"...to enclose the present moment; to make it stay; to fill it fuller and fuller, with the past, the present and the future, until it shone, whole, bright, deep with understanding."

Virgina Woolf, The Years


Cielo y quietud

Mis ojos ven la crueldad
pero no la dejan pasar
son de agua
limpian la verdad


Not exactly forbidden

I am always hungry
& wanting to have
sex. This is a fact.
If you get right
down to it the new
unprocessed peanut
butter is no damn
good & you should
buy it in a jar as
always in the
largest supermarket
you know. And
I am an enemy
of change, as
you know. All
the things I
embrace as new
are in
fact old things,
re-released: swimming,
the sensation of
being dirty in
body and mind
summer as a
time to do
nothing and make
no money. Prayer
as a last re-
sort. Pleasure
as a means,
and then a
means again
with no ends
in sight. I am
absolutely in opposition
to all kinds of
goals. I have
no desire to know           
where this, anything
is getting me.
When the water
boils I get
a cup of tea.
Accidentally I
read all the
works of Proust.
It was summer
I was there
so was he. I
write because
I would like
to be used for
years after
my death. Not
only my body
will be compost
but the thoughts
I left during
my life. During
my life I was
a woman with
hazel eyes. Out
the window
is a crooked
silo. Parts
of you
I think
of as stripes
which I am
learning to
love along. We
swim naked
in ponds &
I write be-
hind your
back. My thoughts
about you are
not exactly
forbidden, but
exalted because
they are useless,
not intended
to get you
you love
me. It’s more
like a playground
where I play
with my reflection
of you until
you come back
and into the
real you I
get to sink
my teeth. With
you I don't know 
how to relax &
so I write
behind your
back. Which
is hard.
is out of control
you tell me &
that’s what’s so
ill about
it. I’m immoderately
in love with you,
knocked out by
your one
white hair
why should
I had never
known be the
very best there
is. I love
you from my
starting back
there when
one day stopped
being just like the
rest, sudden 
bond and
longing, constant
love, a light-
ning in the
middle of
the day,
a halted step
in the vastly
path of
the Sun. I
squint. I
wink. I
before I
take the
Retailored version of Eileen Myles' “Peanut Butter”


Poem written during you-me

A photograph
on the back of a hand mirror 

resembles someone you knew 
who sang themselves utterly away. 
It cannot touch you
or the sound of the rapids.
Leave it, and walk farther 

crawling up my leg
to find me all smiles
attached to nothing.
You and I can stay
in the morning dew.
My little telephone
in the mulberry fields
going unanswered
on that blade of grass.

Poem written with Basho, by Matthew Rohrer


Ever new songs

If our heart be not meant for love
Then why at dawn do you fill the skies
With ever new songs, ever new songs
If our heart be not meant for love?

Why this garland of fainting stars
Why those brilliant beds of flowers
Why does the breeze from the southern seas
Whisper secret words from ear to ear
If our heart be not meant for love?

Why, with longing so intense,
Does the sky gaze into my eyes
If our heart be not meant for love?

Why does my heart ever, ever restless wander in its madness
Launching its bark on the great ocean
Of which no one knows the other shore?

Jodi Prem Dile Na Prane, Rabindra Sangeet sung by Lopamudra Mitra



Gods demand (O Skin, be strong)

Gods demand we waltz
the teeming hedge
soldiers spread
but can’t quell
what wells

worthwhile’s a made shape
wafting about
in the night so green
all bright ornament
and creamy delay

I take off my hat
I get off and walk

O skin be strong
expand rewardable range
build steady wealth
of shared play
don’t end at lending
nouns to property

consult the ear
consult the air

claim common right
to lick up excess
as a lock’s for frisking
a gale’s gaping gate

they say the submarine
which waves no flag
is a violator vessel

how soft its coax
how smooth its thick white head

adorned and anointed
the bodies of my loves
the fear grins
of great apes

Alli Warren's There's always some bird dog, again, with one minor, significant change.

Source: Poetry (September 2014).


Diciamo tutto in una parola sola o in una sola parola tutto nascondiamo?

Cosa diciamo quando diciamo: mare? Diciamo l'immenso mostro capace di divorarsi qualsiasi cosa, o quell'onda che ci schiuma intorno ai piedi? L'acqua che puoi tenere nel cavo della mano o l'abisso che nessuno può vedere? Diciamo tutto in una parola sola o in una sola parola tutto nascondiamo? Sto qui, a un passo del mare, e neanche riesco a capire, lui, dov'è. Il mare. Il mare.

Parole: Alessandro Baricco, Oceano mare


A wild solitude calls out to me

It’s in the perilous boughs of the tree   
out of blue sky    the wind   
sings loudest surrounding me.

And solitude,   a wild solitude
’s reveald,   fearfully,   high     I’d climb   
into the shaking uncertainties,

part out of longing,   part     daring my self,
part to see that
widening of the world,   part

to find my own, my secret
hiding sense and place, where from afar   
all voices and scenes come back

—the barking of a dog,   autumnal burnings,
far calls,   close calls—   the boy I was
calls out to me
here the man where I am   “Look!

I’ve been where you

most feared to be."

Robert Duncan's Childhood's Retreat casi inmaculado, with just one very minor, yet not insgnificant, change. 


All birthed and happy

I walk along these hillsides
in the summer 'neath the sunshine
I'm feathered by the moonlight
falling down on me

Words: A murder of one by Counting Crows


If you ignore the world and find it in you to swirl the word (or, Same bones, different skeletons; or, Pick your poisson)

Eros scrabbles to rose and rage
to rose and rage

to rage
to smite homesick hours or violet types
flowers that say "love it" if you listen

                                                                       Me, I do 

and don’t feel it matters that evil thrives
in live, that we tinker and smash 

everything down to bits and then
try to patch a path back home, it’s our lotto 

in life, to have no clue
what a natural disaster is
when that disaster is us. 

                     Besides, what can I say about

language other than it’s an anal egg 
in need of one glorious u. Words
or sword — pick your poisson. Every time 
I try to peak into speaking, the bag
of gab to learn what our noodles
are really up to, I get flummoxed
that the tools I use
are the stool I stand on

to see a way in or out. I can’t even tell 
if I’m more trapped or rapt,
if meaning’s mean or play’s
a dumb waiter riding numbly

up and down. But have you noticed 
read becomes dear
if you ignore the world
as you find it and find it in you

to swirl the word, in the way 
solve and loves are the same 
bones, different skeletons. 

(Personal selection of Bob Hicok's The pregnancy of words)



On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. You’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?
- Wendy Cope, "Waterloo Bridge"

I say eleven, you say eleven
I say... what? And you said... what else?
Some details do begin to fade
like they do when old photographs
are exposed too long to sunlight
or forgotten in dark, humid corners

Yet others remain spotless
like the way you tried on that hat
or the way you sipped all those iced coffees
The memory of all that
Time doesn't seem to be succeeding
in taking that away from me

The way your smile
does certainly beam
The way you said
how much you like to sing
even if off key
The way you still
haunt my dreams
Time is not being able
to take that away from me

The way we first danced... 'till three?
When there was nobody else
on the dance floor
but people were watching us
probably murmuring to each other

The way you sneaked your arm
behind me
The way it reached down
to my waist
Or how we both already knew
that one of our faces
would approach the other's lips
and thus waited patiently
The memory of all that
Time just won't take that away from me

I may wonder
for how long will I wonder
why the Gods above me
(who absolutely were in the know)
thought so little of me
they allowed the music to change
from major to minor

I may wonder
for how long will I wonder
if there will be other lips
that will thrill me half as much as yours did
or if there will be another you

What is certain
is that time can't take the memory of you
away from me

(Variaton, the last, on not-exactly-Eleven jazz poems -and songs-, namely, Ella and Louise's Let's call the whole thing off,  Ella's They can't take that away from me and Every time we say goodbye, and Chet Baker's There will never be another you)


Many other nights

Jasper Gywn mi ha insegnato che non siamo personaggi, siamo storie. 
- Alessandro Baricco, Mr Gwyn

Will there be many other nights like
be standing here
watching you
like I could write your portrait
in my mind
while I watch you dance

Like I could listen to some truest self
speaking through your moving body
and come up
with the setting and the props
and characters and plot
that would speak about you
like people would read it and say
that's him

Will there be many other nights like
be standing here
trying to spot you among the crowd
of swaying and jumping bodies
trying to listen to your truest self
while I watch you dance

Variation on Paul Blackburn's Listening to Sonny Rollins at the Five Spot and Alessandro Baricco's Mr Gwyn

(Or variation the third on not-precisely-Eleven jazz poems)

A hundred indecisions, and a hundred visions and revisions which a minute will reverse

Celebrar el naufragio
Desatar al destino
Olvidar frente al mar
que lo mismo es distinto
- Jordi Soler, Los peces del viento

And would it have been worth it
after all
after the cups, the marmalade, the tea
after the sunsets, the dooryards and the sprinkled streets
after the skirts that trailed along the floor
after having beaten off the matter with sighs and cries and smiles
after having squeezed the universe into a ball
and rolled it towards all these overwhelming questions
after having settled pillows by each other's head
would it have been worthwhile
after all
just to say
once more
"I am Lazarus, come from the dead
come back to tell you all
but now I know I should not tell you all"

And how should I begin?
Will I find the strenght
to force the moment to its crisis?
And should I then presume?

(I should've been a pair of ragged claws
scuttling across the floors of silent seas)

(Yet another variation on Prufrock)


Absently dreaming

I have seen them riding seaward
Combing the hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black
   - T. S. Eliot, "The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

The melancholic seaside smiled

The waves pretended silences
They understood



the now
to fault

depends on the eyes' voices
your voice
my lips

step and flop



O the lovely bankteller, like a moose he
Rode my spirit quite outside my clothes
And chrysanthemums sprouted I assure you
Out my nipples when he kissed them.
     -Dorothea Lasky, On Old Ideas

The weightless
sexual feather: your body

Your body follows
many a exulting
flows of jazz
It follows them truly

Your body's occasional youth
swallows my hips
(my keen hips)
Your body curves and swallows
my keen hips

It dips into my height
(arched and fragile)
It stings it
Your body dips into my height
and stings it with firm weather

God distinctly has pitied us both
has pitied both our lips
leaving them breathless

God distinctly has pitied my
half-grown breasts
my laughing body
my lisping flesh

but not my feet
not my bungling
stumbling feet

not my steps
which would rather part
before they tousle your
feathery body

Your body
following truly
through a dribbling moan
of jazz

Variation on E. E. Cummings' God pity me whom (God distinctly has).


En busca del tiempo perdido XVIII

Jugamos que tu eras yo era tu
decía tu nombre y soñé
que era a mí a quien llamaba
    -Adriana Enciso, Espejo

Rara, y ocasionalmente, el tiempo también encarna una imagen antigua, propia, que creíamos extinta: una fotografía viva y de colores nítidos: una voz de infancia cantando versos que habíamos olvidado, con el mismo color en la piel, la misma forma en los ojos, y el cabello como lo peinaba nuestra madre.

Rara, y ocasionalmente, el tiempo nos muestra que somos, también, fantasmas de otros cuerpos.


Happily never after

There are a few exceptions, a few provisos and a couple of quid pro quos.
   -The Genie (impersonating somebody else in Disney's Aladdin)

Don't get me wrong, dear
If I were to make somebody else's pancakes
every morning and afternoon and every morning
and afternoon and again every morning
I would consider myself a slave
(plus, I'm all for a healthier, diversified diet)

I do love going to creperies
and bakeries, and pizzeries
and taqueries
Though I suspect you're not the
we're-dining-out-tonight kind of guy,
hansdome boy

I also love summertime and moonlight
and winter and sunlight
much too much
to be bothered with grief

I would just like to know
all a jazz artists knows about jazz
Maybe play some Django chords
or sing when you're near
there's such an air of spring about it

Still, there is one art
I have come to master - that of losing
(even losing you, the joking voice,
a gesture I love, I shan't have lied)

Variations on Angela Ball's Jazz and Elizabeth Bishop's One Art


Magic Lantern

È già spezzato il fiatto
e ricomincio a respirare
senza sforzo e senza affanno
-Carmen Consoli, Perturbazione Atlantica

A magic lantern could throw the nerves in patterns
on a screen:
of the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
of the sunsets, the dooryards, and the sprinkled
of the novels and the skirts that trailed along the floor
of perfumes from dresses and restless nights
in one-night cheap hotels
and of half-desserted streets
that follow like a tedious argument
of insidious intent

the nerves of braceleted arms and arms in short-sleeves
of windows and tables and shawls
and cups, marmalade, tea
and cakes and tea and ices
of porcelain, teacups, toast

the patterns of the nerves within eyes that
fix all in formulated phrases
of the nerves of formulated men and women
pinned and wriggling and sprawling on walls
and this, and so mucho more!

All to make it possible to say just what I mean:
in short, that I was afraid.

For perhaps we're all meant to be both
Prince Hamlet and an attendant lord.
To somehow both drown,
and not.


There are old thoughts in your head, my reader, and let them die

Kissing the bankteller outside his stairs
In Brighton, MA I cannot lie. I felt the hope
That we once felt, if only for an instant
O the lovely bankteller, like a moose he
Rode my spirit quite outside my clothes
And chrysanthemums sprouted I assure you
Out my nipples when he kissed them.
And the pureness of not knowing him at all
Was really what we all feel when we enter this earth.
There is a newness to the best things that cannot
Be excelled and old things like old love die and rot.
There are old ideas in the world that should be forgotten
There are old ideas and old phrases that should at least
Be recycled for others
There are old plans now that should be new.
There are old thoughts in your head, my reader, and let them die.
Follow me, I am the crusader of the new
My spirit is a plastic rod that channels all our births.
And in the mouths of the little beasts, we shall find the great
Ocean that spits up black bugs all glittering on its shores.
You know there is an anthem to the ages.
There is an anthem of the ages.
This is that anthem
This is that anthem

Dorothea Lasky, "On Old Ideas"


Mock Moon

I like the sun
when the sun
is seen through clouds
and disguises itself
as the moon



Guardava quella casa, davanti a sé, e pensava alla misteriosa permanenza delle cose nella corrente mai ferma della vita. Stava pensando che ogni volta, vivendo con loro, si finisce per lasciare su di loro come una mano leggera di vernice, la tinta di certe emozioni destinate a scolorare, sotto il sole, in ricordi. 
- Tre volte all'alba, Alessandro Baricco

Sunset shines
A gift
and bright

One must watch it almost
with devotion
for it won't last long

It's colors will become pale
and fade
into the growing darkness


'Tis true

Living beside a tree top, as I do, I can say that it's true what they say about spring: birds are chasing each other, in pairs, showing otherwise hidden red and terracotta colors in their feathers, widening their wings out, or narrowing them up; some forcing others to bear their weight and stand still. Bees have begun visiting too, but, alas! No flowers have sprung yet.


En busca del tiempo perdido XVII

Algunas veces se busca en el cielo, en los símbolos que se estiman perennes o en las fotografías póstumas que antecedieron a la devastación. Para constatar que ya no existe.

Otras es preferible remover la tierra, lanzarle los corazones roídos de las manzanas y celebrar la lluvia.



Or, all that is felt and lived and said is just both too complex and unpretentious to be spelled out.

To help us comprehend the magnitude of absence

What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee; 
What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage.
          Ezra Pound
You’ll find labels describing what is gone:
an empress’s bones, a stolen painting
of a man in a feathered helmet
holding a flag-draped spear.
A vellum gospel, hidden somewhere long ago
forgotten, would have sat on that pedestal;
this glass cabinet could have kept the first
salts carried back from the Levant.
To help us comprehend the magnitude
of absence, huge rooms
lie empty of their wonders—the Colossus,
Babylon’s Hanging Gardens and
in this gallery, empty shelves enough to hold
all the scrolls of Alexandria.
My love, I’ve petitioned the curator
who has acquired an empty chest
representing all the poems you will
now never write. It will be kept with others
in the poet’s gallery. Next door,
a vacant room echoes with the spill
of jewels buried by a pirate who died
before disclosing their whereabouts.
I hope you don’t mind, but I have kept
a few of your pieces
for my private collection. I think
you know the ones I mean.

"In the Museum of Lost Objects" by Rebecca Lindenberg


Prologue, and epilogue, to a moment

The cinema is a specific language.

           — Christian Metz

What the body might guess,
what the hand requests,
what language assumes
becomes amulet,
which is to say
I am carrying your face
in a locket in a box
to a virtual location
guarded by kestrels,
suggesting the scene’s
geography of love and dirt,
trees ripe with darkness
and bones’ white luster.
In the moonlit blue house,
where snow won’t fall
unless called upon,
grace enters as requested,
lands next to you, grasped,
as if love were a reflex
simple as weather.

Scene, by Maxine Chernoff

Night walking

Above all things
your voice
which I struggle to remember

or one of its vehicles
your lips
the kiss you placed
on my head

an unexpected gift
to speak for you