Monday, October 29, 2012

A Ravi Shankar Poem

Lines On a Skull

(Haiku Erasure of Lord Byron's "Lines Inscribed Upon a Cup Formed from a Skull")

Start spirit; behold
the skull. A living head loved
earth. My bones resign

the worm, lips to hold
sparkling grape's slimy circle,
shape of reptile's food.

Where wit shone of shine,
when our brains are substitute,
like me, with the dead,

life's little, our heads
sad. Redeemed and wasting clay
this chance. Be of use.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

POEM: "Rondelet Aux Apaches"

Rondelet Aux Apaches

Get this thing on
maybe he struggles to keep up
get this thing on
she’s leaning over his table
he feels his future wed to breasts
her mind reaches for big monkey
get this thing on.

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Larry Levis Poem


                                 for Philip Levine

The cop holds me up like a fish;
he feels the huge bones
surrounding my eyes,
and he runs a thumb under them,

lifting my eyelids
as if they were
envelopes filled with the night.
Now he turns

my head back and forth, gently,
until I'm so tame and still
I could be a tiny, plastic
skull left on the

dashboard of a junked car.
By now he's so sure of me
he chews gum,
and drops his flashlight to his side;

he could be cleaning a trout
while the pines rise into the darkness,
though tonight trout
are freezing under bits of stars

under the ice. When he lets me go
I feel numb. I feel like
a fish burned by his touch, and turn
and slip into the cold

night rippling with neons,
and the razor blades
of the poor,
and the torn mouths on posters.

Once, I thought even through this
I could go quietly as a star turning over and over
in the deep truce of its light.

Now, I must
go on repeating the last, filthy
words on the lips
of this shunken head

shining out of its death in the moon—
until trout surface
with their petrified, round eyes,
and the stars begin moving.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Charles Simic Poem


Butcher Shop

Sometimes walking late at night
I stop before a closed butcher shop.
There is a single light in the store
Like the light in which the convict digs his tunnel.

An apron hangs on the hook:
The blood on it smeared into a map
Of the great continents of blood,
The great rivers and oceans of blood.

There are knives that glitter like altars
In a dark church
Where they bring the cripple and the imbecile
To be healed.

There's wooden block where bones are broken,
Scraped clean–a river dried to its bed
Where I am fed,
Where deep in the night I hear a voice.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Horace Poem

Odes BkI:IX Winter

See how Soracte stands glistening with snowfall,
and the labouring woods bend under the weight:
see how the mountain streams are frozen,
cased in the ice by the shuddering cold?

Drive away bitterness, and pile on the logs,
bury the hearthstones, and, with generous heart,
out of the four-year old Sabine jars,
O Thaliarchus, bring on the true wine.

Leave the rest to the gods: when they’ve stilled the winds
that struggle, far away, over raging seas,
you’ll see that neither the cypress trees
nor the old ash will be able to stir.

Don’t ask what tomorrow brings, call them your gain
whatever days Fortune gives, don’t spurn sweet love,
my child, and don’t you be neglectful
of the choir of love, or the dancing feet,

while life is still green, and your white-haired old age
is far away with all its moroseness. Now,
find the Campus again, and the squares,
soft whispers at night, at the hour agreed,

and the pleasing laugh that betrays her, the girl
who’s hiding away in the darkest corner,
and the pledge that’s retrieved from her arm,
or from a lightly resisting finger.

tr. A.S. Kline (2003)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

POEM: "3 Dog Senryu"

3 Dog Senryu

One time a monk asked Joshu, "Does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?"
Joshu answered, "No."
Another time, a monk asked Joshu, "Does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?"
Joshu answered, "Yes."

The patient trees bow
A stray dog is quizzical
Do we have our souls?

It's barely autumn
Already the bad haiku
Wind and leaves make friends

The patient trees bow
Stray dogs are barking again
Do we not have souls?

© 2011 Rob Schackne