Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Haiku For Mathematicians
in math's pristine world
even crying has its place
else laughter's wasted
Haiku-Taken from a Photograph by M. Asghari
Stone fence unmoving
beside flowing water
and there you sit with legs.
Hard Days On In At The Rehab For Drunken Poets, An Opera Of Sorts, circa 1981
They can't all be like these, I guess.
The days are good, though, when they are.
The formula is simple really -
We take our ragged bones out of rented rooms for long walks.
You point out between bricks the rainbows in windows, the dirt
now become your dirt, your genius for transformations.
I ram my own by now trite and hackneyed points
home over and over, but it works on days like these.
Reprise. Then cold beer in the dying light of
a gray bar. The stage is set. Laughter over the
wear on those other faces as we shudder behind
our own, the usual exchange of wind.
Full darkness mutes the swarm and it begins.
Back inside our rooms, last castrati on the radio.
Enter winter under the door crack.
This becomes an event,
the retelling in high C;
'...I guess it's just as well we speak
this way in America and call it poetry.'
See. I'm ramming it again.
Cold breaks my concentration.
It's moving up my legs like hemlock.
Poetry should do the same.
OK. I'll get serious. A brief libretto: :
Today sweet Molly with the black eye
and the cut on her breast cried then
decided to return home to Bud who
beats her when she's drunk. I tried to
talk her out of going but she was going
and she went. Scherzo here. Interlude.
Johnny didn't come home but drank a beer
after court, walked down Highway 25 to see
his little girl, called to say he was sorry for
being late. 'You can't come back, Johnny.
You been drinking again.' Coloratura. And gravel.
Joe vomited honey and banana in bed, a real mess.
I caught most of it in a trash can held up to his head.
He roared when he wretched.
'I've vomited more years than I've lived them' he said, shaking.
'I'm a damned drunk and I'll die a damned drunk.'
Harlem Palimpsest - What Is Seen And Overheard At Six A.M., West 142nd Street, August 1984
for Wonsook Kim
1: writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased
2: something having usually diverse layers or aspects apparent beneath the surface
Latin palimpsestus, from Greek palimpsē stos scraped again,
from palin + psē n to rub, scrape; akin to Sanskrit psā ti, babhasti
'Oye! Garcia Lorca who chews still
Harlem's the better for your shade
once and still there'
lean out windows
old clothes lines,
'What's will when
the window slams shut?
Just old cake thrown on the street
Purple flower boxes
sweet soap smells
on top steps
wet shoes full of wind
'Just catching a cool breeze is all.
Street don't belong to me...'
'She may be crazy but she's polite.
She puts her hand over her mouth
when she coughs...'
'Don't be flattered a
breeze blows in your window
Run! Run like hell'
Keep offa my clean floor
Lay outta my porcelain sink
Ya hear me? !
That mirror's not gonna change your face
What is read:
'After so very many years, it's pointless to
look back on it.
Give this looking back a rest!
A clear breeze the world over
-what limit could it have? '
- Setcho, zen master & poet
What is written in response:
In ice streaks upward
here's breath for you
even this ink on paper
this flesh on mind
this writing on air
Why try be happy/sad?
don't affect it
disinfect your mind
Who's somebody's darlin'?
Jus' time and
gism taken on flesh
dead soon enough
so pace yourself
You've run backward too long
Don't want it
as does the