Thursday, December 15, 2011

Three from Facebook Notes by Thom Hart


by Thom Hart on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 1:38am

I hand pieces of me out. 
they rarely
if ever
are returned
it's a funny process

getting away with murder

by Thom Hart on Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:11pm

romance is dead 
chivalry is dead

Latin is dead

what else have
these modern times killed?

thinking moving wasting.

by Thom Hart on Monday, May 10, 2010 at 11:07pm

wasted time
wasted faces
look around
and see the places

you could have been

[Editor's note: Thom Hart has shut down his facebook account.]

Saturday, December 10, 2011

From the long overdue (re)readings (XI)

Occasionally, at different times of day toward the end of the week, one can see groups waiting at a crossroads for a train. One is never sure whether the train will come at all or where it will stop if it does. It often happens, therefore, that people wait in two different places, unable to agree where the stop is. They wait for a long time standing in a black, silent bunch alongside the barely visible lines of the track, their faces in profile: a row of pale cut-out paper figures, fixed in an expression of anxious peering.

Bruno Schulz, "The Street of Crocodiles" (1934) in The Street of Crocodiles (Penguin, 1977) Trans. Celina Wieniewska. 107.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Trusty Horse (after Hawthorne) by Ian Riley

As I neared the end of the pass, the bridge which I knew to look for came into sight, soaring majestically into the sky with the cables drawn taut, so unlike the skin of the ancient face with which I looked on. It had been designed in my youth, when the birds flew high in the sky and the sun shone gloriously as they swept past on their migratory course, unaware that man had now conquered the expanse of the skies above the canyon as well. My horse beneath me gave a cry as we drew closer, for the road was blocked ahead by several fallen boulders, which stood guard as the pass drew toward its end, closing all that was open, closing indeed as well upon my only way of departure, for the way back had been made impassable by a cacophonous rockslide which occurred as I rode by and my horse let out an even more obstreperous burst of flatulence. This was likely the result of a meal of beans eaten each day for the previous fortnight, and yet I saw how this could be an advantageous situation as we approached the newly fallen barricade. I turned my horse about, with his posterior facing the boulders, and prepared to wait as long as necessary for another bout of vapors to come over my animal. It was not a long interval before I noticed that my horse’s countenance had assumed an appearance of great distress. The sound echoed for miles around, and the way to the bridge was clear of boulders, though now blocked by a cloud of noxious fumes. I held my breath and ventured on, happy to be on my way.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Clock Pants (after Vallejo), by Renee Waller

​My clock pants cripple me. I can never get them off even when I try to break them with a hammer. I try to run out of them, away from them, but nothing works. I'm trapped, entangled in a fabrication and no matter how much I grow, I never outgrow them. The sun tries to give me directions to its house. Out there my pants can't exist and then I can be free. Every day for a good twelve hours the sun keeps trying to help me but on the thirteenth hour it gets tired and gives up. I stay glued to Earth waiting for the sun to show up again. My clock pants limit me and often scare the sun away. My clock pants know I'm trying to get rid of them and they can't stand the idea. Jupiter helps my pants by putting me to sleep so the pants can grow tighter around my waist. I desperately shoot a bright red bullet wanting to pierce the fabrication but it doesn't work. I'm trapped in time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I am a stargazer
I ride on the wings of angel's prayers
And craft works of art from angry tirades
I carry my heart in a slingshot
And wrestle with the aggression of others

- Tyffany Richards

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Poem by Tyffany Richards

Corporate Office
He beat her last night
So when she came to work
Sunglasses on, head lowered, hands folded
We knew something was wrong
But no one wanted to question
And she wouldn’t say a word
She just stayed silent the whole time.
Just took her sunglasses off
And was oblivious to the whole office’s gasp

She was raped last night
And she went home and told him, but he didn’t believe her
He wouldn’t let her get an abortion
So nine months later
The office celebrated the new child’s life
While she sat in a corner
Tears staining her face
Dripping mascara marks
Dark streaks on her pretty face

He killed her last night
And we all attended her funeral
And gave praise for what a wonderful person she was
And cried tears for her
Even though in actuality
We didn’t care
We knew nothing about her
She meant nothing to us
She was just another girl in the office

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Poems by Thom Hart

(The Blonde)

Dangerous times
Especially to be
A blonde of seventeen
Or so
Surrounded by
Business associates
And drink.

(I thought not)

Did you do any work today?
I thought not.
Did you stimulate your mind today?
No, that doesn’t count, be quiet.
Did you care about anything?
I thought not, you’re far too apathetic.
So. What did you do today?

(The wind)

the trees dance
fields move
leaves float
waves crest
and the wind,
well it sings ‘round my house

(Venus, my lover)

I made love
To Venus last night.
In a dream the goddess came to me.
She said, I will show you ecstasy
And I followed her. Her face
Was never the same, and
As I recall she towered over me,
Some barbaric Amazonian,
But she was beauty,
And beauty was she,
And lust,
And I thought of all the things
That could have been,
And will be.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Introduction to the Riley Anthology, by Ian Riley

The Introduction to the Riley Anthology seems to be in essence a history lesson. It provides a background for the stories which follow. It allows for a fuller understanding of those stories, an idea of the motivations behind them. With these ideas, with knowledge of the motivations, we are better able to read and appreciate all that is behind these stories and letters. I like using non sequiturs to end paragraphs.[i]

The creation stories are certainly an interesting take on the matter. Juhwertamakhai[ii], the god figure, does not hesitate in the least bit to “drop the sky” on creation when he deems it necessary. The idea of the great flood is certainly present here, but the multiple occurrences seem unusual. They suggest a god who is not easily pleased. The final creation implies the importance of the coyote, a direct result of the landscape the people call home. Dolphins are quite intelligent animals.

Another creation story includes the idea of a dark, lower, realm. The monsters of this realm include a large turtle who comes forth to carry woman and earth on his back. The turtle grows to the size of a great island and the woman’s offspring grow to be the good mind and the bad mind. The good mind creates humankind along with many other things which the humans consider to be good. Conversely, the bad mind creates things objectionable to humans.[iii] In the end, the good mind triumphs over the bad mind, but the bad mind retains power over death. Jerry Seinfeld has had quite a successful career.[iv]

The letters from Columbus are an interesting look into what he has to say, a look into what he actually thinks he has discovered. His use of the word Indians to describe the natives confirms his belief of where he thinks he is. When he talks about the naming of the island Espanola, he reveals his real imperialistic motives. This ties into the other creation stories because it too is a story of creation, but this time it is the creation of a new empire in the western hemisphere. Beware Jimi Hendrix as the bell tolls one.[v]

[i] And long walks on the beach.
[ii] His brother’s name was Steve.

[iii] Like Monday mornings.

[iv] He makes several million $ per re-run (The Internet).

[v] He’s very friendly at 4 o’clock though.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Poem by Mebane Robertson

This Stupid Dig

I've been out here out on the summer working the same map --
The topology of tribes, beads, bribes, and brides.
It was adequate, where I went and first ran into in a class
My truest love, granddaughter of the joint head of staff

Dab in the middle of Nam.  I bought her a ring of blue pearl
With a tinny little diamond set center.  Even though that's all history,
If you ever see this in a conspiracy documentary, please
You meant more than St. Charles Street to me.  But she's fazed,

Another face laid in memory.  Should we fronting all this to go on?
The pairings, and vintages that show rare spices had been imported.
Black labs with their wild pink tongues, the site overseer walked
Between the twine that was my love's pirouette and the laudatory

Trading of fourths the band took to please the challenged visitors.
Ho.  I'm getting this wrong.  The dogs were when we were in an undisclosed
Location.   I guess I'm writing to please a friend away.
Someone unlike me who prefer morse to ouija.

And pearly late October skies.  Things live (and die) by schedule, at least
In the looking back.  I have been given some gifts by friends I love.
And I have been given likewise by enemies far, I thought, in the offing.
And I fold my hand sometimes, and ask that this be good, goofy enough.

thanks to Mebane for this poem. Read more by the same author here. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poem by Veronica McStocker


Have you ever been so lost,
That you don’t know where to go?
Not in the sense of
Needing directions on the road lost,
But the kind of lost when you aren’t really sure who you are.
Maybe you know who you are.
Or who you’d like to be.
But you aren’t sure of how to get there?
Everything is so complicated,
Sometimes I sit and think.
Who am I?
What am I even doing?
It keeps me up at night,
This constant worry that I won’t be
Everything that will make everyone proud.
I won’t live up to everyone’s expectations,
I can’t make everyone happy.
Sometimes I even try to see myself from outside.
If I didn’t know me, what would I think of me?
Would I think that I am the perfect daughter?
Would I think that I am the perfect student?
Am I a perfect citizen?
Would I be proud of me?
I don’t know.
Am I even good?
I know I try,
But is that good enough?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Winter Tree by Yea Weon Kim

A mother’s love shining on weak light and a brown tree.


No leaves, no birds or squirrels ... only black

Lost flowers, floating shifting in a dew

Created by brown horse hairs    Oh, Lonely and

What a lonely tree nothing around it, only a white white

Wonderland that greets black, flower, dew, tree.

Touching the two clouds -----------------high upon the sky

Why torture yourself you poor thing that’s why

Your hand has no circulating blood Yes, I know

I know your loneliness, I might be your mother, Please

come down from that cloud that freezes

Your life; it will hurt you; cloud promises no harm,

But they are all lies; I know your loneliness; I am your mother, Please

come down from the cloud before

I drop tears; I can’t lose you

I’ve lost others in whiteness already; clouds’ cold hands

Took them away -------- evaporated;

Don’t tell

Me to live without you. I am your mother, I’ve known

You very well; I was always there right

Next to you touching your shoulder, shoulder to shoulder

Come down my dear, our beloved one, your

Hurt will be gone; your heart will be back; Bump

Bump. Can you hear?          Can you hear this?         I see your

       Fingers                tapping on the air.

I hear you. Yes, yes of course,

I know you. Don’t worry; I can read your eyes

     Your eyes

Are beautiful; it will be more beautiful if you come down. You must

Be afraid! Hush! but don’t cry remember? I’ll be with you

I’ll hold your tiny fingers that I love to hold;

Please now

Close your eyes and come down

Come down my dear Come down just remember

I know you;

Come down I want your sunny smile

Smile                          smile

[watercolor, ink, and tissue on paper illustration by Yea Weon Kim]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Opposites by Jay Bonti, remixed by Sarah Shulman, Green Hill, and Renee Waller

Two weeks ago, Jay Bonti gave his class a poem entitled "Opposites." He was ready for revisions, but maybe not as many as he's going to get — fourteen of them, if everyone in the class does their own version. The only rule is not to put in any new words. Words can be taken out, and everything else is changeable. 
Here are three remixes of Jay's poem. The original, you ask? It's gotta be somewhere...look for it here soon.


by Jay Bonti / Sarah Shulman

Every day, sometimes, 
almost always, sometimes, 
I think of you.  

We can accomplish anything, 
Being "us" is the reason. 

Day becomes night,
night becomes day.
Here we still stand.

Different pieces of everything, 
clustered within, come out
during times of rejoicing.

Us. We have peace.  
We live in a world of opposites, 
but you and I are not one.

Every day by Jay Bonti / Green Hill

I spend every day with you
Sometimes, almost always
I think of you

We swim in the sun
Ants march between our toes
Watch out gentle giants
I caress your hair so lush
I peer over
Your tops untied
Sweat rolls down your spine
night and day become one
and moon and sun

There’s an opposite to everything
There’s an opposite of everyone
I am my own ransom

As by Jay Bonti / Renee Waller

As I caress your hair, to the touch so lush,
the smell, so sweet
it could be a crush.

As day and night become one,
everything has an opposite.
Are you mine?

As I look into your eyes, 

I see the sun rise
against the starry night,

and we are still together.
We can accomplish anything.
Everything is possible because of us.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poem by Tyffany Richards

The Hair Story
​Once upon a time, there was a blond hair on my shoe,
And no matter how hard I tried to get it off
It just grew and grew and grew
The more I tried to cut it
The bushier it grew
Until, one day it finally swallowed me and you
Inside it was quite cozy
We got used to living there
But all the while we had this constant underlying fear
What did this blond hair want from us?
What was it going to do?
How long would we be subjected to living on the underside of my shoe?
One day I finally figured it out
Suddenly it popped into my head
We could cut all the hair
And stuff it in my nice new comfy bed
We chopped and chopped and chopped
And we stuffed and stuffed and stuffed
And finally my bed was extremely super puffed.
But the blond hair had more plans
It continued to grow and grow and grow
Until my new bed looked like a hairstyle
From the Bronner Brothers Show
It took over the apartment
It took over the street
Until we all realized we just couldn’t compete
So everyone took a flamethrower
And then….​

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The eighth volume of Douglas Messerli's encyclopedic anthologies of international poetry includes twenty-one poets of renown, including Adonis, Ilse Aichinger, Dino Campana, C.P. Cavafy, Julio Cortázar, D.H. Lawrence, Olga Orozco, Robert Sosa, and Tarjei Vesaas. Biographies and complete listings of books in the original languages and English are included. 

Purchase the digital edition here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

from the long overdue (re)readings (X)

Alberghi, città, scale, sempre in sogno
varcati al dir: "qui resterò e la pace
mi sarà data alfine." Nulla resta
di quegli anni che un dolce e lungo errore
e la memoria d'essere straniero
a tutti fuor che al cielo apparso ai vetri
bianco di luna.

Hotels, cities, steps that in my dreams
I always pass through, saying "Here I'll rest
and peace will be granted me at last." Nothing's left
of those years but a long sweet blunder
and the memory of being foreign
to everyone except the sky appearing at the windows
white with moon.

— Alfonso Gatto, from 'Room in Darkness' ['Stanza al Buio'], translated from the Italian by Jack Hirschman, in MAGMA (Los Angeles: Caza de Poesia, 2009), 58-59. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Poem by Cola Hines

Secret secret
our fictions become real
don’t say that you said 
you need to become 
an admirer or else 
you are lost — what you prize 
above all else is 
clarity — but what you 
must have is harder 
to determine
flagrant moonlight
craving for peacocks
air pouring down
horrific mofo
or no one; the problem
always sticking to
what’s determined
or imagined; you shouldn’t 
do that, you’re a tool
following nacre
when you know it’s uncool
to insist on continuity
in this night curiously 
without coyotes
they overdid it last time
day decanted
the nothing that happened
reality and dream
while you’re away

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From the long overdue (re)readings (IX)

I have heard them all. I do not have a favorite.  I do not know what they mean. Though "Cake" sounds to my ears like the English name "Kate." A "Kate" who is good enough for GertrudeStein to eat is a "Cake," I say to myself and smile. Bão would be proud. "Slip your own meanings into their words," he said, a bit of advice that has saved me. Language is a house with a host of doors, and I am too often uninvited and without the keys. But when I infiltrate their words, take a stab at their meanings, I create the trapdoors that will allow me in when the night outside is too cold and dark. When I move unnoticed through the rooms of 27 rue de Fleurus, when I float in a current swift and unending, and I hear Miss Toklas offering to GertrudeStein, "Another piece of Cake?" I can catch my breath and smile.

— Monique Truong, The Book of Salt, pp. 155-56

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

sonnet by Cola Hines

you might say (she did say) it’s a pleasure
(and a treasure) exotic and certain as death
(and as original) — that’s why we keep quiet.
what do you want me to talk about. How about
the exhausted, 'ulcerous poodles and pekes
on the promenade,' the backlit colored-glass mural 
of the waves. What do you want me to remember?
Start at the beginning. I am too tired to say. Toot
toute down the hallways. You left your door open in
those days. I was always frightened of the next bright
smile, the next normal thing. I stayed in the elevator.
When we kissed, I thought how long before she needs
to take a breath? And we went beyond what we knew
and circled back, outwitting ourselves. Like cigarettes,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Poem by Mebane Robertson

Driving Out of a Dry County
How much I still wish you were here to help
This dream go smoother, to help wipe off with a rag
All the bad things that went down.
You are right.  I respond best to cognitive behavioral
Therapy.  But other schools have something to offer,
And all I did was turn it on automatic and spray.
No idea of getting a medal—no, no nothing.
The cleaning lady had already come.
Intelligence can run away, but
When it comes to saving the life of a brother,
Thinking itself is my enemy, and when you were lifted out
I felt the words you could not say.
And the post trauma leaves me vacant,
Just a transcendental Jones Very ambulating around the room,
Which some call heaven swept bare of agency itself.
You know I’m a bad liar.
Truth is I wonder who has possession
Of these fingers as they jitter over the keyboard,
Waiting for her to fall into my life I don’t know why.
Truth is in the How You Been? as my heart’s bartender
Pops the top with the bar key,
And the fair lady sets things up with something sweet and dark
From the hell of her reaching
Out to me in her Scottish hair 
For something to drown out these conversations
That prattle on forever down below the well,
You know, just between us.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

From the long overdue (re)readings (VIII)

Translation of poetry is that pigheaded effort to convey in words of another language not only the literal meaning of a poem but an alien way of seeing things. Since poetic imagination cannot fully be detached from the place of origin, no two languages share identical associations. Can one truly convey in English the elements that elude the translator’s complete understanding and yet contribute to the character of the work for the native reader? In short, can one translate another person’s view of reality, which, as it happens, is already a kind of translation? If all writing is a conversion of some subjective or objective reality into language, translation is the most philosophical of all activities. To translate is not only to experience what makes each language distinct, but to draw close to the mystery of the relationship between word and thing, letter and spirit, self and world.
- Charles Simic, from ‘The Spirit of Play,’ review of works by Anne Carson, in The Renegade. Writings on poetry and a few other things (Braziller, 2009), 164-76; 167. Originally published in The New York Review of Books.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poem by Mebane Robertson

Before Drifting Off
I don’t think this one is ripe yet.  Like wineberries in the clearing,
It rings a lurid taint, bitter to the tongue, hard—not ready for harvest
When they brim over red plastic pails.  I have been concerned of late
That I have not kept up with technology, that my processor is a robin
That hops three steps and cocks its head to listen for worms.  Everyone else
Seems a red hawk swapping bootlegged software and knowing how
To keep funky viruses from swamping their systems.  A subject, yes,
It would be nice to have a subject, but a purpose is the thing —
Like the waves of synchronized green lights that, if you hit them right,
Just right, let you flow down the hill to The Bottom unimpeded, like you
Are in Venice, either or, and are cutting the surf all in beauty or the other
Where the black gondolas ripple your fate while your life crumbles around you.
Youth just is, it happens—green like a melon or the ‘cush’ on Cortelyou Road
My stoner friends call the ‘kind bud’ they get from the corner boys.
Does mentioning this mean I won’t get into the more conservative journals?
But life—it’s like jumping aboard a little, marble swirled dingy and trying
To make it to the middle seat while the brackish water is waving moonlit flags—
Omens to you with all the sunken galleons gathered in the vertiginous cove.
And there are stories the guide tells you and your future ex, and she
Turns around winningly to imply the sharks curving in from the bay to find
A place to breed will have no purchase with their rows of teeth after
The flower girl sprayed stray Heaven in her wake.  Here’s the news, Hon,
Our love was devoured in spats.  We, the ones who had found
The fat wineberries bitter to the tongue.  And then—I still can’t trace how—
Everything went polarized before our eyes.  And it was hard to tell
What belonged to whom as we bickered through a swath of rye.
[click here for more poems by Mebane Robertson.]