Friday, August 31, 2012

A Carl Dennis Poem



Just yesterday my poem lamenting the power
Of time to sweep away all trace of the beautiful
Seemed done at last, but the light this morning
Shows it to be a sketch, evidence that my vision
Cleared as I slumbered, that my sense of beauty
Grows in the night like corn or bamboo.

Maybe a poem in praise of time
Ought to be next on my agenda,
The time required for seeds to open,
For leaves to push out on tender stems.

Yesterday, the teacher didn't believe the excuse
Her student offered for missing his appointment—
A tire gone flat on the Thruway—but today
His story seems almost convincing,
Suggesting how quickly the bruise to her ego
Has begun to heal, the first small step
From the tiresome realm of insult and umbrage.

Yesterday the lover couldn't commit himself.
Today he wants to write his beloved
A check for a million dollars,
Though the time hasn't come, he admits,
For her to cash it.
Meanwhile, though he has nothing,
Whatever he has is hers.


Monday, August 27, 2012

POEM: "Almost A Haiku"

Almost A Haiku 

But even then
I've got one more question
Are we there yet?

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Saturday, August 25, 2012

An Ada Limón Poem

Roadside Attractions with the Dogs of America

It's a day when all the dogs of all
the borrowed houses are angel footing
down the hard hardwood of middle-America's
newly loaned-up renovated kitchen floors,
and the world's nicest pie I know
is somewhere waiting for the right
time to offer itself to the wayward
and the word-weary. How come the road
goes coast to coast and never just
dumps us in the water, clean and
come clean, like a fish slipped out
of the national net of "longing for joy."
How come it doesn't? Once, on a road trip
through the country, a waitress walked
in the train's diner car and swished
her non-aproned end and said,
"Hot stuff and food too." My family
still says it, when the food is hot,
and the mood is good inside the open windows.
I'd like to wear an apron for you
and come over with non-church sanctioned
knee-highs and the prettiest pie of birds
and ocean water and grief. I'd like
to be younger when I do this, like the country
before Mr. Meriwether rowed the river
and then let the country fill him up
till it killed him hard by his own hand.
I'd like to be that dog they took with them,
large and dark and silent and un-blamable.
Or I'd like to be Emily Dickinson's dog, Carlo,
and go on loving the rare un-loveable puzzle
of woman and human and mind. But, I bet I'm more
the house beagle and the howl and the obedient
eyes of everyone wanting to make their own kind
of America, but still be America, too. The road
is long and all the dogs don't care too much about
roadside concrete history and postcards of state
treasures, they just want their head out the window,
and the speeding air to make them feel faster
and younger, and newer than all the dogs
that went before them, they want to be your only dog,
your best-loved dog, for this good dog of today
to be the only beast that matters.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

POEM: "So What"

So What
                            I.M. Miles Davis

The so what starts slowly
whether new-born fan or me

after 50 years of listening
to hope sunk down deep still
I can’t describe the entire song
maybe the so whats are just bookends
& if between swings a chorus
of what actually matters
then so what if it matters?

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Bei Dao Poem


The Answer

Debasement is the password of the base,
Nobility the epitaph of the noble.
See how the gilded sky is covered
With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead.

The Ice Age is over now,
Why is there ice everywhere?
The Cape of Good Hope has been discovered,
Why do a thousand sails contest the Dead Sea?

I came into this world
Bringing only paper, rope, a shadow,
To proclaim before the judgment
The voice that has been judged:

Let me tell you, world,
If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet,
Count me as number thousand and one.

I don't believe the sky is blue;
I don't believe in thunder's echoes;
I don't believe that dreams are false;
I don't believe that death has no revenge.

If the sea is destined to breach the dikes
Let all the brackish water pour into my heart;
If the land is destined to rise
Let humanity choose a peak for existence again.

A new conjunction and glimmering stars
Adorn the unobstructed sky now;
They are the pictographs from five thousand years.
They are the watchful eyes of future generations.

(1988) tr. Bonnie S. McDougall (1990)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

POEM: "Hills"


On the moment of hillside
greeting insects trudging up
the footsteps are breathless
you say I climb to get away

frosted rockets and motor
summit or summon heights
on a hill of a million hills
a billion bumps upon our lives
blue skies or the dark skies
in different suspension
feet never touching home
the easy path to the edge
a ridge after water butterflies
finally ended here are crows.

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

POEM: "Mars & You"

Mars & You

                             for Toru Takemitsu

Launched from a million miles away
landing as if it was in your backyard
information always sent from love
from me flows what you call time
like your curiosity lands on schedule
your hair smells as sweet tomorrow
& everything you ask has no answer.

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Friday, August 3, 2012

A D.H. Lawrence Poem



You tell me I am wrong.
Who are you, who is anybody to tell me I am wrong?
I am not wrong.

In Syracuse, rock left bare by the viciousness of Greek
No doubt you have forgotten the pomegranate-trees in
Oh so red, and such a lot of them.

Whereas at Venice
Abhorrent, green, slippery city
Whose Doges were old, and had ancient eyes.
In the dense foliage of the inner garden
Pomegranates like bright green stone,
And barbed, barbed with a crown.
Oh, crown of spiked green metal
Actually growing!

Now in Tuscany,
Pomegranates to warm, your hands at;
And crowns, kingly, generous, tilting crowns
Over the left eyebrow.

And, if you dare, the fissure!

Do you mean to tell me you will see no fissure?
Do you prefer to look on the plain side?

For all that, the setting suns are open.
The end cracks open with the beginning:
Rosy, tender, glittering within the fissure.

Do you mean to tell me there should be no fissure?
No glittering, compact drops of dawn?
Do you mean it is wrong, the gold-filmed skin, integument,
     shown ruptured?

For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken.
It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.