Slow Music

1.

Mornings with my dog for company
I’m happy—the world so close—
And though I can’t say
What this means
I carry it
A slumbering green picture.

2.

There are hidden instruments
In the hedgerow
Which are not birds.
Shadow scales.
But enough.
We pass an army
Of empty houses.

3.

Even short poems must give you the opera entire.
Judas’ money went to the paupers’ graves.
Les Troyens breaks my heart even as I smile.
Walking near a lake with lilies, late autumn.
I look up when branches swing.
The ears do all the work and drift away.

Notebook, September 10, 2021

Breathing Space

I sat in the corner, not in the cradle
That’s how it was

Birds flew North or South
Funny to think on it

The sea the moon
Whispering

Still it’s beautiful tuning this piano
As now I’m old

And what is poetry?

**

We’re all of us two children
Then four adults

Look over there:
The factories brooding

**

No blank space anywhere here

**

Humming a tune
Drinking morning coffee

Thinking: dreams are not the same as plans

**

This I can promise–
I don’t want to turn back
Where I came from

**

The poet Anselm Hollo
Had the best laugh I’ve ever heard
It was a deep “let’s change the architecture” affair

**

Transtromer:

The samurai looks insignificant beside his armor
Of black dragon scales

**

I think everyone should do their own version of the “Egyptian Book of the Dead”–

Yes Pharaoh so sweet
With his honey packed ears
Eyelashes
Dusted with assassin bugs
Insects dressed as ash
Laying in wait
For anything that moves
Well it’s safe
The king never starves
But neither
Is he rescued…

**

Haavikko: “And yet we must have a word with happiness”

Kuusisto: “If happiness talks back give me a call…”

**

Lucky the horse with butterflies on his mane

**

I’ve always liked off stage instruments
The hidden ones

Notebook, September 9, 2021

As Haavikko said: “it takes a whole man
To listen to the wind.”
He was a post-war Finnish old boy.
He left out the women.
In my experience women hear the wind perfectly.
A pregnant women hears the wind
For two people.

**

I’ve been having tremendous dreams.
Autumn is coming and the nights are cool.
The fruit trees outside my windows
Are fragrant at night.
Each night I start a new life.

**

You can say whatever you like about time.
Seeing his wristwatch Transtromer
Said he could detect
Time’s imprisoned insect.
I like this.
Since I’m blind
My watch talks.
I hear the immortal
King of wind
Straining to free himself.

**

I write poems when sad:
An office–
Heart’s labor.
Some days my skull
Cries for it’s grave.
Each tree a feasible coffin.

**

Late September
Birds chafing against our landscape

**

It’s possible
I might be walking
With the last gods of summer
Behind me like stray dogs…

Morning notebook, September 8, 2021

I am windward of the souls in last night’s dream.
I wish at least one would knock at the window.
Morning rain, apples falling in grass.

**

If you can drag yourself to believe
God’s eyes are “on” this morning
Great things are coming
Water falls on my wrist
As I wash a cup

**

The snake
Wiser than Adam

Knows which road to take
What to eat, who to trust

**

I am a blind star gazer. Sometimes, looking up I think I see lights. Sometimes I suppose I’m imagining them. In any case, this is the condition of the first sighted beings on earth.

I take this feeling with me into the house.
Clutching a spoon I’m the first spoon man.
Yes I’ve made it at home.

Sure. Tell me to go to hell. You’ve got big things on your mind.

Here I am with dust mote eyes and imaginary stars.

**

So it comes down to this
Grandmother’s soup
Thistles, pepper, water
From the well.

**

Do you see the luxury
Of the ailment
That is no ailment?

**

So I go around in the bucket of my skull,
Free will, predestination, foot odors, love life regrets,
Scraps of poems flaring like match heads…

**

Eleanor Rigby, a dirge in eighth notes.
Brilliant.

**

I love the term, “the ethics of impertinence.”

**

Early boyhood…

I’d put the needle on a fast spinning disc
To hear something uncanny: arias and folk songs
Sung by dead people.
The wind up mechanism with its crank…

**

The hieroglyphs representing humans
Or animals were left incomplete
Or drawn mutilated,
Most likely to prevent them
Causing any harm to the dead pharaoh.

**

Watch out!
We’ve gaffed the night mateys!

**

Bach:

His hands opened
And released harmonic birds.

**

I used to love a turtle who lived under the boathouse.

**

Outside I stand on a hill

The breeze presses me forward
There are no words for the green

The slope, the breeze, the man
The epitaph of naming

The envoy wish
For private graffiti.

**

By the time I was twelve I had a pretty good grasp that Caruso could sing my crippled seasickness, that the arias were little chocolates one minute and dark, packed clouds the next. Think of “e lucevan le stelle” from the third act of “Tosca”—a flawless sweep from pure love to entire despair which occurs in two verses and takes about four minutes.

**

So I dreamt last night I was writing a poem
Tangled branches were in it, sunlight fell in shafts…

The souls going about their business…

Morning Notes, Sept 7, 2021

Before I knew you…a silly phrase…

**

Poetry matters. It’s the keel of our losses and our hope. It allows us to sail.

**

And silly to write such a thing–midday, late summer clouds coming on. But this is the hour when I was happiest as a child–alone in the woods, light suffused, everything quiet. Somewhere far off the town had a parade. I was in my cave, green, darker than morning. The trees donned sorrow hats as the sun faded. And the birds quiet. Hint of a coming rain.

**

Wild flowers
Queen Anne’s Lace
Standard butter cups
Mantle thoughts of dying
I’m in here…

**

I know I’m hopelessly local
Homely, undisguised
Laughing

What else is there
High in branches?

**

In his excellent memoir “Interesting Times” the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm says of the Welsh, circa 1960: “For most of the mountain people the Welsh language was chiefly a Noah’s Ark in which they could survive the flood as a community. They did not so much want to convert and converse: people looked down on visiting South Walians with their ‘school Welsh’. Unlike Noah, they did not expect the flood to end.”

**

Blind childhood:

Hydra I took you under my ribs, my darling who licked the words from stones.

Hydra, innocent, my speechlessness.

**

He supposes he should be more ironic about fealty and Romantic sadness, but finds he cannot.

**

Electric bulbs hang by threads.
Once my mother lived here—
Brockton, Massachussetts
Year of big ammunition,
WW I her father building bombs
For Uncle Sam—kids
Playing in dynamite
How it was…

**

Please, for the love of God, go out today and cultivate wonder.

**

You’d think I’ve a plan
But its not true
In the dark move fast

The Blind Know Where the Umbrellas Are

“Eilis noticed a number of black umbrellas resting against the hallstand.”

In Colm Toibin’s novel “Brooklyn” one finds the sentence above in the middle of a scene. Ellis has been summoned to meet Mrs. Kelly who wants to offer her a job–though the offer is strikingly unfriendly. Ellis sees the black umbrellas.

Once upon a time, long ago, when I was interviewing for a creative writing faculty job at The Ohio State University a noted fiction writer asked me how I could write about the world if I can’t see. It was a hostile question and likely illegal but I said without skipping a beat that all nouns are images and no one who uses nouns fails to create a picture. The man would go on to be trouble for me as after I was hired he proved to be an outright ableist.

What I didn’t say is the blind know where the umbrellas are.
We know what kind of rain is falling before stepping out.
Many of us can read in the dark and are expert listeners.

From Lyft, a Defense of Freedom

Lyft

Dear Lyft Riders and Drivers,

A new Texas law, SB8, threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go — specifically, women exercising their right to choose and to access the healthcare they need.

We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride. Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a healthcare appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you for fear of breaking a law. Both are completely unacceptable.

This law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company. We are taking action on two fronts:
Lyft has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8 while driving on our platform. Riders and Drivers: Nothing about how you drive, ride or interact with each other should change.
Texas SB8 is an attack on women’s right to choose. Lyft is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.
If you feel compelled to join us as an individual, you can make a donation here.
Logan and John, Lyft Co-founders
Kristin Sverchek, Lyft General Counsel
Unsubscribe | Contact
548 Market St., P.O. Box 68514, San Francisco, CA 94104
© 2021 Lyft, Inc.
CPUC ID No. TCP0032513 – P

From Lyft, a Defense of Freedom

Lyft

Dear Lyft Riders and Drivers,

A new Texas law, SB8, threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go — specifically, women exercising their right to choose and to access the healthcare they need.

We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride. Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a healthcare appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you for fear of breaking a law. Both are completely unacceptable.

This law is incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company. We are taking action on two fronts:
Lyft has created a Driver Legal Defense Fund to cover 100% of legal fees for drivers sued under SB8 while driving on our platform. Riders and Drivers: Nothing about how you drive, ride or interact with each other should change.
Texas SB8 is an attack on women’s right to choose. Lyft is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood to help ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.
If you feel compelled to join us as an individual, you can make a donation here.
Logan and John, Lyft Co-founders
Kristin Sverchek, Lyft General Counsel
Unsubscribe | Contact
548 Market St., P.O. Box 68514, San Francisco, CA 94104
© 2021 Lyft, Inc.
CPUC ID No. TCP0032513 – P

The Final Gold of the Ruined Stars

1.

Is tonight the final gold of the ruined stars?
Trakl please tell me.
I don’t want to take a wrong turn
Walk in the wrong field.

2.

Mice eat the bark of the night trees
While great forces are at work.
Strictly speaking this is funny.
Yes the self is illusion.
It won’t be coming with us.

3.

“The most beautiful arrangement is a pile of things poured out at random…”
In this raging world…

Leave the world out of this.
Allow the world to world without temper.
Call all the creatures like Noah.
Tell them how sorry you are.
What you do at home is who you are abroad.

Notebook Fragment, or, No One Should Mistake Desperation for Belief

If you don’t like the dream, change it. Turn your dial from hearse to horse. Don’t kid yourself: the carbon underworld takes any charge. My hearse, well, it shivers, stands, becomes a stallion, runs off. So what I’m flip with grief? The grim reaper has a tear in his underpants. They fly off, crow like. Ha ha! Naked reaper. Now he’s just another dead guy.

**

My uncle M drank. Preferred vodka. Sometimes he’d go into the old horse barn and strike discarded radiators with a hammer. He was musical that way.

**

In my poems, or, go ask Freud…

Old lovers flit through the trees—
Ah but what kind of trees—
Birches with gold ringlets
By the lake
Sometimes
High in the branches
They look down on me
Just a boy really
Searching
For mushrooms

**

Go to meetings with college faculty. More and more they speak neoliberal platitudes. They can’t hear themselves, or choose not to. Focus group. Task force. Sustainability. So I think about the Kreutzer Sonata—the second movement. I’m lucky, can replay the whole thing in my head.

**

It’s been said British writers have an elegiac sensibility while American writing is more optimistic. I don’t think so. America is a ghastly place. Writers have to move fast. Running for your life only looks like optimism—no one should mistake desperation for belief. Even Whitman would agree.