Traducciones de poesía norteamericana
Edit. Liberta-Sumaria México, D.F., 1982
La siguiente colección de poemas no tiene pretensiones antológicas tales como la de cubrir una época de la poesía norteamericana, destacar a los mejores poetas de la misma., ni siquiera la de escoger los mejores poemas de cada poeta presentado, ni dar una idea representativa del conjunto de su obra. Se reduce simplemente a recopilar traducciones hechas en el transcurso de los años, con diversos pretextos o simplemente por gusto, de poemas que me parecen excepcionalmente buenos, y que me parecería triste que se perdieran, entre tantas hojas de revistas y suplementos que datan, algunos, de principios de los sesentas, o que no han sido publicados jamás. Advierto, por lo tanto, que no hay un criterio único que rija la selección, y que el lector deberá contentarse con gozar de cada poema o cada poeta presentado sin consideraciones exteriores al mismo, tales como su inserción en tal o cual generación, grupo, escuela, o corriente estética.
Los poetas incluidos van de la fama a la oscuridad más absoluta. Alien Ginsberg y Sylvia Plath, que tan poca relación tienen entre sí, fuera de la coincidencia temporal (ambos escribieron en los cincuentas), son de todos conocidos. Sylvia Plath se ha vuelto incluso un nuevo mito literario que sirve para glorificar tanto el suicidio como el feminismo. Afortunadamente su obra trasciende tales interpretaciones y no se necesita conocer su biografía para sentirse hondamente sacudido por su lectura. Ginsberg esta plenamente identificado con la corriente "Beat" de los cincuenta, el llamado "renacimiento de San Francisco", del cual fue también uno de los creadores y «. promotores Lawrence Ferlinghetti, cuya librería y editorial City Lights Books, fue / A-un centro de difusión importante para esta corriente. Es curioso anotar que Ferlinghetti sufrió cárcel por publicar Howl, de Ginsberg, ya que se consideró a este poema obsceno y ofensivo para la moral norteamericana. Sin embargo, como cualquier lector se dará cuenta al leerlos, ambos poetas no podrían ser más distintos, y aunque los dos tienen sentido del humor, hasta sus respectivos sentidos del humor son tan distintos como su poesía. Los poemas de Jerome Rothenberg tienen un aire, misterioso y surrealista, son delicados, hondamente sugerentes y se quedan en la memoria. La evolución posterior de Rothenberg, sin embargo, lo ha alejado de esta primera época, influyendo en él sus investigaciones etnológicas por las cuales se ha convertido en traductor y compilador de poesías indígenas y, en colaboración con Charles Doria, en coeditor y traductor de poemas cosmogónicos de diversas tradiciones. Lew Welch es un ilustre desconocido. El poema que de él incluimos apareció en versión de Tomás Segovia en la Revista Mexicana de Literatura de enero-febrero de 1962, gracias a Denise Levertov, que influyó en la selección de nuevos poetas norteamericanos presentados en dicho número.
Lo incluyo en este libro porque me gusta mucho, porque es imposible encontrar en ninguna biblioteca ni librería obras de Lew Welch, y porque su nombre no aparece siquiera en ninguno de los diccionarios de escritores norteamericanos que haya podido consultar. Pienso, pues, que incluir su poema en esta colección es una forma de rescatarlo del olvido total.
Algo parecido sucede con Tim Reynolds quien, a pesar de tener cuando menos seis libros publicados, algunos por Harcourt Brace, lectores entusiastas y una solidez intelectual poco común debida a su formación clásica y su conocimiento de la literatura inglesa y norteamericana, tampoco aparece ya en los diccionarios de escritores ni es conocido de los críticos norteamericanos con quienes he podido hablar recientemente. En el caso de Reynolds, a pesar de las alusiones cultas, el lector no necesita estar enterado de que está pensando en De rerum naturae, de Lucrecio, por ejemplo, cuando escribe "vienen para irse y se van para venir"; en "In Memoriam, el Che," es evidente la alusión a los mitos órficos y afines según los cuales el dios es despedazado, enterrado, y renace de la tierra cada primavera. Ronald Johnson también abunda en alusiones cultas (§¡'ie en su caso tampoco oscurecen al poema sino que lo enriquecen, que son, de hecho, su materia) intercalando, al estilo de Pound y Eliot, citas textuales cuyas fuentes da en el texto mismo. A pesar de este cultismo su poesía tiene un aspecto eufórico, extático y místico, de compenetración con la naturaleza, absolutamente único. La experimentación visual que se aprecia ya en los poemas incluidos lo llevó más tarde hacia la poesía concreta. Diane Wakowski va más allá del surrealismo en un autoanálisis que bucea en el subconciente con resultados sorprendentes. Si bien no figura entre los grandes nombres que se manejan oficialmente, o sea en las revistas en que escriben los críticos famosos o en los cursos de las universidades influyentes, que suelen padecer del mismo tipo de ceguera selectiva en todas las épocas y en todos los países, Wakoski tiene una amplia obra y una reputación muy alta entre sus lectores. Ron Loewinsohn es el poeta de quien menos datos tengo (con excepción de Lew Welch, de quien no tengo ninguno) A pesar de lo poco conocida que es su poesía me parece excelente, de una sutileza analítica e intímista y un poder de visualización que le da un carácter enteramente personal que no depende de piruetas verbales o estilísticas de ningún tipo. Quincy Troupe que, por cierto, es negro, tiene un ritmo verbal e imaginativo casi mágico que recuerda poderosamente a Dylan Thomas (a quien sólo leyó después de que le señalaron el parecido), pero cuyo mundo ha perdido la inocencia del que canta el poeta gales.
Aclaré desde un principio que ésta no es una antología en la que pretenda incluir a todos los mejores poetas norteamericanos de los últimos treinta años. Semejante antología podría no ser mucho más amplia que esta, pero supondría años de trabajo intensivo, viajes de investigación a bibliotecas y librerías especializadas, etc., etc., tarea que, francamente, ni puedo emprender ni me tienta mucho que digamos. Sin embargo, quiero aclarar que todos los poetas incluidos entrarían en dicha antología si yo la hiciera; todos me parecen extraordinarios y no quiero dejar de rendirles el homenaje de decirlo, y de invitar al lector a leer aunque sea esta brevísima selección de su poesía.
Isabel Fraire D. F., abril de 1981
American poetry selected by Isabel Fraire
THE MOON AND THE YEW TREE
This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my anides and murmuring of their humility.
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.
The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right, White as a knuckle and terribly upset. It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here,
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky------
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection. At the end, they soberly bong out their ñames.
The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape. The eyes lift after it and find the moon. The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary. Her blue garments unloose smaíl bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness-------
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles, Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.
I have fallen a long way. Glouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness------ blackness and silence.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty rauseum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow Effacement at the wind's hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the fíat pink roses. I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
Viciousness in the kitchen!
The potatoes hiss.
It is all Hollywood, windowless,
The fluorescent light wincing on and off like a terrible migraine,
Coy paper strips for doors-----
Stage curtains, a widow's frizz. And I, love, am a pathological liar,
And my child----- look at her, face down on the floor,
Little unstrung puppet, kicking to disappear------
Why she is schizophrenic,
Her face red and white, a panic,
You have stuck her kittens outside your window
In a sort of cement well
Where they crap and puke and cry and she can't hear. You say you can't stand her, The bastard's a girl.
You who have blown your tubes like a bad radio Clear of voices and history, the staticky Noise of the new.
You say I should drown the kittens. Their smell!
You say I should drown my girl.
She'll cut her throat at ten if she's mad at two.
The baby smiles, fat snail,
From the polished lozenges of orange linoleum.
You could eat him. He's a boy.
You say your husband is just no good to you.
His Jew-Mama guards his sweet sex like a pearl.
You have one baby, I have two.
I should sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair. I should wear tiger pants, I should have an affair. We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, Me and you.
Meanwhile there's a stink of fat and baby crap.
I'm doped and thick from my last sleeping pill.
The smog of cooking, the smog of hell
Floats our heads, two venomous opposites,
Our bones, our hair.
I cali you Orphan, orphan. You are ill.
The sun gives you ulcers, the wind gives you T.B.
Once you were beautiful.
Ln New York, in Hollywood, the men said: "Through?
Gee baby, you are rare."
You acted, acted, acted for the thrill.
The impotent husband slumps out for a coffee.
I try to keep him in,
An oíd pole for the lightning,
The acid baths, the skyfuls off of you.
He lumps it down the plástic cobbled hill,
Flogged trolley. The sparks are blue.
The blue sparks spill,
Splitting like quartz into a million bits.
Ojewel! O valuable! That night the moon Dragged its blood bag, sick Animal
Up over the harbor lights. And then grew normal, Hard and apart and white.
The scale-sheen on the sand scared me to death. We kept picking up handfuls, loving it, Working it like dough, a mulatto body, The silk grits.
A dog picked up your doggy husband. He went on.
Now I am silent, hate Up to my neck, Thick, thick. I do not speak.
I am packing the hard potatoes like good clothes, I am packing the sick cats. I am packing the babies,
0 vase of acid,
It is love you are full of. You know who you hate.
He is hugging his ball and chain down by the gate
That opens to the sea
Where it drives in, white and black,
Then spews it back.
Every day you fill him with soul-stuff, like a pitcher.
You are so exhausted.
Your voice my ear ring
Flapping and sucking, blood-loving bat.
That is that. That is that.
You peer from the door,
Sad hag. "Every woman's a whore.
1 can't communicate."
I see your cute décor
Cióse on you like the fist of a baby
Or an anemone, that sea
Sweetheart, that Kleptomaniac.
I am still raw.
I say I may be back.
You know what lies are for.
Even in your Zen heaven we shan't meet.
First, are you our sort of a person? Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,
Stitches to show something's missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand
To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches And do whatever you tell it. Will you marry it? It is guaranteed
To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit----
Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they'll bury you in it.
Now your head, excuse me, is empty. I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet. Well, what do you think of that? Naked as paper to start
But in twenty-five years she'11 be silver, In fifty, gold.
A living dolí, everywhere you look. It can sew, it can cook, It can talk, talk, talk.
It works, there is nothing wrong with You have a hole, it's a poultice. You have an eye, it's an image. My boy, it's your last resort. Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.
I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companión, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sadeyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hungover like oíd bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust —
--- 1 rushed up enchanted----- it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake----------- my
and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby
carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the
riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank
muck and the razor sharp artifacts passing into the past------
and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the
smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye-------
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb,
leaves stuck out like arms out of the stem, gestures from the sawdust root, broke pieces of plaster fallen out of the black twigs, a dead fly in its ear,
Unholy battered oíd thing you were, my sunflower O my soul, I loved you then!
The grime was no man's grime but death and human locomotives,
all that dress of dust, that veil of darkened railroad skin, that smog of cheek, that
eyelid of black mis'ry, that sooty hand or phallus or protuberance of artifi-
cial worse-than-dirt — industrial--------- modern-------- all that civilization
spotting your crazy golden crown-------
and those blear thoughts of death and dusty loveless eyes and ends and withered roots below, in the home-pile of sand and sawdust, rubber dollar bilis, skin of machinery, the guts and innards of the weeping coughing car, the empty lonely tincans with their rusty tongues alack, what more could I ñame, the smoked ashes of some cock cigar, the cunts of wheelbarrows and the milky
brasts of cars, wornout asses out of chairs & sphincters of dynamos----------- all
entangled in your mummied roots--------- and you there standing before me in the
sunset, all your glory in your form! A perfect beauty of a sunflower! a perfect excellent lovely sunflower existence! a sweet natural eye to the new hip moon, woke up alive and excited grasping in the sunset shadow sunrise golden monthly breeze! How many flies buzzed round you mnocent ot your grime, while you cursed the
heavens of the railroad and your flower soul? Poor dead flower? when did you forget you were a flower? when did you look at your skin and decide you were an impotent dirty oíd locomotive? the specter and shade of a once powerful mad American locomotive? You were never no locomotive, Sunflower, you were a sunflower! And you Locomotive, you are a locomotive, forget me not! So I grabbed up the skeleton thick sunflower and stuck it at my
side like a scepter and deliver my sermón to my soul, and Jack's soul too, and anyone
--- We're not our skin of grime, we're not our dread bleak dusty imageless loco-
motive, we're all beautiful golden sunflowers inside, we're blessed by our
own seed & golden hairy naked accomplishment-bodies growing into mad
black formal sunflowers in the sunset, spied on by our eyes under the
shadow of the mad locomotive riverbank sunset Frisco hilly tincan evening
A SUPERMARKET IN CALIFORNIA
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neón fruit su-permarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full
of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! ----------- and you, Garcia
Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?
I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely oíd grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Ángel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting arti-chokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors cióse in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll deaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely oíd courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
THE LION FOR REAL
'Soyez muette pour moi, Idole contemplative...'
I carne home and found a lion in my living room
Rushed out on the fire-escape screaming Lion ¡Lion!
Two stenographers pulled their brunette hair and banged the window shut
I hurried home to Paterson and stayed two days.
Called up my oíd Reichian analyst
who'd kicked me out of therapy for smoking marijuana
'It's happened' Ipanted "There's a Lion in my room'
Tm afraid any discussion would have no valué' he hung up.
I went to my oíd boyfriend we got drunk with his girlfriend
I issed him and announced I had a lion a mad gleam in my eye
We wound up fighting on the floor I bit his eyebrow & he kicked me out
I ended masturbating in his jeep parked in the street moaning 'Lion'.
Found Joey my novelist friend and roared at him 'Lion!
He Iooked at me interested and read me his spontaneous ignu high poetries
I listened for lions all I heard was Elephant Tiglon Hippogryph Unicorn Ants
But figured he really understood me when we niade it in Ignaz Wisdom's bathroom.
But next day he sent me a leaf from his Smokey Mountain retreat
'I love you litde Bo-Bo with your delicate golden lions
But there being no Self and No Bars therefore the Zoo of your dear Father hath no Lian
You said your mother was mad don't expect me to produce the Monster for your Bridegroom.'
Confused dazed and exalted bethought me of real lion starved in his stink in Harlem
Opened the door the room was filled with the bomb blast of his anger He roaring hungrily at the plaster walls but nobody could hear him outside thru the window
My eye caught the edge of the red neighbor apartment building standing in
deafening stillness We gazed at each other his implacable yellow eye in the red halo of fur Waxed rheumy on my own but he stopped roaring and bared a fang greeting.
I turned my back and cooked broccoli for supper on an iron gas stove boilt water and took a hot bath in the oíd tub under the sink board.
He didn't eat me, tho I regretted him starving in my presence. Next week he wasted away a sick rug full of bones wheaten hair falling out enraged and reddening eye as he lay aching huge hairy head on his paws by the egg-crate bookcase filled up with thin volumes of Plato, & Buddha.
Sat by his side every night averting my eyes from his hungry motheaten face stopped eating myself he got weaker and roared at night while I had nightmares Eaten by lion in bookstore on Cosmic Campus, a lion myself starved by Professor
Kandisky, dying in a lion's flophouse circus, I woke up momings the lion still added dying on the floor 'Terrible Presence! : I
cried 'Eat me or die! '
It got up that afternoon —walked to the door with its paw on the wall to steady its trembling body
Let out a soul rending creak from the bottomless roof of his mouth thundering from my floor to heaven heavier than a volcano at night in México Pushed the door open and said in a gravelly voice 'Not this time Baby — but I will be back again'
Lion that eats my mind now for a decade knowing only your hunger Not the bliss of your satisfaction O roar of the Universe how am I chosen In this life I have heard your promise I am ready to die I have served Your starved and ancient Presence O Lord I wait in my room at your Mercy.
I didn't get much sleep last night
thinking about underwear
Have you ever stopped to consider
underwear in the abstract
When you really dig into it
some shocking problems are raised
Underwear is something
we all have to deal with
Every one wears
some kind of underwear
The Pope wears underwear I hope Underwear is worn by Negroes The Governor of Louisiana wears underwear I saw him on TV
He must have had tight underwear He squirmed a lot
Underwear can really get you in a bind
Negroes often wear
which may lead to trouble
You have seen the underwear ads
for men and women
so alike but so different
Women's underwear holds things up
Men's underwear holds things down
Underwear is one thing
men and women have in common
Underwear is all we have between us
You have seen the three-color pictures
with crotches encircled
to show the áreas of extra strength
and three-way stretch
promising full freedom of action Don't be deceived
It's all based on the two-party system
which doesn't allow much freedom of choice
the way things are set up
America in its Underwear
struggles thru the night
Underwear controls everything in the end
Take foundation garments for instance
They are really fascist forms
of underground government
making people believe
something but the truth
telling you what you can or can't do
Did you ever try to get around a girdle
Perhaps Non-Violent Action
is the only answer
Did Gandhi wear a girdle?
Did Lady Macbeth wear a girdle?
Was that why Macbeth murdered sleep?
And that spot she was always rubbing-----
Was it really in her underwear?
Modern anglosaxon ladies
must have huge guilt complexes
always washing and washing and washing
Out damned spot — rub don't blot —
Underwear with spots very suspicious
Underwear with bulges very shocking
Underwear on clothesline a graH flag of freedom
Someone has escaped his Underwear
May be naked somewhere
But don't worry
Everybody's still hung up in it
There won't be no real revolution
And poetry still the underwear of the soul
And underwear still covering
a multitude of faults
in the geological sense —
strange sedimentary stones, inscrutable cracks! And that only the beginning For does not the body stay alive after death
and still need its underwear
or outgrow it
some organs said to reach full maturity
only after the head stops holding them back?
If I were you I'd keep aside
an oversize pair of winter underwear
Do not go naked into that good night
And in the mean time
keep calm and warm and dry
No use stirring ourselves up prematurely
Move forward with dignity
hand in vest
Don't get emotional
And death shall have no dominión There's plenty of time my darling Are we not still young and easy Don't shout
they are so bloody real
it is as if they really still existed
And they do
Only the landscape is changed
They still are ranged along the roads plagued by legionaires
false windmills and demented roosters
They are the same people
only further from home on freeways fifty lañes wide
on a concrete continent
spaced with bland billboards illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness The scene shows fewer tumbrils
but more maimed citizens
in painted cars and they have strange license plates and engines
that devour America
(from A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND) In Goya's greatest scenes we seem to see
the people of the world
exactly at the moment when
they first attained the title of
They writhe upon the page
in a veritable rage
groaning with babies and bayonets
under cement skies in an abstract landscape of blasted trees bent statues bats wings and beaks
slippery gibbets cadavers and carnivorous cocks and all the final hollering monsters of the
'imagination of disaster'
THE NIGHT THE MOON WAS A SPIDER
The night the moon was a spider we ran.
The sky grew as black as your eyes
It was starting to rain.
Sails in the air
The moon was a spider.
A ribbon of blood reached down
from the sky
to the roof of our house.
Red and black.
We were trying to sing.
It was cold.
In the net of the sky
where the bones were hanging
what I thought was your face.
The scraping of
wheels over rock
in the dark of the moon.
The night the soldiers drove by I rose from our bed, my hands bound behind me, and looked.
You were trying to dream. An icicle broke from the sky and entered my heart. The moon was a spider.
TIIREE TIMES THE APPARITION KNOCKED
Death in the morning. The eye of the rooster is White, and the hills are white.
In the white furnace, softly,
ashes falling like snow. Death.
Death in the day Your hair bears islands of shade. Seeing you
smile, I know that the road of the grave is a silence filled with your shadow.
Death in the night. Something brushes my arm some owl.
Sorrow of granite.
Black liorses race through my heart
in the rain.
THE STATIONMASTER'S LAMENT
I have buried her under a stone
The eagles fly past our house with umbrellas
The grey forms rise in the grass
I have buried her solemnly
Speaking the words that she knew:
And the chairs have stood by my side
The trains have been constant in death
The trains have been constant
The conductors who watered our plants have dropped by:
Nodding their palé Busterkeaton-like heads
The brakemen have played farewells on their cellos
Have rendered their final farewells
And the chairs have stood by my side
The chairs have been constant
The chairs with their arms full of wires were dearer to
me than my friends I will never forget them
They and the eagles both loved us (as only our plants
had before) They carne when I called them They wept dark tears made of burlap And stood by my side I have buried her under a forest
The conductors who walked with her coffin were there The benches were there with white thermoses turning her sheets
With burning black eyes the telegraph keys called the wind
Now they sleep at her feet
And the brakemen play their farewells
We have paid our farewells with her plants
Where the grey forms were rising commuters climb ramps
through the night They throw in their fistfulls of earth and bad dreams They run to the edge of the night where no one will follow Past lakes of blue darkness where furnaces holler like bulls And I sit with the three-hundred chairs of my dreams They have stood by my side I will never forget them
And the trains have been constant in death
I lived here nearly 5 years before I could
meet the middle western day with anything like
Dignity, It's a place that lets you
understand why the Bible is the way it is:
Proud people cannot live here.
The land's too fíat ugly sullen and big it
pounds men down past humbleness. They
Stoop at 35 possibly cringing from the heavy and terrible sky. In country like this there
Can be no God but Jahweh.
In the milis and refineries of its south side Chicago
passes its natural gas in flames Bouncing like bunsens from stacks a hundred feet high.
The stench stabs at your eyeballs. The whole sky green and yellow backdrop for the skeleton
steel of a bombed-out town.
Remember the movies in grammar school? The goggled men
doing strong things in Showers of steel-spark? The dark screen cracking light
and the furnace door opening with a Blast of orange like a sunset? Or an orange?
It was photographed by a fairy, thrilled as a girl, or
a Nazi who wished there were people Behind that door (henee the remote beauty) but Sievers,
whose oíd man spent most of his life in there, Remembers a nigger in a red T-shirt pissing into the
It was 5 years until I could afford to recognize the ferocity.
Friends helped me. Then I put some Love into my house. Finally I found some quiet lakes
and a farm where they let me shoot pheasant.
Standing in the boat one night I watched the lake go absolutely
fíat. Smaller than raindrops, and only Here and there, the feeding rings of fish were visible 100 yards
away----- and the Blue Gilí caught that afternoon
Lifted from its northern lake like a tropical jewel at its ear
belly goíd so bright you'd swear he had a Light in there... color fading with his life a small
All things considered, it's a gentle and an undemanding
planet, even here. Far gentler Here than any of a dozen other places. The trouble is
always and only with what we build on top of it. / There's nobody else to blame. You can't fix it and you
can't make it go away. It does no good appealing To some ill-invented Thunderer
brooding above his unimaginable crag...
It's ours. Right down to the last small hinge it
all depends for its existence Only and utterly upon our sufferance.
Driving back I saw Chicago rising in its gases and I
knew again that never will the Man be made to stand against this pitiless, unparalleled
monstrocity. It Snuf fies on the beach of its Great Lake like a
blind, red rhinoceros. It's already running us down.
You can't fix it. You can't make it go away.
I don't know what you're going to do about it, But I know what I'm going to do about it. I'm just
going to walk away from it. Maybe A small part of it will die if I'm not around
feeding it anymore.
5 Epodon: in re publica
You must be hanged by the neck, but not
till you are dead: for you must be cut down alive; then your bowels
must be taken out and burnt before your face; then your heads must be
severed from your bodies, and your bodies divided each into four
quarters, and these must be at the King's disposal. And God Almighty
be merciful to your souls. By Court Order. Listen, there is no way
to kill a man by which a man has not been killed by court order: stoning,
drowning, decapitation, peine forte et dure, shooting, dropping or pushing
from a high place, starvation, strangulation, incineration, electrocution,
innoculation of disease, poisoning, explosión, feeding to beasts,
no way. Last week in San Antonio five cops kicked a nigger to death.
They're back on their beats.
Through a 12-indi reflector facts elbow intuitions, visión visión: the moon is a dead fhing There's no change beyond
that wanderer's sphere. Its likeness to a glassed cell culture under microscope is spurious, its waxy fluorescence
that nacre peculiar to things drowned. If seeing's not believing there's none: no man, crow, cheese, woman, rabbit in the moon.
Leaving the university then, and walking home across the tracks, shadow incised beside me, the moon reasserts
her repellent fascination, tugs again, urging always: Let breakwaters crumble, mind founder in my smoothrunning
cold tides god lornfrom the world's side as Eve from Adam 's, I am you yet, your births and intersections, fabulous Artemis.
In Memoriam: El Che
This is a day of liberation for all the Munchkins and their descendants. Ifany.
October & the god is dead again, root tassel &
ear of our resurrection, & we
agonize again with the god whose gifts are agony & hope
Come March we'll
dance your rising
as we howl your fall now
in January's icy center we'll
e. member who's under our bootsoles
They told me you were sleeping in doorways in Reno or
iodine or whatever drunks drink
Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit
you wrote in a book you gave me
in the shop on Filmore ten years ago (but I lost it)
You told me it meant (laughing): Some day
we'll remember all this crap & laugh & laugh
A still bay, long withdrawn, waves break their backs on the island outside & flop sloshing back, hanging rocks, nymph-locus, you can see your face in the dark stillness, rising, falling
That rock-cradled calm after violence, Bill,
Bill Husk, have you found it?
As-tu des yeux pour Avril? J'en ai, I said. Elle a des yeux pour toi.
And she did. I did. God made me so laugh who heard laughed with me.
(As jukeboxes. Or
lOth Avenue, morñing, the
song! The city! )
Where there is no in or out of
season, no, but from below frostline that hemorrhage,
scoffing lobster on the hot rocks at Gloucester.
Which is why you laugh, it's
spring, love, you have eyes.
TO PARSIFAL, LONG AFTER
I can see how it was. Betrayed
by blood and muscle, finding even your instincts
inoperable, lethal, forbidden or irrelevant,
you went partly haywire, as when the back guns,
misinformed, shell the front troops; you became about half human. Although the dog-collar around your loins had worn a hairless groove and with your tail you handled your chain as deftly
as a grande dame her train, the graft never took;
you were not sufficiently human. I have
a wife now, and a son, and two
white rats named Argorotox' and Smintheus
(you would have bitten them all, Parsifal) but still miss you, remembering your pinched oíd man's face and the soft black palms of your hands, like a baby's, with minute nails. remembering
how you howled, free for once, on a back fence, gibbering crazily in the terror and bewilderment of chainlessness, not going far from me but refusing, to return-even for love or bananas.
THE BEAUFORT SCALE
is outmoded, not precisely indicative
of wind velocity, and so found
only in obsolete nautical textbooks.
It retains, however, a primal significance:
as calibrator of heart's weather it is sound.
CALM it classifies as that spellbound timeless
long afternoon when sparrows
chitter like oíd wagón wheels and "smoke
goes straight up"; "smoke drifts" in a LIGHT AIR.
In a SLIGHT BREEZE
"leaves rustle". A GENTLE BREEZE
sets "leaves and small twigs. . . in motion".
In a MODÉRATE BREEZE " dust flies; and paper;
small branches move". Then, in a FRESH BREEZE, "small trees
sway," we note "wavelets on water".
In a LARGE BREEZE
"large branches move; umbrellas are blown".
"Whole trees move; walking is difficult" in a HIGH WIND.
"Twigs break off" in a GALE.
come the STRONG GALE ("loóse shingles and chimneys go"), WHOLE GALE ("trees may be uprooted"), STORM ("damage is widespread") and last the HURRICANE, when "anything may go".
When everything is gone, the mast-stripped battered mariner heart may find at the embattled winds' eye, waters' center, CALM.
It comes to go & goes to come as from rain rise shining crops & black boughs green & cities flower with children & tired cows proffer fat dugs & calves on rickety legs stagger drunk with the milk through grass minds blasted born's from gone things & no thing otherwise born nothing dies never only you you you you
This is the buoyant meadow, a bottomléss
BLUE-GREEN, GREY-GREEN, APPLE-GREEN, EMERALD-GREEN 'Dig here to find
the stones, inside of which, the jade grows'.
As the sun rises or as it sets, one sees
the 'delicate smokes', in their waving emanations, out of rock.
And because of these cool & humid exhalations of the hidden jades-—
solidifications of water, or of
vegetation, at the heart
of other stone-----
the weeds grow above, tall, & of a brighter green.
Objects of many hues of jade
were found, interspersed among the whitened bones & crimson cinnabar
with which the body had been painted: a mask of jade mosaic inlaid with eyes of shell & obsidian, a jade head-band & tubes of jade to hold
the hair, a collar of row after row of jade beads in the form of squash blossom & calabash,
cuffs & rings & buckles of jade, & the delicate fiares of ear-plugs--
O stop our ears with leaves!
We are the holders of new shoots, the green above earth where we lie
till the silver disk of moon ring out at night
& the golden disk, of which the sun is made, resound at day.
wave of fox-fire. A rustling 'rye' of stars, rooting, downward, endlessly,
while its fires aspire upward, & its interstellar crickets pulse: Outward! Light! Inward! Darkness!
Where once the world stood surrounded, on a cylindrical column, by a spherical bark
leaking fire or
was circular, sublunary, wrapped in a celestial crystalline onion-skin.
* * *
went over that water, which, in winter was very clear, but in 'the midst
of summer grew whitish & there were then small green clouds permeating it'.
And he found in it the slow ováis of animáis
'pellucid', 'green & very shining'.
* * *
The ripe sparkling weeds wet us to the waist
as we walked into the rising sun, 'oriented' eastward
--- conjuring us, the gold
intruders, out of congeries of pollen—
beckoned by pungencies, a multitude of spider-webs & homed burrs
to cling to our legs, succulent snails cracked underfoot.
An opulence of gnats & muskrat.
We were 'Gardeners & Astronomers' of that world
—the clangor of the very near, the sough of the most remote—
Where bees of cellular sav annahs whirred like a summer's day
(humming-birds, within humming-birds)
heard far away.
Where each leaf of every elm & willow echoed another realm
of whippoorwill a world of owl.
And each blue lupine a distant mountain—
& galaxy upon galaxy
of cow-parsley. * * *
'Whatever Natural doth by this Microscope appear adorned in all imaginable Ele-gance and Beauty: such inimitable Gildings and Embroideries in smallest seeds of Plants: in parts of Animáis, the Head or Eye of a Fly; Such accurate Order and
Symmetry in the frame of the most minute Creatures, a Louse or Mite, as no man were to conceive without seeing of them. Whereas the most curious Works of Art seem rude Work as if they had been done with Mattock or Trowel so vast a di-fference is there between the Skill of Nature and Imperfection of Art.'
* * *
Ivés, in the 5th Symphony,
wrote the interlapping
'Who placed us with eyes between a microscopic and a telescopic world'?
Janácek heard squirrels screeching like his
into the strings of his piano.
Midges carne from his
'They have discovered that severa!
of the most solid bodies— are nothing
clarinet. And saw night-birds stare
undulating lines of mountains with
celestial o orbits.
'Whisperings at a
correspondence between darkness and
but an immense swarri of imperceptible Animals
One deep calling to another'
"Focus": fire place
'Con-sider': a gathering of
326 feet down in the Moroccan Atlas French
spelaeologists carne upon a meadow of thick white gleaming grass.
'as soon as there is light,
the air is filled with innumerable images
to which the eye serves as a magnet'.
Thoreau put his ear to the trees
'working terribly within'.
saw myriad 'worlds springing up like grass,
in the night'.
The irregular openings
between moving leaves
of the trees each
admit a round image
of the sun— the ground
a shimmer of múltiple disks,
when each forms a crescent.
T have touched mountains'.
BELLY DANCE R
Can these movements which move themselves
be the substance of my attraction?
Where does this thin green silk come from that covers
my body? Surely any woman wearing such fabrics would move her body just to feel them touching every
part of her.
Yet most of the women frown, or look away, or laugh stiffly.
They are afraid of these materials and these movements in some way.
The psychologists would say they are afraid of themselves, somehow.
Perhaps awakening too much desire-----
that their men could never satisfy?
So they keep themselves laced and buttoned and made up in hopes that the framework will keep them stiff enough
not to feel the whole register.
In hopes that they will not have to experience that
unquenchable desire for rhythm and contact.
If a snake glided across this floor
most of them would faint or shrink away.
Yét that movement could be their own.
That smooth movement frightens them------
awakening ancestors and relatives to the tips of the arms and toes.
So my bare feet
and my thin green silks
my bells and finger cymbals
offend them----- frighten them-
While the men simper and leer
—frighten their old-young bodies.
glad for the vicarious experience and exercise. They do not realize how I scorn them; or how I dance for their frightened, unawakened, sweet women;
THE OEDIPUS WITHIN
I cannot walk down the street anymore wíthout realizing
my own death, within myself,
the slow realization of insignificance I must accept
and which will negate me,
Is there some way to accept the truth, to face it directly
as we would a nude statue in the museum,
without the fear we feel looking at our own unrobed bodies,
full and warm as summer lake water?
We can touch the stone breasts,
the inarticulate genitals,
and understand something about life
the curious stare at our own flesh
will not yield.
Are we afraid of our own waters
and the deep floating lilies that grow from gravelly depths?
They will not grow from unclean water.
Pride is our sludge. Is there some way to look at ourselves from all sides and realize the insignificance, to recognize sculpture better made— a hand carved with so much strength it could hold water, though water cannot to held? Is there some way to know our stone is adequate yet not important
and still allow ourselves to be examined
without slipping back into the summer waters of the lake?
Pride will not let the lilies grow. Pride carves our eyes blind.
And if we yield to the wish that our statue be admired, in a museum,
and incamation of the warm, smooth waters of life into stone, will we ruin our minds as thorounghly as if they were mauled and chipped away by hacking chisels? Pride carves our eyes blind.
I will never have the courage to gouge out my eyes so that I may not be deceived by my adequacy when I try to evalúate. Yet,
can I realize that I,
as a statue,
am made of stone,
my eyes carved with the darkness of no sun, and the burning lilies climb over my rigid body flaming protest.
Everday I walk down the street and see that I cannot see.
PICTURE OF A GIRL DRAWN IN BLACK AND WHITE
A girl sits in a black room. She is so fair
the plums have fallen off the tress outside.
ley winds blow geese
into her hair.
The room is black,
but geese are wandering there,
breaking into her mind
and closing the room off
into its own black secret.She is not alone, for there is the sound of a hundred flapping wings, and from fruit rotting in the dark earth the smell of passing time.
A girl sits in an unreal room
combing her unreal hair.
The flapping wings of the geese have
from the trees outside,
and the wind has frozen them all
to keep the girl in the black room
there, combing her
unreal wintry hair.
A girl sits in a picture
with the background painted solid black
and combs her hair.
She is so fair the wind has broken
plums and scattered geese.
Winter has come.
The sound of flapping wings is so loud I hear nothing
but must only stare out of the picture and continué combing my black unreal hair.
THE MAN WHO PAINTS MOUNTAINS You are cut off
like tíie Chinese hermit. You think of the snowy mountain,
look at your hand holding its cup of tea
and see the impossible comparison.
How can a word bring you cióse—
one brush stroke after another: the Tao does not give
everyman the same idea of mountain.
Your brush stroke, with skill, glides into mountain but will anyone ever know what you mean by it?
You are cut off
like the Chinese hermit. Each brush stroke gets smaller, more precise:
but you have given up all hope of communication
and scarcely speak.
Mountain after mountain
filis your work. And they say, "Oh, yes,
he is the man who paints mountains".
A CHILD, A WASP, AND AN APRICOT TREE
What is there we do not know about death that cannot be pulled out of our mouths like a long white ribbon, stretching and stretching out
beyond our own senses?
A bird pulling a worm out of the ground.
It is burrowed there inside,
living alone in the dark.
Here, let me draw a picture for you.
I have drawn a stick figure of a child. And here is a wasp,
perhaps a little out of proportion with the figure but imagine that if the child is child-size, the wasp is wasp-size.
Now, here is a flower.
The ehild picks the flower
which happens to be an apricot blossom.
But, as you might suspect,
the wasp is in the flower.
When the child puts his face to the blossom to smell it he notices the wasp.
His mouth opens in surprise, and his eyes get large. But it is too late.
The wasp has caught the white ribbon of fear
out of the child's mouth
and, buzzing loud,
he pulís it out, longer and longer,
and winds it around the child----- winds and winds
until the child is wrapped in white ribbon from head to toe,
bound in white strips, as a mummy,
and the ribbon breaks off in the constricted mouth.
When the wasp, of our picture,
flies away, he flies pulling the ribbon,
but instead of pulling it tighter about the child,
he sets it in opposite motion,
spinning the child around without control
as the farther the wasp flies
attached to the ribbon,
the faster the child spins, but the more the tape unwinds fromhim,
until at last he is free,
and dizzily he sees the white ribbon vanishing beyond the apricot tree with the wasp.
I do not mean to say that the child is thinner for losing great lengths of his white tape or to imply how much he has inside
- perhaps he, himself, is made of tape
but only to draw a picture of a child, a wasp, and
a blossoming apricot tree
which are in themselves too lovely
to allow much thought of death.
It is behind their masks
I hide my own fear.
LARKSPUR INTERCHANGE: HOMAGE TO HENRY MOORE
The cloverleaf isn't isolate but operates
to serve the surrounding towns; 75 ft across US 101, a concrete subtle
arch supported in the center by 3 square pillars set down single file
in the dividing island of the roadway. Vertical clearance 15 ft 8 in. The ramps fork off the overpass at either end
curving along a 4°/o grade in 4 three-quarter circles till they meet
the roadway at its own level, affording uninterrupted flow to traffic north— or
southbound from Corte Madera or Tamalpais or from the east, Paradise Drive, the
Richmond Bridge. Cars coming down 101 or northbound from the Golden Gate Bridge
make their exit nonstop, with no stalling left turns across traffic.
On the south side of the interchange, at either
side of the highway are 2 tightly spiralled ramps built around a central
concrete monolith, with handrails, to simplify pedestrian crossings.
In the grey late afternoon the girl
in the red coat half-pulls herself up the ramp by the railings. She rises
in a spiral as we approach her in the bus & just as we go under the interchange
she comes around the grey pillar into view again: brown eyes & an armful of books
& her legs inside her skirt look lean & muscular. The bus slows down to take
the curve, banking & rising, & the girl is visible thru the railings of both our ramps
as a sandy head of hair above a red
coat about 40 ft away. As we pulí out
of the are the driver guns the engine
& she's gained the level of the overpass, paus-
ing for a moment to watch us as we pass her
watching her, looking down on her brown hair.
—for Larry Eigner
(out the window) (across the street)
there is this kid this spade kid
running, away from me, running a— cross the asphalt, his keds landing on the lines painted on it to
contain the games---- over which he
runs: 250 ft away when I started this poem & moving
farther with every word------ he runs
where he's going; he's looking over his left shoulder & his left hand is rising
on the end of his arm which is
rising in front of him till he sticks it out straight & the ball
which wasn't even headed in his direction when I started this poem, the ball is
in his glove, there where he runs, & I'm there, too, in his glove, & you,
too, gentle reader, there in his glove, & he doesn't stop
"THE SEA. AROUND US"
The sea, around us. The rain
so steady these past weeks it's been like a sea around us.
& a form
of the sea itself, lapping continuously
at our shores.
What we might get from it, were it truly
to us: gold, the stories of the drowned, war-weary & bound for home —what nourishment from the wine-dark sea.
But these past weeks it's merely
a médium thru which we move, clumsily, this rain falling so steadily,
breathing as best we can.
(Once with B, fishing the Yuba,
up to my waist in it, moving my feet
over the rocky bottom, I could feel the steady forcé of it
roiling around my body, down to my flapping pantslegs, the water pouring thru my shoes.
Down in it the supple trout moving &
the mosses the same brown as their rocks.
Today there's a similar clumsiness.
Out there the trees rise up into the grey air, their branches are out in it;
their deep roots; their heads pointing to the raining heavens.
Paradigms. At times mocking paradigms.
The dark green flames nourished by that grey light & that grey rain. Flames.
It may be their subtle movements, but
like flames there is a space around them that is still them.
In the steady pressure of the Yuba
I could feel that space around myself,
& the trout too had that space around them, which they
occupied. Like those trees---------------
But now, walking into the wet evening
& seeing them there, the wet green flame-like trees, the spaces
--- & the spaces between us in-
habited by falling
specks of water-----
This girl walked past me, her hair in the light available to me
falling around her shoulders as yours does, wet now, 8c dark. There were those spaces
between us, too, where you might say, There, there is speck of rain, 8c there.
--- & be wrong every time.
Sometimes I step back into myself & there's no one home.
This rain, which I make
a form of the sea, a sea-form, & wrestle with it.
& I'm wrong every time. It,s you: I'm wrong every
It's you: I'm learning that, a space
between us, all around me like the sea, or the light that I haven't
wrestled with enough, & so haven't learned yet.
This rain, those trees
have been around a long time, familiar to each other in all their forms,
in all their changes. The trees live off the light, & the rain
falls day & night
FROM RICHMOND COLLEGE, POSTMARKED - MANHATTAN
from this plate-glass window
high above staten island
night closes in on the jugular vein of day
as black paint spreads down over space
of white canvas
squeezing out life
cycle of day
artificial lights shimrner/dance bojangle out of focus
tap-dance across the sound stuffed with slow moving ships as the verrazano bridge strings out its chainlink of stars/glittering notions blurs of flashing carlights rippling motions
& from here across the sound's
waters the shore of brooklyn comes alive with yellow lights that glow like eyes of panthers
down freeways carved from blood & stolen gold
while the american flag shivers/ whips back
hung up there atop staten island's
city hall tower
alone in the face of ice
black hands on the white face of the luminous tower clock move methodically while under the bridge the strung-out motion red lights púlsate like heartbeats of a rebreathing bag/ dreams rise & fall against the darkness
blood colors bloodshot eyes in flight feverish eyes of countless rodents impressionistic images swirling penétrate the dark rhythms
while down at the ferry landing
cars move like monstrous bugs
down long curving rampways
headlight tongues for eyes probe/open up
the darkness with their bone bright keys of light
crawl up the snaking asphalt pavement
while people move in slow
fast shuffling motion as in oíd homemade
silent movies in black & white dragging
their day behind them
anchored to tired drooping shoulders
now across the sound in the other direction towards manhattan the eye locates the oxidized green french woman carved from stone lighting her torch in the harbor
while manhattan looms up behind her
a gigantic electric circus
of sizzling lights
now night closes in finaJly
its walls of mystery like dracula
en folding himsel up in his black sweeping cape
while all around staten island supper smells
tantalize the nostrils
now as eye am leaving the wind dies
down up on the flagpole the flag hangs limply while black hands on the white face of the clock turn around the hours fast as jessie owens winning the olympic dashes in hitler's germany in 1936
now panther against the dark eye enter the ferry
slip down through the womb of its doors like a letter being slid into
slides back into the night postmarked; manhattan
NEW YORK BLACK DISCO SCENE; 1976
afro-vogue sleek black high-flown model types slick purple lips eyelashes so long they sweep ceilings stylin is the essence of these anthracitic men & women of packaged mannerisms their midnights deep inside cold blues
afro-vogue new york disco syrupy music bright lights
jeweled wings of seraphims
baubles of rhinestones flash long glittering
nails as razors
weaving cobra rhythms bodies moving inside supple taut movements suggestive as high-wire tensión
glitter-glatter symbols computerized xeroxed people compartmentalized mirrors gliding through liquid smoke laviticus
you see there now the bottom line hanging latexed women as frozen meat from goring hooks refrigerated in deep freeze now their feelings where reed thin cool black men sportin french cut
tailored suits/ pruned
leathers / furs
attaché cases stuffed
with credit cards say
"baby, it ain't 'bout
but, can I come
home with you tonight?"
here earth smells
have no place or meaning
hear no innovative black language
no human love given
fashion píate givenchy/ chanel
number five / monsieur rochas
hear chit-chat of ice-cubes
with no memory of who murdered
snatched away that
THESE CROSSINGS, THESE WORDS
for Pablo Neruda
where will they take us to
over rivers of blood-stained words syllables haphazardly thrown together as marriages that fall apart in one day
we have come this far in space
to know nothing of time
of the imprisoning distance travelled
the scab-fleshed hobos passed
we have most times asked nothing
of the mirrors of our own shattered reflections passing us as lava smoldering in the streets
in our red eyes the guillotine
smile of the hangman
a time-bomb ticking for our hearts
the brain an item bought like so much gooey candy
the laugh a razor's flash
the party time juba
of My Lai's sickening ritual
as american as elvis presley's dead days
& the blood-scarred wind
whipped rag blue squared of with stars
that are silver bullets
& pin-striped with bones of mythologized pepermint
will not hide the corpse-lynched history
hanging there twisting slowly
as a black man's body
screaming through soft magnolia air
over a tear-stained bride's veil
breeze blown & fluttering
as a flopping fish
in a gesture of surrender
we have come all this distance in darkness
bomb-flashes guiding our way
speaking of love / of passions instantly eclipsed
to find this corpse of freedom hung & machine-gunned
for the blood of a ñame beneath a simple word
(& what do we know who have not gone there in truth
of the roots of these flames burning at river-crossings
of the crossbones of our ñames connecting rivers
of blood beautiful as a fusing coltrane solo? )
& there are times when see celluloid phantoms of mediarized lovers crawling from sockets of cracking up skeletons posing as cameras & t.v. screens
times still when we stand here
anchored to silence by terror
of our own voice & of the face revealed
in the unclean mirror shattering
our sad-faced children
dragging anchors of this gluttonous
debauchery & of this madness
that continúes to last
THE OLD PEOPLE SPEAK OF DEATH
for Leona Smith, my grand mother
the oíd people speak of death frequently now
my grandmother speaks of those now gone to spirit now less than bone
they speak of shadows
that graced their days made lovelier
by their wings of light speak of rears
& corpses of years of darkness
& of relationships buried
déeper even than residue of bone
gone now beyond hardness
gone now beyond form
they smile now from ingrown roots
of beginnings of those who have left us
& climbed back through the holes the oíd folks
left in their eyes
for them to enter through
eye walk back now with this poem through the holes the oíd folks left in their eyes for me to enter through walk back to where eye see them there
the ones that have gone beyond hardness the ones that have gone beyond form see them there
darker than where roots began &: lighter than where they go with their spirits
heavier than stone their memories
sometimes brighter than the flash
of sudden ligtning.
but green branches will grow
from these roots darker than time
& blacker than even the ashes of nations
sweet flowers will sprout
& wave their love-stroked language
in sun-tongued moming's shadow
the spirit in all our eyes
they have gone now back to shadow as eye climb back out from the holes of these oíd folks eyes those spirits who sing through this poem gone now back with their invisible faces upon the transmigration of earth nailing winds singing guitar blues voices through the ribcages of these days
gone now to where the years run darker than where roots begin greener than what they bring
the oíd people speak of death frequently now
my grandmother speaks of those now gone to spirit now less than bone
Nació en Boston, el 27 de octubre de 1932; murió el 11 de febrero de 1963. Obra poética
A Winter Ship (publicado anónimamente), Tragara Press, Edimburgo, 1960.
The Colossus, Heinemann, Londres, 1960.
Ariel, Faber, Londres, 1965.
Uncollected Poems, Turret, Londres, 1965.
Wreath for a Bridal, Sceptre Press, Frensham, Surrey, 1970.
Million Dollar Month, Sceptre Press, Frensham, Surrey, 1971.
Fiesta Melons, Rougemont Press, Exeter, 1971.
Crossing the Water, Faber, Londres, 1971.
Crystal Gazer and Other Poems, Rainbow Press, Londres, 1971.
Lyonesse: Hitherto Uncollected Poems, Rainbow Press, Londres, 1971.
Winter Trees, Faber, Londres, 1971.
Child, Rougemont Press, Exeter, 1971.
Pursuit, Rainbow Press, Londres, 1973.
Nació en Newark, Nueva Jersey, el 3 de junio de 1926. Obra poética
Howl and Other Poems, City Lights, San Francisco, 1956. Siesta in Xbalba and Return to the States, Edición del autor, 1956. Empty Mirror: Early Poems, Totem-Corinth, New York, 1961. Kaddish and Other Poems 1958-1960, City Lights, San Francisco, 1961. A Strange New Cottage in Berkeley, Grabhorn Press, San Francisco, 1963. Reality Sandwiches 1953-60, City Lights, San Francisco 1963.
Penguin Modera Poets 5, con Lawrence Ferlinghetti y Gregory Corso. Penguin, Londres, 1963. The Change, Writers Forum, Londres, 1963.
Kral Majales, Oyez, Berkeley, 1965.
Prose Contribution to Cuban Revolution, Artists Workshop Press, Detroit, 1966. Wichita Vortex Sutra, Peace News Poetry, Londres, 1966. T. V. Baby Poems, Cape Goliard Press, 1967.
Wales - A Visitation, July 29, 1967, Cape Goliard Press, Londres, 1968.
Scrap Leaves, Hasty Scribbles, Poets Press, Nueva York, 1968.
Message II, Gallery Upstairs Press, Búfalo, 1968.
Planst News 1961-1967, City Lights, San Francisco, 1968.
Airplane Dreams: Compositions from Journals, Anansi, Toronto, 1968.
Ankor-Wat, Fulcrum Press, Londres, 1969.
The Moments Return, Grabhorn Hoyem, San Francisco, 1970.
Notes after an Evening with William Carlos Williams, Charters, Nueva York, 1970.
Iron Horse, Coach House Press, Toronto, 1972.
The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971, City Lights, San Francisco, 1982. The Gates of Wrath; RKymed Poems 1948-1952, Grey Fox Press, Bolinas, California, 1972. Open Head, con Open Eye, de Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sun, Melbourne, 1972. New Year Blues, Phoenix Book Shop, Nueva York, 1972.
Bixby Canyon Ocean Path Word Breeze, Gotham Book Mart, Nueva York, 1972.
Sad Dust Glories, Workingman's Press, Berkeley, 1975.
First Blues: Rags, Ballads, an Harmonium Songs 1971-74, Full Court Press, Nueva York, 1975. Mind Breaths: Poems 1972-1977, City Lights, San Francisco, 197S.
Poems All Over the Place: Mostly Seventies, Cherry Valley Editions, Cherry-Valley, Nueva York, 1978.
Selected Gay Poems and Correspondence, con Peter Orlovsky, Gay Sunshine Press, San Francisco, 1979.
Nació en Yonkers, Nueva York, el 24 de marzo de 1919. Obra poética
Pictures of the Gone World, City Lights, San Francisco, 1955. A Coney Island of the Mind, New Directions, Nueva York, 1958.
Tentative Description of a Dinner Given to Promote the Impeachment of President Eisenhower,
Golden Mountain Press, San Francisco, 1958. One Thousand Fearful Words for Fidel Castro, City Lights, San Francisco, 1961. Berlín, Golden Mountain Press, 1961.
Starting from San Francisco, New Directions, Nueva York, 1961.
Penguin Modern Poets 5, con Alien Ginsberg y Gregory Corso, Penguin, Londres, 1963. Where is Vietnamí, City Lights, San Francisco, 1965.
To fuck is to Love Again; Kyrie Eleison Kerista; or, The Situation in the West; Followed by a Fíoly
Proposal, Fuck You Press, Nueva York, 1965. An Eye on the World: Selected Poems, MacGibbon and Kee, Londres, 1967. After the Cries of the Birds, Dave Haslewood Books, San Francisco, 1967. Reverle Smoking Grass, East 128, Milán 1968.
The Secret Meaning of Things, New Directions, Nueva York, 1969.
Tyrannus Nix?, New Directions, Nueva York, 1969.
Back Roads to Far Places, New Directions, Nueva York, 1971.
Love is no Stone on the Moon: Automatic Poem, Arif Press, Berkeley, 1971.
Open Eye, Open Heart, New Directions, Nueva York, 1973.
Director of Alienation, Main Street, Clinton, Nueva Jersey, 1976.
Who Are We Now? New Directions, Nueva York, 1976.
Northwest Ecolog, City Lights, San Francisco, 1978.
Landscape of Living and Dying, New Directions, Nueva York, 1979.
Nació en la ciudad de Nueva York, el 11 de diciembre de 1931. Obra poética
White Sun, Black Sun, Hawk's Well Press, Nueva York, 1960.
The Seven Hells of the Jigoku Zoshi, Trobar Books, Nueva York, 1962.
Sightings I-IX, con Lunes de Robert Kelly, Hawk's Well Press, Nueva York, 1964.
The Gorky Poems (edición bilingüe), El Corno Emplumado, México, 1966.
Between 1960-1963, Fulcrum Press, Londres, 1967.
Conversations, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968.
Poems 1964-1967, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968.
Offering Flowers, con Ian Tyson, Circle Press, Londres, 1968.
Poland/1931, Unicom Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1969.
The Directions, con Tom Phillips, Tetrad Press, Londres, 1969.
Poems fot the Game of Silence 1960-1970, Dial Press, Nueva York, 1971.
A Book of Testimony,Tree, Bolinas, California, 1971.
Net of Moon, Net of Sun, Unicom Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1971.
A Valentine No a Valedictory for Gertrude Stein, Judith Walker, Londres, 1972.
Séneca Journal I: A Poem of Beavers, Perishable Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1973.
Esther K. Comes to America, Unicorn Press, Greensboro, Carolina del Norte, 1974.
The Cards, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1974.
The Pirke and the Pearl, Tree, San Francisco, 1975.
Séneca Journal: Midwinter, con Philip Sultz, Singing Bone Press, San Luis, 1985. A Poem to Celébrate the Spring and Diane Rothenberg's Birthday, Perishable Press Madison, Wisconsin, 1975.
Book of Falaces: The Gatekeepers, Pomegranate Press, Boston, 1975.
/ Was Going Through the Smoke, con Ian Tyson, Tetrad Press, Londres, 1975.
Rain Events, Membrane Press, Milwaukee, 1975.
The Notebooks, Membrane Press, Milwaukee, 1976.
A Vision of the Chariot in Heaven, Hundred Flowers Book Shop, Boston, 1976.
Narratives and Realtheater Pieces, con Ian Tyson, Braad, Bretenoux, Francia, 1977.
Séneca Journal: The Serpent, con Philip Sultz, Singing Bone Press, San Luis, 1978.
Songs for the Society of the Mystic Animáis, con Ian Tyson, Tetrad Press, Londres, 1979.
B*R*M*Tz*V*H*, Perishable Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1979.
Abufalia's Circles, Membrane Press, Milwaukee, 1979.
Numbers and Letters, Salient Seedling Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1979.
Nació en Vicksburg, Mississippi, el 18 de julio de 1936. Obra poética
Ryoanji, Harcourt Brace, Nueva York, 1964. Halflife, PymRandall Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1964. Slocum, Unicorn Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1967. Qué, Halty Ferguson, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1971. The Wornen, Phoenix Press, Nueva York. 1973.
Nació en Ashland, Kansas, el 25 de noviembre de 1935 Obra poética
A Une ofPoetry, A row of Trees, Jargon, Highlands, Carolina del Norte, 1964. Assorted Jungles: Rousseau, Auerhahn Press, San Francisco, 1966.
Gorse/Goose/Rose and Other Poems, Departamento de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Indiana,
Bloomington, 1966. Sunflowers, John Furnival, Woodchester, Gloucestershire, 1966. lo and the Ox-Eye Daisy, Wild Hawthorn Press, Dunsyre, Lanarkshire, 1966. The Book ofthe Green Man, Norton, Nueva York, 1967. The Round Earth on Fiat Paper, Finial Press, Urbana, Illinois, 1968. Reading 1 and 2 (dos volúmenes), Finial Press, Urbana, Illinois, 1968. Valley of the Many-Colored Grasses, Norton, Nueva York, 1969. Balloons for Moonless Nights, Finial Press, Urbana, Illinois, 1969. The Spirit Walks, The Rocks Will Talk, Jargon, Highlands, Carolina del Norte, 1969. Songs ofthe Earth, Grabhorn Hoyem, San Francisco, 1970. Maze/Mane/Wane, Pomegranate Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1973. Eyes on Objects, Jargon, Highlands, Carolina del Norte, 1976. RADI OS I-IV, San Dollar, San Francisco, 1977.
Nació en Whittier, California, el 3 de agosto de 1937. Obra poética
Coins and Coffins, Hawk's Well Press, Nueva York, 1962.
Discrepancies and Apparitions, Doubleday, Nueva York, 1962.
The George Washington Poems, Riverrun Press, Nueva York, 1967.
Greed Parts One and Two, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968.
The Diamond Merchant, Sans Souci Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1968.
Inside the Blood Factory, Doubleday, Nueva York, 1968.
A Play and Two Poems, con Robert Kelly y Ron Loewinsohn, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968.
Thanking My Mother for Piano Lessons, Perishable Press, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, 1969. Greed Parts 3 and 4, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1969.
The Moon Has a Complicated Geography, Odda Tala Press, Palo Alto, California, 1969. The Magellanic, Clouds, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1970. Greed Parts 5-7, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1970.
The Lament ofthe Lady Bank Dick, Sans Souci Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970. Love, You Big Fat Snail, Tenth Muse, San Francisco, 1970.
Black Dream Ditty for Billy "The Kid" Seen in Dr. Generosity's Bar Recruiting for Hell's Angels
and Black Mafia, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1970. Exorcism, My Dukes, Boston, 1971.
This Water Baby: For Tony, Unicom Press, Santa Barbara, California, 1971.
On Barbara's Shore, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1971.
The Motorcyele BetrayalPoems, Simón and Schuster, Nueva York, 1971.
The Pumpkin Pie, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1972.
The Purple Finch Song, Perishable Press, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, 1972.
Sometimes a Poet Will Hijack the Moon, Burning Deck, Providence, Rhode Island, 1972.
Smudging, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1972.
The Owland the Snake: A Fable, Perishable Press, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, 1973. Greed Parts 8, 9, 11, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1973. Looking fot the King of Spain, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1974. The Wandering Tatler, Perishable Press, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, 1974. Abálone, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1974.
Virtuoso Literature for Two and Four Hands, Doubleday, Nueva York, 1975. The Fable of the lion and the Scorpion, Pentagram Press, Milwaukee, 1975. Waitingfor the King of Spain, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, 1976. The Man Who Shook Hands, Doubleday, Nueva York, 1978. Cap of Darkness, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Bárbara, 1980.
Nació en Iloilo, Filipinas, el 15 de diciembre de 1937. Obra poética
Watermelons, Tótem, Nueva York, 1959. The World ofthe Lie, Change Press, San Francisco, 1963. Against the Silences to Come, Four Seasons, San Francisco, 1965. L'Autre, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1967.
Lying Together, Turning the Head and Shifting the Weight, The Produce District and Other Places,
Moving - A Spring Poem, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1967. Three Backyard Dramas with Mamas, Unicom Press, Santa Barbara, 1967. The Sea, Around Us, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968. The Step, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968.
These Worlds Have Always Moved in Harmony, en A Play and Two Poems, con Diane Wakoski y
Robert Kelly, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1968. Meat Air: Poems 1957-1969, Harcourt Brace, Nueva York, 1970. The Leaves, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1973. Eight Fairy Tales, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1975. Goat Dances, Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles, 1976.
Nació en la ciudad de Nueva York en 1943. Obra poética
Embryo Poems 1967-1971, Barlenmir House, Nueva York, 1972. TheEvent, Crowell, 1975.