Poem Beginning with a Line by Milosz
--Mark Irwin 
“The most beautiful bodies are like transparent glass.”
They are bodies of the selfless or of those newly
dead. What appears transparent is really flame
burning so brightly it appears like glass. What
you’re looking through is the act of giving: One
thing in life needed desperately, given to another,
or perhaps life itself. The most beautiful bodies
are not transparent, but sometimes the color
of lead, like the elephant whom a child with some
peanuts lifts by the trunk in his hand in the swirling
dust, so that it appears he has lifted a monument
or a city with all its pain. The bodies that seem
transparent are made of an ice so pure it appears
to be glass sweating, where you, desiring another,
glimpse your own face that weighs nothing and is burning.

[via poetryfoundation]


I asked the novelist Haruki Murakami, who once owned a jazz club, why Cool Struttin’ is so popular in Japan. He attributed it to the rise of the “jazz kissa” (jazz coffee shops) in the 1960s. “The popularity of Cool Struttin’ was not driven by professional critics or by sales,” wrote Murakami by e-mail, “but instead by youths who didn’t have enough money to buy vinyl records, so they went to coffee shops to hear jazz on the house record player. This was a phenomenon particular to Japan, or at last very different from America.” Clark’s buoyant blues fit the underground mood of Japan’s postwar youth. It didn’t hurt that his tragic life made him an unconventional, forlorn icon, too. 
The symbols that frequently come up in Japanese writing to describe Clark’s music are 哀愁 , pronounced “aishu.” As often is the case with Japanese aesthetic terms, there isn’t a direct English translation of the phrase. The first symbol can be read as kana-shi-I  (哀しい)  or a-wa-re (哀れ). The former means moving, sad, and melancholy. The latter can mean compassion, compassion-inducing, sympathetic, and touching. The symbol is made up of 衣, which means clothing or an outside covering, and 口, which means mouth. These symbols together mean covering, suppressing, or muffling an expression of feelings. The second symbol is usually read as ure-eru (愁える) , which means to feel lonely, to lament. It’s made up of the symbols 秋, which means autumn, and 心, which means heart. In the fall, everything contracts, or tightens, such as trees and plants. Therefore, the symbol 愁 means the contracting or tightening of the heart and expresses a mysterious atmosphere of pathos and sorrow. Perhaps the Japanese cultural embrace of extremes gives that country an advantage in appreciating somebody like Clark, who blended extremes as beautifully as anybody ever has on piano.


[ Deep in a Dream ; Sonny Clark (1961) ]

p- Sonny Clark
s- Ike Quebec
t- Tommy Turrentine
b- Butch Warren
d- Billy Higgins


 [ La Vie ; Pablo Picasso (1903) ].........................

in blue without when blues dream bears
the only living girls are gold
quickly the living boys will bring them stars
and stars will sing them bells 
in bells without when bells dream blooms
the only living boys are brave
quickly the living girls will bring them dooms
and dooms will praise their love 
........-- José García Villa


I have observed pink monks eating blue raisins.
And I have observed blue monks eating pink raisins.
Studiously have I observed. 
Now this is the way a pink monk eats a blue raisin:
Pink is he and it is blue and the pink
swallows the blue. I swear this is true. 
And the way a blue monk eats a pink raisin is this:
Blue is he and it is pink and the blue
swallows the pink. And this is also truth. 
Indeed I have observed and myself have partaken
of blue and pink raisins. But my joy was different:
My joy was to see the blue and the pink counterpointing. 
......--José Garcia Villa


I do not know why
But it is as though
There were a cliff
Inside my head
From which, every day,
Clods of earth fall. 
--Ishikawa Takuboku

(trans. by Kenneth Rexroth)


Autumn Haiku- 2014

morning coffee-
what’s new, the hole
a skunk dug for grubs

my thoughts
dew drops
below the fog

one last peach-
heart of September
swallowed at midnight

not cherries
but crabapples 
falling in dozens

blood moon,
souls ripened
on the vines

new winds take
the first turned leaves-
a place apart

leaves turn and fall
but the curling wind
knows no loss

honey locusts
with their own loss

evening walk began
in memory, but faded
under a waxing moon

crow caw cuts
autumn color loose,
above settled stones

hawk perched
upon an empty branch
where stillness stirs

again the dog barks
trying to fill a half moon
above the roof

thanksgiving morning
jog through light snow,
red drum of my heart

diurnal of november
grounded in luminous
lines of shadows


Ah well in the sough of autumn
moment sentiment, while you can.
Same used when looking to the time
which can only arrive in vanish.
Stronger a mimetic fit from dreams,
land of crestfallen moonlight etched
with colossal serenade, all whole
notes punctured by caws of oak,
raven key off E flat minor. Wind gasps
such tunes. Tangled styles above
vanquished epitaphs (and all that's
boarded to dust upon white shelves).
Songs sung as being heard, tocscin
of life rigored for pulmonary color.


[Cheyenne Women in the Robes of a Secret Society; Leonard Baskin (1993) ]...

Not To Live
--John Berryman ........................
......................................................(Jamestown 1957)

It kissed us, soft, to cut our throats, this coast,
like a malice of the lazy King. I hunt,
& hunt! but find here what to kill? --nothing is blunt,
but phantoming uneases I find. Ghost
on ghost precedes of all most scared us, most
we fled. Howls fail upon this secret, far air: grunt,
shaming for food; you must. I love the King
& it was not I who strangled at the toast
but a flux of a free & dying adjutant:
God be with him. He & God be with us all,
for we are not to live, I cannot wring,
like laundry, blue my soul—indecisive thing . .
From undergrowth & over odd birds call
and who would starv'd so survive? God save the King.

Evidence of cannibalism at Jamestown (via ourworldsmysteries):
Scientists said... ....they have found the first solid archaeological evidence that some of the earliest American colonists at Jamestown, Va., survived harsh conditions by turning to cannibalism. 
For years, there have been tales of the starving English settlers resorting to eating dogs, mice, snakes and shoe leather at Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America. There were also written accounts of settlers eating their own dead, but archaeologists had been skeptical of those stories. 
But now, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and archaeologists from Jamestown are announcing the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. Evidence indicates clumsy chops to the body and head, and it appears the girl was already dead at the time. 
‘Now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado’d [barbecued], I know not.’ 
.....--Capt. John Smith, the colony’s most famous leader


so many selves(so many fiends and gods
each greedier than every)is a man
(so easily one in another hides;
yet man can,being all,escape from none) 
so huge a tumult is the simplest wish:
so pitiless a massacre the hope
most innocent(so deep's the mind of flesh
and so awake what waking calls asleep) 
so never is most lonely man alone
(his briefest breathing lives some planet's year,
his longest life's a heartbeat of some sun;
his least unmotion roams the youngest star) 
how should a fool that calls him 'I' presume
to comprehend not numerable whom? 
--E E Cummings


Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast. 
How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me. 
Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day. 
Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time. 
--W H Auden


..........That the absence of the sun
Is not the cause of Night--
.....Forasmuch as this light is
...............So great 

..........It may illuminate the Earth
all over at once..........but
.....That Night is brought on
..............By the 
........Influence of dark Stars--
That ray out darkness upon
.....The Earth, as the sun
..............Does Light. 

..........--José Garcia Villa

( As adapted from The Notebooks
of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, vol 1 )


....What potion should I give the night so she’ll always wonder?
....Her pounding heart’s a rider galloping from the burning wood.

....Maybe my pharmacist is awake the next street over?
....In a crucible of  bone, snake tears mixed with herbs.

....Should I hurry? Call the doctor? A heart like hers is rare.
....And to tell the truth, if it shattered, what would I do?

....--Abraham Sutzkever (trans by Zackary Sholem Berger)

[via poetryfoundation.org]


Forever falling night is a known
Star and country to the legion
Of sleepers whose tongue I toll
To mourn his deluging
Light through sea and soil
And we have come
To know all
Quarters and graves
Of the endless fall.
Now common lazarus
Of the charting sleepers prays
Never to awake and arise
................For the country is the heart’s size

[ from Vision & Prayer; Dylan Thomas ]


When all my five and country senses see,
The fingers will forget green thumbs and mark
How, through the halfmoon's vegetable eye,
Husk of young stars and handfull zodiac,
Love in the frost is pared and wintered by,
The whispering ears will watch love drummed away
Down breeze and shell to a discordant beach,
And, lashed to syllables, the lynx tongue cry
That her fond wounds are mended bitterly.
My nostrils see her breath burn like a bush.  
My one and noble heart has witnesses
In all love's countries, that will grope awake;
And when blind sleep drops on the spying senses,
The heart is sensual, though five eyes break. 
....-- Dylan Thomas


[ Cat in Moonlight  ; Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1900) ]........


Annual parse adjustment
at end of autumn. End weight
when setting down dinner,
doing so when dark outside 
already, daily life continuing,
but with the top third lobbed 
off, handed back down upon
a plate, and in the window, 
transparent reflection, spectral
with night, says, 'here, eat up'.


Dancing in the Dark ; Cannonball Adderley (1958) ]

s - Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
t - Miles Davis
d - Art Blakey,
p - Hank Jones
b - Sam Jones


Carrying On Like a Crow
--Charles Simic 
Are you authorized to speak
For those trees without leaves?
Are you able to explain
What the wind intends to do
With a man’s shirt and a woman’s nightgown
Left on the laundry line?
What do you know about dark clouds?
Ponds full of fallen leaves?
Old-model cars rusting in a driveway?
Who gave you the permission
To look at the beer can in a ditch?
The white cross by the side of the road?
The swing set in the widow's yard?
Ask yourself, if words are enough,
Or if you’d be better off
Flapping your wings from tree to tree
And carrying on like a crow.


My Quarrel with the Infinite
--Charles Simic 
I preferred the fleeting,
Like a memory of a sip of wine
Of noble vintage
On the tongue with eyes closed... 
When you tapped me on the shoulder,
O light, unsayable in your splendor.
A lot of good you did me.
You just made my insomnia last longer. 
I sat rapt at the spectacle,
Secretly ruing the fugitive:
All its provisory, short-lived
Kisses and enchantments. 
Here with the new day breaking,
And a single scarecrow on the horizon
Directing the traffic
Of crows and their shadows.


The Dead
--Don Paterson 
Our business is with fruit and leaf and bloom;  
though they speak with more than just the season's ......tongue--
the colours that they blaze from the dark loam  
all have something of the jealous tang     
of the dead about them. What do we know of their part  
in this, those secret brothers of the harrow,  
invigorators of the soil-- oiling the dirt  
so liberally with their essence, their black marrow?       
But here's the question. Are the flower and fruit  
held out to us in love, or merely thrust  
up at us, their masters, like a fist?    
Or are they the lords, asleep amongst the roots,  
granting to us in their great largesse  
this hybrid thing-- part brute force, part mute kiss?


He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato.........
[Undertaker; Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids, MI].......

Pours cauldron black, tulgey and macabre. Scented of casket resin and slight nettle of late season dark fruit. When slithing over the tongue, forward taste of pitted prune, mildly tinctured licorice, followed by roiling hints of sorghum molasses. Back taste haunts with roasted malts veiled in a veneer of smoke-- think dying coals from a wet log of bur oak on a cold and dreary All Hallows Eve. Finish settles in like fog enshrouding autumn silhouettes of barren honey locusts.


--Edgar Allen Poe

Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone--
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,
...Which is not loneliness- for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
...In life before thee are again
In death around thee- and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

The night, tho’ clear, shall frown--
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given--
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more- like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze- the breath of God- is still-
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadow- shadowy- yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token-
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!


After all, what is every man? A horde of ghosts-- like a Chinese nest of boxes-- oaks that were acorns that were oaks. Death lies behind us, not in front-- in our ancestors, back and back until... 
-- from 'The Return'; Walter de la Mare (1910)