Brian Salchert's Verses

Saturday, August 15, 2009

March: Year-day 77

[ Treat the following as a period piece and focus on the intellectual distance I gave it. ] March: Year-day 77 Crisp and clear, with just a stroke of haze here today, the two red-snowsuited kids bright against the blue / the trees' wounds, harsh and sheer, I think of my cross-legged nakedness--light upon the bed--and of how Oshkosh was three years ago, St. Patty's Day, the last in Streak Week, during which I, just because, joined some guys led by a gal, and moved fast. It's amazing how what one feels he feels he seldom has that urgency to show which shows his difference from rocks and eels or the blear encasements of ice and snow even if shucked of his clothing he reels, pretending he'd share who exists below. -

March: Year-day 76

March: Year-day 76 Knowledge is the hemlock of innocence, and that is why old Socrates was killed. Innocents of Athens who heard his sense ought not--thought those in power--be so filled. "Keep innocence alive" they whispered round, "else knowledge will destroy what we have won. We mustn't let a man whose thinking's sound ask questions that will leave our frauds undone." Through the alleys moves a shadow of peace, nodding to the winds and wandering cats, adding to the enchantment that is Greece, ducking/ a wife's flexed yells/ as if they're bats, teaching as if teaching could never cease nor human learning/ move slower than rats. -

March: Year-day 75

March: Year-day 75 Now the storm is over, the linemen gone, and poems I meant to write still somewhere hid beneath my consciousness, I now go on, determined to fill the blanks, seal the lid, even if it does take till fall, or next year. When faith weakens, hang to hope: The trees-- though so many by the vile ice were hexed-- did, frozen to earth, spent, trunks split to knees. And so, when what is sought is found, and shown, budding all over with flowers and leaves despite their wounds, which cannot/ be removed, I and you will be happy we had known the man who struggles rules the man who grieves, raising in sunlight what persistence proved. -

March: Year-day 74

March: Year-day 74 Starships to Andromeda. Warps of time. Wherever there is emptiness, we fill and fill. Even black holes will learn the chill of our intrusions. Creatures/ so sublime, we suck a planet dead with such deft tongues, swarming through its airs, it's hardly awake by the hour we've swallowed enough to slake the top of our thirst, collapsing its lungs. "Bless us" we ask an eternalized God to bolster our mad insecurity, the fuel of our power, the reason no sensible reason is needed to prod our devastations of this deep orbed sea, this Eden of the fish of fiery snow. -

March: Year-day 73

March: Year-day 73 Today the power men woke up to leave and, sister, brother, the old airs relaxed in this hard-pressed inn; for few of us grieve when warm lights rescind what has overtaxed as the ice of double-shifting had done; so we and the linemen, not being sure we'd last another day--despite the fun easing it, though forced to--welcomed the cure. Enough is enough, as you sometimes hear, and we all concurred; and so the men went rolling home from their interrupted year, the long hours gone; and the rest of us bent toward cleaning up. The torn trees wept. While near, sad, not two weeks lived, one flagellant Lent. -

March: Year-day 72

March: Year-day 72 Still, sister and brother, each in your frames, I here, alone, sadly meandering, depart from glory a while, dreaming names, stories, for my condition, reduced thing I have / by my desires & dares become, feeling the need to cover what thechild in me would leave exposed because I've some / inhibitions against the pure, the wild. To walk where I walk I decline to ask anyone to do, though I'd like each to follow now and then, while Istep from/ change to change; just as for a lineman, each given task left by a storm or accident in hollow, on height, deepens me as/ I rearrange. -

March: Year-day 71

March: Year-day 71 Happy birthday, sister and brother. I'm sorry you cannot watch my scribblings here but--with intelligence men about--time is of the essence, as they say; a fear- toned man, anti-abortion, anti-Ford, must be quietly careful these nights, these days: especially me: poet ignored, shadow in waiting, sun in a wombed breeze. Yet, the gates of time will part for me, hie me a mountain throne--thirty-five now, I mind much less being a rejected thing by those of current importance--the sky I grow toward will not pass, and I will sing, influences and all, and be a king. -

March: Year-day 70

March: Year-day 70 Hi, Thatcher Lane Gearhart, born yesterday! Welcome aboard! I can't say you'll like this decidedly stuffed with injustices domain floating along the Milky Way Galaxy's edge, spun in a universe we may never know the ends of; but be strong and healthy in the heat of the curse, the blessing; and become, through land, air, sea more than you or anyone might expect, however situations, heritage, and nurtured abilities to make new limit you who (from a had-to-be checked civilization) will learn to please, nudge, help see another: through more sacred hues. -

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

March: Year-day 69

March: Year-day 69 I have never had his experience, nor am likely to, this lineman who dares to bring us power, chancing his; who stares the shocks of death heart to heart for the sense of comfort we have come to demand, dense though most of us are to the hard repairs he must make after a storm, and the cares that move him both to drink and maintenance. Oh, each of us lives his own kind of life somewhere between circumstance and desire more or less dangerously, pain and joy as in the pregnant womb of a good wife or the eyes of a birthday gal his fire or his climbing of poles/ to keep the boy. -

March: Year-day 68

March: Year-day 68 Coming as rain, the beasts, layer on layer clung to what they could, e.g., grasses, trees, telephone poles and wires until each mayor in his little town cried in his head, "Please, your heavy, brilliant bodies have destroyed already too much, branchesof trees popped-- I hear them yet, poles splintered, unemployed; flames arcing from bare lines; work patterns stopped." This morning, in the fair and cold, the sun (glinting what it kisses onswallowed fields and bushes and trees--trunks, limbs, branches, twigs too often spiking their pale insides up through the careless winds where the hard beasts' needs have bit them off with themselves) cringes, licks. -

March: Year-day 67

March: Year-day 67 So, now, electricians/ swarm through the house, their antennae, live wires; their wings, hard wood; their nerve centers, transformers; and I, mouse, my gestures soft static, guess where I should escape to, but don't, knowing I must run the columns of figures as rapidly as circumstance allows as one and one and another employee assists me. Audit. Audit. No time to fret about small out-of-balances. No time to finish each day's report, imagine each day's sonnet, the early-morning / late-night crush of stout linemen more than enough to quite diminish my energy for the torn land's . . . beyond it. -

March: Year-day 66

March: Year-day 66 Determination wins the day for sure but, more importantly, enchants the night. That's why we favor our invented light; that's why tomorrow it will be more pure. So, whenever you think it's too obscure, just wait, it soon enough may be too bright, may even for a moment blind your sight, this shielded fire that can rupture and cure. A seed that germinates under a rock may, in its struggles, split that rock to three. We, at a door, continuing to knock, may at last be greeted, by someone dead. So the splitting greetings of land by sea, the human waters of romance and dread. -

March: Year-day 65

March: Year-day 65 Can't think, my lights going brown and brown, black, the toll of the ice storms mounting past thought while hands reach anxiously for candles brought from a storeroom somewhere, a dead bee's sac, fires for each hall providing us a track of vision, a sanctuary charm, caught as we are without electric, distraught yet giggly, so suddenly peeled years back. First I, then Mark, turned the register's crank: room charge, tax--the x read of zeeing out, then the z read, and the x read again, zero after zero, proving the bank, the mechanical day, was full about, balanced to nothings by the hands of men. -

March: Year-day 64

March: Year-day 64 Little White Lady, the Alloy's cat, found this morning beneath their bed with three kittens, so carried Cindy to her happy wits' ends she phoned the inn to tell me that, and drown in details my tiredness before the rains and the sorrowing ice return, our hearts withering as power lines snap, writhe, spark, basements fill, graces crack, death comes again. Crouched here in a county of isolation; saved from cold by the nature of my work, linemen in transparent desolation leave barely a word to this poet clerk waiting days for a day's inspiration to mix meows with a wet weather's quirk. -

March: Year-day 63

March: Year-day 63 West Bend, the prison arrived at through years of foolishness. Like most, I too have bumbled seriously, bent, broken off, split under the freezing rains of desire/ as the trees, so many of the trees, here have/ this Ash Wednesday. Had I not sought what I have I would not have had to suffer as I right now do, though my suffering invites laughs. West Bend, insipid necessary prison, gained through my constant buying of new cars, my failure to use enough healthy reasons for doing whatever sharpens my hours. Denial by denial heals now this run impresario's too familiar powers. -

March: Year-day 62

March: Year-day 62 Say the worlds we face are as black and hard as anthracite, as promotive of fear and chaos as a soon-to-explode star, that nature and artifact and those weird transcendors, spirit and mind, cannot be made to fully demystify themselves, we, as minute as we are, ought we not weigh our actions still, determine what is meed? Brontosauruses trapped in tar: dead ends, of whatever kind--even if, we, too, should fail to be diverse enough to hold our own, or being diverse, still lose friends, enemies, selves/ let us more than chop through the laminations of wind, wet, and cold. -

March: Year-day 61

March: Year-day 61 Lionizing the lamb, making a lamb of the lion, stuffing the groundhog back into his hole, March can spring an attack of apoplexy on who I am, was, wish I were, with the way it dumps the full dish of yesterday or fills the empty one of, say, today, greeting me with grayed sun, then blistering with sharp snow I damn, dam. However, I have decided to stay inside, not because I'm afraid, but rather because I've no need to face such a spate of meanness to feel it, and disarray, to deal with it. I know its guises gather praise, and where; I will not capitulate. -

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

February: Year-day 60

February: Year-day 60 So this is Sadie Hawkins Day. What fun! Yet, what disturbance! How shall--? We call this leap year: the year, one would suppose, we'd miss-- by leaping, I mean--a day, not put one in. On the other hand, the ladies leap on gentlemen this day--are allowed to, that is--though I doubt there are many who now, if ever, such a tradition, keep. At any rate, we go about enjoying it, as we can, making a feast of little, or so its seems, although we're not quite able to much explain--perhaps we are employing a mystery, a special kind of riddle, or symbol of--our clasped hands/ on a table. -

February: Year-day 59

February: Year-day 59 After all is said, nothing's left to say, and saying that takes all the words there are. And if to answer means to throw away, then throw away we must,just as a star. If I, or you, or you, incant a dream where every line's a masterpiece of breath and every shade shakes passion out of seem, the emptiness so filled will bury death. And creatures of intelligence will grow and (through their need to love) communicate. And rightly felt, those triumphs garnered so will join with all their elders who create. And each of these bright wonder forms of know will spin deep worlds of being/ beyond date. -

February: Year-day 58

February: Year-day 58 War? I have spoken on it, but once more. The only revolution worth Earth's while is one the Proletariat are for; the only revolution worth their while is one of refusal, refusal to, for any reason, bash a skull in, knife a heart, blast to coral or burn to goo another human, castrate someone's life. The pleasure of the rich, the pleasure of the politician be cursed. In the wood a thrush in song, a trillium for love; in the air, terns, spearing the wriggling foam. Jonathan Kozol writes; his words are good: The Night Is Dark and I Am Far from Home. -

February: Year-day 57

February: Year-day 57 Those who die in battle I long will honour. Under the cedars, I will honour them. Under the palm trees, I will honour them. Those who die in battle I long will honour. Those impaired by battle I long will honour. Upon the sidewalks, I will honour them. Upon the highways, I will honour them. Those impaired by battle I long will honour. It matters not/ that I label them fools, that war to me means someone lost his heart, that pools of blood are never more than pools when hearts could have ensured they did not start; they too required courage who honored rules made from the first to tear people apart. -

February: Year-day 56

February: Year-day 56 No idea today; so here's a line and here's another, closing up, preparing for a third one running now as far and fine--. Line four already, when three was just airing? Why, we'll be out of the fifth before we've had time to taste it! And as for six, it's gone! What! What shakes here? What's up this guy's sleeve, anyway? Seven? He's giving me fits! Eight? Sorry, too late, I'm number nine. Oh, heavens to lime'n'rum! I suppose ten is eleven, and the twelfth rat will show somewhere inside the thirteenth ship again-- that bad luck phantom--so we barely know where fourteen floats, or how, or why, or when! -

February: Year-day 55

February: Year-day 55 Walking with Janice to our car, Powers of Mind by Adam Smith in my right hand with Jeane Dixon's Yesterday, Today, and Forever to titillate a few hours my future-tending, in-and-outing mind; talking about the balmy air, and how it moves the snow better than the truck's plow, we crook to geese intruding/ from behind. Two hundred about, I guess: as I'm asked why they make so much noise--but then am told questioningly, "Are they communicating?"-- and why their V formation: as they basked in sight in the minus Celsius cold, thrilling us with their ancient ways of dating. -

February: Year-day 54

February: Year-day 54 We die a lot before we have to die, trying to choose the sunlight or the shade or that nuance of these which suits our eyes as we play the games from "real" to "charades"; trying to stay alive while our hopes dry and the directions of our movements jade and questions and answers tumble and rise, changing faces until our shocked flesh fades. We die a lot before we somewhat live, meaning to take less than we have to give, thinking our thinking right/ when it is wrong/ as aftersight proves foresight did not see we could not become what we ought to be without hurt, once tricked by a sucker song. -

February: Year-day 53

February: Year-day 53 [ George Washington is the central figure in this sonnet, but the story related is not true. ] And then there was this fellow named George. Oh, he was a general sort, though his tough mind-- well I remember it. Valley Forge. Snow and starvation. We slept together. Kind of him to have me. Didn't at all care he scratched and bit. That winter wasn't pleasant to any there: least, him, facing the air, the dead, and each one's desert of the present. No, I'm not saying he's better than most, though it's certainly not rum to accept defeats such as those. I wouldn't want to. Couldn't. George didn't give a holy host either many times, spitting his gall-kept words at us: flapping/ like a rotten boot. -

February: Year-day 52

February: Year-day 52 How many images have been lost, friend, like the carrot of existentialism, the cauliflower of discontent? Send those to me you remember. There's a chasm here worth exploring, I'm sure. Let us make our ways into it, stubbing our soft toes on wild roses of granite, thoughts to shake our dreamings, dreamings of heavy snows to bury our thoughts, to insulate them/ so they can germinate at/ the far end of winter, wending up a leaf, a stem, a flower for us somehow to befriend, to inspect for a thorn, a bee, a small hem of difference, to walk new from, to lend. -

February: Year-day 51

February: Year-day 51 Numbers all night, words all day, my brains work harder than most people would care to have theirs work, and auditing isn't a salve or vitamin for any decent quirk I have, not near the ways poetry is. I make a living from it for my wife and myself; and signed-for future goods knife gently enough from it; but I won't fizz in my three brains, or my spirit, or heart, nor bubble, nor least of all suddenly gusher--as I do when words form the base I apply or swallow; from which I start: to heal what sores and cuts appear on me, to strengthen from within/ my persons' face. -

February: Year-day 50

February: Year-day 50 D. H. Lawrence knew it: (there is no "I"); and Buddha. Yet jailed Christianity has led me otherwise; now Robert Bly corrects that through his Leaping Poetry. So the "I" then is physically three: the reptile brain, which fear of death turns high; the mammal brain, which foetal sittings free then pass; and the new brain, which lights the sky. Out of black comes white; out of white comes black; out of both, or neither, the bows of dew. As we find ourselves going back and back let us also grow delightfullly new. Cold, warmth, light: to survive; to make love, whack; to spirit. Learn each. Let the last imbue. -

February: Year-day 49

February: Year-day 49 Question: Will I actually make it through this year, writing a poem a day? And if I do, will I end up old, bored, and stiff, and have more deadened than enlivened you? I hope not. Oh, I won't be going boo around every corner, or paddling a skiff through every marsh/ you walk near; but don't whiff by unnoticing; I am somewhere, new. You'll sense, just as you have before, the warts on the great umber squash, the hummingbird coptering near moss phlox, the crazy bat yipping out of the mouth of night, the courts of hard decisions. Everyone knows, word, image, play; everyone's a poet, a cat. -

February: Year-day 48

February: Year-day 48 Back to the usual, then. Not because it's easier but because it is calm, and calm is what I need now. Not a bomb. There is no future in chewing what was, or at least so I sometimes must believe. Oh well, there are Green Stamps of the emotions to save too. I can't always live in oceans, skipping ropes, cheering, crying on my sleeve. That is the matter, isn't it? Too much unsanity tends to disintegrate the experiencer of it, abort in sections his protected growth, steal crutch and sling and medicine from him, deflate his sense of being, force him/ to cavort. -

February: Year-day 47

February: Year-day 47 Whippets. Dogs of war. Flashes of delight. Tricks of the mind. Deceptions of the heart. The charged astrophysicist's starry art. The quickness of the swimmer, lean and bright. Arrows of exertion. Missiles. A night for the making of deserts. The wrong part. Bean soup floating a world of termites. Start today tomorrow. Be kind to your sight. If apple blossoms give peach blossoms fits, perhaps the cherries will tear out their pits and the oranges burst into umbrellas and somewhere in a pineapple preserve a banana with a kingdom of nerve will detonate, you lucky gals and fellas. - [ Since today is 2006's Thanksgiving Day, this prayer interlude: Lord Jesus, through each this moment along the way, thank You for Your gifts today. ] -

Monday, August 10, 2009

February: Year-day 46

February: Year-day 46 Across Wayne Road, steel wheels: kids on their skates. On this side, for most of the afternoon, four girls play, bug, before they pull up stakes and I'm under cover, too late, too soon. Some want to fly kites! How 'bout a balloon? A daydream or a nightdream is all it takes. Have you ever heard the cry of a loon? If these verses aren't mine, let them be Kate's. Or yours, perhaps. This language isn't mine alone. So the words appearing here, line by line, are born from my gray. When God cleans His gray-on-gray carpet tomorrow, Joe, we'll all be treated to the dustball snow and the thunderstorm. Come. Enjoy our scenes. -

February: Year-day 45

February: Year-day 45 Happy Valentine's, if you wish. The sky is: fair and breezy. The graying snow changes and disappears, unable to/ feel why. Near Eden, a sharp-shinned hawk rearranges oursoft perceptions as we travel home in our Big Sky Blue Volare: to visit our parents and bus bumMark,who would roam the world. Isn't this Valentine exquisite? Why, even the dove that--on our way back to West Bend--was really a sparrow hawk/ puts diamond light here. I, too, would attack and be brilliant, an "evil" cupid, stalk the hearts of strangers to assuage my lack of/ contentment, killing with: more than talk. -

February: Year-day 44

February: Year-day 44 A time for quiet and simplicity. You and I on a long summer's walk. You, and I, passing under a maple tree, kissing, breezes bandying in the blue; sparrows, grackles, robins, swallows, and doves, like visitors from foreign nations, come to a sort of resort to know their loves; you, and I, opening, more than the sum. In the stream, a flower, living, dead, sails through our memories, here, there, catching fire, breaking old incidents out of their jails, renewing each, like a phoenix from its pyre of unrecognition, show us what fails fails not with the right touch of fate, desire. -

February: Year-day 43

February: Year-day 43 Tall and ascetic, with a screechy voice, striding out of Illinois--who'd hate, spare: he chose his wife as if he had no choice; he chooses words with empathetic flair. Once by a soldier with a fatal wound he sat, and wrote to his mother for him, and talked, and listened, and, gently attuned, stayed for his comfort at his young life's brim. So, now, in that house back in Illinois, he remains for our comfort to the brims of our lives, knowing pain and knowing joy, and our Bicentennial moans and hymns; now, through those words/ he/ was blessed to deploy to bless our troubled zeitgeist/ oddly swims. -

February: Year-day 42

February: Year-day 42 Flick. Today is the day we celebrate the birth of the man whose thirst witnessed light electrified in a glass bulb, whose great intrepid perseverance lit the night for good, more perfectly than candles, whose relentless genius heard a sound machine lift voices from spinning, needled discs, whose insight flashed to images/ on a screen. That such amazing beauties should have grown where we must recognize them as our own are blessings to hold even as they run, even as they fly past where they have flown, even as they enter the charged unknown to use so as to bless/ Tom/ Edison. -

February: Year-day 41

February: Year-day 41 Save the universe. Replace Man. The things of this world! How they move us! make us them! my vanto be wagon, my pendants, rings! And who knows who or how or what could stem this power; who knows how or what or who Man should be replaced by. Things of this Earth! "Dilemma": our real name for sure, to do with as we wish, hope, must/ from before birth. Do I talk too sadly? Give me your hand. It only takes one to destroy us, and, one only to keep us alive. For all our insignificance, through air and land and sea, we are significant who stand/ who've not forgotten/ we once had to crawl. -

February: Year-day 40

February: Year-day 40 Whim is the master of youth; order, age. Both of which are present in works of art. One, of the intuitions of the sage; the other, of the leapings of the heart. The coroner's report let no one doubt the creature we had captured truly died, but as we smile it streaks again about, mystifying the kettled countryside. So, yes, my camera catches charmed views of mermaid wheat swimming golden, of guards changing at Arlington beneath the dome of South Bend's Notre Dame, of the white hues of Niagara through Schroeder Hall; of yards, especially the one/ surrounding home. -

February: Year-day 39

February: Year-day 39 Listening to Ron's invisible guitar and Mark's laughter as he bruises the wind, no wonder I wonder whose dreams we are where the crowds have thickened, the crowds have thinned. No wonder kings in their perma-press suits have nothing to do with people in rags as the poets playing their lyres and lutes look absently at the costs of their tags. No wonder we wonder wonder through tears while winds roll & whisp and whistle their songs and the various guitars talk and chime to the voids in our stomachs brought by years too easily stuffed with "impossible" wrongs that have slashed, jumbled, and corroded time. -

February: Year-day 38

February: Year-day 38 A fair sky, and whistlings out of the south. Tomorrow, Milwaukee perhaps, and Rick and Laurel: music: his organ, her mouth: throaty, electric: rock with rainbow quick. And the bastards, and the bitches, the ladies, the gentlemen/ will listen and enjoy as their ears are turned in the Leaded Shade ease that evening that duo work for, employ. And the computer-controlled universe we may quite soon see sloshing in the banks will leave small room for compelled excuses. All we imagine/ we'd better rehearse if we're ever to hear the proper thanks for the worlds we make and their varied uses. -

February: Year-day 37

February: Year-day 37 Melancholy, what a black horse you are, carrying me now to lands without light where I'm more like shadows caught in a jar than a being who bleeds, whose dreams are bright, who for all his sadnesses learned to fly! Stallion, don't so lead me to more regrets. I'm in rags already from more than I could rein through/ when we crossed/ your briared lets. If my flesh and bones were to disappear entire, and I truly became that dark I feel I am, how could I take it, horse, black, black horse; how could I handle the fear when you, the world, I/ are but shades apart, substanceless, in the curled void of remorse. -

February: Year-day 36

February: Year-day 36 Honesty in the sequin snow, the cold, brings corn on a snowmobile to feed deer, and trails the deer walk on, and care, to hold what in season he'll kill. Somewhere, in fear andtrembling, sometime, I also may, bugged too long by images out of my past-- we all have been--to avoid being hugged by the one with whom love will deepest last. What love I give and am givenis good, but not enough. If there really is one I can happily love, I'd like to know, but--I perceive I am a complex wood, needing to share with several kinds of sun. Am I sad? Am I a fool? Maybe so. -

February: Year-day 35

February: Year-day 35 "Nobody's gonna save us from us but us." Not even an angel or a sauceroid. So there's no sense in our stringing a fuss because we're ridiculed and unemployed or conning our way to the tippy-top of a "good life" dream. Spirits that are blacker than any soot or any skin, that stop love, won't rescue us no matter the lacquer. Unless there is a shining from within, we may as well shift our Cad's into passes and stuff our green in our ears. Unless there's a warmth/ that's death to what's/ well called sin, perhaps we'd best/ drown in/ pools of molasses, whose wants just as surely are a sweet mess. -

February: Year-day 34

February: Year-day 34 I love the sonnet, so blustery free, laughing in its chains, strong in its voice full of icicles, steam, crocodile eggs, me, voluptuous, concerned, impregnable, expecting visits from monsters, roots, gods, terrible in their urgencies, cold tides harrowing boats, docks, doctrinal frail clods, enterers of exits: we: race of prides. Such contrivances we envision, putting one over on ourselves every time, yet nimbly enough for our limited view, not needing true perfection, faultless footing, even if we don't let rats/insects get tomorrow. I hate the sonnet. Don't you? -

February: Year-day 33

February: Year-day 33 Heroes and lollipops. How we want them/ pure/ in our moments of false nostalgia! No teeth-cracking boots to the groin, blood, phlegm; no bluffings beat when a wizard calls ya. Masters of our fates. Gods. Cold, human gods. To admire but not to imitate, placed so brightly above us even the odds blind our weak-eyed hopes of being so chaste. If Washington did lie, with women played; and, though love's thistles did prick Doris Day, Olympus is not by an earthquake shook. Sure, lollipops may be better than dope, and smoking despair won't help us taste hope; it's the human in heroes/ lets us look. -

February: Year-day 32

February: Year-day 32 When a soft rain in a rolling wind's whim stops my eyes, I picture grassy hills, dew shivering the pores of my washed-out skin, the peace a slightly curved thing holds, & you: woman who is to keep my compass true; & you: man of my fantasies, kind, thin: & me: tilted, torn, sniveling a blue fit, choosing neither you, nor me, nor him. A heliotrope's effects on the sun couldn't be more devastating, its stare peaking that fire's curiosity till at midday fear takes over, makes it run from that eye as rapidly as it dared to toward/ and return tomorrow/ until. -

Sunday, August 9, 2009

January: Year-day 31

January: Year-day 31 The year of the dragon supplants the hare's, or forty-six seventy-four by 'five. The one by its wits avoided Time's snares; the other by meanness will live and thrive. So I, friendly Westerner, lightly see what brings those of Chinese culture long joy; yet honor, knowing a loved mystery, secular, sacred, gives weight to its voice. For I in my culture, too, celebrate one year's dying with another year's birth in ways happy meetings gently accrued, unwilling, unable, to explicate how customs so formed are of special worth to me and mine who are through them renewed. -

January: Year-day 30

January: Year-day 30 Spirit is a music no one can hear but can often see the results of: hands mending a gown, dervishes of dust, lands in the shapes of knolls tranquilizing fear, strawberries dyeing fingers. If a man wails at The Wall, or a woman; or looks an arabesque through; somehow out of books changes; more easily charms his life's span, nothing in the spheres is heard, in the heart seen; only elsewhere. Castles: reachings for the ultimate. Malachi Martin's art ofinsight. Yours. Mine. Worlds from which we start; stretch toward. Peering in/ or out of/ a door. Still/ on a mountain. Waiting/ on a shore. -

January: Year-day 29

January: Year-day 29 If you still think you can flippantly spawn a fishhole of arguments, you had better close your mind. It's too late, friend. The light's gone that would praise your opinions. In the fetter of darknesses formed by tyrannies, one of which has chased the good from your once needed union, carpenter, those warm days won freeze, and threaten those/ differently seeded. A free man's only free when he can move with comfort in his necessary jails while letting others likewise move in theirs. Sure, moguls kill; sure, governments lose love; but aren't there times when other spirits fail? We pass each other dimly/ on the stairs. -

January: Year-day 28

January: Year-day 28 Don't question the insanities of writers thoughtlessly. You may plummet, clutching spaces; from the claws of words you may dangle. These lighters of the caves of our ignorance turn faces-- in their inkings that ooze and build--to charm/ worlds/ in the air. Let them also charm yours. Then castigate these shamans courting harm. Without them you could never win your wars. Poor self-poisoned Chatterton, genius thief, and Mayakovsky, slit by politics, and haunting, humorous Poe, worn and guttered, and Plath, who ovened/ her head out of grief, and Hemingway, letting a bullet fix: these--muft, & all--through truths/ beautifully uttered. -

January: Year-day 27

January: Year-day 27 Too much to think on, and with Shelley dead, Percy, stormed under in the gulf, the strength, madness, genius we need seems somehow fled; and with Paine and others gone, lost at length. And with our technic capabilities postindustrializing us at rates that presage clarity but form clouds, these moments passing, passed, strange, feel ancient dates. Composing here a linear thing when life about is circular, I would conclude the answer's there I darken as I do with a lashed world, a gulf in storm to ride, were I not of those adventurers whose flattest confrontations/ breed fending styles. -

January: Year-day 26

January: Year-day 26 Yesterday, heavy snow, to bring us wonder, seeds that will blossom into water, and-- words you may think ought to tear me asunder who lives not by logic but sleights of hand. Yet, though I'm no Whitman, seeing the best, nor a Jeffers from his Tor, seeing the worst, but an Englanded Salchert, of cooled zest, for both fine reason and magic I thirst. If apples fatten against me, and birds tremble my confidence, the game of math at its rough frontiers makes my nerve-ends dance; and the game of myth unbuttons me. Path, trail, highway, street, certainty, and chance: synthesis,the direction of/ my words. -

January: Year-day 25

January: Year-day 25 Before, the past was presented as myth; now, it is presented as human. Feel. Before, the past was for the few, the "pith"; now, it is explored for the many; real. Being so, it's no longer kept alive but deftly uprooted, denied/ at last/ until what was once extolled jungle jive becomes, as it's Plumbed, The Death of the Past. Hooray in the streets! Hoorah in the halls! Now the past is dead, history can live, and there be no ending to what we give to each and each as each fabricant falls that will be in our lives gifts well worth giving and gratefully plied by the future living. -

January: Year-day 24

January: Year-day 24 And the delicate powdered-sugar snow, sifted by the winds, floats like memories, full of haze and distance; pulses like trees on a hot afternoon; forms what I know: In a three o'clock music, soft and slow, I am a long-wintering hive of bees; and the gossamer swallows at their ease sparkle in the waves on my radio. If I were to tell you again today that tomorrow I would be leaving here, what light would it gift you, though miles apart. I had left you in a similar way before, and later come back: pleased, tired, queer, as curiously as: I do in my art. -

January: Year-day 23

January: Year-day 23 There should be no end to the thanks I show for being born and allowed to remain long enough in my ragged flesh/ to glow in this world/ and beyond, a sunshine rain. Flowers climbing, rising/ from a mountainside; waters slowly entering Earth's thick sieve; rhythms of wind carrying melodies pied. There should be no end to the thanks I live. Could there seem no beginning, middle, end to my gratitude, my freedom to be, you would note a kind of balance in me you would smile toward/ as a friend to a friend who is glad the other is near to spend a spectral moment with, or two, or three. -

January: Year-day 22

January: Year-day 22 (The next sonnet is another in this sequence that is politically charged. I make no apology for it, but it does remind me of a position I have long held: The separation of church and state/ is a fantasy. Still, I am simply presenting what I believe, and I am not attempting to test my right to speak freely. Besides, I could easily write more harshly/ about myself, and have.) This is a banner for the Red Rose Sect, for this is their day, the day the White House will be blessed with red roses that reject our allowing unborn humans to blouse in the air: bloody, mutilated ghosts damning us, that reject our stark presumption which treats these as/ mereparasitic hosts to kill as we please in our gross consumption. This is a banner. Wave it, wave it high, that it may crack the coldness in your eye which preserves your right as woman to choose when your body may abruptly deny lives as sacred as yours, pushing them by as if they are trash you can't wait to lose. -

January: Year-day 21

January: Year-day 21 It can take so long to create a poem as this one, so image-connecting long, the maker's nearly wizened by the song/ he finally sings, he gives a small home. One watching him might think he'd rather roam through cities and countrysides, beat a gong, or jingle a tambourine for a throng of dopes than wrestle words that slip & foam. How odd a decent place of residence for words/ must come through a kind of defeat of them, that only as the user pins/ each/ for those moments when it most makes sense, when its powers and his/ properly meet, does he quicken a lodging/ where spirit wins. -

January: Year-day 20

January: Year-day 20 Sometimes living is spiny hard, all hooks and concrete, no empathy, no June grass, and with nothing that I do does time pass equitably. Act at act (that is/ the crux of it) like beasts clawing each other's throats, or circumstance at act: so that I die a little but don't grow--what, where, how, why, and all else jammed together, damned & choked. Scraping snow from my van's windows, I found a "Hi!" in some, & softly chuckled. Still, I'd wanted to cruise Milwaukee/ the night before; but the drifting winds kept me bound, furious, and out of care, trying to fill a dead time--writing, reading--in a poor light. -

January: Year-day 19

January: Year-day 19 Out of "the mouths of babes" come--tinker toys? Yah! Pieces themselves they have tried to swallow or, other, to the wonder of our poise we thought so solid turned suddenly hollow by wisdoms beyond what we'd realize in a thousand trips, of whatever kind, tangled as we are in winning the prize, each of us nastily out of his mind. Thus those born before us, chidren with time, being younger than time and we are now (though still quite young as a planet's age goes), destroy and delight us with their sublime imaginings, words which/ venerate how only he who's humble/ transumes and grows. -

January: Year-day 18

January: Year-day 18 Veils. Veils. What we see, we see but in part. From the beginnings of vision/ this truth has stood before us. Each thing has its heart, even the airs, in their moods, mean and couth. As closely as we inspect a brown leaf, as perfect as our eyes and other senses may be, we'll never end that humbling grief imposed by our natures' walls and fences. Walk with me to the back of the house, sit. The apple trees will moon with apples soon. If rightly we can't know the half of it, come row with me through the padded lagoon. So what if neither of us sings in tune: our creations will, if we have the wit. -

January: Year-day 17

January: Year-day 17 Ev'rybody likes me. Haa. Sure seems strange! I'm no one special. Just try to be fair. Still, much of my person is out of range for most. Something's hot in the West Bend air?! "Can you call the fire department?" "What's wrong?" "Gail's car is on fire!" "Where is it?" "Out front!" "Okay." Was only warming up. Too long? Red-hot manifold. Shouldn't. Civic punt. Ev'rybody likes me. I have/ a way with words. Sometimes words/ have a way with me. Sometimes my image-maker gets the runs. I'm no one special. Follow me a day. I'm a lot of specials. I told you. See. You didn't ring? Didn't pay a cent? Sons! -

January: Year-day 16

January: Year-day 16 Today I begin my thirty-sixth year, expecting I'd know how I want to say I am looking forward, happy I'm here, and can think and write for another day, hoping with the pull of the weird full moon our creativities will rise and clean our soiled small emotions and reasons soon so we won't be burnt or blown from the scene. Humans we've been; humans we shall remain, if we finally see/ these are the times of "Mankind at the Turning Point", of breath, or corpses, or the wise machine, the sane among us/ knowing that/ of all our crimes/ greed--compassionless--best promotes/ our death. -

January: Year-day 15

January: Year-day 15 remembering Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Somewhere I heard the voice of a man charge the world; somewhere I heard a voice of might. Somewhere I heard the voice of a man large and deep; somewhere I heard a voice of light. Somewhere I heard the voice of a man word on word well up in me; somewhere I learned how the right words can turn the one who's heard inside out. Somewhere I heard; somewhere yearned. Somewhere, too, a Robert Lee Perry, black and big, companioned me; chided my moods of self-disgust. Somewhere, a Brother Grant counseled me, listened; and, somewhere, Sam. Back at Oshkosh I somewhere, helped Blacks love, bruise, through words. Yet yours, Reverend . . . so meek my stance. -

January: Year-day 14

January: Year-day 14 Happiness? Sort of an Eden within, you could say. A place without clothes or tools or shelters or weapons or "dis-ease". Myth in its glory, like a country of wise fools. Hmmm! Almost makes me feel I'm there! Perhaps I am! The monarchs hid in Mexico are; not the coral, though, reefing whitecaps, the starfish on them. Happiness? Blue snow. Remember--remember only good times, exploring their crevices, their soft heights; and dream those dreams that make you smile inside as a poet does when he tees his rhymes to zero them for vicarious sights he rarely governs, hoping/ they abide. -

January: Year-day 13

January: Year-day 13 No, I never have quite/ learned how to swim, although I have learned again how to float, to stroke the length of the pool at the inn and better than halfway back. Would a coat of oil improve that? What a thing to think! I'm not going to swim a channel. God! Just to get fifty yards before I sink would be accomplishment enough. I'll plod. What else can I do, if I do at all: I definitely am no natural. Oh well, I may not get the chance to drown anyway. If I don't try, I won't fall through water; need to gasp a saving call; but--make of my ashes a laurel crown. -

January: Year-day 12

January: Year-day 12 "Most men lead lives of quiet desparation", dictating to their secretaries, bending over their unborn children, skipping stations on an evening express, earning, spending, male, female--I and you pitched among them as if we were horseshoes still in the air, the changing air, arcing toward a steel stem, hoping our pitchers' powers more than fair. For days moaned whistles have rushed from the spaces between the windows in our livingroom's west wall. For years we/ have lived with each other, thinly/ hiding faces/ behind our faces, unable to halt the gathering tombs that barely let us be sisters, brothers. -

January: Year-day 11

January: Year-day 11 So here I am: in prison, on an isle, or a satellite circling a dead moon; and I'm likely not to leave, late or soon, likely to only seldom enjoy a smile. It's not because of lives lost in the trial of a wrong war/ or being out of tune with nature, man and/ that Person, my Rune, by most called "God", a name I'd hedge/ awhile. What touches others touches me of course, but circumstance and beings close at heart and my own wants/ have more imprisoned me, drawn me back upon myself, made remorse I don't know how to stave/ the somber barque I drift in; made my cowardice/ the sea. -

January: Year-day 10

January: Year-day 10 They don't like me out there. I don't know why. Oh, they'll be sure to use me though. They'll make their errors and--tough, if I hit the sky-- I'll just have to somehow fix them, and take it all as I can, though I'd like to cry, like to grab the winds & the clouds/ and quake them, terrorize with my bloody right eye those pasty faces that made my skull ache. Am I America? Certainly. No. A little of this; a little of that: bone of dinosaur, wing feather of crow, corona of daffodil, tooth of rat. If you want me, I'll be raking the leaves: a man with nothing but arms up his/ sleeves. -

January: Year-day 9

January: Year-day 9 All the sad remembrances, yours/ and mine. "The past is past", they say. Why then can't we--? Or if you think you can, why then can't I--? They never pass, though hidden by the screen of their occurrences; they just become harder to see: all those sad remembrances, the further time takes one, the further some new passion elevates one from where one was. And yet if they were not, and did not . . . times stab us, the possibilities of growth would be more sorrowfully the less, would maybe never be. Swallows ring the chimes at Capistrano. Memories bring both highs and lows. How we'd change some, if we could! -

January: Year-day 8

January: Year-day 8 We are slipping into summer. I may never finish this poem. The eyes of dogs inhabit the leaves. Nowhere is the sky so clever as on clear cold days in winter. The rabbits shake in their holes. A scoop of darkness rounds the crescent bowl of the moon. Clutch yr nerves. We're sliding into the rain. The guard rail bounds from the woods. Open, close. My vision swerves. If peonies of ice bloom before us, it is only because the ants of fiction crawl. Nothing usual has a place to go. The consternation of fetuses thrust to unjust deaths. The isobars of diction. And the wind chill's more// than fifty below. -

Saturday, August 8, 2009

January: Year-day 7

January: Year-day 7 Wake. The neon night flicks rainbows. Wake. Wake. If your constitution's slight, weak, your rights crippled, stretch, exercise, or the false lights will more and more distract you into lakes of/ slick illusions/ where your spirits break, frantic, and your drugged, favored flesh, those nights, drowns. Wake, for there are mysteries, ah, sights of nature which alone can thwart mistakes. However, no. So neon isn't true, and does give an improper shade to you; is a captured element, twisted by craft for purposes often easy to view with jaundiced minds. That's really nothing new. By men or not, all, seen and unseen, can. -

January: Year-day 6

January: Year-day 6 Sleep (before continuance, before speech): the planting, protecting and harvesting of energy, as, when pulled from a beach, powerful waters rest before they spring their boiling looks again from the royal beds of their conceptions, bursting from their hair amazing diamonds, because their primed heads know/ just exactly/ how to/ crack despair. Sleep. And I will teach you in your dreams. For there is much to learn, and there is much I can give. Sleep. There is far more than seems. Sleep. And, when you waken, you will touch the air with strength and light. I am your Ra, I, The United States of America. -

January: Year-day 5

January: Year-day 5 Views of America: to be a guide for us. Views of America: for thought. Views of America: for joy, for pride, humility, sorrows: to test what's taught, to see if what then was/ and now is/ sought agree; and how to live with what we hide, once found; and whether what we can we ought or not/ for our tomorrows, deep, and wide. Of the first steps was one upon a rock, a step which left no mark but in the minds of those who saw it and of those since told. Of the latest, a bolder mythic shock, is one which shows its passing, and defines, perhaps forever on Earth's moon, our soul. -

January: Year-day 4

January: Year-day 4 You who are bloated with comforts, are held creatures, whose habits so inflame your sense you cannot cure yourselves; who have dwelled and shall continue to dwell in the dense enclosures you have fashioned, overgrown and sickly; who, convinced it is all right to trample other beings just to own, have made the sun a darkness bringing night: listen, understand: There've been times, are times, and will be times, and there've been hearts, are hearts, and will be hearts within those times your hate not only will not overcome, your crimes not only not destroy, but which will chart acts in those times/ your greed perceives too late. -

January: Year-day 3

January: Year-day 3 Having started stiffly, loosened, then flown, I am anxious to work deeply, to last/ in whatever liquid, solid, or gas my imaging powers assign to a poem created to praise in this house, this home, of this special year of days as they pass-- my United States two-hundredth blast-- for the starved, the ill, the rich, the alone. That my Jeffersonian duties lie too often slumbering, I--I know why; that a tough keen Shelleyan madness stays lost in the clouds, in the wind, in a lark while I continue my flickery ways-- Thoreau, Emerson, Melville: Make me arc. -

January: Year-day 2

January: Year-day 2 I am a roamin' Cath'lic. Nowhere calls me. Barnes & Noble does not call. I cry in corners, stutter, fall. So what. Your shawl's askew. Try to forget who I am. I am not your friend. My love for you exceeds all knowing. Feathers tango/ in the gale I/ wander through. Gather now your needs. Together/ maybe we . . . a place to sail. And a great white bird eases through the wind, wingtip to wingtip the size of a man, so sleek, so limned, against the sun-filled grey I jump from our couch as if I had sinned, entreating my loves with my voice and hand until that gaunt mer rogue/ ghosts into day. (octet: 12-24-06; sestet: 1976, & 2007) -

Friday, August 7, 2009

January: Year-day 1

[ last modified: 2009-03-29 ] 1976 Today is this opus's permanent name 353 bicentennial year sonnets (1-15) - 1976: in 2006 was the current version of my opus of 366 sonnets and 12 reflections: 1976, which was first published in the cassette medium in 1980 under my Thinking Lizard imprint and the Alden St. Cloud pen name I was using at that time. It was a set of six cassettes/ for which there are ISBNs as well as Library of Congress registrations. - - January: Year-day 1 With eyes for the shining wind to begin, I measure this language challenging me: earth, heaven, purgatory, hell; love, sin: for we who deepen into mystery up boulevards, by hairline meadow trails; from mountaintops, on journeys to the stars; through humid summer heats, rancid in jails; near razor fires & ice, past blue that scars: art first, craft second: vision, resonance: images of the heart, games of the mind: enchantments ordered to chase time & power growing dark gusty in my trenchant dance, in this hard snow, in my doctrinal spine: grief: joy: where I learn to mend, to scrub, scour. -

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

1976 Today

1976 Today - 353 bicentennial year sonnets contents [last modified: 2008-09-21 ] notes about current 1976 version plus links - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - In this presentation I have entitled each sonnet by month and year-day. I have done so because year-day has become more important to me than the commonly used month and date format. Over the years I have changed how I entitle the sonnets composing 1976 (the original title for the 366 sonnets in the original work) several times. - I have not attempted to group these sonnets by topic, but each one/ is a piece in the puzzle of who I am. Most of them were written in 1976, and because I wanted my work to be a celebration of the bicentennial of my USA, many of the sonnets are history-centered. Nonetheless, many others are confessional. Some of those are comically so. While there are situational, athletic, religious, political, philosophical, environmental, biographical, poetry-related, science-oriented, as well as sonnets on yet other topics or mixes of topics, the core topic is the human condition. If you would like to read my leap year sonnet, see February: Year-day 60 (February 29th). - When you happen into one you do not feel comfortable with, exit from it. - [ 2007-03-20: - The first of the 15 sonnets I removed, Year-day 2, is back in as a revised sonnet. Whenever a year-day without a sonnet gets a new/revised sonnet, I will note it on this page. B A J S ] - [ 2008-08-02: - Year-day 348 (December 13) is back in. ] - The following is an elsewhere publication list for individual sonnets from 1976 Today: February: Year-day 34 (February 3rd) If it's still there, it is at - March: Year-day 82 (March 22nd) (for Sandy Troedel) Spice of Life series article in West Bend News 1977 - March: Year-day 61 (March 1st) March: Year-day 69 (March 9th) May: Year-day 137 (May 16th) in River Bottom Vol. IV No. 2 Summer 1977 - April: Year-day 105 (April 14th) April: Year-day 106 (April 15th) April: Year-day 110 (April 19th) April: Year-day112 (April 21st) in Song 2 1977 - September: Year-day 248 (September 4th) in Ramada Regular Volume 6, Number 7 November 1980, p. 15 - November: Year-day 307 (November 2nd) in Poetry Out of Wisconsin V 1980 - December: Year-day 361 (December 26th) in The Sun a magazine of ideas issue 124 March 1986 -

Monday, August 3, 2009


This blog will be presenting my poems and related in book-by-book format one work at a time, which in this case means one verse at a time or page at a time when length makes it inconvenient to show an entire work in one post. Example: 1976 Today will be shown here one sonnet per post, not as two posts for a month of sonnets. Also, I expect to be adding notes.

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