Saturday, July 28, 2007

John Ashbery Poet/Poem: In Brother's Hearts

In Brother’s Hearts

When Joseph’s brothers
Threw him in the well
They baptized him in dust
And mud.
Strangers raised him up.

Those brothers so full
Of a family lie
Returned to their father Jacob
Blood smeared on rainbowed cotton-
And the truth.

This colorful wrap
Received like a prodigal ghost
To aged hands.
There was no ram in a thicket
To put this sin upon.
A wolf of Talmudic wisdom
Was caught for such distinction.

What these savant brothers forgot
In every lie thrums a bit of truth.
Wolf spoke: I have no taste for humans.
Thus knitting deceit even deeper
In the familial fabric.

John Ashbery Poet

He also said, "To create a work of art that the critic cannot even begin to talk about ought to be the artist's chief concern."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ferlinghetti, Poet

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, (books by this author) born in Yonkers, New York (1919). His father died five months before Ferlinghetti was born, and his mother was so devastated by the loss that she had to be committed to the state mental hospital. Young Lawrence was sent to live with his aunt in France.
He didn't learn English until he was five when he returned to America. After serving in World War II he moved to San Francisco where he decided to open a bookstore, which he named City Lights after the Charlie Chaplin movie, because he said, "Chaplin's character represents for me ... the very definition of a poet. ... A poet, by definition, has to be an enemy of the State. If you look at Chaplin films, he's always being pursued by the police. That's why he's still such a potent symbol in the cinema—the little man against the world."
He had an idea that a bookstore should be a place where artists and intellectuals could gather and exchange ideas, and so he made sure that people were allowed to sit down and read books without being pestered to buy anything. And his bookstore became a gathering place for a group of writers who became known as the Beats.
Ferlinghetti also started a publishing venture with what he called the Pocket Poets series—collections of poetry designed to be small enough to slip into your pocket. He had published three of them when, on October 13, 1955, Ferlinghetti went to a poetry reading called "Six Poets at the Six Gallery" organized by the poet Kenneth Rexroth. Kenneth Rexroth and Gary Snyder were among the readers that night, but the man who made the biggest impression was a poet named Allen Ginsberg who read a new poem called "Howl." After the reading, Ferlinghetti sent Ginsberg a telegram that said, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career. When do I get the manuscript?"
Howl and Other Poems became the fourth edition of Ferlinghetti's Pocket Poets series in September 1956. The following year, a shipment of copies of the book was seized by customs officials and Ferlinghetti was charged with printing and selling lewd and indecent material. Ferlinghetti won the case, with help from the ACLU, and all the publicity made "Howl" into a best-seller. Ferlinghetti said, "The San Francisco [customs office] deserves a word of thanks. It would have taken years for critics to accomplish what the good [customs office] did in a day."
In 1958 he also published his own collection of poetry, A Coney Island of the Mind, which shocked everyone by going through twenty-eight printings and selling 700,000 copies in the United States alone. By the end of the 1960's it was the bestselling book ever published by a living American poet.

Poem Seek First

Seek first the kingdom before
anything was the word.
Realm found in most unusual
places, among markings that tell
something, that imitates more
and imparts less. But on some days
they are ten for a dollar. Then on another
they are two for three dollars.
Who do people say that I am-
is as good as a greeter at Wal-Mart
not comatose in some aisle but dying
with dignity. Grasping at straws is
dissimilar to grabbing for loved ones.
Wills read are not the same as eulogies said.
Family is always there and wondering
who got what. Moses taking off sandals
is what made the ground sacred-
the fire always speaks.
I am.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quote and poem

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Winston Churchill

Can you love a man full
of cigarette smoke and wounds?
You know, the clingy type
of smoke that weaves into clothes
like the Thai slave that wove it.
And those wounds- so well
hidden they slip through
my bowels with the best medicine
riding shotgun. Can you love
past that, to me? Oh
just one more thing- I’m not
sure what love is or who’s
the right one, but
monogamy is not
always fun.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Poem: Dad's Cough /Japanese Saying

Dad's Cough

The train whistles through me
Day and night baying diesel smoke,
like my father smoking his lungs

I know your cry diesel wonder,
yearn for the smell, the hiss,
your rhythmic journey.
I know your cry dad spewing phlegm
and blood, with the scent
of Old Spice and tobacco.

Failure teaches success.
Japanese Saying