33: Coming Clean

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;

I copied but did not send it.
I thought a phone call, maybe, but knew
The whirlpool words in my own mouth
Would give it all away.

There is no pressure I have not imagined:
Your teeth on my throat,
Your hair in my hand,
Your eyes on my salted lips. All these

Tide to and from my sleeping shores like trains.
And, too, the gravity
Of my own crumbling, wet face, the heft
Of your apology.

(Once you wrote me a confession, a treatise on starry unknowns.
Wrote it out in one long night,
Found it too true and threw
The whole thing away.
I know this because you told me.)

Original poem by W. H. Auden
Photograph by flickr user tomo.1981
Inspiration by you


An Experiment, or, Trolling for Fodder

An Experiment.

Leave me an anonymous comment pouring your heart out. Say anything. Tell me your stories, your secrets, those things no one ever asks but you're dying to tell. Tell me about your love, your hate, your indifference, your joy. Tell me about what's inside of you when you read these poems, and tell me why you continue to come back here. Tell me anything. Anything.

Post anonymously. Speak honestly. Post as many times as you like.

CAVEAT: Your confession may become a poem. Nobody, including me, will ever know it's yours, but please beware that poem-ization is a distinct possibility.


Interlude: Other People's Poetry, or, 29. You're a Genius all the time


1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for your own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside your own house
4. Be in love with your life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yrself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You're a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

-Jack Kerouac, d. October 21, 1969

Small Epistle
You were no angel, Jack but neither
am I and our kisses, writ on dusty paper, will shatter
the very firmament. We seal the envelope
with tongues of young love. Will you come back
when you get this? Not for me.
Not this time.


Night in the Garden

There are monsters in the garden,
gnawing tomatoes into pulpy lace,
pea pods into twigs. Their pincers
arc, little crescents in the light
of the harvest moon.

The earwigs shy
from the divine fire of my flashlight.
They cling to the stakes as I shake them down
like walnuts.

At the fence I slow my sword of judgment.
The ripe sunflowers hold the day's heat still,
and snug in the heart of the widest lion face,
the bumblebee hums in his sleep.

The night is suddenly so loud, alive
with cries for love and hunger.
The flashlight clicks off beneath my heavy thumb.
I back slowly from the nursery.

photograph by Cassandra Barney


The Blessing of the Animals

The congregants were mostly dogs, but
a perforated box here, a glass bowl there hinted
at smaller souls.
We arrived at the close of the second hymn. The little black dog
wrapped her leash around my legs
and ate the dew-anointed grass of the wide church lawn.

With the patient priest's approach the spaniel offered
her neglected, itchy back, expecting relief
and receiving something different
altogether. Her stub tail stalled,
her whiskered brows shot aloft
with the strange new love of this Saturday morning.

photograph by Sarah Gilbert


October 25th: Tree of Life/Men and Angels

To those of you in the New York City and Connecticut area*:

Come say hello! There will be art, and book signing, and Cass, and Emily, and James, and me! It's sure to be a fantastic show.

*The gallery is about an hour outside of the city, convenient to train stations, and you really have no excuse.


Sunset in the Orange Groves

I know that birds have a sound;
I know that "sound" has meaning.
In the weeks before the silence, summer
flushed the blackbird city every time I passed beneath.
The fickle tree may do this yet, may stain the sky
with rocketing bodies,
but if their shadows do not flicker
on the windless dust before me,
they might as well be nested.

Gone is the whispered warning
of the wet plates fleeing the dish rack;
gone the good purpose of rain, radios.
In this new world of useless names,
only the dark feels the same.

photograph by Gero


Airport Run, Friday Night

I drove through clouds to get to you.
They whirled from the sky, clinging to my mirrors,
and I could not discern how to wipe them away. This love
was a long time coming. Against the arch
of a rain-blurred rock near the highway
someone has painted two names,
a plump, resistant heart between them.

photograph by Eliza

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