Reading of a Cesar Vallejo poem
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
…and from that twelve year old
hesitant poet, sprang an ornery,
The Right Of Relic
He stared at Mexico. Mexico stared right back.
Perhaps it was a macho thing.
But him, he never claimed any of its history.
It was others---the ones with one-track minds.
As a matter of fact, he claimed no heritage.
Which earned him scorn.
He was no lowly Indian, or Aztec priest.
He was proud of having no roots.
Even now, that he’s proven his point,
there are those who would belittle him.
Be careful what you look for in the smoking mirror,
least you rely upon the frame, carnal.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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The Poet’s Curse
When he saw Frost attempt to read a poem
at the Kennedy Inauguration,
then and there, he decided
that he would give up poetry.
Oh, Lord, decisions made at the age of twelve
are rarely great decisions.
He thought, must all poets bear winter like this?
Where is the spring? Where is the spring?
Does this wind always blow so cold?
Is a poet always old and gray?
Yet, it was not long before the foolish art
took hold of him again.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Checkout Xicano Poetry Daily here.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Crazy as this may sound to you,
Henry no longer feels like a stranger in a strange land.
The country has reverted to Mexico.
Mr. Bones looking illegally wet,
walks into Wal-Mart
and the predominate language is Spanish.
The girl behind the register no comprende
until he Spik in Glyph.
The soldiers: Alurista, Lalo Delgado, Ricardo Sanchez,
insisted this would happen.
But most of us didn’t listen,
and took the low road.
Ye of little faith reap small rewards.
Behold how brown, Texas has become.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Father, Son And Holy Toast
Henry is old, old; for Henry remembers
Harry Belafonte in The World, The Flesh and The Devil,
as if it was yesterday, oh, I believe in yesterday.
However, not even Michael Rennie can save us now.
Turned-on by Patricia Neal’s sexy eyes
in the low light of the elevator, are ye?
Man can not be straightened out,
fix this guy, and that other idiot goes bad.
Then God looks yonder,
tens of thousands of Chinese die.
Or the moron sends the ocean inland
in search of high ground accidentally.
Henry has seen it all, yet waits for more---
in case that pretty, blonde co-ed edifies him.
Finally though, not even that seemed enough.
We be not flying squirrels, just nuts. He leapt
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
How Better To Void The Fate Of Icarus
Mr. Bones returned covered in ostrich feathers.
Henry looked smart wearing zebra stripes.
Berryman assessed the bridge.
Is it conducive to flight?
Perhaps consult with the spirit of Harry Kees?
And didn’t Hart Crane jump from the bridge of a ship?
Mr. Bones was afraid of heights,
and Hennery, well, so afraid of the deep end.
But Berryman waved to bystanders,
flashed and yearned, showing off his Achilles’ heel.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
there sat down,once,a thing on henry's heart
The Scream Songs
I let John Berryman loose at the zoo.
But Henry and Mr. Bones freed all the animals.
Berryman entertained himself with a bottle,
and Berryman entertained himself with a girl.
Henry rode off on a zebra.
Mr. Bones galloped away on ostriches.
Berryman contemplated his past
as if it was his future.
Berryman mistook a bridge for the book
of nightmares he mistakenly kept calling songs
Monday, May 19, 2008
Give Peace A Chance
I let John Lennon loose at the zoo.
Right away he wanted to start a revolution.
He gave the monkeys marijuana.
He gave LSD to wildebeest.
Soon the anacondas were riding Hondas
and Kawasaki’s to Milwaukee’s Finest.
Tigers and lions gave peace a chance.
Became vegetarians, if you can Imagine that.
The giraffe had a delayed reaction---
its neck being so long, its stomach so far away.
The zookeepers shouted Hey Dude,
but even fossilized Lucy was in the sky with diamonds.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
More fabShadow and Hart Crane here.
Friday, May 16, 2008
last hours of hart crane
I let Hart Crane loose at the zoo.
He seemed so fascinated with tarantulas,
and the wonders of an elephant in the Bronx.
Savannas of asphalt and concrete fenced in
the platypus of his unearthly desires.
He shakes his cage like a nasty monkey.
He foresees the hippo in himself.
The Brooklyn Bridge bulges in his trousers.
The Keystone Kops rush around.
Who stole the reliable crossing, they shout silently?
But, by this time, Crane has fallen off the wagon
into the Gulf of Mexico aquarium.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
The Seven Sorry Mountains
I let Thomas Merton loose at the zoo.
He favored Burmese tigers.
He spit holy water at the cobra
which squirmed like a Buddhist novice.
He showed Ernesto Cardenal how to prey upon the poor.
The ones who couldn’t afford a trip to the zoo.
He built a crucifix from the ivory
of two slaughtered Indian elephants.
Oxen kept a wary eye on him.
Tired, he went home to get electrocuted by a lamp.
A military plane flew his body back to the States
where it lay unclaimed by its God.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
I let Theodore Roethke loose at the zoo,
but he cowered in the botanical gardens.
I think it was Berryman who said
Roethke preferred plants to man.
He fussed over roses.
Thorns he relished as well as relish.
Hell, he even caressed pinto beans.
He didn’t give a hoot if young men died in wars.
Yet harm not a marigold or ripe tomato
because his anger was not a vegetable then.
He cared for lentils and for leaves.
But man was just a fertilizer in his book.
My favorite Roethke poem:
When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine--
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she'd lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)
The things she endured!--
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.
Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me--
And that was scary--
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.
But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
For His Mother
& for his brother Esteban
who died in childbirth
along with his mother
His mother died on a December day in 1960.
She never got to see the Russians beat us into orbit.
She never saw Cuba aim its missiles at Little Havana.
She never got to see her boy get shot up in Viet Nam.
Or the Viet Cong making themselves at home in our suburbs.
She never saw her boy high on acid.
She never saw her son try to adjust
to civilian life on the streets of Houston.
She never saw him get clean.
Or become a good father & doting grandpa.
And still he goes on living it appears
even though he, too, died on a December day in 1960.
Friday, May 09, 2008
I let Robert Lowell loose at the zoo.
He threw his dirty laundry at the seals.
He told the elephants not to forget
what his first wife & her staff put him thru.
When he confessed more than he should to the baboons,
their butts got read.
He took a marsupial home for his daughter Lizzie
and water buffaloes for Moses to part.
He went into the mouths of boa constrictors
and walked out with a dolphin.
He showed hyenas leftover love letters galore.
Pain I can bear, he said, but not koalas.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
In The American Grain
I let William Carlos Williams loose at the zoo.
He made the animals walk on their variable foot.
He whipped them against the zoo refrigerator
for devouring cold, cold plums.
He paraded penguins in a hot wheelbarrow.
He called rhinos the pure products of Africa.
He put lions in his pen
and wrote roaring poems all day long.
He populated Paterson with apes
and said, “See, no difference at all.”
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I let Sylvia Plath loose at the zoo.
She wrote a zebra between the lines.
She put a comma on the lone giraffe
to make its neck fit on one page.
She hyphenated the hippos
so that wildebeest could cross the river.
She divided a paragraph
which had too many monkeys in it.
She used onomatopoeia so that tigers
didn’t have to burn so brightly.
I let Sylvia Plath loose at the zoo
and now the lions roar alliteration.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
A Catholic Condemns Parnassus
Sylvia favored swamp gases
and Wilde, men’s asses.
Robert Frost had a cold wife,
it was like screwing a pocket knife.
Denise Levertov climbed Black Mountain,
but was raped by hillbillies on Wolverton Mountain.
Delmore Schwartz hounded New York
as simple-minded as Peter Tork.
Anne Sexton told her cocker spaniel
that John Ashbery once cold-cocked a Spaniard.
Incidentally, there goes gigantic Charles Olson
with Hoover’s lover Tolson.
What poet from Harper’s Ferry
praised women if they had a cherry?
I know a poet from the Mid-West
who jumped from the Golden Gate without a vest.
They found his car in Tennessee
parked next to a jar of pity pee.
Wallace Stevens denied knowing anything
except why the caged birds sing.
Oh, God, the further back we go
the closer we get to Edgar Poe.
So, let’s go back to the future instead
and put our heads down on Sylvia’s bed.
See what she saw, feel what she felt
when by a kitchen appliance she knelt.
St. Peter met her on the appointed date
and scolded her towards the burning gate.
She charred her writing hand on the handle
when out stepped Jarrell, Randle.
Come on in, Sylvia, you’ll find that everybody is here,
every poet and poetess you hold dear.
Sit on the lava, sit on the coal,
it’s gonna get hotter before it gets old.
Don’t be shy, say the others, open your eyes.
As you can see, nobody bad ever dies.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Another Harlem Renaissance
That time you thought it was night,
it turned out to be Countee Cullen.
You tried on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s hat,
you cried because your brain was way too big.
Does this dress make me look like Amy Lowell?
No, I said, like Percival.
You thought you recognized the Mt. Rushmore faces,
but you was wrong.
Women. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
I apologize to you profusely, Mr. Countee Cullen.
I’m so sorry I had to drag your black ass
into this domestic squabble.
Here is an interesting story
about Cullen and his times.
Friday, May 02, 2008
The Maytag Repair Man Out Of His League
I took a crap.
It was Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
I took a Moorish bite
out of Alexander Pope.
I took a plane
to repair Sylvia’s oven.
I bought a rainbow-coloured chair
from Ashbery’s estate.
I enjoyed watching the Towers fall.
It was an epic Ogden Nash smash.
I’m just as cute as the Mona Lisa,
if you get my drift.
I wish I could fart
as well as Fred Astaire dances.
I threw a rock at Edith Sitwell.
It didn’t sit well.
I took Chicago’s big shoulders
and put them on Texas. Big Mistake.
If you cut a Jew in half in Palestine,
the other half falls away from Mandelstam.
Pardon me, fellow court jesters,
but I must flush the Ancient Mariner.
Ok, Miss Sylvia,
your oven is ready.
I fly back home today,
wearing Anne Sexton’s deadly panties.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
They never show Cary Grant or Tony Curtis
with erections inside that pink submarine.
The girl with the big rack blocks the way,
and the old bag peers into the head.
The native witch doctor says in perfect English,
“They’ll never make it.”
Their wayward torpedo blows up a Jap truck
in a funny prelude to Nagasaki.
In the end, the Tiger Shark must be scuttled.
Today, Cary's dead, & an ancient Tony wears the toupee from hell.