Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Of Hungry Pockets
Nothing to lose, this rag of selves.
With what glory remains of hungry pockets
I skip forward singing, La La La, a willful
don, a lord of nothing-much, poems a'pocket
Of Li Po Waking The Morning After, Circa 1981
'Let me be forever drunk and never come to reason!
Sober men of olden days and sages are forgotten,
And only the great drinkers are famous for all time.' - Li Po
'We share life's joys when sober.
Drunk, each goes a separate way.' - Li Po
Waking up among these frail green things,
by the stream I hear the hornets singing.
I do not fear them but I fear the sting
of light as day creeps into my shade.
I have read of sad and joyful things
under last night's moon and now I weep
for the Immortals fading from light
to light with their pockets of pine bark
and resin to chew, their wine of sorrow
to drink in their, and my, sorrowful season.
I am homesick for the earth as
these old poets knew it,
a thin veil of mountains,
winter birds pecking at suet,
some girls dancing, and a wife,
some young sons to pull the reeds up
fishing and weeping for my exposed
wino bones while I sit, drunk, pronouncing
upon the deeds of state. Pitiable.
Let there be leaving taking and coming to,
drinking and drinking again,
playing fool to the wisdom of the ages,
remarking at those unkind sages
who always smack their lips for war.
Give me again the hilltop cave,
the pilgrim come to call at the door.
Fires I will then light for this age.
Who comes to me in this season for reason
besides the bee and the mite, the winding gourd?
I have sat here in one spot so long
I begin to lose my sight. Look!
The stream is growing a beard in the daylight!
No word can bring back the Immortals but for wino joys.
There is a blight upon our time. I have been faithful to it
tipping my cup. The present is sufficient but I admit
I am ready to go. My time has come.
Leave the world to the scoundrels!
[POET'S NOTE: I wrote the above poem in response to Li Po's famous poem, 'Alone And Drinking Under the Moon'. Here it is, by Li Po:
Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,
and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon
accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while
still not drunk, I am glad
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are
friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way.
Ok Mister Rogers Of Zen. I Do.
Best friend by this morning, come 'to force me out of daily oblivion'.
Falcon, he says, at this point it's no longer jet lag. It's life lag.
You can only milk the jet so long, y'know.
At some point the old dug is dry. The jet is empty.
Milk this, I reply.
He laughs. I laugh.
He's right. Knows me too godd*mned well. What friends are for.
Says, you've been in lag e're since I met you, what, Christ, I was 18, you were 23, yer still lugging the same old books and sturm und frickin' drang now as you were back then. Yer old now or near.. Put it all down, man.
Lag, I say, pronounced 'log' in German...Bach. Cantata. Christ lag in
Todes Banden. Christ lay in the bonds of death's what it means.
So I'm in lag, log, and it feels like death at times though, yeah, milking death seems to be a human preoccupation, a religious vocation sure. Is why we were at the Christian college, yes? At least true for me, but not as clear of the vocation then as I am now. Milking comes with its benefits in the long run.
Says, Yeah, right. Death. What a benefit. You're full of sh*t, picking your nose, forefinger jammed in a book no one in their right mind would wanna read. Yer just another desperado but with good diction.
Piles, I say.
Piles. Diction AND piles. At least I don't have chilblains. Hopkin's suffered terribly from chilblains.
Yer hopeless, he laughs. Jeez, look up every once in a while and see the teeming world all around as it is.
OK Mister Rogers of Zen. I do. I do. Swear I do.
Then come to the world with me now, he says. Let's go for a walk.
We do. We talk. He smokes a cigar. Gestures at things, Look.
Look at that. There. See that? Grand, yes?
Problem is, Falcon, you're not sincere.
What's that mean? I ask.
Take off your mask and give some face to the world, it deserves your praise.
Wha'? ! You've never read one word I've written or you'd know all I do is praise. Might be broken or bent but praise is praise even from my lips, my pen. It's praise in my eyes night and day. All's it is is praise.
You're full of it, he says, and I mean with something other than praise. I have 40 years of letters from you, man. Saved. Read everyone of them. And I haven't bought arse-wipe [toilet paper] in 40 years with your continual supply of letters coming through.
Praise this, I say.
He laughs. I laugh.
In Washington Square people are bathing in the fountain.
Now do all sleeping fountains wake, says I.
What? Who said that? You said that?
Nietzsche. Thus Spake Zarathustra.
Says, disgusted, Just see the godd*mned fountain! yer hopeless!
I see it! I see it! And then I hear Nietzsche. Can't help it. Just is.
A gardener dressed in bright red work clothes is planting tulip bulbs nearby. Looks like a tulip himself. Old tulip petals stack up. Stalks. See, his hands moving slow, gentle. Why, he's singing into dirt older than cities. Either he's in love or I am.
Roots splay up gray reaching for his eyes. That's love all right.
I think but don't say it.
I see those withered tulips. See? I'm seeing. What's he mean mask?
A young woman rolls up her short sleeves to her shoulders so that the sun may warm them. She's fair. Arms red as her hair. Already. Almost. Her eyes are closed. Face up toward the sun.
Ah sunflower weary of time, I say.
What? Where's that from? he says.
Bastard's curious. Hypocrite.
William Blake. The Sunflower. I say.
I point to the girl. Motion toward the sunflowers in a patch beyond the fountain.
He just stares, Shakes his head.
I see, I say, and I hear. I hear in response to seeing. What I do.
I hear the rhythmic squeak and grind of a swing behind us, a child's little feet are kicking high as the swing climbs. I know that. Don't have to see it.
Glimpse a yellow cab passing on the street disappearing behind the yellow sunflowers.
Cricket right on time starts to insist in the shrub to our right.
I think but don't say it, Poems to a Brown Cricket. Hello Father Wright**.
What's not to praise, I mutter.
This! thrusts his cigar at me. I refuse.
Give those things up, I say. Yer inhaling death. I milk it. Don't lecture me. F*ck you.
I will when you give up this lag addiction. And literary frickin tourettes.
We both laugh.
Jet contrail far and high in the sky beyond the World Trade
feathers and fans out pastel in the blue.
I point for a change, hand gesturing outward and upward,
See? Like milk. White as milk that.
**James Wright, American poet. His poem, Poems To A Brown Cricket.
Older Age, Basho In Mind
Road gets narrower
even signs wave
guides with ink,
HERE NOT HERE
Can't ever cross
Beneath it, though,
a billet of mist