Thursday, April 29, 2010


Ropes of thing
around the neck
or next of now

remind me of a cow
that munches a speck
to railroad spring

into happening again.
Even if doom in my dream
bites the universe in two

I'll still be seeing you
through an obvious seam
in the rain.

Landscape and logic tweaked
by longing, a lunging, I guess
you'd call it, into the nearly
unknown. The perhaps wafted-

away no-color of days whose
ends are frayed. Then watching
a better-known version of it
still circling the drain long

after the plug has been pulled.
A kind of almost incomplete
spookiness that gives meaning
to it (without meaning to,

of course), because there is, after
all, no clear evidence of anything else.

Something almost wooden now
mimics a fear of forgetting to grow.
A not too noticeable cow

grazes in the meadow.
Excitement tries hard to wrest
indifference from its nest

above the fray. At night
everyone sings who can,
though the very sight

of something causes a man
to paralyze himself
and place his weapon on a shelf

just out of reach. Wow,
someone thinks with a half-
opened mouth, I'd love to eat that cow!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recent Treasures

Recent books I have greatly enjoyed: Barry Schechter's THE BLINDFOLD TEST (an amazing novel by an amazing writer). Paul Hoover's POEMS IN SPANISH (probably Paul's best book of poems ever). And Ron Padgett's YOU NEVER KNOW and HOW TO BE PERFECT (two great books of poems by the masterful Mister Ron).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ron, a Language Poet?

When my son, Said, took an English course at UC Berkeley taught by Lyn Hejinian, she said in one of her lectures that Ron Padgett was a language poet. Now, Ron has always been one of my favorite poets, maybe even my favorite poet, period. And I have never thought of him as a language poet. He is, I think, many kinds of poets at once, and that's one of the things that makes him so great. Yeah, there's some language poetry in him (or, I should say, some poetic techniques he uses that the language poets, who came later, have borrowed from him, John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch), but he has a lot of moves that the language poets don't have, and probably don't even approve of, since they tend to be a bit dogmatic in their attitude toward poetry. Interesting thing is that Lyn Hejinian is one of the few language poets whose work I actually enjoy reading, and I enjoy reading her work because, to me, it's not really all that similar to what is normally categorized as language poetry. Maybe we should stop attaching labels to poetry. Maybe it's enough to read a poem and either like it or not like it, or do something in between liking it and not liking it. Yeah, let's do that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Driving the meaning
as hard as I can into the
wood that keeps it,

I nevertheless insist
on being the one I am.
It's the same old similar

story: No one's ready
to leave. On the outer
boulevards, cars careen

into subtler ways of
solving some of the riddles.
Smudges appear all

over the place, replacing
the hands that held them.
Truth becomes this hole

hopes get funneled into.
An irresistible heaviness
in trees remains the same.

Monday, April 19, 2010

About (My) Poetry

I never think of myself as being part of this or that school or movement when I write poetry (or anything else). I'm not a language poet, except when I am. I'm not a poet of the New York School, except when I am. I'm not a traditional poet, except when I am. I'm not any of those things, except when I'm all of them.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Seems like it's always
almost morning out here
where the music is.
A stalled moment flows

in fits, then stops again.
A tree the wind's
trying to uproot
clenches its fist

in defense of inertia.
Horses share an old joke
in the only barn
that matters. A language

the light can't master
slowly translates itself.

Friday, April 16, 2010


There was a diamond
in my shit
this morning.
I don't know how
it got there.
But there it was:
a diamond in my shit.
Perfect blue-white,
I'd say.
Two to three carats,
I'd say.
I don't know how
it got there.
But I know
where it's going.
I'm going to eat it
There'll be a diamond
in my shit