there are so many tictoc clocks everywhere telling people what toctic time it is for tictic instance five toc minutes toc past six tic Spring is not regulated and does not get out of order nor do its hands a little jerking move over numbers slowly we do not wind it up it has no weights springs wheels inside of its slender self no indeed dear nothing of the kind. (So,when kiss Spring comes we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss lips because tic clocks toc don't make a toctic difference to kisskiss you and to kiss me)
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I Like a gondola of green scented fruits Drifting along the dank canals of Venice, You, O exquisite one, Have entered into my desolate city. II The blue smoke leaps Like swirling clouds of birds vanishing. So my love leaps forth toward you, Vanishes and is renewed. III A rose-yellow moon in a pale sky When the sunset is faint vermilion In the mist among the tree-boughs Art thou to me, my beloved. IV A young beech tree on the edge of the forest Stands still in the evening, Yet shudders through all its leaves in the light air And seems to fear the stars— So are you still and so tremble. V The red deer are high on the mountain, They are beyond the last pine trees. And my desires have run with them. VI The flower which the wind has shaken Is soon filled again with rain; So does my heart fill slowly with tears, O Foam-Driver, Wind-of-the-Vineyards, Until you return.
10 maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach(to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone. For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) it's always ourselves we find in the sea
I rose from marsh mud, algae, equisetum, willows, sweet green, noisy birds and frogs to see her wed in the rich rich silence of the church, the little white slave-girl in her diamond fronds. In aisle and arch the satin secret collects. United for life to serve silver. Possessed.
A silver Lucifer serves cocaine in cornucopia To some somnambulists of adolescent thighs draped in satirical draperies Peris in livery prepare Lethe for posthumous parvenues Delirious Avenues lit with the chandelier souls of infusoria from Pharoah's tombstones lead to mercurial doomsdays Odious oasis in furrowed phosphorous--- the eye-white sky-light white-light district of lunar lusts ---Stellectric signs "Wing shows on Starway" "Zodiac carrousel" Cyclones of ecstatic dust and ashes whirl crusaders from hallucinatory citadels of shattered glass into evacuate craters A flock of dreams browse on Necropolis From the shores of oval oceans in the oxidized Orient Onyx-eyed Odalisques and ornithologists observe the flight of Eros obsolete And "Immortality" mildews... in the museums of the moon "Nocturnal cyclops" "Crystal concubine" ------- Pocked with personification the fossil virgin of the skies waxes and wanes----
Your breath was shed Invisible to make About the soiled undead Night for my sake, A raining trail Intangible to them With biter's tooth and tail And cobweb drum, A dark as deep My love as a round wave To hide the wolves of sleep And mask the grave.
O You, Who came upon me once Stretched under apple-trees just after bathing, Why did you not strangle me before speaking Rather than fill me with the wild white honey of your words And then leave me to the mercy Of the forest bees.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch. The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements. Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue. In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls. I'm no more your mother Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow Effacement at the wind's hand. All night your moth-breath Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear. One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown. Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons.
I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it-- A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face a featureless, fine Jew linen. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. Do I terrify?-- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. What a million filaments. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot-- The big strip tease. Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. The first time it happened I was ten. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. I rocked shut As a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart-- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. So, so, Herr Doktor. So, Herr Enemy. I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Ash, ash-- You poke and stir. Flesh, bone, there is nothing there-- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling. Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.
23-29 October 1962
The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough.
Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
Wine comes in at the mouth And love comes in at the eye; That’s all we shall know for truth Before we grow old and die. I lift the glass to my mouth, I look at you, and I sigh.
For Carl Solomon
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated, who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkan- sas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war, who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull, who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall, who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York, who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls, incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo- tionless world of Time between, Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunk- enness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind, who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo, who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox, who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge, a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills of Empire State out of the moon, yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars, whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement, who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall, suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal in Newark's bleak furnished room, who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wonder- ing where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts, who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night, who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas, who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels, who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain, who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa, who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago, who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the FBI in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incompre- hensible leaflets, who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism, who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed, who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons, who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication, who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts, who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy, who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love, who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whom- ever come who may, who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blond & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword, who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her ass and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman's loom. who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of con- sciousness, who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake, who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses' rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too, who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung- over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices, who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steam- heat and opium, who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hud- son under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion, who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery, who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music, who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts, who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology, who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish, who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom, who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg, who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade, who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were growing old and cried, who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regi- ments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertis- ing & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality, who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer, who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930s German jazz finished the whis- key and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steamwhistles, who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to the each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation, who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity, who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes, who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other's salva- tion and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a second, who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz, who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisychain or grave, who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung jury, who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instanta- neous lobotomy, and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin Metrazol electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & am- nesia, who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia, returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East, Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon, with mother finally ******, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 a.m. and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination-- ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you're really in the total animal soup of time-- and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the vibrating plane, who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head, the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come after death, and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America's naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.
What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination? Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Chil- dren screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Mo- loch! Moloch the heavy judger of men! Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jail- house and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judg- ment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned govern- ments! Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb! Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows! Moloch whose skyscrap- ers stand in the long streets like endless Jehovahs! Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog! Moloch whose smokestacks and antennae crown the cities! Moloch whose love is endless oil and stone! Moloch whose soul is electricity and banks! Moloch whose poverty is the specter of genius! Moloch whose fate is a cloud of sexless hydrogen! Moloch whose name is the Mind! Moloch in whom I sit lonely! Moloch in whom I dream Angels! Crazy in Moloch! Cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch! Moloch who entered my soul early! Moloch in whom I am a consciousness without a body! Moloch who frightened me out of my natural ec- stasy! Moloch whom I abandon! Wake up in Moloch! Light stream- ing out of the sky! Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible mad houses granite cocks! monstrous bombs! They broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven! Pavements, trees, radios, tons! lifting the city to Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us! Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river! Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit! Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years' animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time! Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roofl to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
You have to be always drunk. That's all there is to it—it's the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: "It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish."
The Stoli bottle's frost melts to brilliance where I press my fingers. Evidence. Proof I'm here, drunk in your lamplit kitchen, breathing up your rented air, no intention of leaving. Our lust squats blunt as a brick on the table between us. We're low on vocabulary. We're vodkaquiet. Vodkadeliquescent. Vodka doesn't like theatrics: it walks into your midnight bedroom already naked, slips in beside you, takes your shoulders in its icy hands and shoves. Is that a burglar at the window? No, he lives with me, actually. Well, let him in for Christ's sake, let's actually get this over with.
I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. I want it sleeveless and backless, this dress, so no one has to guess what's underneath. I want to walk down the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store with all those keys glittering in the window, past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly, hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders. I want to walk like I'm the only woman on earth and I can have my pick. I want that red dress bad. I want it to confirm your worst fears about me, to show you how little I care about you or anything except what I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment from its hanger like I'm choosing a body to carry me into this world, through the birth-cries and the love-cries too, and I'll wear it like bones, like skin, it'll be the goddamned dress they bury me in.
The scent of hyacinths, like a pale mist, lies between me and my book; And the South Wind, washing through the room, Makes the candles quiver. My nerves sting at a spatter of rain on the shutter, And I am uneasy with the thrusting of green shoots Outside, in the night. Why are you not here to overpower me with your tense and urgent love?
The day is fresh-washed and fair, and there is a smell of tulips and narcissus in the air.
The sunshine pours in at the bath-room window and bores through the water in the bath-tub in lathes and planes of greenish-white. It cleaves the water into flaws like a jewel, and cracks it to bright light.
Little spots of sunshine lie on the surface of the water and dance, dance, and their reflections wobble deliciously over the ceiling; a stir of my finger sets them whirring, reeling. I move a foot and the planes of light in the water jar. I lie back and laugh, and let the green-white water, the sun-flawed beryl water, flow over me. The day is almost too bright to bear, the green water covers me from the too bright day. I will lie here awhile and play with the water and the sun spots. The sky is blue and high. A crow flaps by the window, and there is a whiff of tulips and narcissus in the air.
I Our meeting was like the upward swish of a rocket In the blue night. I do not know when it burst; But now I stand gaping, In a glory of falling stars. II Hola! Hola! shouts the crowd, as the catherine-wheels sputter and turn. Hola! They cheer the flower-pots and set pieces. And nobody heeds the cries of a young man in shirt-sleeves, Who has burnt his fingers setting them off. III A King and Queen, and a couple of Generals, Flame in colored lights; Putting out the stars, And making a great glare over the people wandering among the booths. They are very beautiful and impressive, And all the people say "Ah!" By and by they begin to go out, Little by little. The King's crown goes first, Then his eyes, Then his nose and chin. The Queen goes out from the bottom up, Until only the topmost jewel of her tiara is left. Then that, too, goes; And there is nothing but a frame of twisted wires, With the stars twinkling through it.
You are ice and fire, The touch of you burns my hands like snow. You are cold and flame. You are the crimson of amaryllis, The silver of moon-touched magnolias. When I am with you, My heart is a frozen pond Gleaming with agitated torches.
If I could catch the green lantern of the firefly I could see to write you a letter.
Long over, what's on the tree shivers. Sky hides behind white-faced, giving flesh to branch, a red leaf or yellow far enough away, what Broch called ''the style of old age," simplified of images, lean in the perfection of the bough, naked & half-undone. Clouds break, rain against a hidden sun, the form plain
They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent. All the whales in the wider deeps, hot are they, as they urge on and on, and dive beneath the icebergs. The right whales, the sperm-whales, the hammer-heads, the killers there they blow, there they blow, hot wild white breath out of the sea! And they rock, and they rock, through the sensual ageless ages on the depths of the seven seas, and through the salt they reel with drunk delight and in the tropics tremble they with love and roll with massive, strong desire, like gods. Then the great bull lies up against his bride in the blue deep bed of the sea, as mountain pressing on mountain, in the zest of life: and out of the inward roaring of the inner red ocean of whale-blood the long tip reaches strong, intense, like the maelstrom-tip, and comes to rest in the clasp and the soft, wild clutch of a she-whale's fathomless body. And over the bridge of the whale's strong phallus, linking the wonder of whales the burning archangels under the sea keep passing, back and forth, keep passing, archangels of bliss from him to her, from her to him, great Cherubim that wait on whales in mid-ocean, suspended in the waves of the sea great heaven of whales in the waters, old hierarchies. And enormous mother whales lie dreaming suckling their whale- tender young and dreaming with strange whale eyes wide open in the waters of the beginning and the end. And bull-whales gather their women and whale-calves in a ring when danger threatens, on the surface of the ceaseless flood and range themselves like great fierce Seraphim facing the threat encircling their huddled monsters of love. And all this happens in the sea, in the salt where God is also love, but without words: and Aphrodite is the wife of whales most happy, happy she! and Venus among the fishes skips and is a she-dolphin she is the gay, delighted porpoise sporting with love and the sea she is the female tunny-fish, round and happy among the males and dense with happy blood, dark rainbow bliss in the sea.
There is nothing to save, now all is lost, but a tiny core of stillness in the heart like the eye of a violet.
See the stars, love, In the water much clearer and brighter Than those above us, and whiter, Like nenuphars. Star-shadows shine, love, How many stars in your bowl? How many shadows in your soul, Only mine, love, mine? When I move the oars, love, See how the stars are tossed, Distorted, the brightest lost. —So that bright one of yours, love. The poor waters spill The stars, waters broken, forsaken. —The heavens are not shaken, you say, love, Its stars stand still. There, did you see That spark fly up at us; even Stars are not safe in heaven. —What of yours, then, love, yours? What then, love, if soon Your light be tossed over a wave? Will you count the darkness a grave, And swoon, love, swoon?
The dawn was apple-green, The sky was green wine held up in the sun, The moon was a golden petal between. She opened her eyes, and green They shone, clear like flowers undone For the first time, now for the first time seen.
A fountain's pulsing sobs--like this my blood Measures its flowing, so it sometimes seems. I hear a gentle murmur as it streams; Where the wound lies I've never understood. Like water meadows, boulevards are flooded. Cobblestones, crisscrossed by scarlet rills, Are islands; creatures come and drink their fill. Nothing in nature now remains unblooded. I used to hope that wine could bring me ease, Could lull asleep my deeply gnawing mind. I was a fool: the senses clear with wine. I looked to Love to cure my old disease. Love led me to a thicket of IVs Where bristling needles thirsted for each vein.
When you go to sleep, my gloomy beauty, below a black marble monument, when from alcove and manor you are reduced to damp vault and hollow grave;
when the stone—pressing on your timorous chest and sides already lulled by a charmed indifference—halts your heart from beating, from willing, your feet from their bold adventuring,
then the tomb, confidant to my infinite dream (since the tomb understands the poet always), through those long nights in which slumber is banished,
will say to you: "What does it profit you, imperfect courtisan, not to have known what the dead weep for?" —And the worm will gnaw at your hide like remorse.
It was an icy day. We buried the cat, then took her box and set fire to it in the back yard. Those fleas that escaped earth and fire died by the cold.
The half-stripped trees struck by a wind together, bending all, the leaves flutter drily and refuse to let go or driven like hail stream bitterly out to one side and fall where the salvias, hard carmine,— like no leaf that ever was— edge the bare garden.
What have I to say to you When we shall meet? Yet— I lie here thinking of you. The stain of love Is upon the world. Yellow, yellow, yellow, It eats into the leaves, Smears with saffron The horned branches that lean Heavily Against a smooth purple sky. There is no light— Only a honey-thick stain That drips from leaf to leaf And limb to limb Spoiling the colours Of the whole world. I am alone. The weight of love Has buoyed me up Till my head Knocks against the sky. See me! My hair is dripping with nectar— Starlings carry it On their black wings. See, at last My arms and my hands Are lying idle. How can I tell If I shall ever love you again As I do now?
year-worn weary to the bone, dancing in the dark with the dark, the Suicide Kid gone gray. ah, the swift summers over and gone forever! is that death stalking me now? no, it’s only my cat, this time.
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. And the eyes of those two Indian ponies Darken with kindness. They have come gladly out of the willows To welcome my friend and me. We step over the barbed wire into the pasture Where they have been grazing all day, alone. They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness That we have come. They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other. There is no loneliness like theirs. At home once more, They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness. I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms, For she has walked over to me And nuzzled my left hand. She is black and white, Her mane falls wild on her forehead, And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist. Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom.
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It is the time of rain and snow I spend sleepless nights And watch the frost Frail as your love Gathers in the dawn.
Ah! sunflower, weary of time, Who countest the steps of the sun, Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the traveller’s journey is done; Where the youth pined away with desire, And the pale virgin shrouded in snow, Arise from their graves and aspire; Where my sunflower wishes to go.
The red rose whispers of passion, And the white rose breathes of love; O, the red rose is a falcon, And the white rose is a dove. But I send you a cream-white rosebud With a flush on its petal tips; For the love that is purest and sweetest Has a kiss of desire on the lips.
I know I am but summer to your heart, And not the full four seasons of the year; And you must welcome from another part Such noble moods as are not mine, my dear. No gracious weight of golden fruits to sell Have I, nor any wise and wintry thing; And I have loved you all too long and well To carry still the high sweet breast of Spring. Wherefore I say: O love, as summer goes, I must be gone, steal forth with silent drums, That you may hail anew the bird and rose When I come back to you, as summer comes. Else will you seek, at some not distant time, Even your summer in another clime.
My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!
A while back, if I remember right, my life was one long party where all hearts were open wide, where all wines kept flowing.
One night, I sat Beauty down on my lap.—And I found her galling.—And I roughed her up.
I armed myself against justice.
I ran away. O witches, O misery, O hatred, my treasure's been turned over to you!
I managed to make every trace of human hope vanish from my mind. I pounced on every joy like a ferocious animal eager to strangle it.
I called for executioners so that, while dying, I could bite the butts of their rifles. I called for plagues to choke me with sand, with blood. Bad luck was my god. I stretched out in the muck. I dried myself in the air of crime. And I played tricks on insanity.
And Spring brought me the frightening laugh of the idiot.
So, just recently, when I found myself on the brink of the final squawk! it dawned on me to look again for the key to that ancient party where I might find my appetite once more.
Charity is that key.—This inspiration proves I was dreaming!
"You'll always be a hyena etc. . . ," yells the devil, who'd crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Deserve death with all your appetites, your selfishness, and all the capital sins!"
Ah! I've been through too much:-But, sweet Satan, I beg of you, a less blazing eye! and while waiting for the new little cowardly gestures yet to come, since you like an absence of descriptive or didactic skills in a writer, let me rip out these few ghastly pages from my notebook of the damned.
Graceful son of Pan! Around your forehead crowned with small flowers and berries, your eyes, precious spheres, are moving. Spotted with brownish wine lees, your cheeks grow hollow. Your fangs are gleaming. Your chest is like a lyre, jingling sounds circulate between your blond arms. Your heart beats in that belly where the double sex sleeps. Walk at night, gently moving that thigh, that second thigh and that left leg.
From childhood's hour I have not been As others were--I have not seen As others saw--I could not bring My passions from a common spring-- From the same source I have not taken My sorrow--I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone-- And all I lov'd--I lov'd alone-- Then--in my childhood--in the dawn Of a most stormy life--was drawn From ev'ry depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still-- From the torrent, or the fountain-- From the red cliff of the mountain-- From the sun that 'round me roll'd In its autumn tint of gold-- From the lightning in the sky As it pass'd me flying by-- From the thunder, and the storm-- And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view--
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.
The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.
A man and a woman
A man and a woman and a blackbird
I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.
O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?
I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.
When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.
At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.
He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.
It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold
February, peeved at Paris, pours a gloomy torrent on the pale lessees of the graveyard next door and a mortal chill on tenants of the foggy suburbs too. The tiles afford no comfort to my cat that cannot keep its mangy body still; the soul of some old poet haunts the drains and howls as if a ghost could hate the cold. A churchbell grieves, a log in the fireplace smokes and hums falsetto to the clock's catarrh, while in a filthy reeking deck of cards inherited from a dropsical old maid, the dapper Knave of Hearts and the Queen of Spades grimly disinter their love affairs.
Souvenirs? More than if I had lived a thousand years! No chest of drawers crammed with documents, love-letters, wedding-invitations, wills, a lock of someone's hair rolled up in a deed, hides so many secrets as my brain. This branching catacombs, this pyramid contains more corpses than the potter's field: I am a graveyard that the moon abhors, where long worms like regrets come out to feed most ravenously on my dearest dead. I am an old boudoir where a rack of gowns, perfumed by withered roses, rots to dust; where only faint pastels and pale Bouchers inhale the scent of long-unstoppered flasks. Nothing is slower than the limping days when under the heavy weather of the years Boredom, the fruit of glum indifference, gains the dimension of eternity . . . Hereafter, mortal clay, you are no more than a rock encircled by a nameless dread, an ancient sphinx omitted from the map, forgotten by the world, and whose fierce moods sing only to the rays of setting suns.
I'm like the king of a rainy country, rich but helpless, decrepit though still a young man who scorns his fawning tutors, wastes his time on dogs and other animals, and has no fun; nothing distracts him, neither hawk nor hound nor subjects starving at the palace gate. His favorite fool's obscenities fall flat --the royal invalid is not amused-- and ladies in waiting for a princely nod no longer dress indecently enough to win a smile from this young skeleton. The bed of state becomes a stately tomb. The alchemist who brews him gold has failed to purge the impure substance from his soul, and baths of blood, Rome's legacy recalled by certain barons in their failing days, are useless to revive this sickly flesh through which no blood but brackish Lethe seeps.
When skies are low and heavy as a lid over the mind tormented by disgust, and hidden in the gloom the sun pours down on us a daylight dingier than the dark; when earth becomes a trickling dungeon where Trust like a bat keeps lunging through the air, beating tentative wings along the walls and bumping its head against the rotten beams; when rain falls straight from unrelenting clouds, forging the bars of some enormous jail, and silent hordes of obscene spiders spin their webs across the basements of our brains; then all at once the raging bells break loose, hurling to heaven their awful caterwaul, like homeless ghosts with no one left to haunt whimpering their endless grievances. --And giant hearses, without dirge or drums, parade at half-step in my soul, where Hope, defeated, weeps, and the oppressor Dread plants his black flag on my assenting skull.
The light of a candle is transferred to another candle— spring twilight.
after jorge luis borges a yellow rose in a hotel glass the man had kissed her on the neck had kissed her on the mouth but these kisses belonged to yesterday there would be no moment of revernalization yellow roses came from china open in may before our hybrids unfold pink rugosities and baroque scent expose dusty fissured yellow pearls
O my luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June; O my luve's like the melodie That's sweetly played in tune. As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I; And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry. Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi' the sun: O I will love thee still, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run. And fare thee weel, my only luve, And fare thee weel awhile! And I will come again, my luve, Though it were ten thousand mile.