Thursday, September 29, 2011

POEM: "Spirit As Evidence Based On Non-Zero Mass"

Spirit As Evidence Based On Non-Zero Mass

How to press firm against the world
concrete pavement and harder hearts
now at the smallest threads of gravity?

On ground from which we are not free
the strains, the stops, the push, the hold
& every single thing we come across
we ask, could anything not work better?

On this day when prayers are answered
careless men do sometimes fall from Earth
who leap up like fish without grip to dance.

Tonight, generous equinox, it is for them
the inflected half-moon, herself unfolded
when all are invited to a golden exit, then
to be perfect, unbound, graceful and alone.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

POEM: "Waxes"


                       for Rosemary Nissen-Wade

Except the brushes sigh
drawing in more detail
their love is a painting

when she waxes the moon
(broom is not a surfboard)
the bushes look different

he walks safe in his sleep
in the garden after midnight
you seldom read about it

when he grows weaker
her poems get stronger
the points of measurement

bag of grain, good souls
at the gravity of love
point of hope (and heaven)

the sun and sweet fields
& at night in the granary
water mixed with wine and tears.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Maurice Riordan Poem

 Stars And Jasmine

Each of them has been a god many times:
cat, hedgehog and – our summer interloper – the tortoise.
A perfect triangle, they can neither eat
nor marry one another.
And tonight they are gods
under the jasmine under the stars.

Already the hedgehog has scoffed the cat’s supper
and she’s walked nonplussed beside him
escaping headlong into the bushes.
Wisely now, she keeps an eye on him there,
and on the tortoise
noisily criss-crossing the gravel.

For the cat, jasmine is white
but the stars have colours.
For the hedgehog, there are no stars
only a sky of jasmine,
against which he sniffs something dark,
outlined like a bird of prey.

Wisely, the tortoise ignores both jasmine and stars.
Isn’t it enough, she says, to carry the sky on your back,
a sky that is solid, mathematical and delicately coloured –
on which someone, too, has painted
our neighbours’ address: 9a Surrey Rd.
Come September, we will post her through their letterbox.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Matthew Rohrer Poem

Garden of Bees 

The narcissus grows past
the towers. Eight gypsy
sisters spread their wings
in the garden. Their gold teeth
are unnerving. Every single
baby is asleep. They want
a little money and I give
them less. I'm charming and
handsome. They take my pen.
I buy the poem from the garden
of bees for one euro. A touch
on the arm. A mystery word.
The sky has two faces.
For reasons unaccountable
my hand trembles.
In Roman times if they were
horrified of bees they kept it secret.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

POEM: "A Black Hair"

A Black Hair

Lessening rain
forget it was stuck
on the window

if it’s breathing
keep it close
to the glass

burn a candle
swear don’t look
one eye closes a poem

one eye opens a poem
know things always
attach then let go.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Gabrielle Calvocoressi Poem

 A Word From The Fat Lady

It isn't how we look up close
so much as in dreams.

Our giant is not so tall,
our lizard boy merely flaunts

crusty skin - not his fault
they keep him in a crate

and bathe him maybe once a week.
When folks scream or clutch their hair

and poke at us and glare and speak
of how we slithered up from Hell,

it is themselves they see:
the preacher with the farmer's girls

(his bulging eyes, their chicken legs)
or the mother lurching towards the sink,

a baby quivering in her gnarled
hands. Horror is the company

you keep when shades are drawn.
Evil does not reside in cages.


POEM: "Philippe Petit, Twin Towers, NYC, 1974"

Philippe Petit, Twin Towers, NYC, 1974
                                              (Imaginary fragment: Sept. 11)

damn these towers high off the deck
check the anchorage over and over
winds howl the quick pure moment
only the act of one God could let this go
I recite my prayers and banish hubris
the last time high in the air a small bird
flew on to my wire I stilled it waited there
while I thought no-thing no-thing nothing
till it vanished with a slight vibration

© 2008 Rob Schackne

Thursday, September 8, 2011

POEM: "Shark Attack/Lines On A Beach"

Shark Attack/Lines On A Beach


Are the frangipanis forever sweet?
And does the wind still whisper
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Possums clinging to their trees?
Stars come out from their shells
Like bugs crawling across the sand?


Yesterday off Bunker Bay in WA
A brave young surfer was taken by a shark
Swimming today with bad indigestion
Of nylon steamer, bathers and a bracelet
With an ankh, a Hello Kitty & blood-type tag
(An emergency alert for tigers and this poem).


There's a serious case for other murders
(Hear the call for drum-lines off the beaches
To mutilate & deter our brothers-at-sea)
A spot of fun, a feed, a surf, more death?
Rest easy as you can, fortunate friend
To be one at last with what you loved.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A C.P. Cavafy Poem



In part to verify a date,
and in part just to pass the time,
last night I picked up a volume
of Ptolemaic inscriptions and began reading.
Those endless poems of praise and flattery
all sound the same. All the men are brilliant,
great and good, mighty benefactors;
most wise in all their undertakings.
The same for the women of the dynasty, all the Berenices
and Cleopatras, wonderful, each and every one.

When I managed to find the date in question,
I'd have put the book aside had a brief mention
of King Caesarion, an insignificant note really,
not suddenly caught my eye...

Ah, there you stood, with that vague
charm of yours. And since history has devoted
just a few lines to you, I had more freedom
to fashion you in my mind's eye...
I made you handsome, capable of deep feeling.
My art gave your face an appealing,
dreamlike beauty. In fact, I imagined you
so vividly last night, that when my lamp
went out—I let it go out on purpose—
I actually thought you had come into my room;
you were there, standing before me,
just as you would have looked in defeated Alexandria,
pale and tired, ideal in your sorrow,
still hoping for mercy from those vicious men
who kept on whispering 'too many Caesars.'

(1918) Tr. Avi Sharon

POEM: "A Dream In September"

A Dream In September

This morning I woke up, blood on
The pillow, don't know whose it was
Then we both started to explain
She was our only knowledge
We were young, we tossed our curls
Flirting with the dangerous big waves
Thirty years later now we remember
All that has happened. Yes. It does.

That time I came home afterwards
You were shuddering like the wind
But I know what you saw, the Moon
Hooked bad on the horns of the bull
That had been racing through the sky
The better part of a week. I ask you
Tossing curls, did it come your way?
You grimace again. Yes. It did.

© 2011 Rob Schackne