superabundance, the warm hand of the world held out. In spring the leaves are only ideas, clenched tight as fists in the twigs of every tree.

Almost at once I began to expect you. You were the paper-slip leaves of the trees, emerging. I believed in you the way I believe in trees, in time, in what I didn’t know but was born prepared to lose.

Karen Munro
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Today I was tired-- maybe 5 hrs sleep last night, I think 3 the night before that I climbed the Eiffel tower on the climbing machine and I've been keeping up with my workouts. When I'm that tired I get surrounded in a silvery static of exhaustion; I'm isolated within my own head and it can go two ways. I can get stuck, claustophobic and knotted in my own dark and defeatist thoughts, or I can dive inwards like diving into a deep feather comforter and feel around in my head for awhile. I did the latter and so, while I felt fragile all day, I never slipped right over into feeling bad. It helps that I stole some time at the gym, did some cardio and climbed the Eiffel Tower again (working up to Mt Olympus, you betcha! Eiffel Tower's just shorthand for 300m) so when I got to the incredibly slow boring class at the end of the night I stayed awake. It helped that I prepped by bringing food and ate it during class, even if it wasn't great food for me. Calories count for a lot.

It helped that I've been well-loved by the triumverate of support in my life

Amd mpw I come home to a real dinner, more love, and some poems like the one by ee cummings that got me mostly through today, I think it's a new favourite:

as freedom is a breakfastfood
or truth can live with right and wrong
or molehills are from mountains made
-long enough and just so long
will being pay the rent of seem
and genius please the talentgang
and water most encourage flame

as hatracks into peachtrees grow
or hopes dance best on bald men's hair
and every finger is a toe
and any courage is a fear
-long enough and just so long
will the impure think all things pure
and hornets wail by children stung

or as the seeing are the blind
and robins never welcome spring
nor flatfolk prove their world is round
nor dingsters die at break of dong
and common's rare and millstones float
-long enough and just so long
tomorrow will not be too late

worms are the words but joy's the voice
down shall go which and up come who
breasts will be breasts and thighs will be thighs
deeds cannot dream what dreams can do
-time is a tree (this life one leaf)
but love is the sky and i am for you
just so long and long enough

ee cummings

And this one makes me think of Kynnin. The time in my life where this would have been about him is gone, but sometimes there are echoes, and I do remember:

You Know, I Think More and More Often

You know, I think more and more often
that I should go back.
Maybe I'll meet you. And happiness?
Happiness is being sad together.

So I look through the moonlit window
and listen.
Nothing. A breeze stirs somewhere.
Alone among the leaves - the moon.

Like a golden wheel it rolls
above the windblown leaves.
Such moons, only paler,
shone over the Wisla.

Even the Big Dipper on its course
stops in a tree at midnight,
just like at home. But why here?
Truly, I don't know.

What's here? Longing and sleepless nights,
unknown streets and somebody's verse.
I live here as a nobody:
a Displaced Person.

I think of you. I know I must leave.
Perhaps we can return to our past,
but I know neither what youth will be like
nor where you are.

But I'm yours or no one's
forever. Listen,
listen, read this poem
if somewhere you are alive.

Tadeusz Borowski
greenstorm: (Default)
End Times

It was the End Times, it was the era of guileful scamsters
on the Internet and at our doors, of heehaw goobers
setting the tone for national discourse, and of pinheads

hammering home their lessons, needling us. Spamsters
streamed their e-screen natter, You Tubers
remashed it, and the decibel level of dinheads

spieling their product endorsement turned us all to hamsters
pressing the pleasure levers in our cages for boobers
ajiggle with game show giveaways, and spinheads

angling the news to their advantage. Glamsters
strutted their butts on the catwalks, and their lubers
and polishers gave them to-die-for lips and French-tip peds

while, elsewhere, busloads of poetry jamsters
at a slam bewailed how various jewfers,
homos and niggahs were pummeled last night by skinheads

on the prowl. It was the End Times: pot heads, gin heads,
powergrubbers, heinie-lickers, all of the sinheads
of our global village Gomorrahs and their kindreds,

every sort from fatcat alephs to bulimically thin-zeds
whoring around on their yang-and-yin beds
ruled the world . . . while well-paid whamsters

diverted us with come-ons from the bargain bin, heads
of state played meaningless games like Rubik’s cubers,
and our robot leaders vacationed at their shiny zirconium tinsteads.

Albert Goldbarth


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