Hunter Mountain Haikus

While in upstate New York, I could think of no better way to encapsulate the most bourgeois celebration of my birthday in the Catskills than a series of haikus, some written while on caffeine, some under the influence of lots of red wine.  I hope you enjoy.

The Hunter Haikus

She looks to the side
short bangs, heart face, lit by fire
no joy in heaven

Big, strong, nashing teeth
doggie slobber on my leg
not so mean after all

White yogi raps chants
Michael said like Eminem
he only wishes

Rain beats on the glass
as we breath out Lion’s Breath
and I think of death

Do not poke the bear
walking around the corner
filled with excitement

Heart face walks away
she stares down at her cell phone
maybe she won’t trip?

Cotton is comfy
like a pillow to the skin
we wear all weekend

He reads Leonard Co-
hen-side by the firelight.
See what I did there?

Green tea jolts the nerves,
connects us to our family
run to the bathroom

Tea ceremony
touch the carpet with my palm
wet shoes were left on

Shades of green, blue, grey
we pay money to feel whole
as if we aren’t now

Tea ceremony
no Asian people present
white girl writing haiku

 

Looking at “heart face,” writing Haiku. New York on November, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Memory of W.B. Yeats by W.H. Auden, a Tribute to the First Week in June

A poignant poem by W.H. Auden concerning the death of Irish poet W.B. Yeats, appreciating  both the heartache and joy of a person’s life and death.  Appropriate for all days, but especially this past week.

In Memory of W. B. Yeats
W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973

I

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.

But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the
Bourse,
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly
accustomed,
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his
freedom,
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.

What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

II

You were silly like us; your gift survived it all:
The parish of rich women, physical decay,
Yourself. Mad Ireland hurt you into poetry.
Now Ireland has her madness and her weather still,
For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives
In the valley of its making where executives
Would never want to tamper, flows on south
From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs,
Raw towns that we believe and die in; it survives,
A way of happening, a mouth.

III

Earth, receive an honoured guest:
William Yeats is laid to rest.
Let the Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;

Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;

With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;

In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

From Another Time by W. H. Auden, published by Random House. Copyright © 1940 W. H. Auden, renewed by the Estate of W. H. Auden.

Poetry Month Pick: “Brilliance” by Mark Doty

I fell in love with poet and author Mark Doty when I read his memoir “Heaven’s Coast,” about the relationship and illness of then mark-dotypartner Wally, who succumbed to AIDS related complications.  Through his memoir and poetry, Doty offers a universal view on romantic relationships that transcends sex, gender, economic status, race and sexual orientation.  His observations express emotions inherit to struggle and love, and he has the amazing ability to put feelings of the gut into words, which reach out from the pages into us as readers.

I chose Doty in honor of not only National Poetry Month, but also to recognize that gay rights are human rights and in hope of a day where there will be a level playing field for all.

Brilliance by Mark Doty

Maggie’s taking care of a man
who’s dying; he’s attended to everything,
said goodbye to his parents,

paid off his credit card.
She says Why don’t you just
run it up to the limit?

but he wants everything
squared away, no balance owed,
though he misses the pets

he’s already found a home for
-he can’t be around dogs or cats,
too much risk. He says,

I can’t have anything.
She says, A bowl of goldfish?
He says he doesn’t want to start

with anything and then describes
the kind he’d maybe like,
how their tails would fan

to a gold flaring. They talk
about hot jewel tones,
gold lacquer, say maybe

they’ll go pick some out
though he can’t go much of anywhere and then
abruptly he says I can’t love

anything I can’t finish.
He says it like he’s had enough
of the whole scintillant world,

though what he means is
he’ll never be satisfied and therefore
has established this discipline,

a kind of sever rehearsal.
That’s where they leave it,
him looking out the window,

her knitting as she does because
she needs to do something.
Later he leaves a message:

Yes to the bowl of goldfish.
Meaning: let me go, if I have to,
in brilliance. In a story I read,

a Zen master who’d perfected
his detachment from the things of the world
remembered, at the moment of dying,

a deer he used to feed in the park
and wondered who might care for it,
and at that instant was reborn

in the stunned flesh of a fawn.
So, Maggie’s friend-
is he going out

into the last loved object
of his attention?
Fanning the veined translucence

of an opulent tail,
undulant in some uncapturable curve,
is he bronze chrysanthemums,

copper leaf, hurried darting,
doubloons, icon-colored fins
troubling the water?

Happy National Poetry Month!

Though it may seem a bit controversial to choose Charles Bukowski for my third selection of the National Poetry Month series, I feel that his commentary on poverty, race, corporate injustice, the environment, et al, earn him a spot.

Charles Bukowski-Born into This

(Select the above link for the video of Bukowski reading his poem)

DINOSAURIA, WE
by Charles Bukowski

Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Castrated
Debauched
Disinherited
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter.

Happy Poetry Month, you crusty old crab.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Poem numero dos in honor of National Poetry Month celebrates Dorothy Parker!

I have included two short, but oh so poignant of Parker’s poems.

New Items

Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses.

Résumé

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live. 

Happy National Poetry Month!

  Happy National Poetry Month!  It’s one of Exploring Feminisms’ favorite months!

This first poem of the April poetry month series is written by recently departed but always feminist, lesbian, activist, amazing… Adrienne Rich.

Heroines
(1980)

Exceptional
even deviant
you draw your long skirts
across the nineteenth century
Your mind
burns long after death
not like the harbor beacon
but like a pyre of driftwood
on the beach
You are spared
illiteracy
death by pneumonia
teeth which leave the gums
the seamstress’ clouded eyes
the mill-girl’s shortening breath
by a collection
of circumstances
soon to be known as
class privilege
The law says you can possess nothing
in a world
where property is everything
You belong first to your father
then to him who
chooses you
if you fail to marry
you are without recourse
unable to earn
a workingman’s salary
forbidden to vote
forbidden to speak
in public
if married you are legally dead
the law says
you may not bequeath property
save to your children
or male kin
that your husband
has the right
of the slaveholder
to hunt down and re-possess you
should you escape
You may inherit slaves
but have no power to free them
your skin is fair
you have been taught that light
came
to the Dark Continent
with white power
that the Indians
live in filth
and occult animal rites
Your mother wore corsets
to choke her spirit
which if you refuse
you are jeered for refusing
you have heard many sermons
and have carried
your own interpretations
locked in your heart
You are a woman
strong in health
through a collection
of circumstances
soon to be known
as class privilege
which if you break
the social compact
you lost outright
When you open your mouth in public
human excrement
is flung at you
you are exceptional
in personal circumstance
in indignation
you give up believing
in protection
in Scripture
in man-made laws
respectable as you look
you are an outlaw
Your mind burns
not like the harbor beacon
but like a fire
of fiercer origin
you begin speaking out
and a great gust of freedom
rushes in with your words
yet still you speak
in shattered language
of a partial vision
You draw your long skirts
deviant
across the nineteenth century
registering injustice
failing to make it whole
How can I fail to love
your clarity and fury
how can I give you
all your due
take courage from your courage
honor your exact
legacy as it is
recognizing
as well
that it is not enough?

(Note: the formatting here is not how the text was originally laid out on the page.  Click here to see the actual layout of the poem, which can be read in her work, A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far: Poems from 1978-1981.)

Rye-Bread

I picked the lint off your shirt as
your head, deep in my lap, lay
with breath boozy and pores permeating

the smells of my childhood.
I yearned for that cryptic mix of
sud and ash-will you carry

with you those old humiliations and
fire-start new years of insecurity, absence
and tired, overworked clothing? Will you

love me so tight that my mother’s bones will
ache with the promise of release? Tonight
we’ll sleep, and I’ll ignore the nausea in my

gut and the fizzle and crackle in my brain and
convince myself for this one flicker in time to
inhabit the moment and wish, just wish, that my

feet could forever be touching your feet-and in
the morning, when you move your thigh from
between mine, we’ll notice that we’ve been sweating.