Thursday, December 31, 2015

A William Carlos Williams Poem (3)


Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
                                          Play louder.
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
                                          And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

POEM: "Drive"


If life is just a gamble 
why are the bets so small
should have taken the tunnel
instead of the bridge, subway
all the way minimum traffic
thunder every three minutes
going in opposite directions

maybe this is all they have to say
maximum speed is what matters
my arm around her shoulders
lying in bed her leg crosses

her own special line, drawing
the meal a story the afternoon
now it's started raining heavily

I am not where I wanted to be

© 2014 Rob Schackne

Saturday, December 26, 2015

MUSIC: Anna Setton (2012), Sarah Vaughan (1977), Elis Regina (1967), Andy Bey (2007) Sing "O Cantador" / "Like A Lover"

O Cantador (Dori Caymmi & Nelson Motta) 

Amanhece, preciso ir 
meu caminho é sem volta e sem ninguém 
Eu vou prá onde a estrada levar 
Cantador só sei cantar 

Ah! eu canto a dor 
canto a vida e a morte, canto o amor 

Cantador não escolhe o seu cantar 
Canta o mundo que vê 
e pro mundo que vi meu canto é dor 
mas é forte prá espantar a morte 
prá todos ouvirem minha voz 
mesmo longe 

De que servem meu canto e eu 
se em meu peito há um amor que não morreu 
Ah! se eu soubesse ao menos chorar 
cantador só sei cantar 
Ah! Eu canto a dor 
de uma vida perdida sem amor

And for a little more of the wonderful Anna Setton...

Thursday, December 24, 2015

POEM: "The Day After Tomorrow"

The Day After Tomorrow

The building blocks shall
largely cover every place
except for that space between

Where the occasional sky opens up
below of course lie city streets
that people follow everywhere

Mirrored windows so sealed against
neither hearts nor storms
can shine on lively forms        

How did everything get so bad
does any ever change into
a thing approaching freedom

Only now I don’t know where to go
or what I need to write down
to whom and why and when

You say everything leads me to you
except the sky above
and all the sky below.

© 2014 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

POEM: "Ordinary Storms"

Ordinary Storms 

I know by now why the Earth hums
The Earth hums because the oceans
Love to strum the bits of land they fill

I know tonight why little kids point
With an arm and a finger to call us out
It's time to see the future and the past

And I know why it rains for everyone
It's because the streets fill with love, else
The night won't fall and I fail to understand

Why hum is sometimes an affliction
It's when ordinary storms wake up demons

It's when plants and trees burn with ruin

And I know tonight we misread the future
(I know it's raining, and I'm still not ready)
I know that somehow we've mislaid a planet

The lightning is striking outside my window 
The hum in my ears inside a stolen umbrella
Leaving the bar in a manner timely and respectful.

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Monday, December 21, 2015

POEM: "Another Day Early"

Another Day Early

In the veils of flesh 
we carry forward like
a pompadour on a cat
like a big butt that shouts
I leave nothing behind!

        In this limitation
we cover everything
till it’s all forgotten
these veils of flesh
so beautiful and rotten—
        I wish all women smart
that men were better ugly
and childhood never end
while our flesh proclaims
we start and start again.

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A W.B. Yeats Poem (3) / Francis Bacon, "Three Studies for Self-Portrait" (1976) / Peter O'Shaughnessy Reads

Cuchulain Comforted

A MAN that had six mortal wounds, a man
Violent and famous, strode among the dead;
Eyes stared out of the branches and were gone.

Then certain Shrouds that muttered head to head
Came and were gone. He leant upon a tree
As though to meditate on wounds and blood.

A Shroud that seemed to have authority
Among those bird-like things came, and let fall
A bundle of linen. Shrouds by two and three

Came creeping up because the man was still.
And thereupon that linen-carrier said:
'Your life can grow much sweeter if you will

'Obey our ancient rule and make a shroud;
Mainly because of what we only know
The rattle of those arms makes us afraid.

'We thread the needles' eyes, and all we do
All must together do.' That done, the man
Took up the nearest and began to sew.

'Now must we sing and sing the best we can,
But first you must be told our character:
Convicted cowards all, by kindred slain

'Or driven from home and left to die in fear.'
They sang, but had nor human tunes nor words,
Though all was done in common as before;

They had changed their throats and had the throats of birds.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

POEM: "Vozes"


A stuttering love in
Just a horseshoe kitchen
Remarkable understanding
Who am I fooling?

At night it gets so bad
I contemplate the voices
The dark wind brings
But that isn’t the truth

The appellate division
In the next smelly stall
Snickers in the dark
This isn’t the force of destiny

Why did it take so long
To turn me into a horse
With this huge cock
This affectionate nature?

The mystery is there
The truth is beyond
The black is fear
The division is hope

My hungry ghosts
Just stretch it and yawn
Occasionally they even
Wonder why I’m so stupid

The days gallop into years
The years ride into galaxies
I tell them to relax
I tell them to relax.

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Tina Chang Poem


On an island, an open road
where an animal has been crushed
by something larger than itself.

It is mangled by four o'clock light, soul
sour-sweet, intestines flattened and raked
by the sun, eyes still watchful, savage.

This landscape of Taiwan looks like a body
black and blue. On its coastline mussels have cracked
their faces on rocks, clouds are collapsing

onto tiny houses. And just now a monsoon has begun.
It reminds me of a story my father told me:
He once made the earth not in seven days

but in one. His steely joints wielded lava and water
and mercy in great ionic perfection.
He began the world, hammering the length

of trees, trees like a war of families,
trees which fumbled for grand gesture.
The world began in an explosion of fever and rain.

He said, Tina, your body came out floating.
I was born in the middle of monsoon season,
palm trees tearing the tin roofs.

Now as I wander to the center of the island
no one will speak to me. My dialect left somewhere
in his pocket, in a nursery book,

a language of childsplay. Everything unfurls
in pictures: soil is washed from the soles of feet, a woman
runs toward her weeping son, chicken bones float

in a pot full of dirty water.
I return to the animal on the road.
When I stoop to look at it

it smells of trash, rotting vegetation,
the pitiful tongue. Its claws are curled tight
to its heart; eyes open eyes open.

When the world began
in the small factory of my father's imagination
he never spoke of this gnarled concoction

of bone and blood that is nothing like wonder
but just the opposite, something
simply ravaged. He too would die soon after

the making of the world. I would go on
waking, sexing, mimicking enemies.
I would go on coaxed by gravity and hard science.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

POEM: "I rewrite a poem"

“I rewrite a poem”

I rewrite a poem about love
convinced I can bring new light
to an old problem
is it better to be an eagle or a cock?
many pages later
when the candle's almost down
to a dull glow, the sun is rising
and the cat wants to go out
I'll write it again before I sleep

© 2015 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A John Keats Poem

What the Thrush Said

O Thou whose face hath felt the Winter’s wind,
Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist,
And the black elm tops ’mong the freezing stars,
To thee the spring will be a harvest-time.
O thou, whose only book has been the light
Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on
Night after night when Phœbus was away,
To thee the Spring shall be a triple morn.
O fret not after knowledge—I have none,
And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
O fret not after knowledge—I have none,
And yet the Evening listens. He who saddens
At the thought of idleness cannot be idle,
And he’s awake who thinks himself asleep.


Monday, December 14, 2015

POEM: "Make the Bowls Sing"

Make the Bowls Sing

Periphery you know future you do not
Walking home see China’s tallest building
Its shrouds (good word) in smog (bad word)

Circle every planet dar una vuelta
Form the scandal part of every molecule
Waves of song beating invisible oceans

Patiently watch the islands drowning
Bless its generations of scavengers 

(Lucky no birdsong on the moon)

How the streets will run high with words
The bronze bowls forever hum with joy
They ever figure out this disguise of noise

Have faith in hope the music holds
Everywhere the edges of sound & if health
For happiness then happiness for 10,000 years.

© 2014 Rob Schackne

Sunday, December 13, 2015

POEM: "The World Is Bad, Let Me Sleep"

The World Is Bad, Let Me Sleep

The Great Barrier Reef
is the size of Italy or Japan
our nearest star closer than
the nearest human heart
stretched from you to me
from the cosmos to the sea

I once tied a life around my neck
with the tensile strength of spider silk
after meditation upon the aggregates
and form was returning to nothingness
I rested my case, I drew the curtains
the world was bad I said, let me sleep.

Dreams rattle the door before the fall
when the nothing spins a web of matter
for the bangles of the ten-thousand arms
when your cell dreams become your alarm
back to the greed and jealousy and envy
so tough shit, the world is bad, let me sleep.

Reading an old poem about the kids of
factory fodder in a hell of a town somewhere
people we could've loved and we imagine hope
but good poetry it is, that draws the curtains
against knowing more than a bit about the future
the world was bad, it's starting to rain, let me sleep.

© 2014 Rob Schackne

Friday, December 11, 2015

An Allen Ginsberg Poem


The weight of the world
             is love.
Under the burden
            of solitude,
under the burden
            of dissatisfaction
            the weight,

the weight we carry
            is love.
Who can deny?
            In dreams
it touches
            the body,
in thought
a miracle,
            in imagination
            till born
in human—
looks out of the heart
             burning with purity—
for the burden of life
             is love,
but we carry the weight
and so must rest
in the arms of love
             at last,
must rest in the arms
             of love.
No rest
             without love,
no sleep
             without dreams
of love—
             be mad or chill
obsessed with angels
             or machines,
the final wish
             is love
—cannot be bitter,
             cannot deny,
cannot withhold
             if denied:
the weight is too heavy
             —must give
for no return
             as thought
is given
             in solitude
in all the excellence
             of its excess.
The warm bodies
             shine together
in the darkness,
             the hand moves
to the center
             of the flesh,
the skin trembles
             in happiness
and the soul comes
             joyful to the eye—
yes, yes,
             that’s what
I wanted,
             I always wanted,
I always wanted,
             to return
to the body
             where I was born.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

POEM: "Tethered"


                           for Jack Gilbert

Nothing be nothing or strong
the humming started yesterday
the plastic bag fell in the street
see nothing be nothing be long
the wind blows the same black bag
every single day stays the same
tethered in an alley blind of sight
drawn by a light if you noticed it. 

© 2012 Rob Schackne

Monday, December 7, 2015

POEM: "Ah Dreams"

Ah Dreams

We grapple with violence
we look down we don’t look up
beyond the dust beyond the harvest
the clothes are just a trickery one smell
of invidious wanting or not wanting
little night scuffles with big darkness
the rats fight under the promenade
in the cinema she watches a movie
skittish proud curious boys up for murder
mid-autumn moon-cakes made of ice cream
none of it as real as the dog she keeps as pet
ah rattus dreams rattus love me from it
cover up my heart and my stomach
take away the nearest mouth.

© 2013 Rob Schackne

Sunday, December 6, 2015

POEM: "Lines By The Pint (CXXX)"

Lines By The Pint (CXXX)

It's no small thing like the fold
Of a dress which suddenly speaks
Or a light switch from another world

But even by those kindly lights I see
Reaching deep inside the common face
Where language is mixed with nonsense

There's no limit to a foolish greed
And cosmetics can't hide a smart woman
And I wonder what my next beauty looks like ­­­­­­­

If we'll slap hands together and conjure glee
Till the sun rises roughly over our secrets
And the bed we’re in hears the music wrong.

© 2014 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An Anne Waldman Poem


Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction?
—William Blake

Won’t come alive ever yet or again? In the mind of Endtime it looks like this: shell, volute, Tabriz, eddies, and tides. Flowers wilt. When you wake, observe the unmitigated trials and tribulations of these tossed things, random it seems. But in the endtime, less personhood more ransom. Radical sleep in the Endtime, there is no end of sleep. Multiplying the stars was never easy in Endtime, doing it by themselves, obstinate stars. Self-repairing and learning on the job. Write reports, sniff out plagiarism, fly your planes with a computer. Drones inhabit the Endtime lore, how many kills. In Endtime things go static. Then still. Switch off “solace.” Would you kill another literary form? a ransom note perhaps, saying again: The dead always will be saying too many of us! Then carry the corpses around. In the mind of the Endtime no substitutes but if you care to try your hand you may gamble all you have to offer and what would that be. A mole might do for you, a burrowing animal “thing” might do, biding time might do for a time, a night perhaps you have for rhetoric, before you are released at dawn. Recant, reflect, review, reach out. We have met the enemy and it is the psychotic karmic flow of our blowback. Privileged community survives a raging flood. Maybe. You keep churning and there’s an echo in the world. In the Endtime no need of explanation. Need stronger better experienced cop? He’s a baby. In the Endtime there are theories of dysfunction, delicate wheelworks that need retread. In the mind of the Endtime scot-free isn’t possible. No interpretation necessary for your cargo. But tax and a search and a fee and a calibration what it all adds up to. Then drop it. Drop it down, send it off, may it disintegrate in peace.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Mark Strand Poem

Coming to This

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.


A W.H. Auden Poem (2)

We, Too, Had Known Golden Hours

We, too, had known golden hours
When body and soul were in tune,
Had danced with our true loves
By the light of a full moon,
And sat with the wise and good
As tongues grew witty and gay
Over some noble dish
Out of Escoffier;
Had felt the intrusive glory
Which tears reserve apart,
And would in the old grand manner
Have sung from a resonant heart.
But, pawed-at and gossiped-over
By the promiscuous crowd,
Concocted by editors
Into spells to befuddle the crowd,
All words like Peace and Love,
All sane affirmative speech,
Had been soiled, profaned, debased
To a horrid mechanical screech.
No civil style survived
That pandaemonium
But the wry, the sotto-voce,
Ironic and monochrome:
And where should we find shelter
For joy or mere content
When little was left standing
But the suburb of dissent?