Monday, September 21, 2015

POEM: "A Monkey Looks at the Stars"

A Monkey Looks at the Stars
                                                           for Hugh Bohane
Riding a bus through Yunnan
Chinese dinosaur fields up ahead
Nothing surprises today in the villages;
Dumbstruck by my own foolishness
Fairly certain that I’ll do most of it again
The tunnels take us through the mountains.

We are grown accustomed
By the familiar, taking all of it in
According to old stories, old names;
Although everything that rings a bell
Is hardly a prescription, there's nothing
Doesn't remind me of something else.
In Dali, the mountains are high
And the Emperor is very far away.
At The Bad Monkey bar, similarity,
It's easier than arguing. And ancestors
Understand their approximate descendants
Will know a thing, a person, and a place.
A small dog is chained in the corner.
When I ask her why, she says it’s because
She doesn’t have a quiet heart. She smiles.
I want to say to her, Past attraction, but
Not past love, yet the stray dog has a soul
But I'm falling up to a perfect sky, and I don’t.
                                                                             Dali, Yunnan

© 2011 Rob Schackne

Saturday, September 19, 2015

POEM: "When A Man Says"

When A Man Says

When a man says
timetable of discovery
interminable halves—

Bitterness speaking
the sessions release
a running zoo of pain

Light of day sees
a throng of love leaves
buried in river sand

Luck what's it worth

how blithe the sky looks
all of it floats past—

Let's get drunk
and walk across the street
to the Museum of Devils.

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Friday, September 11, 2015

An Eve Robillard Poem

Everything Happens Twice

That bird sitting dazed on the railing
has flown into your window before.

The dead-end street you’ve turned onto
You did that just last month. The boss

calling you into his office
has nothing new to say.

There are only so many scripts.
Everything happens twice.

The friend who borrows your raincoat
will borrow your raincoat tomorrow. The parent

who never loved you enough
is doing it from the grave. You are writing

the very same poem
over & over again they are playing

that old, old song but it’s never
the very last dance. So smile at the guy

who drinks too much
the one with forget-me-not eyes. Sleep

with the one who calls you
by another woman’s name.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Mary Jo Bang Poem

Except for Being, It Was Relatively Painless

                                        It was relatively painless except for being
all she could see: a world made of dinner, very pleasant; a lunch
at something called a table in the dining room; an endless night;
a half-day; another lunch, this on Tuesday. Yesterday. Today.
Pieces propped up with supports. The therapist tapped his cigar.
He no longer accepted her general opposition to myth, marriage,
Olympic Games, and the course of decades. He said it was as if
she were engaged in an eternal war, either watching a movie
or acting in one, depending on the situation and time of day.
She sat in silence, the sky above a half-baked blue, a blank-
face dying of awkwardness. The simple explanation boiled down
to the too-easy explanation. He was smart and charming then;
and later, much less so. Behind his head, pictures were crammed
together with the top layer hung so high she had to crane her neck
to see the details. He said to please pretend she was listening.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

POEM: "The Bridge"

The Bridge 

I look to the horizon
east and west, sour days
little rib, the body prone
hiding a soft white belly
the bridge, a weight in dreams
a tiding of magpies scouting
river and clouds and flowers
I join a search party waning
coming the other way, gibbous
moon, argument and laughter
another group to meet us.

                                    V-J Day, Shanghai

© 2015 Rob Schackne