Saturday, August 15, 2020

flower never taken

 When her husband died 

Four months ago, three and a half

Years after her death, gone was any trace

Of  fifty four years of tangential

Acquaintance that edged friendship,

The letters, visits, phone calls here

To Nicolet, Japan,  Petersham, Brockton,

New Haven

Assumption the thread

They were happy for nine years

We were merely friends

We couldn't save each other

There would always be a train station

The saying goodbye

Transitions, she said, we see each

Other in transitions

Not her wedding

Not her illness

Not her death

Just a brother and sister

Going somewhere else

overhear one-an-other

We looked at this at Friday Evening Conversation, from an interview with Jorie Graham:

 PM: And after Snowden?

JG: After Snowden—(even though he just stands in for a much larger and pre-existing crisis)—the feeling of writing “for a reader”—be that reader one’s self, an imagined other, a muse, God, whatever poets have posited or imagined over the centuries—was perhaps, for me, almost unconsciously replaced by the feeling of “writing for the random overhearing forces.” That’s a huge shift. An address to someone or something not “hearing” but “overhearing”—an algorithm, an NSA scanner, a program such as Prism—is a very different kind of a conversation. Your voice changes. You internalize it of course. So you’re overhearing yourself as well as hearing yourself. It’s a vortex, but also a new kind of confessional. Only there is something very random and also indiscriminate—ruthless as well as deeply disinterested—which is your interlocutor. When John Stuart Mill wrote that “eloquence is heard, poetry is overheard,” he could probably never have imagined the digital eavesdropping of our moment. So yes. That.

PM: So your fascination with the fragment came from that? You have used it since your collection Swarm, but of course here it is more pronounced.

JG: The force, the system, we now interact with—what we know as “the world”—would fragment anything it interacts with. Paradoxically, you have to learn the fragment to speak with that world. To maintain integrity. Yes, you give in to the machinic, but then you take it into yourself and you force humanity, and personal singularity, back into it. It’s complicated. It’s partial. It’s a hybrid you make at best. But you have to fight to stay whole. More than ever. Physically, bodily, spiritually, morally. Also intellectually—but that’s the least important part of it.

(--from, In Conversation with Jorie Graham, on Literary Hub, by Peter Mishler, Feb 23, 2018)

Hölderlin said in a poem that we are a sign that is not read. I add that we are a sound that is not heard.

Poetry overhears.

Until we dwell poetically we are not read, nor heard.

What does it mean to dwell poetically?

Listen to the sound of what is being said. Perceive world sound.

Overhear one-an-other!

Friday, August 14, 2020


To give one’s life for

Another is foolishness —

Unless you see whole

corrosion fatigue

We each want rest, re-

spite, not doubt and worry, clear

space mockery free

Thursday, August 13, 2020

hide and perceive

 Silence leaves the world

Alone;  Jesus enters it —

Hears, prefers, real sound

leben ohne warum

 Do I want to understand why I am here and alive on this planet?


Just the fact of it is enough.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

it becomes too much

The Republican Party might not be racist. But, “You have to be comfortable having a racist as president.” (—Stuart Stevens, author of It Was Always a Lie)

Something frightening is happening.

He’s skillful at mocking and insulting women. 

Especially women of color.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

heaven the whole daylong

Trailer for film “Zen For Nothing” ends with these words:  

whatever you may think

it’s gone already

I've been thinking about my life. 

Nothing seems good enough.

Clare of Assisi wanted the privilege of owning nothing. She mostly got it.

Then I remember George Gershwin, Louie Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald gave us "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin." 

Whatchoo got?

Monday, August 10, 2020

being is being-made

 Or, sat (Sanskrit for ‘being’) is sat-faction, (facio, facere, feci, factus: Latin for ‘to make‘, or ‘do’). Thus, sat-is-faction.

What this country needs:

1. An intelligent, compassionate leader.

2. Someone who refuses to cultivate acrimony and discord.

3. Anyone who will lift the cloud of despair and angry depression.

You can’t always get what you need, but, let’s just say it — we know what we want.

hiroshima and nagasaki wail

              (haiku after original child bomb)

America learned

Seventy five years ago

Watching heartless death

Sunday, August 09, 2020

no choice


To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of our times.”  —Thomas Merton 


muted mudra

            (a forlorn haiku)

No explanations

Suffice — Nagasaki bomb —

Abject cruelty