Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Shu Cai Poem

The Everything of Everything

Slowly. The everything of everything 
in the drawers of memory

will find its own place.
After lightning ends, the sky is empty again.

Thunder's accomplice will perhaps be in the next moment.
The sound of thunder doesn't necessarily know.

The hand of the river's flow that Nature extends
is also spinning the prayer wheel for emptiness.

Human beings? They have different worries.
The gaze can never rise beyond the forehead.

Just stitch one good poem, in the heart's apex—
as good as the six-word mantra.

Our train is the same spring-summer-autumn-winter train,
heading to an unnamed future.

How many peaks as tall as the sky still can't be climbed?
How many creatures anxiously wish to plunge into the mother's womb?

Slowly, everything slips toward another everything . . .
and everyone will surely make way for another.

Slowly. The everything
of everything: is nothingness!













(Trans. Jami Proctor-Xu)

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Rosemary Nissen-Wade Poem (4)


Mostly wolf
he was unlike other dogs,
the fully doggy. He was

wind-woven movement
hunter-quiet through trees,
cat-contained self-sufficiency,

deep-loving, soul-faithful
but not puppy-exuberant,
not wriggly-jerky hysterical. Never.

His distance-speak
sustained me many months.
We had good mind-talk between us:

we two heart-kin, spirit-friends
who summoned each other
with immediate vision-share

instant thought-meld, the knowing
of the vast, timeless forever-abyss
from which we'd sparked into life-light.

He wasn't my dog; there was
one dearer, skin-close, the friend
we shared and in our own ways guarded.

It's a long time ago now,
far-dwindling yet never full-gone.
Not wholly done, dead-over.

Though he is dead of course,
and our man-friend older,
well happy. He is horse-master now.

Me, I love cats. And we both have known
some other dogs. We never speak
of that one, heart-deep, unique.

The night-road, the moon-path
along which he reached me
with loving mind-touch

has taken him elsewhere,
gone in the other direction.
He did return just once

to tell me the way of it,
his death-fall. Though I had already
felt it of course, from too far away.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

POEM: "Frame by frame"

“Frame by frame”

Frame by frame
action to action
ghost in a shell
aspect to aspect
cock and pussy
the body’s mystery
invisible and still
I am hardly there
aspect to aspect
action to action
flower in a golden vase
such imagination

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Saturday, April 23, 2016

2 William Shakespeare Poems

Sonnet 50

How heavy do I journey on the way,
When what I seek, my weary travel's end,
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
'Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend!'
The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider lov'd not speed being made from thee.
The bloody spur cannot provoke him on,
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;
For that same groan doth put this in my mind,
My grief lies onward, and my joy behind.

Sonnet 59

If there be nothing new, but that which is
Hath been before, how are our brains beguiled,
Which, lab'ring for invention, bear amiss
The second burthen of a former child!
O that recórd could with a backward look,
Ev'n of five hundred courses of the sun,
Show me your image in some ántique book,
Since mind at first in character was done,
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composèd wonder of your frame;
Whether we are mended, or where better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.

O sure I am the wits of former days
To subjects worse have giv'n admiring praise.

POEM: "This Knowledge"

This Knowledge

I never knew each mark of the season
(Secret signs of go and come I don’t know)
Would have a different address in my heart
Or, in traffic buzz supermarkets, a racing beauty
That strange birds would speak the song I heard
Still, my life is dimmed & I wonder what the fuck
What taught us to make the wrong decisions?
Sure, everything sucks from the big remorse
Sure kid, dreadful times take your breath away
Hope is a broken guitar in a garbage dump
Loopy birds land on the strings for a minute
Occasionally you hear it on the winds, I know
That it's not much to go on, on the big back of love
But as Will Shakespeare said, there is always this.

© 2014 Rob Schackne

POEM: "The Words"

The Words

The Buddha is tied down 
in the back of a truck
the countryside rolls by
and it looks like rain

I shall enter the cave of my heart
discard unneeded appurtenances
set myself to face the sun
build a fire, rub my hands
and read a little Shakespeare

Remember outrageous fortune
and nothing new under the sun
how could I not penetrate
these exhausted dreams?

Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar
the kings, the knaves and villains
watch them all watch the Buddha
thunder down the oily road
a word for highway on his lips

© 2016 Rob Schackne

POEM: "Chance"


She travels alot by air on business 
where the dial of luck is reset each time 

infinity crashing infinity till infinity 
stacks on the last unsurprising possibility 

shrivelled Shakespearean monkeys
there’s nothing can chance forever 

Croesus doubling his bets every game 
27 people in the same happy room

two keep on sharing the same birthday
mad roads as slippery as a jetstream 

might as well despise a white Ferrari
I always bet she gets home safe. 

© 2013 Rob Schackne

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Duo Duo Poem (2)


It once lingered in a place of misery
Leaving unconscious and indecipherable black spots on the memory
It was sleepless, like a poet, tossing and turning
Passing in and out of ancient rooms of dreams…


Trans. Mai Mang

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Peter Balakian Poem

Here and Now

The day comes in strips of yellow glass over trees.
When I tell you the day is a poem
I’m only talking to you and only the sky is listening.
The sky is listening; the sky is as hopeful
as I am walking into the pomegranate seeds
of the wind that whips up the seawall.
If you want the poem to take on everything,
walk into a hackberry tree,
then walk out beyond the seawall.
I’m not far from a room where Van Gogh
was a patient — his head on a pillow hearing
the mistral careen off the seawall,
hearing the fauvist leaves pelt

the sarcophagi. Here and now
the air of the tepidarium kissed my jaw
and pigeons ghosting in the blue loved me
for a second, before the wind
broke branches and guttered into the river.
What questions can I ask you?
How will the sky answer the wind?
The dawn isn’t heartbreaking.
The world isn’t full of love.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

POEM: "Frames"


The painting’s rolled out
flat on the table. On the floor
there’s a wire it’ll hang on
one day at the back. Perhaps.
Anticipating what rises.
Rosewood from forest trees.
Glass from the sea sand.
Heavy paper that seals in
all the air it took to breathe.
No. Something isn’t right.

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Sunday, April 17, 2016

POEM: "13 Lines for Fei"

13 Lines for Fei

Go to bed in Buenos Aires
wake up in Chile
in a narrow bed
surrounded by fools
my window has bars
and it seems that
the gate is locked
I pull out a book
from my trousers
and read some Qin Fei
they smile like turtles
and ask me to read
her poem about prisons

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Saturday, April 16, 2016

POEM: "Blame the passing train"

“Blame the passing train”

Blame the passing train
stirring memory and dust
steel rails a poet bending
the direction of a small cough
brother poet stands still
there's a train heading
god knows where with
half a percentage gain
probably behind schedule
and a few are wishing
they could stop and listen
to the poem of a poet’s cough
the health of a nation being
such a complicated thing

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

POEM: "Baby"


I can't hold it much longer
there's no sexual healing
no graduated improvement
no tender beauty to change your life
from frog to swan, tiger or wolf

Come to me like yourself, yes
a woman who knows her mind
who has grown as big as she'll get
yes, make me a wonder like her
send me someone to hold

And I guess we'll try hard to love
talk of all of the animals we've been
of the things that came out wrong
waiting fifty years for love, and
twenty years for a great song

I walk a dark and dusty road
I come to a crossroads
there are two ways to go
(I cannot go back)
one way is the right way

The other is the right way too
the wind rustles in the trees
I spin around, eyes closed
I walk down a dark road
and go in another direction.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Monday, April 11, 2016

POEM: "In Orbit, Across The Void"

In Orbit, Across The Void

Perfect pitch
admirable tone
in orbit, across the Void

Don’t play what’s there, play what isn’t there

(I’m being navigated out of this world)

Might tempo also hitch a ride
on the gathering flight of emphasis?

Who seeks maturity
along special paths of pain
to avoid the order of blunt notes?

(Puzzle me the right answer to that one)

Fire out of the fire, smoke
out of the smoke, a woman
who confesses her own delight

Birds quiet after the fireworks 
stars almost seen behind the moon

This question, a perennial one
phrased in weariness, doesn't end
when the answer comes

A deep conversation
floats across this dark field
the joy is thunderous.

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Sunday, April 10, 2016

POEM: "Sestina for Stuart, Grace & Millie"

Sestina for Stuart, Grace & Millie

Wait for the subway, dream of the sea
The birds and gathering genius of waves
Nothing cares what beaches wear
Lessening frowns of farewell, less the sand
That finds its way into my bed, as good sense
Fills the pond, as into the hills good birds fly

Madmen say that to die is to fly
Seagulls will raid a bag of crisps by the sea
They make no play and they make no sense
A beat-up car full of strangers waves
Takes a turn, leaves behind in the sand
The old clothes they never wear

A century's bad plan is what they wear
Threadworn and dirty, pretending to fly
It’s crazy love that comes from the sand
Changing winds, the endless cascade of the sea
Lands freight, imports treasure, brings waves
As it continues to teach imperfect sense

The stars have the right idea, cosmic sense
Is just in time for what they wear
Down the billion years of explosive waves
Worlds colliding, a billion fragments fly
Through space, and every other extinct sea
Is a lost dream of water turned to sand

Stretch the bones of words, work the sand
Sensibility, sensitivity, insomnia, sense
The crap in what you throw away, the sea
Wants to remake every tide you wear
To walk in or stride through, run or fly
Looking at the water playing in the waves

The big sun above, moved by waves
Swimming in currents, schools over sand
Insensitive tribes that need to fly
To electrical impulse or sense
For a moment or two they wear
The hopes and monsters of the sea

And we all bounce on the sea like waves
Wondering about this sad sand we wear
While we fly like the fishes, dreaming sense

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Friday, April 8, 2016

POEM: "To Be A Wolf"

To Be A Wolf

                                for Zheng Xiaoqiong

He runs barefoot, the snow and ice
Heaven and earth, mother between
The boy falls asleep.
His father is missing for 3 days
Searching in the hills and meadows
His mother carries the babies
Heavy rain. 8 years old.
His father's body.
What you learn from that
To be a wolf. Think like a wolf
The mountains are small.
A mother's kiss.

He is 10. Already
He takes care of those who love him.
He learns to sing the mountains
Where his father died
One thousand years of tears and stars
He sings that.
Many years later he sings that.
I am a bucket.
My water is in the bucket.
The bucket is you.
Carry the sorrow and joy together.
Make me a good life.

A good night that brings the next day.
A good day that lets us sleep in peace.
We come from the mountains
And we walk the streets like the mountain paths
Our jobs are canyons
Our boss is a ridge
And the salary is just a river to cross.
I walk everywhere like a stranger.
I pick my steps carefully
Perfect flowers I sometimes see in boxes.
Her kiss tasted like wild honey.
I am alone. I sing.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Thursday, April 7, 2016

POEM: "Rains Against The Machine"

Rains Against The Machine

                                           for Dashushu

Sweet dreams in the rain tonight
Tomorrow will bring joy
Who needs sunshine when there are showers
Who needs the moon when there is love
Sometimes it rains against the machine
Sometimes it's the machine that wins
A good day follows a good night
The showers end and sunshine comes again.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Zheng Xiaoqiong Poem


Daybreak was rubbed into a drop of rusted tears
She bent down as if to hear a slight sound

April walks outside the window, lychee trees are blooming
Lilac is less than love, under the shade of iron
A rusted moon, someone who believes in love
Patiently shoulders endless grief

The past gradually fades, and memory falls into disorder
What is left inside spring’s furnace
Illuminates the cold, bare blueprint

Corrosion digests the dark’s recessed details
Exposed on the machine table by time’s passing, her humble thoughts
In April grow dark green as if seen from above, her love lying
On the exhausted factory floor. From Sichuan to Hunan
And more distant places, ideas arrive like products
A single green certification slip appears with her tears

In the illuminated factory daybreak stirs its wings
A splinter of rust wounds her heart. Outside the window
Love’s dew casts a luminous shadow over April
All of this forces her, like iron, to stiffly cling to
Her sliver of rushing love, this fragment of the rising sun


Trans. Jonathan Stalling

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Guo Jinniu Poem

On a Building Site, Thinking Of A Length Of Old Timber

If I’m not at the site, I’m at the bothy.

Joiner, male, 30 years old. Stroking a length of old timber,
unlike the poet Liu Yong, forlorn,
the brothel banister.

The third floor chick is the cutest. Years ago
she was the one I wanted most to marry.
Held hands. Wept. Choked on unspoken words.
In the song ‘Bells in the Downpour’,
I chased her to the Song Dynasty,
phoned Liu Seven.

Brother Seven, Brother Seven,
every time the Plum Rains come,
the joiner’s hand touches some bit of the Song lyrics, an old love
impossible to curb.

Green plum. Bamboo horse. Old timber like that, a faint aroma in its heart.
No matter how many years go by,
she, she’ll never grow new branches, new leaves,
or blossom.


Trans. Brian Holton

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Stuart Rawlinson Poem


Corner to corner, warping
Fabric ‘til position is lost
And the folds mismatch on
Their uniform graphs.

The taut gauze finds its own
Missing dead-ends. We grab
Our own corners and
Shake the stitches out from

The unseeable serrations of
Soft eider down.
Once left and right;
Once propagating waves

Towards each other which
Clash and thud like silencers
And spray at the coast halfway.
The new dressing, tight and snug

Holds sleep in a soporific
Sling. The night gently floats
Down and fits square over each limb.
The moon, keeping its distance, dims.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Jim Harrison Poem (1)


I’m trying to create an option for all
these doors in life. You’re inside
or out, outside or in. Of late, doors
have failed us more than the two-party system
or marriages comprising only one person.
We’ve been fooled into thousands of dualisms
which the Buddha says is a bad idea.
Nature has portals rather than doors.
There are two vast cottonwoods near a creek
and when I walk between them I shiver.
Winding through my field of seventy-seven
large white pine stumps from about 1903
I take various paths depending on spirit.
The sky is a door never closed to us.
The sun and moon aren’t doorknobs.
Dersu Uzala slept outside for forty-five years.
When he finally moved inside he died.


A Jim Harrison Poem (2)


The man eating lamb’s tongue salad
rarely thinks of the lamb.
The oral surgeon jerking twenty teeth out
in a day still makes marinara sauce.
The German sorting baby shoes at Treblinka
writes his wife and children frequently.
The woman loves her husband, drops two kids
at day care, makes passionate love
to an old boyfriend at the Best Western.
We are parts. What part are you now?
The shit of the world has to be taken
care of every day. You have to choose
your part after you take care of the shit.
I’ve chosen birds and fish, the creatures
whose logic I wish to learn and live.


Monday, March 28, 2016

POEM: "Of Falling/The First Trilliums Of Spring"

Of Falling/The First Trilliums Of Spring

The first trilliums of spring
Emerge in another country
(Not in China where I live)
Where they never stumble
And so have no place to fall
Everyday displaying their beauty
Just like some women I’ve known
But (also) a small white flower
Lives in the big thickets of us
Quietly brushing the bees away
And apart from where we live
There are really no places to fall.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Sunday, March 27, 2016

POEM: "A Jesus Poem"

A Jesus Poem

In a Shanghai bar
the local guy sings
The Rivers of Babylon
like it didn’t matter
his workmates (he’s the boss)
clap like crazy Jamaicans
because it doesn’t matter
I sit here clapping too
like it doesn’t really matter
today it's Easter Sunday

but that is Heaven's part
time is gone to another place
barbershops full of thick hair
the mad in China working hard
to gather all their babies in

I'm trying hard to imagine you
drinking another drink
singing a heart-felt song
like it ought to matter.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

A W.B. Yeats Poem (5)

Easter, 1916

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven's part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.


Monday, March 21, 2016

POEM: "Calligraphy"


                       for Tie Wu

Let me hold this brush
And I will remember
The drops of water

Upon the white paper
Watch the water strokes
Disappear like Spring

Let me hold my breath
A cloud begins to form
I remember emptiness

How it looked before
The way it was afterwards
Watch me do this again.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Yan Li Poem

Give It Back to Me 

Please give me back the door without a lock
   even without a room still I want it back please!
Please give me back the rooster that awakens me
   in the morning
   even if you have finished eating it
   still I want the
   bones back please!
Please give me back the shepherd‘s song
   from the side of the hill
   even if it is on tape still I want it back please!
Please give me back a relationship to my
   brothers and sisters
   even if it lasts no more than a year, still I want it
   back please!
Please give me back the space of love
   even if you‘ve worn it out, still I want it
   back please!
Please give me back the whole of the globe
   even divided into thousands of nations
   hundreds of thousands of villages
   still I want it back please!


Trans. John Chow

Saturday, March 19, 2016

POEM: "Chūnfēn"


The equinox is but one beam
against the night, open window
the federated dreams fly off
and the dark birds arrive
chattering like monkeys

The thunder sounds crazy
the trees lose their marbles
my day of light is a sheet of rain
she comes up the stairs to my place
drinks my tea, then undresses

Lightning starts, the shivering
of a sky demanding attention
of a spring still on its way
she steps out of the shower
and all the lights go out.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Thursday, March 17, 2016

POEM: "A Thousand Fucks"

A Thousand Fucks

I hardly knew how to begin this poem
A young sausage in a butcher shop
A little lamb chop, light seasoning
All of it disembodied on a hook
(Of course they handled me like meat)
But now I'm old enough to get that look
When I show them my noble thing
Sure one day it will stop standing, right
Funny that a thousand fucks come to this
The cold store, the engine, the bumpy night
And it’ll happen to you, so pay attention.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Monday, March 14, 2016

POEM: "Make Us Love"

Make Us Love

Make us love a different metaphor
the intelligible sphere whose big center
is everywhere whose circumference is nowhere
pan to the monkeys pan the tigers pan to the trains
at Shanghai South if you want to see a million people
proud of no compassion the neighborhood gone
because the bells have stopped their ringing
bring the dented compass to a desert island

two months of packaged food no other people
two years lucky with no diseases or disasters
the fish are waiting in the waters to be caught
because the first day the compass will point north
because on the second the needle will drop off
and that's exactly where you'll find it.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Sunday, March 13, 2016

POEM: "How real and imaginary can turn"

"How real and imaginary can turn"

How real and imaginary can turn
A new flower into a dream
Or a voice into a woman

How a boat took us to an island
Where a stone moved a little
And softly played a song

How real and imaginary can turn
And where the new voices sang
The roses grew from stone

How we were waking from a dream
While the horses were all stirring
And the moon was going down

How real and imaginary can turn
A dream into a new song
Or a woman into a flower

How the stone was turned to stars
And the island made us a boat
While the sea was singing

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Saturday, March 12, 2016

MUSIC: The Beatles, "A Day In The Life" (1967)

A Day In The Life

I read the news today, oh boy 
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph.

He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the red lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure
If he was from the House of Lords.

I saw a film today, oh boy
The English army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
I'd love to turn you on.

Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.

Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream.

I read the news today oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
I'd love to turn you on.

Friday, March 11, 2016

POEM: "Rock-a-bye Baby"

Rock-a-bye Baby

It waits near the treetops
For charm or challenge
Or promise of rain
The baby’s name is Cassandra
There’s a birthmark on her chest

It stirs a young storm
A fine gale is driving nails
Through nest and branch
Cradle, cradle and all
The birds must leave the baby there

The day she flies away
Down will come the poetry
The rocks will break and fall
And the truth she tells to honesty
The world regrets repeatedly.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Thursday, March 10, 2016

POEM: "You think you've got it all worked out"

"You think you've got it all worked out"

You think you've got it all worked out
discovered how to put the grim to rest
i.e. the mortgage the family the job the Plan
the map's parting clouds baby it starts to rain
the hunter stops (supply how many minutes) 
someplace in western Mongolia with his eagle
after all it's the car radio you're listening to
someday you'll slow to an arm or shoulder too
see the turn-off to the left (supply the miles)
there's a lookout ahead you think it best to stop
a big blue sky it's your breath and a little smoke
Central Asia understands you're another picture

© 2014 Rob Schackne

Photo: Simon Morris (2014)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

POEM: "White Spring"

White Spring 

Yes. We wake each day 
to a terrible liberty
poets are lucky they can
enclose themselves in night
when we wake, the day
is often a pale version
surprised that people are
so earnest about their realities
but we don’t work in that department
I say we. I mean me
I say they. I mean them
but how sometimes people
are populated against their will
thirsty shadows on a white spring wall.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

POEM: "Peach Blossom Spring"

Peach Blossom Spring 

                                         for Rui Xiao

Big waves crash 
on some frigid beach
far from my warm cottage

Cold time stretched
winter moved to one side
I get up and walk to the garden

Living in China
how do I dare write a poem
called Peach Blossom Spring?

I hear Eliot
when I write the word peach
and imagine his trousers rolled

(You might too
wading into the water
in just your underwear)

Pink blossoms fell
beneath the old peach trees
remembering spring

Under the roses
I find a shell and a bone
listening together to the sea

At my desk
I take a brush
and lightly dust.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Monday, March 7, 2016

POEM: "Of The Spirit"

Of The Spirit

All I know of this life
I cannot be afraid of the next
Getting on a plane or a bus
Punishing the bags, sweat
Out of the darkness, still
As my mind in a quiet bar
That listens to forgetting
The cruelty of my work
The awful prisons of the ring
One more old fighter says
Unluck has to be good luck
All I know of the next life
I cannot be afraid of this one.

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Saturday, March 5, 2016

An Eileen Myles Poem


You’re like
a little fruit
you’re like
a moon I want
to hold
I said lemon slope
about your
because it’s one
of my words
about you
I whispered
in bed
this smoothing
the fruit &
then alone
with my book
but writing
in it the pages
against my knuckles
in the
light like a


Friday, March 4, 2016

POEM: "Three Minutes With Reality"

Three Minutes With Reality

                                                I.M. Astor Piazzolla

It takes so little to get the three minutes
Or so much depending on where you are
Those three minutes might be sombre
They could be ecstatic or just be quiet
The only trick is to be there at the time

After that they who look back will say
Your life is never going to be the same
Three minutes of a battle or a burn or love
You were outside it and now you're in
Well what do they know it's not a club

You survive that and you survive the next
And then three minutes fall on like the rain
That keeps on getting louder and then it stops
Three minutes with reality float by like clouds
But I wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

Thursday, March 3, 2016

POEM: "Museum Of Locks"

Museum of Locks

                                             for Lily Tan

Every time I go across the river
My taxi passes a tiny place called
Museum of Locks, between
Two hapless shops in Fuxing Lu
& if we hit the traffic just right
I manage to look inside where
The tight walls are covered with
Hundreds of locked examples
Whose ancient doors and closets
Are unlocked like old memories
Now free to roam, now free to all
Or maybe not, waiting patiently
Locked up again, re-opened.

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

POEM: "Beijing Women's Mental Health Survey 2014"

Beijing Women's Mental Health Survey 2014

Because my life is on the border
Between knowing and not knowing
And my skin's stretched so tight
That my nerves are crying out.

Because I’m a woman in a country
That fears and hates their women
Where marriage is a cruel circus
And laughter chases the unlucky.

Because a child was never loved
Before I then yearned to be childless
Because my wrists feel the draw of erasure
And that is why I attend these classes.

© 2014 Rob Schackne