Sunday, December 12, 2010

POEM: "The Waters"

The Waters

The sun is going deeper
I hear your thoughts begin to dance
At Bethesda, house of pity and mercy
By the old sheep market
I have grown so weary of my flaws
Lord, please save me from embattled men
Their seasons are all the waters we have
The evening burns to dark, and you say
You're just jealous because the voices only speak to me
This stunning revelation, I feed you a peach of peach.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

POEM: "In The Year 2666"

In The Year 2666

                                           for Roberto Bolaño 

After three wrong turns, a tractor and a flat
You're at The House Of Vanished Writers
After all, that was always your destination
You park your unreviewed car and go right in
Sitting and waiting, smoking and watching
Joe, the Indian, who never could get started
Sophia, who once was beautiful, great shorts
No power to stay long enough on the page
Fred, whose fiction fried like a skillet, killed it
And you, who are merely visiting, get a key
A towel and the schedule of daily readings
Who are these happy people you are thinking
Why do they look at me like that? One part pen
One part the next event, one part is wind
Where did all the vanished writers go?
When did they write their perfect poems
Who said they'd had enough and could leave?
Your room has a limited view of the forest
It is possible the birds will sing there again
Second seating meal is vegetable soup with bread
Dessert is an autumn ice cream you don't remember
Afterwards the word games and the music upset you.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

POEM: "Summer Winds"

Summer Winds

I do think of ancient fields somewhere
Stubbled, greyfrosted, with granite tors
The children might have measured
Contemplating the assault approach
And how eventually to sit on top

From slammed doors and shouting
Running from the last killed dream
After a battle surveying the plains
The number of misbegotten engagements
Decimation was not their homework

Invisible, victorious regiments 
Pennants waving, crows collected
Debating loudly half the afternoon
Just what sacrifice means in this world
What a raucous celebration of tears

Ambushed from most sides by doubt
Skeering from sorrow and other angers
If you love, then do not love your days
It is right that feelings cannot change things
Or else half the world would be in flames.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

POEM: "Exiles"


It took seven years to build the box
From discarded paper and dreams
As deep as it is wide, at times you forget
Exactly how you decided its dimensions
No candy store, no Chinese restaurants
Many a stained-glass window at the top
Everything is blue when the sun pours in
Deli, record store, a massage parlour
Open all night, oddly buzzing, no customers
There's a very good small library
Of books you always meant to study
Furniture copied from another tidy book
A fireplace that heats but doesn't burn
A few students were allowed in once
They dusted off their prints and fled
On the inside an ornate exit with a sign
That reads Don't Leave Till You're Ready
Next to it a fire axe, a cheap suit on a hook
Today that box is almost empty
Outside is a sunset and birds.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

POEM: "Going Home"

Going Home

The day security cameras
that caught her carelessly
knocking over someone else's
parked and rusted bicycle
and just speeding away
also caught someone else
walking a bike (apparently)
very much the wrong way
in a wrong lane too slowly
thinking about the busted chain
the recent unexpected prize
all the favourable reviews
of his compassionate first book
"...true to our difficult age"
and to neither one were
any sanctions applied
spring now salting new
growth on pruned trees 
the day security cameras
switched off for the night.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Ron Slate Poem

The Death of Erik Satie

The arches aspire to a point
in the church of childhood,
a single note here and here and here.
Drafty gothic undertones, the grandiose
obscurity of the modern mind.
Cirrhosis, then pleurisy.
Hours waiting in stillness,
as in an empty cabaret.
A bell tinkles in the corridor, the viaticum
drifts toward the dying man next door.
Something long ago made the world
hostile. So of course one mocks
a style no longer exploitable.  

Conversation with the nuns —
You understand, the Creator
commits technical errors, he keeps us
at arm’s length, his soiled cuff
fills us with medieval joy.
The patient rebuffs Poulenc and Ravel —
but admits Braque, Brancusi, Stravinsky,
stand there and there and there.
There is nothing left to renounce.
Choirs, music hall songs, then through the war
anyone could witness the decline.
Curses for the idiots — Mon Cher Directeur,
you are brutal, inhospitable, you are under arrest.
The Pope is excommunicated! Monsieur et cher ami,
vous n’êtes qu’un cul, mais un cul

sans musique.
One must reject the obvious.
Final years, cognac and beer,
then home to a dusty room with a depleted piano,
desolate possessions, scores inscribed
affectionately by Debussy, before the feud.
Franc notes poke from the pages
of books, advance payment for final music.
The rolled umbrella clutched more tightly.
A filament of notes,
each one intended. Something long ago
created this secret sorrow. Erik Satie dies
at the Hôpital Saint-Joseph.

© by Ron Slate

Saturday, December 4, 2010

POEM: "The Stupa Is Grand"

The Stupa Is Grand

Minutes and seconds
blocked and re-blocked

time descends into a dance
moments of our lives

that you and I will miss
multiples that accrete

the spirals are important
the search begins overhead

strange shores appear to
the astronauts of the soul

somebody's got to go there first
we think it's all been explored.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

Friday, December 3, 2010

POEM: "From The Dojo"

From The Dojo

It just got better
The training worked
Things are not the same
You came here ham-fisted
Tail between your legs
Arguing about commodities
Now the cost escalates
You are out of it my son
Eyes to the horizon
Please don’t make
The same mistake again
But should it happen
You will remember that
The training worked
Sit-ups did take notice
Push-ups away from folly
Chin-up pulling you away
The facing-grip was strong
Always running towards
And never away from
Makes the strike decisive.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

Thursday, December 2, 2010

POEM: "The Great Unknown"

The Great Unknown

Keep looking till you’re zoomed in 
Close until you can see his meal
Sitting on the table the TV’s on
By a method you can’t see very well 

How that life will or will not relate
While you sit there and think about it
How you’d finally rather not wake up
To another test of your ability to know
But meanwhile he or she is exactly you
And what mastery it is of the unbidden
A plate of chillies stuffed with pork mince
Eight of them sat simply upon the plate
And two of them were really too hot to eat.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

POEM: "Post Coitum Omnia Triste Est"

Post Coitum Omnia Triste Est

You throw down your crown
and you look into her dead eyes
hopeful that maybe for once
the bees in your hive will settle

She stirs a bit for a stellar moment
she’d replace you with new sheets
but nothing new had led you here
wondering who the real corpse is

And why you will reconfigure
the climb back up that lonely peak
and how your pleasure came to this
amid all the traffic and the noise.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

POEM: "In Space"

In Space


The gray squirrels hesitate
Somebody’s got to go there first
We think it’s all been explored


In the little brown room
In the box within the box
Within the box where
You play games of marbles
Against the hollow wall


What is la vita mia?
Why do you whistle so?
It’s enough that you’re happy there
Holding something solid


The drill connects with the hammer
Connects with your new house


Last night 3 deep in the club
All were refugees of music
Joy Division was covered


You weren’t there.

©2010 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

POEM: "On The Hiding Mind"

On The Hiding Mind

Lord, Lord
artifice, doubt

hesitation, impossibility
inadequacy, incompletion
limitations, mistrust
self-dismissal, the incompletely
knowable, the unsayable
and the unreadable
sounds like a normal day
in the salt mines
rattle those chains
and spin the opposite way
maybe we get somewhere.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Gary Metras Poem

Anonymous Donation


It got to twenty-seven below that winter,
which is harsh for Massachusetts,
even as far west as the hills near Pittsfield.

I mixed stucco that week, by hand.

The mixing bed was splashed with ice.
We set it on the cement floor of a large box.

The box became a luxury condominium.

With every third pull of the hoe, I rested,
to let the lungs thaw, to exhale a cloud

and waste a moment watching my crystal breath.

Such scenery would never be framed
And hung on these walls when finished.

So I mixed it into the stucco.

And quit the job.

Working Words: Punching the Clock and Kicking out the Jams Cover
From "Working Words",
Edited by  M.L. Liebler (2010)

POEM: "To My Future Lover (1)"

To My Future Lover (1)

Way back then, before
I stood there and looked
and received the summons
to pour this one from my heart
into the forgiving shape of yours,
when sleep was troublesome plots
that woke me to a smoke and brandy
then up again an hour later
undistanced by memory,
distraught of my own concerns
delinquent of most others
every animal loves its own smell

but that will be taken to an extreme --
disturbed by what it meant
dishevelled in the mirage
distracted, always distracted
that I should limit my desire
in the dispirit of these times...
a kiss, a kiss didn’t even matter
all love was in the shadows
the sun did not light every caress
time would never wait for long
everything a brave dance in the dark.

© 2010 Rob Schackne

POEM: "To Pessoa"

To Pessoa

Damn your orthonym & heteronyms
Distracted from an unedifying life
The tips of multiple personalities
Like coast-lines from a faraway ship
I saw you in the very dark one night
At the end of a winter lane, waiting
To greet your poets as they stumbled home
And one by one each tried to salute you
One of them grabbed your jacket, pulled
You in close, breathed a noxious identity
You, he says, You have landed me in trouble
My wife no longer believes that I am me
She raves at me as if I were Pessoa
I don’t really like you, she shrieks at me
And now I find that I'm looking again at ships
A silly ardor has tampered with my soul
My constituent parts need more air
You once lived your terrible life as if
Maleficent creatures all felt the same
Now I’ll be grateful if you gave her a call.

© 2010 Rob Schackne