Saturday, September 30, 2006

I AM AUTUMN PEOPLE

Quoth Ray Bradbury,

"The October country.
That country where it is always turning late in the year.
That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist.
Where noons go quickly,
dusks and twilights linger,
and midnights stay.

That country composed in the main of cellars,
sub-cellars, coal bins, closets, attics
and pantries faced away from the sun.

That country who’s people are Autumn People,
thinking only Autumn thoughts,
who’s people passing at night
on the empty walks sound like rain."

I am Autumn People, born early this month
I feel the thinning of the worlds
between life and death

I delight in the creak of bones
the howl of wind
the flickering orange of candle light
from within a carved pumpkin.

I step forward in the gloaming,
a child of twilight
walking with my own children of twilight
down the silent sidewalk.

We are quiet,
thinking our own Autumn thoughts
faced away from the sun
our footsteps like rain

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

To The States

Some Walt Whitman that made me decide that I need a tattoo.

To The States

To the States or any of them, or any city of the States,
Resist much, obey little,
Once unquestionong obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth,
ever afterward resumes its liberty.


Doc

Sunday, September 24, 2006

MORE SPONTANEOUS, ANTIQUE HAIKU

yet another installment from the series of 80 haiku I wrote in 1.5 hours while teaching up North in Cleveland. Some silly, some serious.

I must grade these papers
The pile grows ever higher
Maybe I’ll burn them…


When can I go home?
I am tired of this place.
I want my own bed


Washing the chalkboards
The water soon turns milky
Must go dump bucket


Standards based lessons
They all need five elements,
Anyone know them?


In the math classroom
Students try to stretch their minds
Can you smell the smoke?


I’m teaching English--
My students can’t write at all
How did I get them??


“come to class prepared!
“I do not give out pencils!
Go buy them yourself!”


I find her gorgeous
She is so pretty to me
Though she is so old


Wrinkles on his hands
Shows the history of his life
And the work he’s done


My grandmothers face
Will come to me in my dreams
Though she is long gone

Friday, September 22, 2006

Here again, I don't bring my own work to the table but a good friend has reminded me how much I love a good poem, and with this in mind, I present this piece.

When Last In The Dooryard Bloom'd


1When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,
2And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
3I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
4Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
5Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
6And thought of him I love.
2
7O powerful western fallen star!
8O shades of night -- O moody, tearful night!
9O great star disappear'd -- O the black murk that hides the star!
10O cruel hands that hold me powerless -- O helpless soul of me!
11O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.
3
12In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash'd palings,
13Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
14With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
15 With every leaf a miracle -- and from this bush in the dooryard,
16With delicate-color'd blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
17A sprig with its flower I break.
4
18In the swamp in secluded recesses,
19A shy and hidden bird is warbling a song.
20Solitary the thrush,
21The hermit withdrawn to himself, avoiding the settlements,
22Sings by himself a song.
23Song of the bleeding throat,
24Death's outlet song of life, (for well dear brother I know,
25If thou wast not granted to sing thou would'st surely die.)
5
26Over the breast of the spring, the land, amid cities,
27Amid lanes and through old woods, where lately the violets peep'd from the ground, spotting the gray debris,
28Amid the grass in the fields each side of the lanes, passing the endless grass,
29Passing the yellow-spear'd wheat, every grain from its shroud in the dark-brown fields uprisen,
30Passing the apple-tree blows of white and pink in the orchards,
31Carrying a corpse to where it shall rest in the grave,
32Night and day journeys a coffin.
6
33Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
34Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
35With the pomp of the inloop'd flags with the cities draped in black,
36With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil'd women standing,
37With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,
38With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the unbared heads,
39With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
40With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
41With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour'd around the coffin,
42The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs -- where amid these you journey,
43With the tolling tolling bells' perpetual clang,
44Here, coffin that slowly passes,
45I give you my sprig of lilac.
7
46(Nor for you, for one alone,
47Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,
48For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you O sane and sacred death.
49All over bouquets of roses,
50O death, I cover you over with roses and early lilies,
51But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,
52Copious I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes,
53With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,
54For you and the coffins all of you O death.)
8
55O western orb sailing the heaven,
56Now I know what you must have meant as a month since I walk'd,
57As I walk'd in silence the transparent shadowy night,
58As I saw you had something to tell as you bent to me night after night,
59As you droop'd from the sky low down as if to my side, (while the other stars all look'd on,)
60As we wander'd together the solemn night, (for something I know not what kept me from sleep,)
61As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you were of woe,
62As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool transparent night,
63As I watch'd where you pass'd and was lost in the netherward black of the night,
64As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you sad orb,
65Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone.
9
66Sing on there in the swamp,
67O singer bashful and tender, I hear your notes, I hear your call,
68I hear, I come presently, I understand you,
69But a moment I linger, for the lustrous star has detain'd me,
70The star my departing comrade holds and detains me.
10
71O how shall I warble myself for the dead one there I loved?
72And how shall I deck my song for the large sweet soul that has gone?
73And what shall my perfume be for the grave of him I love?
74Sea-winds blown from east and west,
75Blown from the Eastern sea and blown from the Western sea, till there on the prairies meeting,
76These and with these and the breath of my chant,
77I'll perfume the grave of him I love.
11
78O what shall I hang on the chamber walls?
79And what shall the pictures be that I hang on the walls,
80To adorn the burial-house of him I love?
81Pictures of growing spring and farms and homes,
82With the Fourth-month eve at sundown, and the gray smoke lucid and bright,
83With floods of the yellow gold of the gorgeous, indolent, sinking sun, burning, expanding the air,
84With the fresh sweet herbage under foot, and the pale green leaves of the trees prolific,
85In the distance the flowing glaze, the breast of the river, with a wind-dapple here and there,
86With ranging hills on the banks, with many a line against the sky, and shadows,
87And the city at hand with dwellings so dense, and stacks of chimneys,
88And all the scenes of life and the workshops, and the workmen homeward returning.
12
89Lo, body and soul -- this land,
90My own Manhattan with spires, and the sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships,
91The varied and ample land, the South and the North in the light, Ohio's shores and flashing Missouri,
92And ever the far-spreading prairies cover'd with grass and corn.
93Lo, the most excellent sun so calm and haughty,
94The violet and purple morn with just-felt breezes,
95The gentle soft-born measureless light,
96The miracle spreading bathing all, the fulfill'd noon,
97The coming eve delicious, the welcome night and the stars,
98Over my cities shining all, enveloping man and land.
13
99Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird,
100Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from the bushes,
101Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines.
102Sing on dearest brother, warble your reedy song,
103Loud human song, with voice of uttermost woe.
104O liquid and free and tender!
105O wild and loose to my soul -- O wondrous singer!
106You only I hear -- yet the star holds me, (but will soon depart,)
107Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me.
14
108Now while I sat in the day and look'd forth,
109In the close of the day with its light and the fields of spring, and the farmers preparing their crops,
110In the large unconscious scenery of my land with its lakes and forests,
111In the heavenly aerial beauty, (after the perturb'd winds and the storms,)
112Under the arching heavens of the afternoon swift passing, and the voices of children and women,
113The many-moving sea-tides, and I saw the ships how they sail'd,
114And the summer approaching with richness, and the fields all busy with labor,
115And the infinite separate houses, how they all went on, each with its meals and minutia of daily usages,
116And the streets how their throbbings throbb'd, and the cities pent -- lo, then and there,
117Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me with the rest,
118Appear'd the cloud, appear'd the long black trail,
119And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death.
120Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
121And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
122And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,
123I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
124Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
125To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still.
126And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me,
127The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three,
128And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.
129From deep secluded recesses,
130From the fragrant cedars and the ghostly pines so still,
131Came the carol of the bird.
132And the charm of the carol rapt me,
133As I held as if by their hands my comrades in the night,
134And the voice of my spirit tallied the song of the bird.
135Come lovely and soothing death,
136Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving,
137In the day, in the night, to all, to each,
138Sooner or later delicate death.
139Prais'd be the fathomless universe,
140For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious,
141And for love, sweet love -- but praise! praise! praise!
142For the sure-enwinding arms of cool-enfolding death.
143Dark mother always gliding near with soft feet,
144Have none chanted for thee a chant of fullest welcome?
145Then I chant it for thee, I glorify thee above all,
146I bring thee a song that when thou must indeed come, come unfalteringly.
147Approach strong deliveress,
148When it is so, when thou hast taken them I joyously sing the dead,
149Lost in the loving floating ocean of thee,
150Laved in the flood of thy bliss O death.
151From me to thee glad serenades,
152Dances for thee I propose saluting thee, adornments and feastings for thee,
153And the sights of the open landscape and the high-spread sky are fitting,
154And life and the fields, and the huge and thoughtful night.
155The night in silence under many a star,
156The ocean shore and the husky whispering wave whose voice I know,
157And the soul turning to thee O vast and well-veil'd death,
158And the body gratefully nestling close to thee.
159Over the tree-tops I float thee a song,
160Over the rising and sinking waves, over the myriad fields and the prairies wide,
161Over the dense-pack'd cities all and the teeming wharves and ways,
162I float this carol with joy, with joy to thee O death.
15
163To the tally of my soul,
164Loud and strong kept up the gray-brown bird,
165With pure deliberate notes spreading filling the night.
166Loud in the pines and cedars dim,
167Clear in the freshness moist and the swamp-perfume,
168And I with my comrades there in the night.
169While my sight that was bound in my eyes unclosed,
170As to long panoramas of visions.
171And I saw askant the armies,
172I saw as in noiseless dreams hundreds of battle-flags,
173Borne through the smoke of the battles and pierc'd with missiles I saw them,
174And carried hither and yon through the smoke, and torn and bloody,
175And at last but a few shreds left on the staffs, (and all in silence,)
176And the staffs all splinter'd and broken.
177I saw battle-corpses, myriads of them,
178And the white skeletons of young men, I saw them,
179I saw the debris and debris of all the slain soldiers of the war,
180But I saw they were not as was thought,
181They themselves were fully at rest, they suffer'd not,
182The living remain'd and suffer'd, the mother suffer'd,
183And the wife and the child and the musing comrade suffer'd,
184And the armies that remain'd suffer'd.
16
185Passing the visions, passing the night,
186Passing, unloosing the hold of my comrades' hands,
187Passing the song of the hermit bird and the tallying song of my soul,
188Victorious song, death's outlet song, yet varying ever-altering song,
189As low and wailing, yet clear the notes, rising and falling, flooding the night,
190Sadly sinking and fainting, as warning and warning, and yet again bursting with joy,
191Covering the earth and filling the spread of the heaven,
192As that powerful psalm in the night I heard from recesses,
193Passing, I leave thee lilac with heart-shaped leaves,
194I leave thee there in the door-yard, blooming, returning with spring.
195I cease from my song for thee,
196From my gaze on thee in the west, fronting the west, communing with thee,
197O comrade lustrous with silver face in the night.
198Yet each to keep and all, retrievements out of the night,
199The song, the wondrous chant of the gray-brown bird,
200And the tallying chant, the echo arous'd in my soul,
201With the lustrous and drooping star with the countenance full of woe,
202With the holders holding my hand nearing the call of the bird,
203Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well,
204For the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands -- and this for his dear sake,
205Lilac and star and bird twined with the chant of my soul,
206There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim.

I'm sorry for the length and the line numbers and all, but I just can't type that much. I only use two fingers. Walt, like President Lincoln that he is writing about, mean alot to me.

Doc

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nonsense Song

It has been quite some time since I have contributed to this site, and for that I am ashamed. I really need some high powered inspiration to let me write poems, and frankly, I have been running a little shy as of late, but to rectify that somewhat I would like to share with you, not a work of my own, but some of the poetry that I have been reading. The poem is by an englishman named W. H. Auden. Perhaps some of you have heard of him. I had not, until recently. Without further ado....

Nonsense Song

My love is like a red red rose
Or concerts for the blind,
She's like a mutton-chop before
And a rifle range behind.

Her hair is like a looking-glass,
Her brow is like a bog,
Her eyes are like a flock of sheep
Seen through a London fog.

Her nose is like an Irish jig,
Her mouth is like a 'bus,
Her chin is like a bowl of soup
Shared between all of us.

Her form divine is like a map
Of the United States,
Her foot is like a motor-car
Without its number-plates.

No steeple-jack shall part us now
Nor fireman in a frock;
True love could sink a Channel boat
Or knit a baby's sock.


(I just love the line about her rifle range behind.)

Doc

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

my eyes are always open

(this is a poem that I wrote in high school. I have no idea what it means or what I was thinking. It just goes to show you how much you change over the years)

my eyes are open yet I am tired
everything fades away into the clear blue darkness that they call dreams
I could live there forever for it is here that I am safe
everyone has their own guardian angel here
everything slowly fades away into the eye of a good friend
and we dressed alike today
I start to cry and my tears begin to shatter into grains of glass that my angel needs to walk on
next thing you know, she is crying too
I wish to reach out and give her a hug but it's too late
she is already out dancing on her wounded feet yet having a good time
I envy her for her courage and try to become more like her
he walks up to her and she quickly walks away without looking back
because that would be cheating
we all have flaws here
the darkness begins to fade into light
yet my eyes are still open
and I hate it here too

Monday, September 18, 2006

A THEME SONG FOR MONDAY: "IT'S BEEN THE WORST DAY SINCE YESTERDAY"

Today has GARFIELD written all over it. only one thing to do-- sing a few choruses of Flogging Molly:



Well I know, I miss more than hit
With a face that was launched to sink
An’ I seldom feel, the bright relief
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

If there’s one thing I have said
Is that the dreams I once had, now lay in bed
As the four winds blow, my wits through the door
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Fallin’ down to you sweet ground
Where the flowers they bloom
It’s there I’ll be found
Hurry back to me, my wild calling
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Though these wounds have seen no wars
Except for the scars I have ignored
And this endless crutch, well it’s never enough
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Hell says hello, well it’s time to I should go
To pastures green, that I’ve yet to see
Hurry back to me, my wild calling
It’s been the Worst Day Since Yesterday
It's been the Worst Day Since Yesterday
It's been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Welcome Haiku

Welcome to Dirty
The new telepath on staff
Who'll help sift moments.

My African Queen

A wise woman said,
"If you don't love your work,
Move aside and make room
For that someone
Who does loves it,
So that they may soar
And you can too."

But what if you find yourself
Up a quagmired career path,
Like Charlie and Rosie
Fighting the reeds
On the African Queen?

There is no turning back,
There is no easy path forward,
And no chance of jumping ship.

So what is a girl to do?
Keep slogging, rowing.
Focus on sinking the Louisa,
Prepare to be hung.

Love something hateful
For the sake of sanity, stability.
Perservere, pray, and redouble
The focus, the energy, the faith.

Overcome the pain when
Stinging insults
Cling like leeches
To the heart

And when the breeze
Finds you and the sun shines,
Lean back on the rudder
And soak it up.

Friday, September 08, 2006

THURSDAY'S CHILD, FRIDAY'S PLANS

sitting on the couch with my wife
and a plate of baked french fries
the gloaming coming on and the room darkening
I remember I'm a Thursday's Child and have "far to go."

Damnit, i've gone far enough already.
to my wife I say, while taking a fry from the blue plate
"I think when the kids grow up
and can take care of themselves
we should become barflies in the Keys."

there is a pause while we dip into ketchup
"we could go on the public dole" says I
"fuck all our education. We'll sleep under piers
get wrinkled from the sun,
like a pair of apple dolls."

she takes a fry, chews silently.
Bob the Builder rides Muck to Farmer Pickles field
to fix something-or-other on TV.

time passes.

"I think Hawaii has nicer beaches", she says.

I agree.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

PUSSYWILLOWS & CAT-TAILS

when first I heard "Pussywillows, Cat-tails" by Gordon Lightfoot
I was taken from this place and transported back to the Summer of the Witch.

It was the fall when I was dating Phoenix the witchy-woman
and lived closer to the earth
between the ground and the Goddess

and we went to a Medieval Fayre as the leaves began to turn gold
and we strolled in the electric blue of the afternoon
sunbright but not hot

We walked barefoot and came upon another witchy-woman
selling magic items and I bought a blue crystal sphere from her
carged with her energy; I could feel it vibrate in my hands

We walked, we were amongst like kind, we stared into each other's eyes
there in the woods we felt Home in a way I'd not felt in years.

It all came back when I heard Gordon's dulcet tones
and I wished I could go back for the afternoon to that place
just one more time.