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The Poem of the Week



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Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:16 pm
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Kamas says...



The weekly poem thread!

09/23/2011

Charles Baudelaire, Le Spleen de Paris ~ Be Drunk
(As translated by Louis Simpson)

You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it: it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:21 pm
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09/30/2011

Aaron Smith ~ Boston

I've been meaning to tell
you how the sky is pink
here sometimes like the roof
of a mouth that's about to chomp
down on the crooked steel teeth
of the city,

I remember the desperate
things we did

and that I stumble
down sidewalks listening
to the buzz of street lamps
at dusk and the crush
of leaves on the pavement,

Without you here I'm viciously lonely

and I can't remember
the last time I felt holy,
the last time I offered
myself as sanctuary

*

I watched two men
press hard into
each other, their bodies
caught in the club’s
bass drum swell,
and I couldn’t remember
when I knew I’d never
be beautiful, but it must
have been quick
and subtle, the way
the holy ghost can pass
in and out of a room.
I want so desperately
to be finished with desire,
the rushing wind, the still
small voice.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:51 pm
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Lumi says...



10/6/11

e.e. cummings ~ it may not always be so

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another’s, and you dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another’s face your sweet hair lay
in such a silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that I may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, accept all happiness from me.
then shall I turn my face, and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands.
I am a forest fire and an ocean, and I will burn you just as much
as I will drown everything you have inside.
-Shinji Moon


I am the property of Rydia, please return me to her ship.
  





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Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:59 am
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Kamas says...



10/17/11

Louise Glück ~ Vespers

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:41 am
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10/21/11

Sylvia Plath ~ Lady Lazarus

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it--

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?--

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot--
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart--
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash--
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:17 am
davantageous says...



Misshaped Words-Davant Marshall

More often than not,
my words are skewed,
by those not fond
of the poets feud.

Among the worst, are those
who are ignorant and confused.
And these who are prone to judge
are bereft without a clue.

Among the best, are those
who identify with me,
by simply and smoothly
writing poetry.
Davantageous
  





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Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:06 pm
blackbird12 says...



Prayer ~ Jorie Graham

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
infolding,
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water's downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers) a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
motion that forces change--
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.
If I had wings, I would have opened them.
I would have risen from the ground.

-Mary Oliver
  





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Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:25 pm
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BlueAfrica says...



Swimming, One Day in August
Mary Oliver

It is now, I said,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit
among the flux of happenings.

Something had pestered me so much
I thought my heart would break.
I mean, the mechanical part.

I went down in the afternoon
to the sea
which held me, until I grew easy.

About tomorrow, who knows anything.
Except that it will be time, again,
for the deepening and quieting of the spirit.
  





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Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:20 pm
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Kamas says...



11/18/11

John Keats ~ Bright Star


Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Sat Nov 26, 2011 2:31 am
Kamas says...



11/25/2011

Walt Whitman ~ A Clear Midnight

This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson
done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the
themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death and the stars.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:30 pm
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12/03/11

Richard Siken ~ Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out

Every morning the maple leaves.
Every morning another chapter where the hero shifts
from one foot to the other. Every morning the same big
and little words all spelling out desire, all spelling out
You will be alone always and then you will die.

So maybe I wanted to give you something more than a catalog
of non-definitive acts,
something other than the desperation.

Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your party.
Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party
and seduced you
and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing.
Your want a better story. Who wouldn’t?

A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing.
Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on.
What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon.
Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly
flames everywhere.

I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon.
I’m not the princess either.
Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure,
I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow
glass, but that comes later.

And the part where I push you
flush against the wall and every part of your body rubs against the bricks,
shut up
I’m getting to it.

For a while I thought I was the dragon.
I guess I can tell you that now. And, for a while, I thought I was
the princess,
cotton candy pink, sitting there in my room, in the tower of the castle,
young and beautiful and in love and waiting for you with
confidence
but the princess looks into her mirror and only sees the princess,
while I’m out here, slogging through the mud, breathing fire,
and getting stabbed to death.

Okay, so I’m the dragon. Bid deal.
You still get to be the hero.
You get magic gloves! A fish that talks! You get eyes like flashlights!
What more do you want?
I make you pancakes, I take you hunting, I talk to you as if you’re
really there.
Are you there, sweetheart? Do you know me? Is this microphone live?

Let me do it right for once,
for the record, let me make a thing of cream and stars that becomes,
you know the story, simply heaven.
Inside your head you hear a phone ringing
and when you open your eyes
only a clearing with deer in it. Hello deer.
Inside your head the sound of glass,
a car crash sound as the trucks roll over and explode in slow motion.
Hello darling, sorry about that.

Sorry about the bony elbows, sorry we
lived here, sorry about the scene at the bottom of the stairwell
and how I ruined everything by saying it out loud.
Especially that, but I should have known.
You see, I take the parts that I remember and stitch them back together
to make a creature that will do what I say
or love me back.

I’m not really sure why I do it, but in this version you are not
feeding yourself to a bad man
against a black sky prickled with small lights.

I take it back.

The wooden halls like caskets. These terms from the lower depths.
I take them back.
Here is the repeated image of the lover destroyed.
Crossed out.

Clumsy hands in a dark room. Crossed out. There is something
underneath the floorboards.
Crossed out. And here is the tabernacle
reconstructed.

Here is the part where everyone was happy all the time and we were all
forgiven,
even though we didn’t deserve it.

Inside your head you hear
a phone ringing, and when you open your eyes you’re washing up
in a stranger’s bathroom,
standing by the window in a yellow towel, only twenty minutes away
from the dirtiest thing you know.
All the rooms of the castle except this one, says someone, and suddenly
darkness,
suddenly only darkness.

In the living room, in the broken yard,
in the back of the car as the lights go by. In the airport
bathroom’s gurgle and flush, bathed in a pharmacy of
unnatural light,
my hands looking weird, my face weird, my feet too far away.
And then the airplane, the window seat over the wing with a view
of the wing and a little foil bag of peanuts.
I arrived in the city and you met me at the station,
smiling in a way
that made me frightened. Down the alley, around the arcade,
up the stairs of the building
to the little room with the broken faucets, your drawings, all your things,
I looked out the window and said

This doesn’t look that much different from home,
because it didn’t,
but then I noticed the black sky and all those lights.
We walked through the house to the elevated train.
All these buildings, all that glass and the shiny beautiful
mechanical wind.

We were inside the train car when I started to cry. You were crying too,
smiling and crying in a way that made me
even more hysterical. You said I could have anything I wanted, but I
just couldn’t say it out loud.

Actually, you said Love, for you,
is larger than the usual romantic love. It’s like a religion. It’s
terrifying. No one
will ever want to sleep with you.

Okay, if you’re so great, you do it—
here’s the pencil, make it work . . .
If the window is on your right, you are in your own bed. If the window
is over your heart, and it is painted shut, then we are breathing
river water.
Build me a city and call it Jerusalem. Build me another and call it
Jerusalem.

We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not
what we sought, so do it over, give me another version,
a different room, another hallway, the kitchen painted over
and over,
another bowl of soup.
The entire history of human desire takes about seventy minutes to tell.
Unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of time.

Forget the dragon,
leave the gun on the table, this has nothing to do with happiness.
Let’s jump ahead to the moment of epiphany,
in gold light, as the camera pans to where
the action is,
lakeside and backlit, and it all falls into frame, close enough to see
the blue rings of my eyes as I say
something ugly.

I never liked that ending either. More love streaming out the wrong way,
and I don’t want to be the kind that says the wrong way.
But it doesn’t work, these erasures, this constant refolding of the pleats.

There were some nice parts, sure,
all lemondrop and mellonball, laughing in silk pajamas
and the grains of sugar
on the toast, love love or whatever, take a number. I’m sorry
it’s such a lousy story.

Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently
we have had our difficulties and there are many things
I want to ask you.
I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again,
years later, in the chlorinated pool.
I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have
these luxuries.
I have told you where I’m coming from, so put it together.
We clutch our bellies and roll on the floor . . .
When I say this, it should mean laughter,
not poison.

I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes.
Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you.
Quit milling around the yard and come inside.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:25 pm
Kamas says...



12/10/11

Charles Bukowski ~ Bluebird

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you.
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he's
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
sad.
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do
you?
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:16 pm
Kamas says...



30/12/11

William Ernest Henley ~ Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:21 am
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13/01/12

Pablo Neruda ~ Poetry

And it was at that age... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:40 pm
Kamas says...



29/01/12

e.e. cummings ~ somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles." ~ Charles Chaplin

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"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."
— Fredrich Nietzche (Philosopher)