from Milonga Canning, BA
Little English Girl Tango
O, Beauty—how good / you’d look on a horst! /
If only I could understand / what you are saying /
How’s this for getting things going / I look at your look
The accordion continues on / That’s it. What do you think
Here at Parakultural Canning
Tonight’s big dance is a little less / The band’s late
Everybody please take their seats / I’ll dance with your girl
Bling flingalang / Oh these shoes are great /
Your shoes are great / Our shoes are great //
You’re Beautiful It’s True Tango
Up North it’s summer so you’re here / But here it’s
winter, ha ha /
Hold me, turn me, curve me, learn me / I’m all yours eight
My wife died, she was beautiful / What happens to the mind
Let the night never end never end / I’m all over you and it’s
Thea von Harbou, author of Mabuse the Gambler
won on a bet for a twelve-year run
and gloried in honors awards
and beautiful lovers
even during the firebombing of Hamburg
stayed loyal to her lineage and unfaltering
in her sense of show business,
knowing that demonic abandon
is more important to entertainment
in a catastrophe
than its indisputable power
in periods of calm.
She never wondered
when she would lose,
when she’d be dealt
a losing hand
cleaning rubble from the ruins
and doing post-sync on operetta
films can hardly be called folding
in a timely manner
but isn’t the same as betting the house
on a suicidal spin of the wheel
we wouldn’t call her a tricheur,
nor, compared to many
less objectionable survivors,
a big-time loser.
A reduced personality, perhaps,
but aren’t we all?
AND SO ON
The earth likes to get dirty.
Branches comb the fire's hair.
The air goes anywhere it wants.
Water swims around the fish.
Completely dead, looking.
smokestack in July – no smoke – not when it’s
lining of my dress is black and blue.
woodchip path, the woman smelling lavender.
are so many bees.
the very same flowers.
return, the coffee is cold.
walls are painted pink.
circle I now occupy is the future I have to face.
lavender sits very still now that it is picked.
live on these steps I’m sitting on.
the wooden chair is covered with carved inscriptions:
Pull me out
Stay with me
I just got here.
pull out my knife and chip away:
in feeling such green delightAnd then do.
The Milky Way
I sleep on a bed of clustered stars.
I lie my head down on the moon,
close my eyes, and think
about the elegance of scars.
I wonder if my own skin will recover.
There have been attacks, times
when it was blitzed with bloody cuts,
burns, and other things leaving it marred.
Pliable skin splits and leaves a narrative.
What is in the story is in the body,
or the memories of the body: that pock,
that rusty nail, rug burn, rope burn, welts,
each scar a different chapter. My body,
inundated with obligations, is a decaying
temple, is a tenement building,
is an unfinished book marked by stars.
The Left Hand of Truth
With the rolling stone acquiring its personal moss
a mile a minute, it was a simple matter to slip an old gray sock
on the left hand of truth, and over the right a silken stocking.
There was no need to build a puppet theater. And, anyway,
you no longer cared about architecture,
no matter how dramatic.
You only lived in it, thoughtlessly,
though you examined your feelings now and then.
Thus the battle of the giants and the gods went on and on
in what we might as well call a theater in the round,
the daily planet, and if you were rarely in attendance,
either as puppet master or as member of the audience, well,
the same could said for the rest of us. The world
spins away, away and away in larger
and larger spirals, and if the worlds we invent are worth haunting
it is only because we know they will never get over us,
never admit to themselves how ghostly we’ve become.
We Are Trying to Change
Twenty percent of Iraq is dead or fled
and the moon over the Pentagon is purple
with glee. The war mask is on
& Congress has decided not
to de-fang it. There are desert valleys
and polluted streams all across the planet,
but the flames in Iraq have grown hotter
than the sparks in an old Albanian kitchen--
and this is a fire that we have seen
people we once knew light. So we spend
five nights each week doing our best
to extinguish. On nights six and seven,
we get no rest, but must place our minds
onto a different set of bedpost spikes.
A new British study says 1.2 million
civilians have died, a figure so stunning
it barely gets reported. Bad knees
and all, we are walking in the streets
hoping to help arrest our president. The city's
police think we are their private comedy club,
but at least we are rushing the stage
& trying to change the color of the moon.
THE WAR IS IN EYE
The War is raging
Make us whores of nations
It is the force we are facing
We are on the pavement
In mental enslavement
In forms of information
Liberty is caged in
The golden fictions
old and rich men
From popes and pitch-men
Give hope to ditch men
Contacting every extraction
Programming for every reaction
On the surface
You can be nervous
That they privatize profits
While socializing losses
That life favors the bosses
But one cannot stop it
From president to prophet
The brain is a large deposit
Our collective conscious
Was full of nonsense
Even before the bomb went off
Let us cough with synchronicity
And turn off the light with same electricity
Take a look through the glass
Boys are killed
While oil spills
We drill and feel
It is so surreal
And so real
Use the power
You are part of the deal
There is no soliloquy
Billions of me go forth
And feel remorse
As our generation is dying
And can’t read while they bleed
Force-fed what to see
From a feed
Loving hypocrisy and ideology
We sleep in bed
While others sleep in need
Keep killing for our creed
Or was it greed
And cannot see through frequencies frequently
In three generation our seeds will see
The roots of nations and evil be just greenery
So as people panic that the planet vanish
And aliens have landed
In our country and are stranded
Act so manic about world- wide famine
Be so candid about the way we damage
Uncover and rediscover contradictions and scandals
Scream at the screens and panels
Remember we are a member
Or at least a great pretender
We pass the same mantle down the family tree
Light a candle for this world of fantasy
To be able to the say this is the life you handed she or he
Or how you handled the vision of your reflection
When you say “it wasn’t me.”
Another says in their eye,
“ It was I.”
from Poem a Day or,
Naropa in the Sunshine, July 2008
yesterday michelle called and i wasn’t thinking about jane
or fedoras but masking tape,
butter knives, & occasionally the nature of experience as a
shape of leslie scalapino’s mind, edible flowers too came
into focus at some point in the day’s decision to arrive at
a frosty blue perched between bleached white clouds, then I knew
it was you who turned on the light and was the entity in dusk daylight
apartment pause that Brooklyn day where I defended desire and ate
beets, always nice to see you I think though I don’t see you,
fine too, the slippery horsefly wanting out of this bound world,
I plan to start a club called the water dance dreamers & we
will drink whiskey and not swim,
Because we are poor, but not here, not boulder, the radical democrats
command the stages as post-midlife huckleberry finns, ok ok, we’re
all friends here, old harry smith owned by his friends, they treat
his ghost kindly, who will archive my ghost I don’t ask,
Oh go back out into the lightening and speak to me!, my old friend
from long time ago, your voice some kind of necklace pearl, I could
choke myself and die happy, I mean that in a good way, as in heart
not gesture, don’t have my soft clothes here, here where the
irreconcilable reared, here where every house & building block
I walk past is the place where everybody used to live, somewhere,
Alice said we could sleep, Alice didn’t exactly say that,
dreamy she was talking about dreams, and I am watching her, I am
watching me too, I want to go to sleep and dream about pines, “miles”
the dream image said, and someone else, maybe “chris”
or a name starting with the letter “f”, his body shrunken
to imitate childhood
what to wear to the apocalypse
i wore an orange and
pink paisley cotton shift
that i'd bought for $7.99 at a walmart in north
because it reminded me of a dress
my mother had in the early 1960's
i had on pink suede clogs, open-toed
when i realized i had to walk down the steps
taking the elevator
i changed into yellow nikes.
_______________________________Esther K Smith
A Perfect Day
A clamor at daybreak,
daily pattern one knows,
shift of time of sleep,
then choices of beginning.
Is the sound of the wind
or leaves? It is a rush,
or hush. A brightness of all,
reflection of water or sun.
That pattern carries or traps,
animal life apparent. How
is working blended in,
understanding? Rhythm of
preparing food, eating, cleaning.
Many varied kinds of insect.
Late reflections on buildings,
light fluttering like water.
6-8 July 2007 _______________________Vincent Katz
She answered the door
wearing a simple red dress,
her hair folded into a tight
spool—Barack wanted to grip
the polished rung
of her mouth, but this was
their first date, so they hot boxed
his blue Jetta until the smoke
was so thick it could be spread
onto shortcake, and he promised
her adjectives like interesting
and audacious, and he rolled
another jay, not wanting
to come ‘cross no square brother
at the firm,
and Michelle liked the way
his words were pennies flicked
into a fountain, and finally
they checked out a Spike Lee joint,
and after the movie he fit
his hand into hers all the wayt
home where he sealed his lips
to her ear and promised
an obelisk for her garden.
How do you feed a dream?
Just give it any old thing.
How do you choose a wave?
Look for one that’s blue.
How do you start a war?
Rattle a big, rusty sword.
How do you see it through?
Peer into the open forge.
How would you steal time?
Squeeze it, make it rhyme?
How could you write a poem?
Dig so deep you end up home.
When all these things are done
then will you ask me — why?
_________________________Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
homage II ___ Mark Wiener
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