2015-04-20


To Have Done Nothing
--William Carlos Williams 
No that is not it
nothing that I have done
nothing
I have done 
is made up of
nothing
and the diphthong 
ae 
together with
the first person
singular
indicative 
of the auxiliary
verb
to have 
everything
I have done
is the same 
if to do
is capable
of an
infinity of
combinations 
involving the
moral
physical
and religious 
codes 
for everything
and nothing
are synonymous
when 
energy in vacuo
has the power
of confusion 
which only to
have done nothing
can make
perfect


2015-04-18


[ Still Life (Egg on Plate) ; Josef Sudek ]


Even stillness will turn against you if you try to use it to ask directions.

Death needs us to love stillness, if we are to know how to give back our lives when the time comes.

Stillness loves that dream where you find the wooden box with no handles: you can't be expected to lift what you can't hold.

Loneliness is like stillness, except for the fear inside it.

Failure: no more interesting than success, but its one virtue is that it makes room for stillness.

Stillness: the art of making nothing out of nothing.

This morning is stillness: even the crow forgets to cry out at the injustice of it all.

Every stillness has a story behind it, an excuse for why it is so late in arriving.

Stillness: would I have traded it in for a happy life?

...........--from '29 Stillnesses'; Jim Moore




2015-04-16



Today's Meditation: Happiness
--Jim Moore

In the end,
all that matters is light and dark,
and what's not finished between them.
As long as he stands back far enough, deeply
enough inside the room, he is fine, he gets
the point of things: how they come, then must go.
But the blue sea beyond the window: it has
always done this to him, always forced him
further into happiness than he thought he could stand to go.





2015-04-14



It’s late and the furnace goes full blast
filling the room like a good joke.
I read aloud, pausing for rain.
If my pipe were alive
I could not hold it more lovingly.
Soon, I will make green tea
and pray that the flute song I barely hear
is not a signal for dawn
and is not a record, nor an answer
to any questions I might pose it. 
--from 'Two Flute Songs', Jim Moore



2015-04-12


Drinking Alone Beneath the Moon
--Li Po (trans. David Hinton) 
Among the blossoms, a single jar of wine.
No one else here, I ladle it out myself. 
Raising my cup, I toast the bright moon
and facing my shadow makes three, 
though the moon has never understood wine,
and shadow only trails along behind me. 
Kindred a moment with moon and shadow,
I've found a joy that must infuse spring: 
I sing, and moon rocks back and forth;
I dance, and shadow tumbles into pieces. 
Sober, we're together and happy. Drunk,
we scatter away into our own directions: 
intimates forever, we'll wander carefree
and meet again in Star River distances.



2015-04-10



He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato.........
[Diabolical IPA ; North Peak Brewing, Traverse City, MI ]..........




2015-04-08


Gathering April
--Jim Harrison 
Stuffing a crow call in one ear
and an unknown bird's in the other,
lying on the warm cellar door out of
the cool wind which I take small sparing
bites of with three toes still wet from the pond's
edge: April is so violent up here you hide
in corners or, when in the woods, in swales
and behind beech trees. Twenty years ago
this April I offered up my stupid heart to
this bloody voyage. It was near a marsh
on a long walk. You can't get rid of those
thousand pointless bottles of whiskey
that you brought along. Last night after
the poker game I read Obata's Li Po.
He was no less a fool but adding those
twenty thousand poems you come up
with a god. There are patents on all
the forms of cancer but still we praise
god from whom or which all blessings flow:
that an April exists, that a body lays itself
down on a warm cellar door and remembers, drinks
in birds and wind, whiskey, frog songs
from the marsh, the little dooms hiding
in the shadows of each fence post.



2015-04-06


Song
--Alicia Ostriker 
Some claim the origin of song
was a war cry
some say it was a rhyme
telling the farmers when to plant and reap
don’t they know the first song was a lullaby
pulled from a mother’s sleep
said the old woman 
A significant
factor generating my delight in being
alive this springtime
is the birdsong
that like a sweeping mesh has captured me
like diamond rain I can’t
hear it enough said the tulip 
lifetime after lifetime
we surged up the hill
I and my dear brothers
thirsty for blood
uttering
our beautiful songs
said the dog


2015-04-04


In Every Life
--Alicia Ostriker 
In every life there’s a moment or two
when the self disappears, the cruel wound
takes over, and then again
at times we are filled with sky
or with birds or
simply with the sugary tea on the table
said the old woman 
I know what you mean said the tulip
about epiphanies
for instance a cloudless April sky
the approach of a butterfly
but as to the disappearing self
no
I have not yet experienced that 
You are creating distinctions
that do not exist in reality
where “self” and “not-self” are like salt
in ocean, cloud in sky
oxygen in fire
said the philosophical dog
under the table scratching his balls



2015-04-02


[ 1931 - 2015 ]


The Light Streams In
--Tomas Tranströmer (trans Patty Crane)

Outside the window is spring’s long animal,
the diaphanous dragon of sunshine
flowing past like an endless
commuter train—we never managed to see its head.

The seaside villas scuttle sideways
and are as proud as crabs.
The sun causes the statues to blink.

The raging conflagration out in space
is transforming into a caress.
The countdown has begun.



2015-03-31




...Time has sporadically cast a few warm days into March,
...chances back to step into life in a mild void opposite
...to effort. No need for metaphor. Only a determined sun

...with molecular warmth contouring about the physical
...for the first time in months. Wide levity of feathered breeze
...as on through cellular layers astir above and below face

...reactions. A shared osculate which turns such moments,
...bound while open. Each initiatory step. When blind sight
...surpasses the fractured failing of all our interpretations.





2015-03-29



[ Long Limb ; Andrew Wyeth (1999)]






2015-03-27



‘Do you know what touched me most when I sat here at my writing desk for the first time again? 
I looked at the garden and saw it was the same as before. The garden does not need me. The trees are not there for me, they are just there. They do not love me, do not hate me either, they are. 
That I find extremely moving. That loving indifference consoled me. I sat down and it was as it was before. As if nothing ever happened. It will be like that also when I am gone. That I find marvelous.’ 
--Rutger Kopland (after a severe 2005 automobile accident)




2015-03-25



Psalm
--Rutger Kopland 
Then these sounds will be wind,
when they rise up from their place, then
they will blow away, will be wind. 
We have breathed and our breath was
as the sighing of trees around a house, 
we have murmured and our lips
murmured like a garden under rain, 
we have spoken and our voices
strayed like birds above a roof. 
Because we were searching for our name.
But only the wind knows the place
that we were, where and when.


[via poetry international



2015-03-23



In The Morning
--Rutger Kopland (trans James Brockway)
There must be something as we go to sleep
we lay down and went to sleep  
what was it then – as the final words
for the world grew fainter and fainter:
moonlight: far-off a dog, quiet breathing,
odour of a man, a woman,
night and once again night  
that said, as even the last word night had been
put out: these are still our own arms
in which we fall apart into this black hole
this is still our own body  
that said something, while there were no more words left
there must be something now the word morning
slowly lights up and it becomes morning
that held us together and lets us go
as we lie here like this


[via poetry international rotterdam




2015-03-21



[ Graceful Touch ; Tord Gustavsen Trio ]


p- Tord Gustavsen
b- Harald Johnsen
d- Jarle Vespestad



Painting: The Absinthe Drinker; Viktor Oliva


2015-03-19



World's Bliss
--Alice Notely 
The men & women sang & played
they sleep by singing, what
shall I say of the most
poignant on earth the most glamorous
loneliest sought after people
those poets wholly beautiful
desolate aureate, death is a
powerful instinctive emotion—
but who would be released from
a silver skeleton? gems
& drinking cups—This
skull is Helen—who would not
be released from the
Book of Knowledge? Why
should a maiden lie on a moor
for seven nights & a day? And
he is a maiden, he is & she
on the grass the flower the spray
where they lie eating primroses
grown crazy with sorrow & all
the beauties of old—oh each poet's a
beautiful human girl who must die.



2015-03-17



At last I find in my confused soul,
Dark with the dark flame of the cypresses,
The certitude that I cannot be whole,
Consummate, finally achieved, unless 
I be consumed and fused in the white heat
Of her sad finite essence, so that none
Shall sever us who are at last complete
Eternally, irrevocably one, 
One with the birdless, cloudless, colourless skies,
One with the bright purity of the fire
Of which we are and for which we must die
A rapturous strange death and be entire, 
Like syzgetic stars, supernly bright,
Conjoined in One and in the Infinite! 
--Samuel Becket




2015-03-15


....[ Lake In the Moonlight ; Felix Heuberger (1930)]



[via wait-what?]


2015-03-13



High Quality Information
--Gary Snyder 
A life spent seeking it
Like a worm in the earth,
Like a hawk. Catching threads
Sketching bones
Guessing where the road goes.
Lao-tzu says
To forget what you know is best.
That's what I want:
To get these sights down,
Clear, right to the place
Where they fade
Back into the mind of my times.
The same old circuitry
But some paths color-coded
Empty
And we're free to go.




2015-03-11



I'm nothing. My ancestors' bones are not buried here. What do I know? If you want to talk about place, the sense of place, or the placedness of human beings prior to the mid-nineteenth centry, you're talking about something entirely different that we have almost no idea of.... 
The other side of it is that we are capable of beginning now to think of the whole Planet Earth as our place-- which nobody was quite up to before. They didn't have quite that much information. But saying that is not to free people to say, "I am a citizen of Plaent Earth, I am a member of this planet." They've got to prove it. It's too easy to say, "I am a citizen of the Cosmos, I live in the Universe, I am home here..." 
Well, come on, kid, show me how you do it. So you still can only know place specifically... You have to know the particulars. If you can begin to talk about the particulars, you might then be able to get a sense of what a larger planetary space might ultimately be. So it does come down to starting out with particulars, and being engaged with them. And that's really hard to come by.  
..........--Gary Snyder



2015-03-09



From a 1988 discussion between Julia Martin and Gary Snyder, as found in the 2014 publication "Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism and Living in Places":

Snyder: I'm not interested in being a consistent poet speaking voice, speaking for my own sentiment and sensibilities. 
Martin: Because? 
Snyder: Because its not interesting! Its like talking about yourself. 
Martin: And what is interesting? 
Snyder: Talking about your nonself! When a bird flies across from one tree to another tree, you can be the bird flying across from one tree to another tree. You don't have to think about the bird, how you feel about the bird. No  difference between self and universe. So just shortcut that illusion. 
Martin: But 'self' informs the way you read the bird. 
Snyder: But you don't have to encourage it. Which isn't to say that sometimes poems aren't written in that first person. The point is to not let yourself be the main character of what you're thinking. If the sense of self is too narrowly located, then people sound like they talk about themselves all the time. 
Martin: Do you evolve conscious strategies other than your formal Zen practice for developing this sort of attitude? 
Snyder: Zen practice is not limited to sitting on a cushion in a zendo. That becomes a habit of life, that's true. 




2015-03-02


Winter Haiku- 2014/15


silent oak tree,
unanimous echo
underground


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 
possibilities 
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
zen 
for moses


sub zero lows
with high clouds
in trailing bloom





2015-02-28



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.



[i[ii[iii]