Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Ruth Stone Poem


Up There

Belshazzar saw this blue
as he came into the walled garden,
though outside all was yellow
sunlight striking the fractals of sand,
the wind striating the sand in riffles.

Land changes slowly, the fathoms
overhead accruing particles,
reflecting blue or less blue.

Vapor, a transient thing; a dervish
seen rising in a whirl of wind
or brief cloud casting its changing shadow;
though below, the open-mouthed might stand
transfixed by mirage, a visionary oasis.

Nevertheless, this deep upside down
wash, water color, above planted gardens,
tended pomegranates, rouged soles of the feet
of lovers lounging in an open tent;
the hot blue above; the hareem
tethered and restless as the camels.

This quick vision between walls, event,
freak ball, shook jar of vapor,
all those whose eyes were not gouged out,
have looked up and seen within the cowl
this tenuous wavelength.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Barbara Köhler Poem


Rondeau Allemagne

I’m hanging on, a stranger to this land,
Caught up by love that drives me beyond the bounds
Between the skies. Where you are is your look-out.
I’m hanging on a stranger to this land.

Caught up by love that drives me beyond the bounds,
To break the agreements is to me what matters,
To laugh, although I tear my heart in tatters,
Caught out by love that drives me beyond the bounds.

Between the skies where you are is your look-out:
The bloody pennant’s raised, the airship falls,
No land in sight, a rope, perhaps, that holds
Between the skies. Where you are is your look-out.

(1991) Tr. Georgina Paul

POEM: "Towards An Aesthetics Of Being Here"

Towards An Aesthetics Of Being Here
                                                               for Will Knox

First, the tunnel metaphor will favor you too
If the desperate sides be avoided, estrangement
From all we were never invited to understand;
A sometimes unstately progress through
The peppery knowledge that we don't belong.

Then, unwelcome, untie that hurt from our own hurt;
There is no skirmish that is worth the battle
That lost the war. We’re survivors, not soldiers.
You will leave the brothers to fight each other
And pick an artful way through the darkness.

When, untouched by ignorance, insult & deceit
We emerge at last in daylight on the other side
And looking back…but no, we will never look back
At the unhappiness we did not cause, nor the pain
We did not stop to answer. We were not saints.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Monday, December 12, 2011

POEM: "Drive The Dog Away"

Drive The Dog Away

In the old days villagers banged
their woks with sticks of wood to
drive the dog away into the night
but odd now that so few look up

I use this finger to point holding
her from behind my head resting
on her neck I say we’re pretty lucky
& then we both walk back into the bar

Take deception to the limit, trying
yet again to pour joy into the intellect
the memory of other eclipses
following quietly behind

These days that effortlessly fall
away to nothing save their return
tonight the Moon is bitten by a dog
& all that I can say is we’re lucky.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Federico Garcia Lorca Poem


City That Does Not Sleep

In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the street corner
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the stars.

Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet.

Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead dahlias.
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders.

One day
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the eyes of cows.

Another day
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes are waiting,
where the bear's teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.

Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.
No one is sleeping in this world. No one. No one.
I have said it before.

No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the night,
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters.

(c. 1929) Tr. Robert Bly 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

POEM: "Robbie and Sabine"

Robbie and Sabine

                                   (and the Penguin Café Orchestra)

The loneliness
at the well of
your lips the beauty
of untidy hair

crosses the creek
dismounts & enters
the cave puts a note
under a rock

the sound
of someone
you love who's
going away but
it doesn't matter

this time when
there's no shouting
no brokenness
or deaf doors

only that love
that sings
over & over
& over again
perfection, now.

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A William Carlos Williams Poem


For Elsie

The pure products of America
go crazy—
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
and promiscuity between

devil-may-care men who have taken
to railroading
out of sheer lust of adventure—

and young slatterns, bathed
in filth
from Monday to Saturday

to be tricked out that night
with gauds
from imaginations which have no

peasant traditions to give them
but flutter and flaunt

sheer rags—succumbing without
save numbed terror

under some hedge of choke-cherry
or viburnum—
which they cannot express—

Unless it be that marriage
with a dash of Indian blood

will throw up a girl so desolate
so hemmed round
with disease or murder

that she'll be rescued by an
reared by the state and

sent out at fifteen to work in
some hard-pressed
house in the suburbs—

some doctor's family, some Elsie—
voluptuous water
expressing with broken

brain the truth about us—
her great
ungainly hips and flopping breasts

addressed to cheap
and rich young men with fine eyes

as if the earth under our feet
an excrement of some sky

and we degraded prisoners
to hunger until we eat filth

while the imagination strains
after deer
going by fields of goldenrod in

the stifling heat of September
it seems to destroy us

It is only in isolate flecks that
is given off

No one
to witness
and adjust, no one to drive the car