Monday, July 20, 2009
THE LATEST POST featuring poems by the
friends and members of the Facebook Group
"Ravenswood Books!", a group which is open
one and all, no application fees or vetting committee.
Postcard from UW-Madison
At der Rathskeller, if you leave a plastic spoon in your coffee
you risk finding it later, melted, at the bottom of the cup.
That could drive you batty, you’ll be running across
the street to where the real bats live in gothic Science Hall.
On the subject of gothic, the opening scene in James Hynes
The Lecturer’s Tale I’ll always imagine taking place at
Library Mall, where Angela Davis spoke and hippies splashed
and waded in the fountain pool. At the Memorial Union
I waited an hour one day for a friend who didn’t show. In
winter we’d walk out on the frozen lake from the Terrace.
I’d ring Carillon bells before doing that again, content now
to view the lake from Observatory Hill, site of a pre-Columbian
bird effigy mound. Then to the Marching band practice
grounds, where I once read Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian
Gray, and cried I know not why. P.S. Bucky says hi!
Back Country Roads
Ol’ Ratty’s making his rounds, looking for
a bird or an egg that may have fallen.
And over there the turkey patrol, like a
parody of illustrations in a children’s book,
gray cautious ganders, nitpicking their way
through the dry grass and flowery weeds.
I dreamt I was in
I met a
guy at a bus
stop who said
by: Jayne Lyn Stahl
They say the end is worth the ride
Though riding may be grim.
They say we start out fat with thought
and end up oh-so-slim.
They say that at the end of all is joyous, dancing Light....
I hope they're right!
Time is short.
In fact, it's naught.
Pay no mind to its passing
Luncheon on the lawn is served
For those who are unmassing.
A Man With an Interesting Life
Places lived: Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris,
New Zealand, San Bernadino, New York,
Seattle, London, Phuket and Woods Hole.
To name a few. Oh yes, Sydney.
Parents: mother, a Yankee conservative from
An old wealth family, streets in Boston
Named for several. A romantic.
Father, a southern outlaw, liberal,
Fight promoter with alarming friends,
Harrassed by the FBI, poor, rich, then poor again.
A hustler. Loved his ’39 Chevy coupe.
Wives: one, but divorced. She worked for the CIA.
One son, a marine biologist. Two grandkids.
Lovers: he was a sucker for “Asian” women,
Thais, Indonesian, Korean, Japanese,
And had several of each,
Thanks to a good income and the happy accident
Of medications which overcome impotence.
He once sang in a movie and even dated
Shirley Temple, before her political decline.
He owned a donkey in Bali
And had to outrun a jealous love rival
With a kris and a very bad attitude.
Was beaten senseless in a Samoan bar
And had bad dreams forever afterwards.
Sports: golf, which he hates.
Pastimes: Reading. Writing a novel.
Grandchildren. Political chatter
(a liberal dis-satisfied with most liberal pols)
Trying to understand computers. Eating out.
Favorite foods: curries, Wellfleet oysters, raw,
Australian wines, martinis.
Prospects: he is seeing a doctor today
For awful symptoms.
His golf game will not improve,
Nor his love life.
His novel is very funny.
Our apartment is filthy;
Old, creaking, falling apart.
The centipedes, they are creeping in,
While I sit here listening to cellos
And violins. We are still young,
Though our responsibilities are slowly,
But surely, aging us.
I make an effort not to worry, stress, freak out,
But it's hard with every little thing
Hitting me, kicking me, poking me
On all sides.
Then, I read that one book, hear that one song,
Or watch that one movie, and then the flood gates break down
And every teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy little worry,
stress, tear flows out of my eyes and mouth.
How do you deal with it?
Why go and fix your bed
For just your lovesick head
Only to re-awake
As someone you're afraid of
In an abandoned ship adrift
You've forgotten how to how to steer
Nothing left to do
But lean into the wheel
You've got one checkered past
But no one ever dare ask
You somehow don't come across
Through all the blood that gets coughed up
You're a vampire on the hunt
But your fangs are mere veneer
Nothing left to say
But lean into the wheel
Beneath a stilted smile
You can see your doom for miles
But all around the clock
The machines will operate
With or without your love
They're turning around the gears
Nothing left to try
But to lean into the wheel
A Full Stein
If Gertrude Stein were truly mine
a clinging vine would grow around my neck.
With strangulation in the offing,
choking, alternately coughing,
what the heck, I'd say,
it's just not turning into my best day,
but then she'd save my life
by cutting loose
this nearly fatal noose
and I would point at her behind,
an amply large caboose,
and go "Miss Stein, were you not mine,
your oversized rear end would turn me off
since then I couldn't overlook for love
the appetites that brought on
such excessive weight,
but it's my fate to love the larger gals
and send out dada to
my face book pals.
_________________Specimen Days Today at 1
A specimen, he's asked for,
a small one, in a cup.
The task should be an easy one,
we're mostly fluids after all:
They flow in golden eloquence,
a liquid grammar toward the floor.
"Fill the cup," he whispers gently,
then his finger strokes her cheek.
But if she sits behind a tiny desk,
afraid to raise her hand,
unable to imagine
that the wall clock has no hands,
will it steal along her flesh
to stain a "Monday" stitched in blue,
move slowly, warmly down her thigh
inching toward her soft-soled shoe
kissing calf and knee, its underlip
Perhaps in years to come
when fluids, yellow,
speak of scotch
and thighs are something more
than moistened skin
embarrassed by her silence,
perhaps she'll learn to think of it,
not as her punishment upon a cross
but as a source of playfulness,
a word transmorgrified
as memory ancient and perverse:
the knowledge that in all that we disparage
we live as interlocking isotopes--
swirls of light and gas and dust.
Perhaps she'll then admire
its amber hue when touched by sun,
its musicality when hitting glass,
its spiral through a lukewarm bath,
its prescient power to herald life,
its generative potentiality for mimicry
(producing "dinkle," "tinkle," "wizz," and "wee"),
but most profound, and useful, of them all:
its metaphoric capacity
to tell others what she thinks:
you really piss me off, you know
The Manifesting Shroud of Desire, Part Four
30 August – 14 September 2008, Perú
Sacred birds Nervous cliffs Tired volcanoes
Tall hats Red Cheeks Fireworks
Frescoes Plazas Terraces
Instant coffee Potatoes Pollution
Vulture Folk music Wheezing buses
Faith Empty hostels Independence
Big chickens Hijacking Spanish
River Canyon Poverty
Trepanning skulls Mules Combis
Locked gates Skull binding Sweet wines
Pay toilets Ceviche Lunahuaná
Sandals Ponchos Llamas
Rocky dunes Misty ocean Cream
Lonely Whistle Llosa
Cactus Cañete Sour
Arequipa Catacomb Flags
Lima Burro Trout
Trumpets Prayers Night buses
Poor acrobats Panpipes Five borders
Jungle Mountain Slavery
River-running Flash Photography through Thin Napkins
Alabaster Cuzco Fountain
Bleeding Indigenous Rain photo
Earthquaked Chicha Cathedral
Alpaca Cobblestone Ekokos
Sitting under the thatched roof of the Claxon Museum
Now brandishing a colonial coca leaf necklace
tightly wrapped around the Dae Woo cuy culture
remembering tall Incan shaman cells sacrificing faraway virgins
behind melting glaciers
revealing the underappreciated rituals of the pigeon catchers
cartwheeling in front of after-school ice cream children
melting dreams upon Dutchman’s shoes next to mad dogs
massaging cold cigarettes into round butter balls
swinging through Quechua-tinged condor tunnels
measuring oxygen borders skulls messages in rope lips
moving making sounds like a fire in a cardboard box
while Sisyphean guides withdraw money daily
against rotating pre-conquest vases forever out of reach
That's all, folks