MMmmmmm, mmmmmmmmm, good. - Another place for me to write ...
Feb. 4th, 2006
02:59 am - MMmmmmm, mmmmmmmmm, good.
Here's to sharing poetical adventures! I had to restrain myself by only posting here the most recently discovered gems, and only one poem per poet, for now. Otherwise there would be dozens of more entries here. Hope you guys like'm as much as I do!
"A Consumer's Report"
― Peter Porter
The name of the product I tested is Life,
I have completed the form you sent me
and understand that my answers are confidential.
I had it as a gift,
I didn't feel much while using it,
in fact I think I'd have liked to be more excited.
It seemed gentle on the hands
but left an embarrassing deposit behind.
It was not economical
and I have used much more than I thought
(I suppose I have about half left
but it's difficult to tell) -
although the instructions are fairly large
there are so many of them
I don't which to follow, especially
as they seem to contradict each other.
I'm not sure such a thing
should be put in the way of children -
It's difficult to think of a purpose
for it. One of my friends says
it's just to keep its maker in a job.
Also the price is much too high.
Things are piling up so fast,
after all, the world got by
for thousand million years
without this, do we need it now?
(Incidentally, please ask your man
to stop calling me 'the respondent',
I don't like the sound of it.)
There seems to be a lot of different labels,
sizes and colours should be uniform,
the shape is awkward, it's waterproof
but not heat resistant, it doesn't keep
yet it's very difficult to get rid of:
whenever they make it cheaper they
to put less in - if you say you don't
want it, then it's delivered anyway.
I'd agree it's a popular product,
it's got into the language; people
even say they're on the side of it.
Personally I think it's overdone,
a small thing people are ready
to behave badly about. I think
we should take it for granted. If its
experts are called philosophers or market
researchers or historians, we shouldn't
care. We are the consumers and the last
law makers. So finally, I'd buy it.
But the question of a 'best buy'
I'd like to leave until I get
the competitive product you said you'd send.
"The Naughty Preposition"
― Morris Bishop
I lately lost a preposition;
It hid, I thought, beneath my chair
And angrily I cried “Perdition!
Up from out of in under there.”
Correctness is my vade mecum,
And straggling phrases I abhor.
And yet I wondered, “What should he come
Up from out of in under for?”
"The Spider and the Ghost of the Fly"
— Vachel Lindsay
Once I loved a spider
When I was born a fly,
A velvet-footed spider
With a gown of rainbow-dye.
She ate my wings and gloated.
She bound me with a hair.
She drove me to her parlor
Above her winding stair.
To educate young spiders
She took me all apart.
My ghost came back to haunt her.
I saw her eat my heart.
"Introduction to Poetry"
― Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
"Revolutionary Letter #46"
― Diane di Prima
And as you learn the magic, learn to believe it
Don't be 'surprised' when it works, you undercut
"Examination at the Womb-Door"
― Ted Hughes
Who owns those scrawny little feet? Death.
Who owns this bristly scorched-looking face? Death.
Who owns these still-working lungs? Death.
Who owns this utility coat of muscles? Death.
Who owns these unspeakable guts? Death.
Who owns these questionable brains? Death.
All this messy blood? Death.
These minimum-efficiency eyes? Death.
This wicked little tongue? Death.
This occasional wakefulness? Death.
Given, stolen, or held pending trial?
Who owns the whole rainy, stony earth? Death.
Who owns all of space? Death.
Who is stronger than hope? Death.
Who is stronger than the will? Death.
Stronger than love? Death.
Stronger than life? Death.
But who is stronger than Death?
"Bleeding" ― May Swenson Stop bleeding said the knife. I would if I could said the cut. Stop bleeding you make me messy with this blood. I’m sorry said the cut. Stop or I will sink in farther said the knife. Don't said the cut. The knife did not say it couldn't help it but it sank in farther. If only you didn't bleed said the knife I wouldn't have to do this. I know said the cut I bleed too easily I hate that I can't help it I wish I were a knife like you and didn't have to bleed. Meanwhile stop bleeding will you said the knife. Yes you are a mess and sinking in farther said the cut I will have to stop. Have you stopped by now said the knife. I've almost stopped I think. Why must you bleed in the first place said the knife. For the reason maybe that you must do what you must do said the cut. I can't stand bleeding said the knife and sank in farther. I hate it too said the cut I know it isn't you it's me you're lucky to be a knife you ought to be glad about that. Too many cuts around said the knife they're messy I don't know how they stand themselves. They don't said the cut. You're bleeding again. No i've stopped said the cut. See you're coming out now the blood is drying it will rub off you'll be shiny again and clean. If only cuts wouldn't bleed so much said the knife coming out a little. But then knives might become dull said the cut. Aren't you bleeding a little said the knife. I hope not said the cut. I feel you are just a little. Maybe just a little but I can stop now. I feel a little wetness still said the knife sinking in a little but then coming out a little. Just a little maybe just enough said the cut. That's enough now stop now do you feel better now said the knife. I feel I have to bleed to feel I think said the cut. I don't I don't have to feel said the knife drying now becoming shiny.
"Language Lesson, 1976"
― Heather McHugh
When Americans say a man
takes liberties, they mean
he's gone too far. In Philadelphia
today a kid on a leash ordered
hold the relish. Hold
is forget, in American.
On the courts of Philadelphia
the rich prepare
to serve, to fault.
The language is a game in which
love means nothing, doubletalk
means lie. I'm saying
doubletalk with me. I'm saying go
so far the customs are untold,
make nothing without words,
and let me be
the one you never hold.
"If All Be True That I Do Think"
— Henry Aldrich
If all be true that I do think,
There are five reasons we should drink.
Good wine, a friend, or being dry,
Or lest we should be by and by;
Or any other reason why!
"Untitled" Math Limericks
There once was a number named pi
Who frequently liked to get high
All he did every day
Was sit in his room and play
With his imaginary friend named i.
- - - - - - - -
There once was a number named e
Who took way too much LSD.
She thought she was great.
But that fact we must debate;
We know she wasn't greater than 3.
- - - - - - - -
There once was a log named Lynn
Whose life was devoted to sin.
She came from a tree
Whose base was shaped like an e.
She was the most natural log I've seen.
- - - - - - - -
I used to think math was no fun,
'Cause I couldn't see how it was done,
Now Euler's my hero,
For I now see why zero,
= e ^ (i pi) + 1.
"His Coy Mistress to Mr. Marvell"
— A. D. Hope
Since you have world enough and time
Sir, to admonish me in rhyme,
Pray Mr Marvell, can it be
You think to have persuaded me?
Then let me say: you want the art
To woo, much less to win my heart.
The verse was splendid, all admit,
And, sir, you have a pretty wit.
All that indeed your poem lacked
Was logic, modesty, and tact,
Slight faults and ones to which I own,
Your sex is generally prone;
But though you lose your labour, I
Shall not refuse you a reply:
First, for the language you employ:
A term I deprecate is "coy";
The ill-bred miss, the bird-brained Jill,
May simper and be coy at will;
A lady, sir, as you will find,
Keeps counsel, or she speaks her mind,
Means what she says and scorns to fence
And palter with feigned innocence.
The ambiguous "mistress" next you set
Beside this graceless epithet.
"Coy mistress", sir? Who gave you leave
To wear my heart upon your sleeve?
Or to imply, as sure you do,
I had no other choice than you
And must remain upon the shelf
Unless I should bestir myself?
Shall I be moved to love you, pray,
By hints that I must soon decay?
No woman's won by being told
How quickly she is growing old;
Nor will such ploys, when all is said,
Serve to stampede us into bed.
When from pure blackmail, next you move
To bribe or lure me into love,
No less inept, my rhyming friend,
Snared by the means, you miss your end.
"Times winged chariot", and the rest
As poetry may pass the test;
Readers will quote those lines, I trust,
Till you and I and they are dust;
But I, your destined prey, must look
Less at the bait than at the hook,
Nor, when I do, can fail to see
Just what it is you offer me:
Love on the run, a rough embrace
Snatched in the fury of the chase,
The grave before us and the wheels
Of Time's grim chariot at our heels,
While we, like "am'rous birds of prey",
Tear at each other by the way.
To say the least, the scene you paint
Is, what you call my honour, quaint!
And on this point what prompted you
So crudely, and in public too,
To canvass and , indeed, make free
With my entire anatomy?
Poets have licence, I confess,
To speak of ladies in undress;
Thighs, hearts, brows, breasts are well enough,
In verses this is common stuff;
But — well I ask: to draw attention
To worms in — what I blush to mention,
And prate of dust upon it too!
Sir, was this any way to woo?
Now therefore, while male self-regard
Sits on your cheek, my hopeful bard,
May I suggest, before we part,
The best way to a woman's heart
Is to be modest, candid, true;
Tell her you love and show you do;
Neither cajole nor condescend
And base the lover on the friend;
Don't bustle her or fuss or snatch:
A suitor looking at his watch
Is not a posture that persuades
Willing, much less reluctant maids.
Remember that she will be stirred
More by the spirit than the word;
For truth and tenderness do more
Than coruscating metaphor.
Had you addressed me in such terms
And prattled less of graves and worms,
I might, who knows, have warmed to you;
But, as things stand, must bid adieu
(Though I am grateful for the rhyme)
And wish you better luck next time.
"Starlight Scope Myopia"
― Yusef Komunyakaa
Gray-blue shadows lift
shadows onto an ox cart.
Making night work for us,
the starlight scope brings
men into killing range.
The river under Vi Bridge
takes the heart away
like the Water God
riding his dragon.
move under our eyelids,
lords over loneliness
winding like coral vine through
sandalwood & lotus,
inside our lowered heads
years after this scene
ends. The brain closes
down. What looks like
one step into the trees,
they're lifting crates of ammo
& sacks of rice, swaying
under their shared weight.
Caught in the infrared,
what are they saying?
Are they talking about women
or calling the Americans
beaucoup then cai dau?
One of them is laughing.
You want to place a finger
to his lips & say "shhhh."
You try reading ghost talk
on their lips. They say
"up-up we go," lifting as one.
This one, old, bowlegged,
you feel you could reach out
& take him into your arms. You
peer down the sights of your M-16,
seeing the full moon
loaded on an ox cart.
"My Father's Martial Art"
— Stephen Shu-ning Liu
When he came home Mother said he looked
like a monk and stank of green fungus.
At the fireside he told us about life
at the monastery; his rock pillows,
his cold bath, his steel-bar lifting
and his wood-chopping. He didn't see
a woman for three winters, on Mountain O Mei.
"My Master was both light and heavy.
He skipped over treetops like a squirrel.
Once he stood on a chair, one foot tied
to a rope. We four pulled; we couldn't
move him a bit. His kicks could split
a cedar's trunk."
I saw Father break into a pumpkin
with his fingers. I saw him drop a hawk
with bamboo arrows. He rose before dawn, filled
our backyard with a harsh sound hah, hah, hah:
there was his Black Dragon Sweep, his Crane Stand,
his Mantis Walk, his Tiger Leap, his Cobra Coil...
Infrequently he taught me tricks and made me
fight the best of all the village boys.
From a busy street I brood over high cliffs
on O Mei, where my father and his Master sit:
shadows spread across their faces as the smog
between us deepens into a funeral pyre.
But don't retreat into night, my father.
Come down from the cliffs. Come
with a single Black Dragon Sweep and hush
this oncoming traffic with your hah, hah, hah.
- Langston Hughes
That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we black are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.
"To A Dark Moses"
- Lucille Clifton
you are the one
i am lit for.
Come with your rod
and is a serpent.
i am the bush.
i am burning
i am not consumed.
"Hell Is Graduated"
- Elizabeth Bishop
When I was employed at Cooperative Fashions, in spite of the dark, ugly old maid, I tried to steal some garters. I was pursued down the superb staircases, not for the theft, but for my laziness at work and for my hatred of the innocent finery. Descend, you are pursued. The staircases are less beautiful in the offices than in the part open to the public. The staircases are less beautiful in the “service” quarters than in the offices. The staircases are still less beautiful in the cellar! But what can I say of the marsh where I arrived? What can I say of the laughter? Of the animals that brushed by me, and the whisperings of unseen creatures? Water gave place to fire, to fear, to unconsciousness; when I came to myself I was in the hands of silent and nameless surgeons.
"Power" - Adrienne Rich Living in the earth-deposits of our history Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old cure for fever or melancholy a tonic for living on this earth in the winters of this climate. Today I was reading about Marie Curie: she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness her body bombarded for years by the element she had purified It seems she denied to the end the source of the cataracts on her eyes the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil She died a famous woman denying her wounds denying her wounds came from the same source as her power