Winter Haiku- 2014/15

silent oak tree,
unanimous echo

great noble beast,
from the darkest folds
a full moon rises

winter solstice-
a few last words
in noon time shadows

reflecting back
on the past year-
pale winter light

crystalline flakes 
day and night

howling wind
in a barren tree,
sudden memory

pink white and blues
pool in a silent view,
the sky in her voice

froth of thoughts
ride on westward wind-
i’ll have another

clumsy old humor,
my flailing strut
on sidewalk ice

fresh snow
clear sobriety
day light

coffee break-
another set of words
to lead elsewhere

cool frosted light
on the living room floor,
my hour in the moon

search helicopter
over black water
finds only winter

hard truths-
concrete sunlight
road salt dust

river ice
for moses

sub zero lows
with high clouds
in trailing bloom


Ebb of daylight address from tone of nightfall. When hard effort construction finally dilutes amidst evening of blue milk. A fateful weakness balancing out with the undertones of snow. What settles as drifts and couches, collected sediment, swarthy emotion to the few such things now said and done. Not in resolve, rather what’s prone toward depth upon the domestic realm. Consolation, perhaps. As well as endless phases of unreal clarity while aqueous and insubordinate. To the point where what truly consists, only simplest perspective. How near, how far, the pale moon’s faceless visage.



[ The Law of Falling and Catching Up ; Chick Corea ]


Around the Block
--Keith Waldrop 
I will go for a walk before
bed, a little stroll to settle
the day's upsets. One thing always
follows another, but
discretely-- tree after
telephone pole, for instance, or
this series of unlit houses. One moment follows
helplessly, losing its
place instantly to the next. Each frame
fails, leaving behind
an impression of motion. 
As for death, at the moment I
think it strangely overrated. 
Who now could build
houses like these? who
could afford to? They loom
in the evening of the
East Side, memory-traces
of sometime wealth. Dust
seems forever settling, but
must somehow recirculate. 
Once around the block
will do. Porch after porch projects
its columns, seeming one dark and
continuous dwelling. And fear continues,
eternal night shuttering each
source of light. How
remarkable, how remarkably
pleasant, not to be
asleep, still discriminating
dips in the sidewalk, reading
the differences between shadows.


From Keith Waldrop's memoir, “Light While There Is Light”:

My imagination is poor. In my dreams, for instance—where one would suppose wishes can be fulfilled without hindrance—if I dream the events this account describes, they are not usually changed, but in what should be a world nearer to the heart’s desire, they play again, just as I tell them here, exactly as already experienced. It is as if despairing, even of imaginary improvement, I contrive instead to set my affection on the damned world, this very world, as it was and as it is. 


Need not end. Indeed, nothing. Step
out. Grist for wits. Shadow of your
shell. Stand there. 
No other ground. No
other. And the world concerns you every-
where, but do not identify with it. 
Let light onto us. Flowers through the
gate, flowers skimming
the wall. A carpet of petal. 
Treasures below the earth. Neither in
this world nor another, guarding.
Nothing but fade and flourish. 
--from 'A Shipwreck in Heaven'; Keith Waldrop


[ Freedom ; loui jover ]...............

[via loui jover]


It is a lonesome Glee--
Yet sanctifies the Mind--
With fair association--
Afar upon the Wind 
A Bird to overhear--
Delight without a Cause--
Arrestless as invisible--
A Matter of the Skies. 
--Emily Dickinson


Wolf Cento
--Simone Muench 
What do we leave, living?
Always the silence remains kneeling--
each letter a closed house.
& what comes after, looking back
on the mind itself, looking for home
as night drifts up like a little boat
or a pattern of small flowers.
There a screen of vertical timber,
trees fade over into fog
just as bodies flow
safe from the wolf's black jaw.

Rumpus; NYTBR; [Pank] 


...Wolf Cento
...--Simone Muench

...I dream you into being—mongering wolf
...who stands outside the self, makes
...its way through the transparent world
...& its motions, its laughter & quarrels,
...its rows of teeth, its tears, its chiming of clocks.
...The pages turn. Words often fall between
...the rising walls where your shadow
...draws to an end.

...In some region of vellum & toccatas,
...it will be as it is in this life, the same room,
...simple rural day, & the cinema of sleep.
...Stories one has never read.
...More & more I see the human form,
...a nothingness which longs to be the sea.
...Lives infinitely repeated down to atomic thinness
...like footfalls in a strange house. If need
...be from nothingness, let today
...froth from your mouth.

...Sources: Jules Supervielle, Maxine Kumin, Yves Bonnefoy,
...Robert Fitzgerald,Tomas Transtromer, Pierre Reverdy, Sandor
...Csoori, Alain Delahaye, O.V. de L. Milosz, Tristan Tzara, Paul
...Eluard, Eugene Guillevic, Miklos Radnoti, Boris Pasternak

[via Four Way Review]


Pedestrian efforts line afternoon that presents, and is, by how? Thin shadows for a few working hours. Clouds of routine commentary actively grey. And so the best thoughts to be had are those to embody a cipher from inner minded nature. Where the reach for a constant while alive upon sightless wind touches on themes threadless, unifying sake, substantial variation. A being. An impulse bolting into horizon while novelty intones trees about the stance of our homes. Of what is sort of had, besides.   


[ Grey Tree ; Piet Mondrian (1912) ]


The Garden
--Fanny Howe 
Black winter gardens
engraved at night
keep soft frost
on them to read the veins
of our inner illustrator's
hand internally
light with infant etching.
Children booked
on blizzard winds
and then the picture
is blown to yonder
and out of ink:
the black winter verses
are buds and sticks.


The terms “power” and “authority” have pragmatically opposed meanings in the realms of politics and what we still ought to call “imaginative literature.” If we have difficulty in seeing the opposition, it may be because of the intermediate realm that calls itself “spiritual.” Spiritual power and spiritual authority notoriously shade over into both politics and poetry. Thus we must distinguish the aesthetic power and authority of the Western Canon from whatever spiritual, political, or even moral consequences it may have fostered. Although reading, writing, and teaching are necessarily social acts, even teaching has its solitary aspect, a solitude only the two could share, in Wallace Stevens’s language. Gertrude Stein maintained that one wrote for oneself and for strangers, a superb recognition that I would extend into a parallel apothegm: one reads for oneself and for strangers. The Western Canon does not exist in order to augment preexisting societal elites. It is there to be read by you and by strangers, so that you and those you will never meet can encounter authentic aesthetic power and the authority of what Baudelaire (and Erich Auerbach after him) called “aesthetic dignity.” One of the ineluctable stigmata of the canonical is aesthetic dignity, which is not to be hired. 
--from 'The Western Canon'; Harold Bloom

[via biblioklept]

I'll add on that today is Paul Auster's birthday, who can be quoted, similarly: the novel is really one of the only places in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy. The reader and the writer make the book together. You as a reader enter the consciousness of another person, and in doing so I think you discover something about your own humanity, and it makes you feel more alive.


For the Book
--Fanny Howe 
Yellow goblins
and a god I can swallow.
Eyes in the evergreens
under ice. 
Interior monologue
and some voice. 
Weary fears, the
usual trails and 
a place to surmise


He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato.........

[Double Cream Stout; Bell's, Kalamazoo, MI]


The Calming Thought of All.
--Walt Whitman 
That coursing on, whate'er men's speculations,
Amid the changing schools, theologies, philosophies,
Amid the bawling presentations new and old,
The round earth's silent vital laws, facts, modes continue.


--Walt Whitman

Of ownership— as if one fit to own things could not at pleasure
.........enter upon all, and incorporate them into himself or herself;
Of vista— suppose some sight in arriere through the formative
.........chaos, presuming the growth, fulness, life, now attain'd on
.........the journey,
(But I see the road continued, and the journey ever continued;)
Of what was once lacking on earth, and in due time has become
.........supplied— and of what will yet be supplied,
Because all I see and know I believe to have its main purport in
.........what will yet be supplied.


After J. S. Bach / Cello Suite No. 6, BWV 1012
--J. Mae Barizo 
Language, heart that you betrayed
one evening when the trains delayed
the rain the slandered snow in unkempt
mounds upon the drive, see in this belated
hour what a heart it was. The same pyre
which burns this day heats the undressed
trees that house the red tanagers
in winter garment, wing to wind.
Be your true self again, irrespective
of the duration of this music; Bach
in tenor clef upon the strings, your teal
eye, the courante shaking the room
with unclocked agitation. The words
you spoke were wild, flaunted
like a vain revolver, ruined
in one instant of unsaid

[via poetry daily]


Let me begin by saying that I have often characterized my voice as, simply, an ongoing narration of my bewilderment as a citizen in the world. I find bewilderment to be a productive place from which to compose. It’s a word I like as it has both “be” and “wild” in it, and I also hear wilderness. Let’s be honest, life is strange and gets stranger; it’s strange to be here. So for me selfhood is also a biological phenomenon, enacted by the body I have to work with; it’s my instrument. In one of my poems in this book I say “the biology that composes I is shared with I.” Sometimes I think that my language has a kind of sonic blur, trying to transmit the impersonal frequency of pure neuro-hormonal energy. This might sound crazy, but in the act of locating a ground in this otherwise dark process, I came to an understanding that was, for me, revelatory: that the sensory data recorded in my poetry is, at the same time, a fiction of consciousness and the physical reality of my nervous system. Sometimes I think that I’m only an ethnographer of my nervous system; it’s certainly peopled. So what do I mean when I say that I want to be clear and to suggest something larger? One of the jobs for me as a poet is to listen to the exterior world in relation to some otherwise illegible interiority. I want to connect these two and give the resulting relationship a sound. 
..............--Peter Gizzi

[via 2011 BOMB Q & A]


It isn’t alright to want just anything
all the time, be specific sky 
I can read the narrow line above the hills 
The day unbraids its pretty light
and I am here to see it 
This must be all there is
right now in the world 
There are things larger than understanding 
things we know cannot
be held in the mind 
If the sun throbs like a drum
every five minutes 
what can we do with this 
the 100,000 years it takes a photon
to reach the surface of the sun 
eight minutes to hit our eyes 
If every afternoon gravity and fire
it’s like that here 
undressed, unwound 
--from A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me; ..........Peter Gizzi


[ Proverb ; Steve Reich ]

How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life!
~Ludwig Wittgenstein


The Ether
--Rae Armantrout 
We’re out
past the end 
game where things
get fuzzy, 
less thingy, 
though in past times
we practiced 
concrete as a slot machine. 
But to be precise
you need to stop 
a moment
which turns out to be 
and besides 
speed is of the essence. 
Don’t worry. 
“Of” can take care
of itself 
and it’s fine
to say “essence” 
now that it’s understood
to mean ether, 
a kind of filler
made either 
of inattention
or absorption 
somewhere near
the Planck length

[via poetryfoundation]

Visualization of the "Planck length" (per wikipedia):

The size of the Planck length can be visualized as follows: if a particle or dot about 0.1mm in size (which is at or near the smallest the unaided human eye can see) were magnified in size to be as large as the observable universe, then inside that universe-sized "dot", the Planck length would be roughly the size of an actual 0.1mm dot. In other words, the universe is to a visible dot as a visible dot is to Planck length: The diameter of the observable universe is to within less than an order of magnitude, larger than a 0.1 millimeter object, roughly at or near the limits of the unaided human eye, by about the same factor (1031) as that 0.1mm object or dot is larger than the Planck length. More simply – on a logarithmic scale, a dot is halfway between the Planck length and the size of the observable universe.


Romanticism has never been fairly appraised; who would have? Critics!! The romantics, who so clearly prove that the song is infrequently the work of a singer, which is to say rarely is its thought both sung and understood by its singer. 
For I is someone else. If the brass awakes as horn, it can't be to blame. This much is clear: I'm around for the hatching of thought: I watch it, I listen to it: I release a stroke from the bow: the symphony makes its rumblings in the depths, or leaps fully-formed onto stage. 
If old fools hadn't completely misunderstood the nature of the Ego, we wouldn't be constantly sweeping up these millions of skeletons which, since time immemorial, have hoarded products of their monocular intellects, a blindness of which they claim authorship! 
.........--Arthur Rimbaud (trans by Wyatt Mason)