Monday, November 28, 2016

MUSIC: The Shins, "Pink Bullets" (2003)

The great song from the great band, The Shins...



O let's start in deep cover
everyone from a boat of sleep
pleasure a fricative kind of thing
but no consonants no vowels
a wall of sound fast coming
one language doesn't help
move over to higher places
in advance of a cresting will
surf in the shape of the world
& now the high dance is on
many eager to participate
sibilants ah like the wind.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Thursday, November 24, 2016

POEM: "So What"

So What
              for MD, the Prince of Darkness

The so what started slowly
whether new-born or older
after 50 years of listening

to one hope sunk down still
can't describe your entire song
maybe the so whats are bookends

down the alley of a secret library
& between them swings a little
bang of what actually matters

then so what if it matters
high low notes split the night
& the mute stops me in my tracks

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

POEM: "Cheshire Blues"

Cheshire Blues

                 What the modern man wants is the grin
                 without the cat, the sensation without the
                 boredom of its conveyance.  
Paul Valéry

The sea without the shelf
the hat without the head
the music with no instruments
we already have that
the lovers without heartbreak
we already have that
the kiss without lips
her voice without a body

we already have that
the stops before a destination
the journey after reaching it
the white before the page
that's pretty difficult

the hot days without the sun
we already have that
conveyance without satisfaction
the grin without the cat
I'd like to see that
just once.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Les Murray Poem (3)

Self and Dream Self

Routines of decaying time
fade, and your waking life
gets laborious as science.

You huddle in, becoming
the deathless younger self
who will survive your dreams
and vanish in surviving.

Dream brings on its story
at the pace of drift
in twilight, sunless color,

its settings are believed,
a library of wood shingles,
plain mythic furniture

vivid drone of talk,
yet few loves return:
trysts seem unkeepable.

Urgencies from your time
join with the browner suits
walking those arcades with you
but then you are apart,

aghast, beside the numberless
defiling down steep fence
into an imminence —

as in the ancient burrow
you, with an ever-changing cast,
survive deciding episodes
till you are dismissed

and a restart of tense
summons your waking size
out through shreds of story.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

POEM: "Off The Old Coast Road"

Off The Old Coast Road

By the other hand off the old coast road
there’s a bend takes you back to the ocean
with a fence which I don’t think you’ll see
until you stop time enough to look past it.
Full marks if you’ve got the prescience.
But don’t get off this road till you’re ready,
the fever that was all you ever wanted
is two close lanes before and beyond. Two.
Wonder if you’ll ever get past your nerve.
And don’t fool around with the edges of this,
grandstanding like a celestial idiot. Swerve.
Your hands off the wheel for only a second,
your God will change you. Nothing’s kidding.
The car you’re driving belongs to someone else.
Some guy just called his brother about an accident.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

POEM: "Eyes That Pierce"

Eyes That Pierce

A shudder of intent, outside reason
eyes that pierce, you don’t ask why
whether from attraction or hatred
the spell is hurled and you catch it
dark eyes shining are the best
above lips only slightly curled
a toss of the head comes next
several glances later that know
the codes of awareness are stolen
she looked this way merely once
how do you ignore such a spy
when peddling secrets of your own
in the place where people meet
where chance is the girl in a shop
she holds your gaze like a banana
this fascinates for about an hour
like a supermoon in an empty sky
one look is enough to forget all others
when you’re stopped in your tracks
heat, sweet, in the other source of light.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

POEM: "Ways It Could Be"

Ways It Could Be

Old questions crazy pauses no answers back
a few ways it could be roar in ominous winds
cries sound like an invitation to a locked door

the mad shouting their executions of purpose
while the hallowed desire of our knowledge
founders on unseen rocks beneath the surface

to what end is it pursued questions and men
mirrors that merely reflect reflecting tire us
of reflection of the eternal shine of others

to what end is help our last effort these tears
the hands that reached in to save now pulled in
so that now we are suddenly in great danger

curating the fall into big tropical trouble
but I only meant to help goes the old refrain
played loudly to whoever looked most helpless

forget the wreckage now the oil upon the water
the broken life-boat we watch it all slowly go down
and then begin another hard swim in another direction.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Monday, November 14, 2016

POEM: "Everybody Knows, A Long-Stemmed Rose"

Everybody Knows, A Long-Stemmed Rose

Aches pain from bumps and grinds
which age negotiates with experience
the scars you see plain upon a face
the oranges that say it doesn't matter
but we're not speaking yet of love

What will it profit a man to dance
less than his own two feet, a partner
who also ages at a chance of seasons
who won't speak of sitting this one out
who saw the future (maybe it is murder)

Body goes south before going west
before that last foolish indigence
but not speaking of indifference yet
lying once in a bed for months
listening to my book of longing

Even the old will climb mountains
lungs and legs pounding to a point
I heard you a whole hospital away
while we're not talking yet of miracles
I felt you, there's still no cure for love.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Sunday, November 13, 2016

POEM: "Dear Lazarus Brought Back From A Dream"

Dear Lazarus Brought Back From A Dream 

Because it didn’t matter
the latent heat walked away
sure you shot the universe
in dark matter I mean of course
this transfer it’s no steady law
there are problems in space & time
my lovers will the music to go on
solid to the liquid of the day to day
the scientists call it entropy
remembering the kabbalah tree the birds
always meant to ask that tree of life
another one and then another one
and the mountain sang of its ocean
and again all the waters sang of the sky

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Saturday, November 12, 2016

POEM: "She Said"

She Said

She said piss is a mild antiseptic
bad weather won’t make you sick
cigarettes probably won’t kill you
like the smoke they smoke in your head

To be high she said is mighty
I will love you as long as we know
that unprovables are consistent
with what we know we know to be true

Put a car in reverse it goes backwards
put a life on the skids it goes down
though nothing that is will be altered
I still love the way that way can

I love the dreams you walk through
the chaos you command to go back
the strength that draws on your muscles
the violence that lets itself go

She said there’s no real difference
where we come from or why we weep
if tonight she can feel me in her arms
if when it’s raining she can watch me sleep

And though time will always intrude
whenever the dawn comes round
my lines wait for tomorrow my love
waking first listening to your stilling heart.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Friday, November 11, 2016

MUSIC: Leonard Cohen, "Never Mind" (2005)

The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line

I had to leave
My life behind
I had a name
But never mind

Your victory
Was so complete
That some among you
Thought to keep

A record of
Our little lives
The clothes we wore
Our pots our knives

The games of luck
Our soldiers played
The stones we cut
The songs we made

Our law of peace
Which understands
A husband leads
A wife commands

And all of this
Expressions of
The High Indifference
Some call Love

The High Indifference
Some call Fate
But we had Names
More intimate

Names so deep
and Names so true
They're lost to me
And dead to you

There is no need
That this survive
There's truth that lives
And truth that dies

There's truth that lives
And truth that dies
I don't know which
So never mind

I could not kill
The way you kill
I could not hate
I tried I failed

No man can see
The vast design
Or who will be
Last of his kind

The story's told
With facts and lies
You own the world
So never mind


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

POEM: "Writing is against us"

"Writing is against us"

Writing is against us. To be loved
for what we ourselves won't ever love
to read the poems written when I was 21
I laugh. Some poetry was trying to get out
sure I didn’t yet know the truth, so if judged
I could only just be hated for the things I knew
my maximal emotions pinned on a line like socks
a single fragile cassette played over and over again
and if I were loved for the poems that spoke no truth
I could spend a lifetime damned. I'm probably laughing
now that the stuff is pouring out of me. Writing when I’m 63
I hardly care what this means anymore, or what it meant to me.

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Sunday, November 6, 2016

POEM: "that's no way to paint ravens'"

“that’s no way to paint ravens”
                          after Mikaela Castledine

that's no way to paint ravens
at night on the roadside
in the headlights

past the silent graves
that’s no way to end a life
there’s a small hotel

in the balance of the dip
you’re just a bit behind
too late for turning

that’s no way to shoe a horse
with carrot and lump of sugar
the story of your travels

that’s no way to hit a nail
sanding the heavy handle
look at the reflection

that’s no way to hear the wind
headstall and volume
a brain full of fray

with ears with tears
those years those fears
you’re listening too slow

that’s no way to reach the light
maybe it’s thick with heaven
sweet grace with dark

bending left always left
outside in the rain
all colours running

© 2016 Rob Schackne

Painting: "Nighthawks", Edward Hopper (1942)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A John Agard Poem


Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass
ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.

an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.


Friday, November 4, 2016

A Simon Armitage Poem

"In July I'm walking the Pennine Way. It's usually walked from south to north, but I'm attempting it the other way round, because that way it will be downhill all the way, right? I'm doing the walk as a poet. Wherever I stop for the night I'm going to give a reading, for which there will be no charge, but at the end of the evening I'll pass a hat around and people can give me what they think I'm worth. I want to see if I can pay my way from start to finish on the proceeds of my poetry alone. So it's basically 256 miles of begging."