Friday, August 29, 2014

Bill Knott


Always reading the recto
translation of a verso
original, my eye fades.
I notice how the paper 
here on this side seems
darker than its opposite:
it is brighter over there
on the lefthand page, the
words of the real poem
give it that glow which
the prized act of creation
emits. We who must live
here in Righthandland
are damned no matter 
how hard we try to rhyme
minds with that perfect
realm across the gutter.
Even if our pulp comes
from the same stock,
we fear closing the book
will bring us face to face,
mouth to mouth with
that tongue we've always
lost, and can never kiss.

Fr. The Unsubscriber 
(New York: FS&G,2004)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Philip Whalen

La Condition Humaine

makes Friedrich Schiller, his personal
Oeconomy almost overrun by tubercle baccilli
Proclaim joy out of Elysium 
Joy and brotherhood also drive Schopenhauer,
And Nietzsche, to suicide
Sparks Wagner's megalomaniac theatricals
With humanity as "given"
Expect nothing but trouble: No omelet from rotten eggs
4:31 a.m. war, murder, misery,
But somebody recently arranged eggs without cholesterol
("O King, live forever!")
To take care of your plugged-up veins
Gibbon says, ". . . the wisdom and authority of the
Legislator are seldom victorious in a contest
With the vigilant dexterity of private interest."

San Francisco