Poem – On Woman

MAY God be praised for woman
That gives up all her mind,
A man may find in no man
A friendship of her kind
That covers all he has brought
As with her flesh and bone,
Nor quarrels with a thought
Because it is not her own.
Though pedantry denies,
It’s plain the Bible means
That Solomon grew wise
While talking with his queens.
Yet never could, although
They say he counted grass,
Count all the praises due
When Sheba was his lass,
When she the iron wrought, or
When from the smithy fire
It shuddered in the water:
Harshness of their desire
That made them stretch and yawn,
pleasure that comes with sleep,
Shudder that made them one.
What else He give or keep
God grant me — no, not here,
For I am not so bold
To hope a thing so dear
Now I am growing old,
But when, if the tale’s true,
The Pestle of the moon
That pounds up all anew
Brings me to birth again —
To find what once I had
And know what once I have known,
Until I am driven mad,
Sleep driven from my bed.
By tenderness and care.
pity, an aching head,
Gnashing of teeth, despair;
And all because of some one
perverse creature of chance,
And live like Solomon
That Sheba led a dance.

Poem – Her Anxiety

Earth in beauty dressed
Awaits returning spring.
All true love must die,
Alter at the best
Into some lesser thing.
Prove that I lie.

Such body lovers have,
Such exacting breath,
That they touch or sigh.
Every touch they give,
Love is nearer death.
Prove that I lie.

Poem – Demon and Beast

FOR certain minutes at the least
That crafty demon and that loud beast
That plague me day and night
Ran out of my sight;
Though I had long perned in the gyre,
Between my hatred and desire.
I saw my freedom won
And all laugh in the sun.
The glittering eyes in a death’s head
Of old Luke Wadding’s portrait said
Welcome, and the Ormondes all
Nodded upon the wall,
And even Strafford smiled as though
It made him happier to know
I understood his plan.
Now that the loud beast ran
There was no portrait in the Gallery
But beckoned to sweet company,
For all men’s thoughts grew clear
Being dear as mine are dear.
But soon a tear-drop started up,
For aimless joy had made me stop
Beside the little lake
To watch a white gull take
A bit of bread thrown up into the air;
Now gyring down and perning there
He splashed where an absurd
Portly green-pated bird
Shook off the water from his back;
Being no more demoniac
A stupid happy creature
Could rouse my whole nature.
Yet I am certain as can be
That every natural victory
Belongs to beast or demon,
That never yet had freeman
Right mastery of natural things,
And that mere growing old, that brings
Chilled blood, this sweetness brought;
Yet have no dearer thought
Than that I may find out a way
To make it linger half a day.
O what a sweetness strayed
Through barren Thebaid,
Or by the Mareotic sea
When that exultant Anthony
And twice a thousand more
Starved upon the shore
And withered to a bag of bones!
What had the Caesars but their thrones?

Poem – The Wiccan Rede

Bide the Wiccan laws ye must
In perfect love an perfect trust.

Live an let live-
Fairly take an fairly give.

Cast the Circle thrice about
To keep all evil spirits out.

To bind the spell every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.

Soft of eye an light of touch
Speak little, listen much.

Deosil go by the waxing moon
Sing an dance the Wiccan Rune.

(Deosil go by waxing moon,
Changing out the Wiccan rune.)

Widdershins go when Moon doth wane,
An the werewolves howl by the dread wolfsbane.

(Widdershins go by waning moon,
chanting out the baneful rune.)

When the Lady’s Moon is new
Kiss the hand to her times two.

When the Moon rides at her peak,
Then your heart’s desire seek.

Heed the North wind’s mighty gale
Lock the door an drop the sail.

When the wind comes from the South,
Love will kiss thee on the mouth.

When the wind blows from the East
Expect the new an set the feast.

When the West wind blows o’er thee
Departed spirits restless be.

Nine woods in the cauldron go
Burn them quick an burn them slow.

Elder be ye Lady’s tree
Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.

When the wheel begins to turn
Let the Beltane fires burn.

When the Wheel has turned a Yule
Light the Log an let Pan rule.

Heed ye flowers, bush an tree
By the Lady blessed be.

Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone an truth ye’ll know.

When ye have need
Hearken not to other’s greed.

With the fool no season spend
Or be counted as his friend.

Merry meet an merry part
Bright the cheeks an warm the heart.

Mind the Threefold Law ye should
Three times bad an three times good.

When misfortune is enow
Wear the blue star on thy brow.

True in love ever be
Unless thy lover’s false to thee.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill
An it harm none, do what ye will.

Poem – Moonlight Love

Enthralling moon’s orb dazzles up in the night sky
Whole sky is lit up by the splendor of the moonlight
Autumn breeze slightly whispers a mellow serenade
Misty dew drops fall from the sky sprinkling over fields
Dainty and delicate are the night blooming flowers
They appear like sparkling flames of candles in the dark
An awakened owl sitting on a branch basking moonlight
While people dream in these solemn hours of the night
Gentle moon and twinkling stars are unseen during daylight
Their blissful beauty is admired by many keen onlookers
Brightness of supreme sunlight gives life in this world
Moonlight brings sweetness of romance to the lovers
Stars enable to generate wishful thoughts in the mind
Leading the lovers on the way to precious love’s desire

Poem – Razors and Nightmares

I stare at my ceiling,
I start to wonder, why am I not healing?
Then it dawns on me,
The nightmare clip starts to roll.
I shake and shiver and wince at every little thing.
I’m scared to death,
What does this all mean?
I start to cry,
I feel as if I might die.
Then I grab my blade,
The tears come quicker.
My breath starts to quicken,
My grip on the blade makes my knuckles turn white.
In the mirror is where I see that my ivory skin is now blotchy and red.
I tell myself, ‘This may be the last time, if you finally cut deep enough.’
So I try my best not to make a sound
As I sit up in bed and hold my wrist out in front of me.
I count to three,
One,
I put the blade to my wrist.
Two,
I start to add pressure.
Three,
I yank the blade across my skin,
It pierces and then I start to bleed.
I suddenly want it to stop,
But there’s no going back now.
I wonder why it came to this,
I know nobody cares about me,
I know nobody is going to forget me.
Quietly I say, ‘I’m sorry.’
But nobody is there,
No one will ever be.
I start to fade out of this world,
My addiction would finally be gone,
And so would I.
I was lost,
Lost and angry.
Suddenly, it was gone,
I woke up screaming.
The pain was oh-so real.

Poem – Dear Lord and Lady

Dear lord and lady
help me thru this say
during the time i
need you most

Dear lord
grant me the strength
to overcome
my obstacles

Dear lady
grant me the ability
to care and nurture
for MY mother earth

Dear lord and lady
may i say
thank you
for getting me thru another day

Poem – Bloody Wrist

I’m sitting on the floor
I’m crying so much more
trying to erase this pain
trying to forget your face
sitting here with the blade in my hand
running so slow blood dripping down
in a deep red color
flowing freely the way i want to feel

I’m sitting on the floor
holding my hand out
I’m holding a bottle
a bottle filled with pills
I’m crying so hard
the pain is unbearable
I’m feeling so weak

I’m sitting here on this floor
holding a blade
crying like crazy
trying to take this pain away
I’m trying my best trying to fight
my eyelids feel heavy
my door is so far
the whispered yells to far
falling deep in to sleep

deep..deep..deep..deep
I’m laying on a bed
I’m so confused
where am i?
my throat feels sore
my body screams in pain
I’m looking around
I’m in a small white room

i try to move,
my hands are stuck
i try to get up
i feel restraints
what happened to me?

I’m laying on a bed
trying to get up
my head hurts
a nurse is here
a shot is administered
i drift to sleep
I’m in the psych ward
why am i here?

I’m lying on a bed
laying so still
my wrists hurts to no end
I’m crying out loud
screaming and cussing
my body hurts
i can’t remember

all i remember are my bloody wrists
and a bottle of pills
all i remember is the pain i was in…..

Poem – My Father

The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits
out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

and the rivers of his hands
overflowed with good deeds.

Poem – What Kind Of A Person

“What kind of a person are you,” I heard them say to me.
I’m a person with a complex plumbing of the soul,
Sophisticated instruments of feeling and a system
Of controlled memory at the end of the twentieth century,
But with an old body from ancient times
And with a God even older than my body.
I’m a person for the surface of the earth.
Low places, caves and wells
Frighten me. Mountain peaks
And tall buildings scare me.
I’m not like an inserted fork,
Not a cutting knife, not a stuck spoon.

I’m not flat and sly
Like a spatula creeping up from below.
At most I am a heavy and clumsy pestle
Mashing good and bad together
For a little taste
And a little fragrance.

Arrows do not direct me. I conduct
My business carefully and quietly
Like a long will that began to be written
The moment I was born.

s Now I stand at the side of the street
Weary, leaning on a parking meter.
I can stand here for nothing, free.

I’m not a car, I’m a person,
A man-god, a god-man
Whose days are numbered. Hallelujah.

Poem – Once A Great Love

Once a great love cut my life in two.
The first part goes on twisting
at some other place like a snake cut in two.

The passing years have calmed me
and brought healing to my heart and rest to my eyes.

And I’m like someone standing in the Judean desert, looking at a sign:
‘Sea Level’
He cannot see the sea, but he knows.

Thus I remember your face everywhere
at your ‘face Level.’

Poem – The School Where I Studied

I passed by the school where I studied as a boy
and said in my heart: here I learned certain things
and didn’t learn others. All my life I have loved in vain
the things I didn’t learn. I am filled with knowledge,
I know all about the flowering of the tree of knowledge,
the shape of its leaves, the function of its root system, its pests and parasites.
I’m an expert on the botany of good and evil,
I’m still studying it, I’ll go on studying till the day I die.
I stood near the school building and looked in. This is the room
where we sat and learned. The windows of a classroom always open
to the future, but in our innocence we thought it was only landscape
we were seeing from the window.
The schoolyard was narrow, paved with large stones.
I remember the brief tumult of the two of us
near the rickety steps, the tumult
that was the beginning of a first great love.
Now it outlives us, as if in a museum,
like everything else in Jerusalem.

Poem – The Little Park Planted

The little park planted in memory of a boy
who fell in the war begins
to resemble him
as he was twenty eight years ago.
Year by year they look more alike.
His old parents come almost daily
to sit on a bench
and look at him.

And every night the memory in the garden
hums like a little motor.
During the day you can’t hear it.

Poem – Jews In The Land Of Israel

We forget where we came from. Our Jewish
names from the Exile give us away,
bring back the memory of flower and fruit, medieval cities,
metals, knights who turned to stone, roses,
spices whose scent drifted away, precious stones, lots of red,
handicrafts long gone from the world
(the hands are gone too).

Circumcision does it to us,
as in the Bible story of Shechem and the sons of Jacob,
so that we go on hurting all our lives.

What are we doing, coming back here with this pain?
Our longings were drained together with the swamps,
the desert blooms for us, and our children are beautiful.
Even the wrecks of ships that sank on the way
reached this shore,
even winds did. Not all the sails.

What are we doing
in this dark land with its
yellow shadows that pierce the eyes?
(Every now and then someone says, even after forty
or fifty years: ‘The sun is killing me.’)

What are we doing with these souls of mist, with these names,
with our eyes of forests, with our beautiful children,
with our quick blood?

Spilled blood is not the roots of trees
but it’s the closest thing to roots

Poem – Macbreath

A Tragedy as Played at Ryde**
Macbreath Mr Henley
Macpuff Mr Terry
The Ghost

ACT I

TIME: The day before the election
SCENE: A Drummoyne tram running past a lunatic asylum.
All present are Reform Leaguers and supporters of Macbreath.
They seat themselves in the compartment.

MACBREATH: Here, I’ll sit in the midst.
Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll all be fitted
With Parliamentary seats.
(Voter approaches the door.)
There’s blood upon thy face.

VOTER: ‘Tis Thompsons’s, then.

MACBREATH: Is he thrown out? How neatly we beguiled
The guileless Thompson. Did he sign a pledge agreeing to retire?

VOTER: Aye, that he did.

MACBREATH: Not so did I!
Not on the doubtful hazard of a vote
By Ryde electors, cherry-pickers, oafs,
That drive their market carts at dread of night
And sleep all day. Not on the jaundiced choice
Of folks who daily run their half a mile
Just after breakfast, when the steamer hoots
Her warning to the laggard, not on these
Relied Macbreath, for if these rustics’ choice
Had fall’n on Thompson, I should still have claimed
A conference. But hold! Is Thompson out?

VOTER: My lord, his name is mud. That I did for him
I paid my shilling and I cast my vote.

MACBREATH: Thou art the best of all the shilling voters.
Prithee, be near me on election day
To see me smite Macpuff, and now we shan’t
Be long,
(Ghost of Thompson appears.)
What’s this? A vision!
Thou canst not say I did it! Never shake
Thy gory locks at me. Run for some other seat,
Let the woods hide thee. Prithee, chase thyself!
(The ghost of Thompson disappears, and Macbreath revives himself
with a great effort.)
Leaguers all,
Mine own especial comrades of Reform,
All amateurs and no professionals,
So many worthy candidates I see,
Alas that there are only ninety seats.
Still, let us take them all, and Joe Carruthers,
Ashton, and Jimmy Hogue, and all the rest,
Will have to look for work! Oh, joyous day,
To-morrow’s poll will make me M.L.A.

ACT II

TIME: Election day.
SCENE: Macbreath’s committee rooms.

MACBREATH: Bring me no more reports: let them all fly;
Till Labour’s platform to Kyabram come
I cannot taint with fear. How go the votes?

Enter first voter

FIRST VOTER: May it please my Lord,
The cherry-pickers’ vote is two to one
Towards Macpuff: and all our voters say
The ghost of Thompson sits in every booth,
And talks of pledges.

MACBREATH: What a polished liar!
And yet the dead can vote! (Strikes him.)
What if it should be!
(Ghost of Thompson appears to him suddenly.)

GHOST: The Pledge! The Pledge!

MACBREATH: I say I never signed the gory pledge.
(Ghost disappears. Enter a Messenger.)
Thou com’st to use thy tongue. Thy story quickly!

MESSENGER: Gracious, my Lord,
I should report that which I know I saw,
But know not how to do it.

MACBREATH: Well! say, on!

MESSENGER: As I did stand my watch in Parliament
I saw the Labour platform come across
And join Kyabram, Loans were overthrown,
The numbers were reduced, extravagance
Is put an end to by McGowan’s vote.

MACBREATH: The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!
Where got’st thou this fish yarn?

MESSENGER: There’s nearly forty,

MACBREATH: Thieves, fool?

MESSENGER: No, members, will be frozen out of work!

MACBREATH: Aye, runs the story so! Well, well, ’tis sudden!
These are the uses of the politician,
A few brief sittings and another contest;
He hardly gets to know th’ billiard tables
Before he’s out . . .

(Alarums and Harbour excursions; enter Macpuff
at the head of a Picnic Party.)

MACPUFF: Now, yield thee, tyrant!
By that fourth party which I once did form,
I’ll take thee to a picnic, there to live
On windfall oranges!

MACBREATH: . . . Nay, rather death!
Death before picnic! Lay on Macpuff,
And damned be he who first cries Hold, enough!
(They fight. Macbreath is struck on the back of the head
by some blue metal from Pennant Hills Quarry. He falls. The referee
counts, ‘One, two, three, eight, nine, ten, out!’)

MACPUFF: Kind voters all, and worthy gentlemen,
Who rallied to my flag today, and made me
Member for Thompson, from my soul I thank you.
There needs no trumpet blast, for I can blow
Like any trombone. Prithee, let us go!
Thanks to you all who shared this glorious day,
Whom I invite to dance at Chowder Bay!

Poem – Any Other Time

ALL of us play our very best game—
Any other time.
Golf or billiards, it’s all the same—
Any other time.
Lose a match and you always say,
“Just my luck! I was ‘off’ to-day!
I could have beaten him quite half-way—
Any other time!”

After a fiver you ought to go—
Any other time.
Every man that you ask says “Oh,
Any other time.
Lend you a fiver! I’d lend you two,
But I’m overdrawn and my bills are due,
Wish you’d ask me—now, mind you do—
Any other time!”

Fellows will ask you out to dine—
Any other time.
“Not to-night, for we’re twenty-nine —
Any other time.
Not to-morrow, for cook’s on strike,
Not next day, I’ll be out on the bike —
Just drop in whenever you like —
Any other time!”

Seasick passengers like the sea—
Any other time.
“Something . . I ate . . disagreed . . with me!
Any other time
Ocean-trav’lling is . . simply bliss,
Must be my . . liver . . has gone amiss . .
Why, I would . . laugh . . at a sea . . like this—
Any other time.”

Most of us mean to be better men—
Any other time:
Regular upright characters then—
Any other time.
Yet somehow as the years go by
Still we gamble and drink and lie,
When it comes to the last we’ll want to die—
Any other time!

Poem – Housewife

Some women marry houses.
It’s another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is her mother.
That’s the main thing.

Poem – Menstruation At Forty

 

I was thinking of a son.
The womb is not a clock
nor a bell tolling,
but in the eleventh month of its life
I feel the November
of the body as well as of the calendar.
In two days it will be my birthday
and as always the earth is done with its harvest.
This time I hunt for death,
the night I lean toward,
the night I want.
Well then—
speak of it!
It was in the womb all along.

I was thinking of a son …
You! The never acquired,
the never seeded or unfastened,
you of the genitals I feared,
the stalk and the puppy’s breath.
Will I give you my eyes or his?
Will you be the David or the Susan?
(Those two names I picked and listened for.)
Can you be the man your fathers are—
the leg muscles from Michelangelo,
hands from Yugoslavia
somewhere the peasant, Slavic and determined,
somewhere the survivor bulging with life—
and could it still be possible,
all this with Susan’s eyes?

All this without you—
two days gone in blood.
I myself will die without baptism,
a third daughter they didn’t bother.
My death will come on my name day.
What’s wrong with the name day?
It’s only an angel of the sun.
Woman,
weaving a web over your own,
a thin and tangled poison.
Scorpio,
bad spider—
die!

My death from the wrists,
two name tags,
blood worn like a corsage
to bloom
one on the left and one on the right—
It’s a warm room,
the place of the blood.
Leave the door open on its hinges!

Two days for your death
and two days until mine.

Love! That red disease—
year after year, David, you would make me wild!
David! Susan! David! David!
full and disheveled, hissing into the night,
never growing old,
waiting always for you on the porch …
year after year,
my carrot, my cabbage,
I would have possessed you before all women,
calling your name,
calling you mine.

Poem – Mother and Daughter

Linda, you are leaving
your old body now,
It lies flat, an old butterfly,
all arm, all leg, all wing,
loose as an old dress.
I reach out toward it but
my fingers turn to cankers
and I am motherwarm and used,
just as your childhood is used.
Question you about this
and you hold up pearls.
Question you about this
and you pass by armies.
Question you about this –
you with your big clock going,
its hands wider than jackstraws –
and you’ll sew up a continent.
Now that you are eighteen
I give you my booty, my spoils,
my Mother & Co. and my ailments.
Question you about this
and you’ll not know the answer –
the muzzle at the oxygen,
the tubes, the pathways,
the war and the war’s vomit.
Keep on, keep on, keep on,
carrying keepsakes to the boys,
carrying powders to the boys,
carrying, my Linda, blood to
the bloodletter.
Linda, you are leaving
your old body now.
You’ve picked my pocket clean
and you’ve racked up all my
poker chips and left me empty
and, as the river between us
narrows, you do calisthenics,
that womanly leggy semaphore.
Question you about this
and you will sew me a shroud
and hold up Monday’s broiler
and thumb out the chicken gut.
Question you about this
and you will see my death
drooling at these gray lips
while you, my burglar, will eat
fruit and pass the time of day.

Poem – The Frog Prince

Frau Doktor,
Mama Brundig,
take out your contacts,
remove your wig.
I write for you.
I entertain.
But frogs come out
of the sky like rain.

Frogs arrive
With an ugly fury.
You are my judge.
You are my jury.

My guilts are what
we catalogue.
I’ll take a knife
and chop up frog.

Frog has not nerves.
Frog is as old as a cockroach.
Frog is my father’s genitals.
Frog is a malformed doorknob.
Frog is a soft bag of green.

The moon will not have him.
The sun wants to shut off
like a light bulb.
At the sight of him
the stone washes itself in a tub.
The crow thinks he’s an apple
and drops a worm in.
At the feel of frog
the touch-me-nots explode
like electric slugs.
Slime will have him.
Slime has made him a house.

Mr. Poison
is at my bed.
He wants my sausage.
He wants my bread.

Mama Brundig,
he wants my beer.
He wants my Christ
for a souvenir.

Frog has boil disease
and a bellyful of parasites.
He says: Kiss me. Kiss me.
And the ground soils itself.

Why
should a certain
quite adorable princess
be walking in her garden
at such a time
and toss her golden ball
up like a bubble
and drop it into the well?
It was ordained.
Just as the fates deal out
the plague with a tarot card.
Just as the Supreme Being drills
holes in our skulls to let
the Boston Symphony through.

But I digress.
A loss has taken place.
The ball has sunk like a cast-iron pot
into the bottom of the well.

Lost, she said,
my moon, my butter calf,
my yellow moth, my Hindu hare.
Obviously it was more than a ball.
Balls such as these are not
for sale in Au Bon Marché.
I took the moon, she said,
between my teeth
and now it is gone
and I am lost forever.
A thief had robbed by day.

Suddenly the well grew
thick and boiling
and a frog appeared.
His eyes bulged like two peas
and his body was trussed into place.
Do not be afraid, Princess,
he said, I am not a vagabond,
a cattle farmer, a shepherd,
a doorkeeper, a postman
or a laborer.
I come to you as a tradesman.
I have something to sell.
Your ball, he said,
for just three things.
Let me eat from your plate.
Let me drink from your cup.
Let me sleep in your bed.
She thought, Old Waddler,
those three you will never do,
but she made the promises
with hopes for her ball once more.
He brought it up in his mouth
like a tricky old dog
and she ran back to the castle
leaving the frog quite alone.

That evening at dinner time
a knock was heard on the castle door
and a voice demanded:
King’s youngest daughter,
let me in. You promised;
now open to me.
I have left the skunk cabbage
and the eels to live with you.
The kind then heard her promise
and forced her to comply.

The frog first sat on her lap.
He was as awful as an undertaker.
Next he was at her plate
looking over her bacon
and calves’ liver.
We will eat in tandem,
he said gleefully.
Her fork trembled
as if a small machine
had entered her.
He sat upon the liver
and partook like a gourmet.
The princess choked
as if she were eating a puppy.
From her cup he drank.
It wasn’t exactly hygienic.
From her cup she drank
as if it were Socrates’ hemlock.

Next came the bed.
The silky royal bed.
Ah! The penultimate hour!
There was the pillow
with the princess breathing
and there was the sinuous frog
riding up and down beside her.
I have been lost in a river
of shut doors, he said,
and I have made my way over
the wet stones to live with you.
She woke up aghast.
I suffer for birds and fireflies
but not frogs, she said,
and threw him across the room.
Kaboom!

Like a genie coming out of a samovar,
a handsome prince arose in the
corner of her bedroom.
He had kind eyes and hands
and was a friend of sorrow.
Thus they were married.
After all he had compromised her.

He hired a night watchman
so that no one could enter the chamber
and he had the well
boarded over so that
never again would she lose her ball,
that moon, that Krishna hair,
that blind poppy, that innocent globe,
that madonna womb.

Poem – The Gold Key

The speaker in this case
is a middle-aged witch, me-
tangled on my two great arms,
my face in a book
and my mouth wide,
ready to tell you a story or two.
I have come to remind you,
all of you:
Alice, Samuel, Kurt, Eleanor,
Jane, Brian, Maryel,
all of you draw near.
Alice,
at fifty-six do you remember?
Do you remember when you
were read to as a child?
Samuel,
at twenty-two have you forgotten?
Forgotten the ten P.M. dreams
where the wicked king
went up in smoke?
Are you comatose?
Are you undersea?
Attention,
my dears,
let me present to you this boy.
He is sixteen and he wants some answers.
He is each of us.
I mean you.
I mean me.
It is not enough to read Hesse
and drink clam chowder
we must have the answers.
The boy has found a gold key
and he is looking for what it will open.
This boy!
Upon finding a string
he would look for a harp.
Therefore he holds the key tightly.
Its secrets whimper
like a dog in heat.
He turns the key.
Presto!
It opens this book of odd tales
which transform the Brothers Grimm.
Transform?
As if an enlarged paper clip
could be a piece of sculpture.
(And it could.)

Poem – Ghosts

Some ghosts are women,
neither abstract nor pale,
their breasts as limp as killed fish.
Not witches, but ghosts
who come, moving their useless arms
like forsaken servants.

Not all ghosts are women,
I have seen others;
fat, white-bellied men,
wearing their genitals like old rags.
Not devils, but ghosts.
This one thumps barefoot, lurching
above my bed.

But that isn’t all.
Some ghosts are children.
Not angels, but ghosts;
curling like pink tea cups
on any pillow, or kicking,
showing their innocent bottoms, wailing
for Lucifer.

Poem – Earthworm

Slim inquirer, while the old fathers sleep
you are reworking their soil, you have
a grocery store there down under the earth
and it is well stocked with broken wine bottles,
old cigars, old door knobs and earth,
that great brown flour that you kiss each day.
There are dark stars in the cool evening and
you fondle them like killer birds’ beaks.
But what I want to know is why when small boys
dig you up for curiosity and cut you in half
why each half lives and crawls away as if whole.
Have you no beginning and end? Which heart is
the real one? Which eye the seer? Why
is it in the infinite plan that you would
be severed and rise from the dead like a gargoyle
with two heads?

Poem – Room of my Life

Here,
in the room of my life
the objects keep changing.
Ashtrays to cry into,
the suffering brother of the wood walls,
the forty-eight keys of the typewriter
each an eyeball that is never shut,
the books, each a contestant in a beauty contest,
the black chair, a dog coffin made of Naugahyde,
the sockets on the wall
waiting like a cave of bees,
the gold rug
a conversation of heels and toes,
the fireplace
a knife waiting for someone to pick it up,
the sofa, exhausted with the exertion of a whore,
the phone
two flowers taking root in its crotch,
the doors
opening and closing like sea clams,
the lights
poking at me,
lighting up both the soil and the laugh.
The windows,
the starving windows
that drive the trees like nails into my heart.
Each day I feed the world out there
although birds explode
right and left.
I feed the world in here too,
offering the desk puppy biscuits.
However, nothing is just what it seems to be.
My objects dream and wear new costumes,
compelled to, it seems, by all the words in my hands
and the sea that bangs in my throat.

Poem – Flee on your Donkey

Because there was no other place
to flee to,
I came back to the scene of the disordered senses,
came back last night at midnight,
arriving in the thick June night
without luggage or defenses,
giving up my car keys and my cash,
keeping only a pack of Salem cigarettes
the way a child holds on to a toy.
I signed myself in where a stranger
puts the inked-in X’s—
for this is a mental hospital,
not a child’s game.

Today an intern knocks my knees,
testing for reflexes.
Once I would have winked and begged for dope.
Today I am terribly patient.
Today crows play black-jack
on the stethoscope.

Everyone has left me
except my muse,
that good nurse.
She stays in my hand,
a mild white mouse.

The curtains, lazy and delicate,
billow and flutter and drop
like the Victorian skirts
of my two maiden aunts
who kept an antique shop.

Hornets have been sent.
They cluster like floral arrangements on the screen.
Hornets, dragging their thin stingers,
hover outside, all knowing,
hissing: the hornet knows.
I heard it as a child
but what was it that he meant?
The hornet knows!
What happened to Jack and Doc and Reggy?
Who remembers what lurks in the heart of man?
What did The Green Hornet mean, he knows?
Or have I got it wrong?
Is it The Shadow who had seen
me from my bedside radio?

Now it’s Dinn, Dinn, Dinn!
while the ladies in the next room argue
and pick their teeth.
Upstairs a girl curls like a snail;
in another room someone tries to eat a shoe;
meanwhile an adolescent pads up and down
the hall in his white tennis socks.
A new doctor makes rounds
advertising tranquilizers, insulin, or shock
to the uninitiated.

Six years of such small preoccupations!
Six years of shuttling in and out of this place!
O my hunger! My hunger!
I could have gone around the world twice
or had new children – all boys.
It was a long trip with little days in it
and no new places.

In here,
it’s the same old crowd,
the same ruined scene.
The alcoholic arrives with his gold clubs.
The suicide arrives with extra pills sewn
into the lining of her dress.
The permanent guests have done nothing new.
Their faces are still small
like babies with jaundice.

Meanwhile,
they carried out my mother,
wrapped like somebody’s doll, in sheets,
bandaged her jaw and stuffed up her holes.
My father, too. He went out on the rotten blood
he used up on other women in the Middle West.
He went out, a cured old alcoholic
on crooked feet and useless hands.
He went out calling for his father
who died all by himself long ago –
that fat banker who got locked up,
his genes suspended like dollars,
wrapped up in his secret,
tied up securely in a straitjacket.

But you, my doctor, my enthusiast,
were better than Christ;
you promised me another world
to tell me who
I was.

I spent most of my time,
a stranger,
damned and in trance—that little hut,
that naked blue-veined place,
my eyes shut on the confusing office,
eyes circling into my childhood,
eyes newly cut.
Years of hints
strung out—a serialized case history—
thirty-three years of the same dull incest
that sustained us both.
You, my bachelor analyst,
who sat on Marlborough Street,
sharing your office with your mother
and giving up cigarettes each New Year,
were the new God,
the manager of the Gideon Bible.

I was your third-grader
with a blue star on my forehead.
In trance I could be any age,
voice, gesture—all turned backward
like a drugstore clock.
Awake, I memorized dreams.
Dreams came into the ring
like third string fighters,
each one a bad bet
who might win
because there was no other.

I stared at them,
concentrating on the abyss
the way one looks down into a rock quarry,
uncountable miles down,
my hands swinging down like hooks
to pull dreams up out of their cage.
O my hunger! My hunger!

Once, outside your office,
I collapsed in the old-fashioned swoon
between the illegally parked cars.
I threw myself down,
pretending dead for eight hours.
I thought I had died
into a snowstorm.
Above my head
chains cracked along like teeth
digging their way through the snowy street.
I lay there
like an overcoat
that someone had thrown away.
You carried me back in,
awkwardly, tenderly,
with help of the red-haired secretary
who was built like a lifeguard.
My shoes,
I remember,
were lost in the snowbank
as if I planned never to walk again.

That was the winter
that my mother died,
half mad on morphine,
blown up, at last,
like a pregnant pig.
I was her dreamy evil eye.
In fact,
I carried a knife in my pocketbook—
my husband’s good L. L. Bean hunting knife.
I wasn’t sure if I should slash a tire
or scrape the guts out of some dream.

You taught me
to believe in dreams;
thus I was the dredger.
I held them like an old woman with arthritic fingers,
carefully straining the water out—
sweet dark playthings,
and above all, mysterious
until they grew mournful and weak.
O my hunger! My hunger!
I was the one
who opened the warm eyelid
like a surgeon
and brought forth young girls
to grunt like fish.

I told you,
I said—
but I was lying—
that the knife was for my mother . . .
and then I delivered her.

The curtains flutter out
and slump against the bars.
They are my two thin ladies
named Blanche and Rose.
The grounds outside
are pruned like an estate at Newport.
Far off, in the field,
something yellow grows.

Was it last month or last year
that the ambulance ran like a hearse
with its siren blowing on suicide—
Dinn, dinn, dinn!—
a noon whistle that kept insisting on life
all the way through the traffic lights?

I have come back
but disorder is not what it was.
I have lost the trick of it!
The innocence of it!
That fellow-patient in his stovepipe hat
with his fiery joke, his manic smile—
even he seems blurred, small and pale.
I have come back,
recommitted,
fastened to the wall like a bathroom plunger,
held like a prisoner
who was so poor
he fell in love with jail.

I stand at this old window
complaining of the soup,
examining the grounds,
allowing myself the wasted life.
Soon I will raise my face for a white flag,
and when God enters the fort,
I won’t spit or gag on his finger.
I will eat it like a white flower.
Is this the old trick, the wasting away,
the skull that waits for its dose
of electric power?

This is madness
but a kind of hunger.
What good are my questions
in this hierarchy of death
where the earth and the stones go
Dinn! Dinn! Dinn!
It is hardly a feast.
It is my stomach that makes me suffer.

Turn, my hungers!
For once make a deliberate decision.
There are brains that rot here
like black bananas.
Hearts have grown as flat as dinner plates.

Anne, Anne,
flee on your donkey,
flee this sad hotel,
ride out on some hairy beast,
gallop backward pressing
your buttocks to his withers,
sit to his clumsy gait somehow.
Ride out
any old way you please!
In this place everyone talks to his own mouth.
That’s what it means to be crazy.
Those I loved best died of it—
the fool’s disease.

Poem – The Civil War

I am torn in two
but I will conquer myself.
I will dig up the pride.
I will take scissors
and cut out the beggar.
I will take a crowbar
and pry out the broken
pieces of God in me.
Just like a jigsaw puzzle,
I will put Him together again
with the patience of a chess player.

How many pieces?

It feels like thousands,
God dressed up like a whore
in a slime of green algae.
God dressed up like an old man
staggering out of His shoes.
God dressed up like a child,
all naked,
even without skin,
soft as an avocado when you peel it.
And others, others, others.

But I will conquer them all
and build a whole nation of God
in me – but united,
build a new soul,
dress it with skin
and then put on my shirt
and sing an anthem,
a song of myself.

Poem – Lessons in Hunger

‘Do you like me?’
I asked the blue blazer.
No answer.
Silence bounced out of his books.
Silence fell off his tongue
and sat between us
and clogged my throat.
It slaughtered my trust.
It tore cigarettes out of my mouth.
We exchanged blind words,
and I did not cry,
and I did not beg,
blackness lunged in my heart,
and something that had been good,
a sort of kindly oxygen,
turned into a gas oven.
Do you like me?
How absurd!
What’s a question like that?
What’s a silence like that?
And what am I hanging around for,
riddled with what his silence said?

Poem – Jane And Eliza

There were two little girls, neither handsome nor plain;
One’s name was Eliza, the other’s was Jane:
They were both of one height, as I’ve heard people say,
They were both of one age, I believe, to a day.

‘Twas fancied by some, who but slightly had seen them,
That scarcely a difference was there between them;
But no one for long in this notion persisted,
So great a distinction there really existed.

Eliza knew well that she could not be pleasing,
While fretting and fuming, while sulky or teasing;
And therefore in company artfully tried­
Not to break her bad habits, but only to hide.

So when she was out, with much labour and pain,
She contrived to look almost a pleasant as Jane;
But then you might see, that in forcing a smile,
Her mouth was uneasy, and ached all the while.

And in spite of her care, it would sometimes befall,
That some cross event happen’d to ruin it all;
And because it might chance that her share was the worst,
Her temper broke loose, and her dimples dispersed.

But Jane, who had nothing she wanted to hide,
And therefore these troublesome arts never tried,
Had none of the care and fatigue of concealing,
But her face always show’d what her bosom was feeling.

At home or abroad there was peace in her smile,
A cheerful good nature that needed no guile.
And Eliza work’d hard, but could never obtain
The affection that freely was given to Jane.

Poem – Meddlesome Matty

One ugly trick has often spoil’d
The sweetest and the best;
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
One ugly trick possess’d,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.

Sometimes she’d lift the tea-pot lid,
To peep at what was in it,
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.

Her grandmamma went out one day,
And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuff-box gay
Too near the little maid;
“Ah! well,” thought she, “I’ll try them on,
As soon as grandmamma is gone. ”

Forthwith she placed upon her nose
The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
The snuff-box too she spied:
“Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I’ll open it,” said little Matt.

“I know that grandmamma would say,
‘Don’t meddle with it, dear;’
But then, she’s far enough away,
And no one else is near:
Besides, what can there be amiss
In opening such a box as this? ”

So thumb and finger went to work
To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woful case,
The snuff came puffing in her face.

Poor eyes, and nose, and mouth, beside
A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
Her folly she repented.
In vain she ran about for ease;
She could do nothing now but sneeze.

She dash’d the spectacles away,
To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
Her grandmamma she spies.
“Heyday! and what’s the matter now?”
Says grandmamma, with lifted brow.

Matilda, smarting with the pain,
And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
From meddling evermore.
And ’tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.

Poem – Little Girls Must Not Fret

WHAT is it that makes little Emily cry?
Come then, let mamma wipe the tear from her eye:
There–lay down your head on my bosom–that’s right,
And now tell mamma what’s the matter to-night.

What! Emmy is sleepy, and tired with play?
Come, Betty, make haste then, and fetch her away;
But do not be fretful, my darling; you know
Mamma cannot love little girls that are so.

She shall soon go to bed and forget it all there–
Ah! here’s her sweet smile come again, I declare:
That’s right, for I thought you quite naughty before.
Good night, my dear child, but don’t fret any more.

Poem – The Lost Drink

I had spent the night in the watch-house —
My head was the size of three —
So I went and asked the chemist
To fix up a drink for me;
And he brewed it from various bottles
With soda and plenty of ice,
With something that smelt like lemon,
And something that seemed like spice.
It fell on my parching palate
Like the dew on a sunbaked plain,
And my system began to flourish
Like the grass in the soft spring rain;
It wandered throughout my being,
Suffusing my soul with rest,
And I felt as I “scoffed” that liquid
That life had a new-found zest.

I have been on the razzle-dazzle
Full many a time since then
But I never could get the chemist
To brew me that drink again.
He says he’s forgotten the notion —
‘Twas only by chance it came —
He’s tried me with various liquids
But oh! they are not the same.

We have sought, but we sought it vainly,
That one lost drink divine;
We have sampled his various bottles,
But somehow they don’t combine:
Yet I know when I cross the River
And stand on the Golden Shore
I shall meet with an angel chemist
To brew me that drink once more.

Poem – Our Mat

It came from the prison this morning,
Close-twisted, neat-lettered, and flat;
It lies the hall doorway adorning,
A very good style of a mat.

Prison-made! how the spirit is moven
As we think of its story of dread —
What wiles of the wicked are woven
And spun in its intricate thread!

The letters are new, neat and nobby,
Suggesting a masterly hand —
Was it Sikes, who half-murdered the bobby,
That put the neat D on the “and”?

Some banker found guilty of laches —
It’s always called laches, you know —
Had Holt any hand in those Hs?
Did Bertrand illumine that O?

That T has a look of the gallows,
That A’s a triangle, I guess;
Was it one of the Mount Rennie fellows
Who twisted the strands of the S?

Was it made by some “highly connected”,
Who is doing his spell “on his head”,
Or some wretched woman detected
In stealing her children some bread?

Does it speak of a bitter repentance
For the crime that so easily came?
Of the wearisome length of the sentence,
Of the sin, and the sorrow, and shame?

A mat! I should call it a sermon
On sin, to all sinners addressed;
It would take a keen judge to determine
Whether writer or reader is best.

Though the doorway be hard as a pavestone,
I rather would use it than that —
I’d as soon wipe my boots on a gravestone,
As I would on that Darlinghurst mat!

Poem – Driver Smith

Twas Driver Smith of Battery A was anxious to see a fight;
He thought of the Transvaal all the day, he thought of it all the night —
“Well, if the battery’s left behind, I’ll go to the war,” says he,
“I’ll go a-driving and ambulance in the ranks of the A.M.C.
“I’m fairly sick of these here parades — it’s want of a change that kills —
A-charging the Randwick Rifle Range and aiming at Surry Hills.
And I think if I go with the ambulance I’m certain to find a show,
For they have to send the Medical men wherever the troops can go.

“Wherever the rifle bullets flash and the Maxims raise a din,
It’s here you’ll find the Medical men a-raking the wounded in —
A-raking ’em in like human flies — and a driver smart like me
Will find some scope for his extra skill in the ranks of the A.M.C.”

So Driver Smith he went to war a-cracking his driver’s whip,
From ambulance to collecting base they showed him his regular trip.
And he said to the boys that were marching past, as he gave his whip a crack,
“You’ll walk yourselves to the fight,” says he — “Lord spare me, I’ll drive you back.”

Now the fight went on in the Transvaal hills for the half of a day or more,
And Driver Smith he worked his trip — all aboard for the seat of war!
He took his load from the stretcher men and hurried ’em homeward fast
Till he heard a sound that he knew full well — a battery rolling past.

He heard the clink of the leading chains and the roll of the guns behind —
He heard the crack of the drivers’ whips, and he says to ’em, “Strike me blind,
I’ll miss me trip with this ambulance, although I don’t care to shirk,
But I’ll take the car off the line today and follow the guns at work.”

Then up the Battery Colonel came a-cursing ’em black in the face.
“Sit down and shift ‘e,, you drivers there, and gallop ’em into place.”
So off the Battery rolled and swung, a-going a merry dance,
And holding his own with the leading gun goes Smith with his ambulance.

They opened fire on the mountain side, a-peppering by and large,
When over the hill above their flank the Boers came down at the charge;
They rushed the guns with a daring rush, a-volleying left and right,
And Driver Smith and his ambulance moved up to the edge of the fight.

The gunners stuck to their guns like men, and fought as the wild cats fight,
For a Battery man don’t leave his gun with ever a hope in sight;
But the bullets sang and the Mausers cracked and the Battery men gave away,
Till Driver Smith with his ambulance drove into the thick of the fray.

He saw the head of the Transvaal troop a-thundering to and fro,
A hard old face with a monkey beard — a face that he seemed to know;
“Now who’s that leader?” said Driver Smith. “I’ve seen him before today.
Why, bless my heart, but it’s Kruger’s self,” and he jumped for him straight away.

He collared old Kruger round the waist and hustled him into the van.
It wasn’t according to stretcher drill for raising a wounded man;
But he forced him in and said, “All aboard, we’re off for a little ride,
And you’ll have the car to yourself,” says he, “I reckon we’re full inside.”

He wheeled his team on the mountain side and set ’em a merry pace,
A-galloping over the rocks and stones, and a lot of the Boers gave chase;
Bur Driver Smith had a fairish start, and he said to the Boers, “Good-day,
You have Buckley’s chance for to catch a man that was trained in Battery A.”

He drove his team to the hospital bed and said to the P.M.O.,
“Beg pardon, sir, but I missed the trip, mistaking the way to go;
And Kruger came to the ambulance and asked could we spare a bed,
So I fetched him here, and we’ll take him home to show for a bob a head.”

So the word went round to the English troops to say they need fight no more,
For Driver Smith with his ambulance had ended the blooming war.
And in London now at the music halls he’s starring it every night,
And drawing a hundred pounds a week to tell how he won the fight.

Poem – Hard Luck

I left the course, and by my side
There walked a ruined tout —
A hungry creature, evil-eyed,
Who poured this story out.
“You see,” he said, “there came a swell
To Kensington today,
And, if I picked the winners well,
A crown at least he’s pay.

“I picked three winners straight, I did;
I filled his purse with pelf,
And then he gave me half-a-quid
To back one for myself.

“A half-a-quid to me he cast —
I wanted it indeed;
So help me Bob, for two days past
I haven’t had a feed.

“But still I thought my luck was in,
I couldn’t go astray —
I put it all on Little Min,
And lost it straightaway.

“I haven’t got a bite or bed,
I’m absolutely stuck;
So keep this lesson in your head:
Don’t over-trust your luck!”

The folks went homeward, near and far,
The tout, oh! where is he?
Ask where the empty boilers are
Beside the Circular Quay.

Poem – The Flying Gang

I served my time, in the days gone by,
In the railway’s clash and clang,
And I worked my way to the end, and I
Was the head of the “Flying Gang”.
‘Twas a chosen band that was kept at hand
In case of an urgent need;
Was it south or north, we were started forth
And away at our utmost speed.
If word reached town that a bridge was down,
The imperious summons rang —
“Come out with the pilot engine sharp,
And away with the flying gang.”
Then a piercing scream and a rush of steam
As the engine moved ahead;
With measured beat by the slum and street
Of the busy town we fled,
By the uplands bright and the homesteads white,
With the rush of the western gale —
And the pilot swayed with the pace we made
As she rocked on the ringing rail.
And the country children clapped their hands
As the engine’s echoes rang,
But their elders said: “There is work ahead
When they send for the flying gang.”

Then across the miles of the saltbush plain
That gleamed with the morning dew,
Where the grasses waved like the ripening grain
The pilot engine flew —
A fiery rush in the open bush
Where the grade marks seemed to fly,
And the order sped on the wires ahead,
The pilot must go by.
The Governor’s special must stand aside,
And the fast express go hang;
Let your orders be that the line is free
For the boys in the flying gang.

Poem – The Rum Parade

Now ye gallant Sydney boys, who have left your household joys
To march across the sea in search of glory,
I am very much afraid that you do not love parade,
But the rum parade is quite another story.
For the influenza came and to spoil its little game,
They ordered us to drink a curious mixture;
Though at first it frightened some, when we found it mostly rum,
Parade became a very pleasant fixture.

Chorus

So it’s forward the Brigade, if they’ll hold a rum parade
At Pretoria there’s nothing to alarm ye;
And it’s easy to be seen if they leave the quinine,
Ye’ll be there before the blessed British Army.
Then a corporal he come and he said I drank the rum,
But the quinine never reached its destination;
For begob he up and swored that I threw it overboard,
Sure my heart was filled with grief and indignation.
For I’m different to some, I prefer quinine to rum,
And I only take the rum just as a favour,
And it’s easy to be seen I’m so fond of the quinine,
That I keep it lest the rum should spoil its flavour.

When we get to Africay we’ll be landed straight away,
And quartered with the troops of Queen Victoria;
And we hope they’ll understand that the moment that we land
We are ready for a march upon Pretoria.
And we’ll pay off all the scores on old Kruger and his Boers,
And just to prove our manners aren’t a failure,
And to show we are not mean, shure we’ll give them the quinine,
And drink the rum in honour of Australia.

Mantri Jyu – Rakesh Karki

झारपातको नाता पर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
गरीबको झोली भर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
भोकले मरोस् या बन्दुकले मरोस् देशवासी

जङ्गलमा झैँ सँगै चर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
पढ्न नपाएर के भो लड्न सिकाएकै छन्

शिक्षाको ज्योति छर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
बाढीले बगाओस् या भिरबाट गुल्टिउन

बाटो पुल निर्माण गर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
ड्याम्म आसन ग्रहण भा छ अति आनन्द

कार्यकर्ता भेट्न झर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
छाति थापे शहीद भए मंत्रीज्यूलाई बचाए

जनताको लागि मर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन
देश चलेकै छ हातमा, सारा आफ्नै सासमा

मलम बोकी कोशी तर्न मंत्रीज्यूलाई फुर्सद छैन

A Birthday Poem – Ted Kooser

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head

in a black stanchion of trees,

waiting for someone to come

with his bucket

for the foamy white light,

and then a long day in the pasture.

I too spend my days grazing,

feasting on every green moment

till darkness calls,

and with the others

I walk away into the night,

swinging the little tin bell

of my name. 

Birth-Day Wishes – Frank Gutsche

Windy beach, summer jests, 

little girl dipping her toes in cold sand, 

in shivered moments of water she froze.

Apple trees, bright leafy days, 

gentle breeze, cat chased bird, 

magic backyard witches’ shed, 

mother’s angry words.
Ancient pirate’s treasure, 

locked coins in a crumbling chest.

A little girl’s Barbie doll’s hair cut, 

she severed its blonde-maned crest.
Birth-day: 

the wheel of life spins, 

Mother’s lullabies, 

the sound of cherished comfort yearns, 

years carve their spirals. 
I wish you happiness, 

and its endless returns 

Cherry Blossoms  – Frank Gutsche

The trees: White as wedding gowns.

Shedding their blossoms, branches, crowns? 

Like tears embarrassed, blow away free. 

We sit. There is a path; under a tree. 
People pass us by; time is slowed, 

on a camera they’d fade into a blurred line; 

we speak, words bound, betrothed.

Your voice: comforting as I drink your wine. 
Were it not you, 

what would be: 

love? 

Were it not for you, 

What would I ask, 

what would I ask to be? 
Then I would float, 

Float on those embarrassed petals, 

white; 

I would float standing, watching.

Watching you and me; 

as you lean against me, 

you see me on a swirling petal: 

I float.

I look at you, 

and in one moment I would say: 

love’s eye is beyond one could ever see.
I am near you; 

yet so endlessly far away, 

floating in a blue sky, 

I do not touch the ground; 

were it not for you, 

what would be: 

love? 

Dhoon – Kangmai Naresh 

बाँसुरीको धुनलाई पछ्याउँदै
घाम जस्तै क्रमश: डुबेर

साझको धमिलो आकृतिमा

एउटी बैसको थकान

फलैचामा असरल्ल पारेर

भुसुक्क निधाउँछे

धुनै धुनमा बिरक्तिएर

सपनाको पहाड चड्दै

हिमालको टाउको माथि

नाङ्गो खुट्टाले उभिएर

उ चन्द्रमा टिप्छे

ताराहरु टिप्छे

नयाँ नयाँ ग्रहहरु देख्छे

रोजेर घामलाई टिप्न भनि हात अघि बढाउँछे

घामले पिल्सिन्ने गरि पोलेपछि

उ भन्छे

आत्था

यो त साँच्चै

नयाँ नेपाल जस्तै

तातो रहेछ !

Durbhagya Ko Jhonkka – Bijaya Raj Ghimire

आर्कटिक सागरबाट बगेको सिरेटोले जस्तै
जब दुर्भाग्यको झोंक्काले मेरो छाति छेड्दछ

बाक्लो हुस्सुले तलाउलाई ढपक्क ढाकेझैं

जब छटपटीले मेरो मस्तिष्कलाई ढाक्दछ

त्यसबखत बिलाउँछ मेरो अनुहारबाट आभा

मबाट हराउँछ चनाखोपना र प्रत्युत्पन्नमति

म उभिन त उभिन्छु कक्षामा पढाउन

तर मात्र भट्याउँछु कुनै भरिएको टेपसरी

निस्सासिन थाल्दछ मेरो जीवन

जिउनु बन्दछ सुल्झाउनै नसकिने पहेली

यस्ता क्षणमा म चाहन्छु भइजान निश्चल

जसरी हुने गर्दछ ब्याट्री सकिएको पुतली

साँच्चिकै साँच्चिकै चाहन्छ मेरो दिल

रोकियोस् यो पृथ्वी, थामियोस् पूर्ण प्रकृति

तर उफ्! मैले चाहेर मात्र के हुन्छ र?

घुमिरहन्छ घडीको सियो, रोकिंदैन खोलाको गति

मानिसको उदासीको के नै मूल्य छ र समयचक्रलाई?

आफैले आफुलाई ठूलो मानेर के हुन्छ नै,

जब चिन्ता छैन कसैको कसैलाई।

Stan – Hari Ghimire

सृजनाको पूर्वाधार
जीवनको आधार

बैंशको प्रकटीकरण

सौन्दर्यको आभा

आकर्षणको केन्द्र

म लजाउँछु / तिमी लजाउँछ्यौ

तर सृष्टि हाँस्छ।
सुमेरु पर्वत!

देवता-दानवको मधानी

गोबर्द्धन पर्वत!

जीवनरक्षाको प्रत्याभूति

मातृत्व-कलश!

बाल-अमृतको भण्डार

हिमाली टाकुरा!
शुभ्र-स्निग्ध अजस्र प्रवाह

प्रकृति लजाउँछ / ईश्वर हाँस्छ

तर ‘म’ जीवन पाउँछु

ममतामयी जननी उजागर हुन्छिन्

धन्य सृष्ट्रि!!

म नमस्कार गर्छु।

Antya Ki Suruwat – Pradeep Chapagain

लास

मुर्दा

गयो,बित्यो

सकियो

कानेखुसीहरु

एक हुल

सयौं आँखाहरु

फूलका गुच्छाहरु

अनि अबिर

गोबर,अनी लिपिएको भुईँ

चित्कार अनि रोदन

सम्झनाहरु

यस्तै माहोलबिच

सेतो कात्रोभित्र

चिर निद्रामा निदाएको

एउटा प्राणी

म !!
एकनाले बाँस

घाटको पर्खाई

चिता

आगो

ब्रम्हनाल

चिसो बतास

खोलाको सुसेली

अनि

राप रापमा जलेर

केही क्षणमै

खरानी हुने

सजिवता सकिएको

एउटा वस्तु

म !!
आकाश

हजारौं मान्छेहरुका

हजारौं अड्कलहरु

स्वर्ग, नर्क

त्यै एउटै थलो

चन्द्रमा

सुर्य

ग्रह

अनि ताराहरु

वायुमण्डल

सबैको घर

त्यही घरको बाटो हुँदै

अनन्त यात्रामा निस्किएको

एउटा शान्त यात्री

म !!
अनि

एउटा अनुत्तरित प्रश्न

यो एउटा घटना

अन्त्य,कि सुरुवात ? ?

Poem – Day’s End

Oxen and sheep were brought back down

Long ago and bramble gates closed over

Mountains and rivers far from my old garden

A windswept moon rises into clear night.
Springs trickle down dark cliffs and autumn

Dew fills ridgeline grasses my hair seems

Winter in lamplight. The flame flickers

Good fortune over and over and for what

Poem – Flashbacks 

All it takes is Laura Riding’s riding-
crop across my butt, and I’m off:

Git-up horsie she cries astride me as
I crash sweetly onto the carpet.

Boredom what an esthetic,

cleansing the days-

I laud the vintage of my toothpick.
Small-husband to the floor,

my foot stoops in dance,

in courtship intervals.
Putting their clothes on afterwards

the lovers are surprised

at how empty

the buttonholes seem. 

Poem – Feeding The Sun

One day we notice that the sun
needs feeding. Immediately

a crash program begins: we fill rockets

with wheat, smoke-rings, razorblades, then, 

after long aiming

–they’re off. Hulls specially alloyed

so as not to melt before the stuff 

gets delivered we pour cattle rivers windmills,

aborigines etcet into the sun which

however, grows stubbornly

smaller, paler. Finally

of course we run out of things to feed the thing,

start shipping ourselves. By now

all the planets-moons-asteroids and

so on have been shoveled in though they’re

not doing much good it’s

still looking pretty weak, heck, nothing helps!

Now the last few of us left lift off.

The trip seems forever but then, touchdown.

Just before entering we wonder,

will we be enough. There’s

a last-second doubt in our minds: can we,

can this final sacrifice, our broughten crumb,

satiate

it–will a glutteral belch burst out then at last,–

and will that Big Burp be seen by far-off telescopes,

interpreted as a nova

by those other galaxies,

those further stars which have always seemed even more 

starving 

than ours? 

Poem – Compact Dusk

Here at the height of the day night change
The color of the sky is uncertain,

The sky depending in which direction

One’s eye strains, each of its swatches a strange 
Hue which dies too soon and which makes this hour

Linger in the mind transient as a life,

Whose names once known remain another

Posied-up portrait on our palette knife. 
Until even I wonder if one tint

Ever survives the harm of seeming unique

(Evening’s intrigue, time’s singularity.) 
Study for its trace, its placemap, I see

— Redundant as a stopsign in italic—

The face on which my profile leaves no print. 

Poem – Stress Therapy

Time, time, time, time, the clock
vaccinates us.

and then even that lacks

prophylaxis. 
Ticktock-pockmarked, stricken

by such strokes, we

get sick of prescriptions

which work solely 
on the body.

Systole diastole–

It is by its very 
intermittency

that the heart knows

itself to be an I. 

Poem – Monopoly

Finally the day dawned when a monopoly owned everything in theworld

So it went looking for its stockholders to celebrate

But they were all owned by it they were all dead they were

someplace

Their photographs hung in elevators which went up and down up and

down carrying nobody

Everyone else was in bed doing exercises to get in shape for noon

Hey the monopoly said let’s uncork the World Trade Center and get

blotto

Silence

The monopoly scowled

All it wanted was a little good-fellowship, like you get in the

highrise apartment-buildings

Then the sky got awful dark

Gee

And everyone was in bed frantically doing those exercises that get us in

shape for death

Exercises known as “kissing” “fucking” “caressing”

Everyone was unaware that they had been bought

Or that the earth was about to sell them to the moon

For a little light 

Poem – Heritage 

“…here thy generations endeth in accord.” 
I physically resemble my mother

And father and therefore must have been

Adopted, because on my TV screen

The role-children rarely share a feature

With either parent. The fact they’re actors

And I’m not is what makes me misbegot—

A matched world of monitors all 2-shot

The mirror daily where I pray these stars 
Come: cancel everyone of us whose names

And clans have sundered human unity

Descend always among daughters or sons

To live still, beyond the Net’s trivia games,

Till their faces cloned shape ours. Family.

From android to ape, we’ll be Thy reruns.