South Beach Diet - Thread of Poetry

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07-05-2004, 03:39 PM
Well, I tried to start a poetry thread and posted The Jumblies. Clearly not a 3FC type of poem as it did not come up! So I shall post some Gerard Manley Hopkins instead. Cant go wrong with GMH.

God’s Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Whey do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smidge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

07-05-2004, 03:41 PM
Good that worked. How about some Carol Ann Duffy? She is very fabulous. This is

Frau Freud (by Carol Ann Duffy)

Ladies, for argument’s sake, let us say
that I’ve seen my fair share of ding-a-ling, member and jock,
of todger and nudger and percy and cock, of tackle,
of three for a bob, of willy and winky; in fact,
you could say, I’m as au fait with Hunt the Salami
as Ms M Lewinsky – equally sick up to here
with the beef bayonet, the pork sword, the saveloy,
love-muscle, night-crawler, dong, the dick, prick
dipstick and wick, the rammer, the slammer, the Rupert,
the shlong. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no axe to grind
with the snake in the trousers, the wife’s best friend
the weapon, the python – I suppose what I mean is,
ladies, dear ladies, the average penis – not pretty….
the squint of its envious solitary eye….one’s feeling of pity……

07-05-2004, 03:42 PM
and another by her, because she is great....

Mrs Icarus

I’m not the first or the last
to stand on a hillock
watching the man she married
prove to the world
he’s a total, utter, absolute, Grade A pillock.

Carol Ann Duffy

07-05-2004, 03:43 PM
And how about this....

from A Song of Life

My body is not this little parcel of flesh,
This bundle of nerves and tissues, these chalky bones;
My body is a wide and blossoming meadow,
My body is a mountain with wild torrents and rainbright stones.

My hair is not this little tuft of fur,
My hair is the leaves of the forests, green, golden and red;
My blood is not these few poor drops in my veins,
My blood is the wine of the world from a million vineyards shed.

I do not only look form these two dim windows,
I look from the countless eyes of heaven, the crowded stars;
And the risen sun is my great and glowing Eye,
And the setting sun that beholds the world through crimson bars

V S de Pinto

07-05-2004, 03:48 PM
Oh, go on more....then lights out.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid,
more accessible,
To loosen my heart
Until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance;

To live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
And that which came to me as blossom
Goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova

07-06-2004, 09:31 AM
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I was in danger of turning into a one-dimensional character who could only read weight loss material and discuss permitted foods and cheats. There is no cheating when feeding the mind and soul, huh? Thanks again.

07-06-2004, 11:17 AM
Thank you, Clovey! I'll post some, too...

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for..........."
John Keating

07-06-2004, 11:25 AM

Since the wise men have not spoken, I speak that am only a fool;
A fool that hath loved his folly,
Yea, more than the wise men their books
or their counting houses, or their quiet homes,
Or their fame in men’s mouths;
A fool that in all his days hath done never a prudent thing,
Never hath counted the cost, nor recked if another reaped
The fruit of his mighty sowing, content to scatter the seed;
A fool that is unrepentant, and that soon at the end of all
Shall laugh in his lonely heart as the ripe ears fall to the reaping hooks
And the poor are filled that were empty,
Tho’ he go hungry.


I have squandered the splendid years
that the Lord God gave to my youth
In attempting impossible things, deeming them alone worth the toil.
Was it folly or grace? Not men shall judge me, but God.


I have squandered the splendid years:
Lord, if I had the years I would squander them over again,
Aye, fling them from me!
For this I have heard in my heart, that a man shall scatter, not hoard,
Shall do the deed of to-day, nor take thought of to-morrow’s teen,
Shall not bargain or huxter with God; or was it a jest of Christ’s
And is this my sin before men, to have taken Him at his word?


The lawyers have sat in council, the men with the keen, long faces,
And said, ‘This man is a fool,’ and others have said,
'He blasphemeth;’
And the wise have pitied the fool that hath striven to give a life
In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
To a dream that was dreamed in the heart,
And that only the heart could hold.


O wise men, riddle me this: what if the dream come true?
What if the dream come true? And if millions unborn shall dwell
In the house that I shaped in my heart,
the noble house of my thought?
Lord, I have staked my soul, I have staked the lives of my kin
On the truth of Thy dreadful word. Do not remember my failures,
But remember this my faith.


And so I speak.
Yes, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
O people that I have loved shall we not answer together?

Patrick Henry Pearse

07-06-2004, 11:27 AM
The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

© Oriah Mountain Dreamer, from the book The Invitation published by HarperSanFrancisco, 1999

07-06-2004, 12:00 PM
Oh, Ellis, I loved that last one! Wonderful! And Clovey, what a miraculous thread! Thank you! I'll have to bring a couple of favorites to work to share with everyone. Poetry is such a balm to the soul, and a joy...especially the hilarious ones you shared, Clovey!


Here's an old standard and a favorite of mine:

"Phenomenal Woman"
Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

07-06-2004, 12:42 PM
My favorite poet, Robert Frost:

by Robert Frost
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question "Whither?"

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

07-06-2004, 01:45 PM
This is fantastic fun! Lovely poems! I am feeling much renewed!

Here is another from Carol Ann Duffy. She has written a book called 'The World's Wife' and these are from that book.

Anne Hathaway
'Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed...'
(from Shakespeare's will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover's words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights, I dreamed he'd written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer's hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love
I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
as he held me upon that next best bed.

07-06-2004, 02:05 PM
Here's one I keep on my bulletin board... :chin:


I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for things I have done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man I really am;
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.

I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
by Edward Albert Guest

07-06-2004, 03:19 PM
Clovey, that's wonderful! Where do you find them all? Any good suggestions for poets to read? (am I opening up Pandora's box? ;) )

07-06-2004, 03:25 PM
Laurie, check that out...

07-06-2004, 04:53 PM
The Tiger

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame they fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what winge dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist teh sinews of they heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand, and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame they fearful symmetry?


07-06-2004, 05:03 PM
Here is a lovely inspiring one...(I love the Phenomenal woman, and the one that Heidi posted, and of course Ellis Oriah Mountain Dreamer....)

Love After Love (Derek Wallcot)

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine.Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

07-06-2004, 05:26 PM
St Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as St. Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of
the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking
and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Galway Kinnell

07-07-2004, 05:11 AM
Mrs Midas

It was late September. I’d just poured a glass of wine, begun
to unwind, while the vegetables cooked. The kitchen
filled with the smell of itself, relaxed, its steamy breath
gently blanching the windows. So I opened one,
then with my fingers wiped the other’s glass like brow.
He was standing under the pear tree snapping a twig.

Now the garden was long and the visibility poor, the way
the dark of the ground seems to drink the light of the sky,
but that twig in his hand was gold. And then he plucked
a pear from a branch we grew Fondante d’Automne –
and it sat in his palm like a light bulb. On.
I thought to myself, Is he putting fairy lights in the tree?

He came into the house. The doorknobs gleamed.
He drew the blinds. You know the mind; I thought of
the Field of the Cloth of Gold and of Miss Macready.
He sat in that chair like a king on a burnished throne.
The look on his face was strange, wild, vain. I said,
What in the name of God is going on? He started to laugh.

I served up the meal. For starters, corn on the cob.
Within seconds he was spitting out the teeth of the rich.
He toyed with his spoon, then mine, then with the knives, the forks.
He asked where was the wine. I poured with a shaking hand,
a fragrant, bone-dry white from Italy, then watched
as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice, and drank.

It was then that I started to scream. He sank to his knees.
After we’d both calmed down, I finished the wine
on my own, hearing him out. I made him sit
on the other side of the room and keep his hands to himself.
I locked the cat in the cellar. I moved the phone.
The toilet I didn’t mind. I couldn’t believe my ears;

how he’d had a wish. Look, we all have wishes; granted.
But who has wishes granted? Him. Do you know about gold?
It feeds no one; aurum, soft, untarnishable; slakes
no thirst. He tried to light a cigarette; I gazed, entranced,
as the blue flame played on its luteous stem. At least,
I said, you’ll be able to give up smoking for good.

Separate beds. In fact I put a chair against my door,
near petrified. He was below, turning the spare room
in to the tomb of Tutenkhamun. You see, we were passionate then,
in those halcyon days; unwrapping each other, rapidly
like presents, fast food. But now I feared his honeyed embrace,
the kiss that would turn my lips to a work of art.

And who, when it comes to the crunch, can live
with a heart of gold? That night, I dreamt I bore
his child, its perfect limbs, its little tongue
like a precious latch, its amber eyes
holding their pupils like flies. My dream-milk
burned in my breasts. I woke to the streaming sun.

So he had to move out. We’d a caravan
in the wilds, in a glade of its own. I drove him up
under cover of dark. He sat in back.
And then I came home, the woman who married the fool
who wished for gold. At first I visited, odd times,
parking the car a good way off, then walking.

You knew you were getting close. Golden trout
on the grass. One day a hare hung from a larch,
a beautiful lemon mistake. And then his footprints,
glistening next to the river’s path. He was thin,
delirious, hearing, he said, the music of Pan
from the woods. Listen. That was the last straw.

What gets me now is not the idiocy or greed
but the lack of thought for me. Pure selfishness. I sold
the contents of the house and came down here.
I think of him in certain lights, dawn, late afternoon,
and once a bowl of apples stopped me dead. I miss most,
even now, his hands, his warm hands on my skin, his touch.

Carol Ann Duffy

07-07-2004, 06:52 AM

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,

who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,

who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,

who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,

who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night,

with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,

incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,

Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,

who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,

who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi's, I listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,

who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,

a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State out of the moon, yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,

whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the Synagogue cast on the pavement,

who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic City Hall,

suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grindings and migraines of China under junk-withdrawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,

who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts,

who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing through snow toward lonesome farms in grandfather night,

who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kaballa because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,

who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels,

who were visionary indian angels,

who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,

who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain,

who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa,

who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago,

who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the E.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out incomprehensible leaflets,

who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,

who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union Square weeping and undressing while the sirens of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also wailed,

who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked and trembling before the machinery of other skeletons,

who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,

who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts,

who let themselves be ****ed in the *** by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,

who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love,

who balled in the morning in the evenings in rosegardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come who may,

who hiccupped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath when the blonde & naked angel came to pierce them with a sword,

who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but sit on her *** and snip the intellectual golden threads of the craftsman's loom,

who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a candle and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate **** and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,

who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning but prepared to sweeten the snatch of the sunrise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked in the lake,

who went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely petticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too

who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hungover with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices,

who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the East River to open to a room full of steamheat and opium,

who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall be crowned with laurel in oblivion,

who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of Bowery,

who wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music,

who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts,

who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded by orange crates of theology,

who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty incantations which in the yellow morning were stanzas of gibberish,

who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable kingdom,

who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg,

who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade,

who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores where they thought they were growing old and cried,

who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,

who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,

who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of the subway window, jumped in the filthy Passaic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street, danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed phonograph records of nostalgic European 1930'S German jazz finished the whiskey and threw up groaning into the bloody toilet, moans in their ears and the blast of colossal steam-whistles,

who barreled down the highways of the past journeying to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,

who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity.

who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who came back to Denver & waited in vain, who watched over Denver & brooded & loned in Denver and finally went away to find out the Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,

who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other's salvation and light and breasts, until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,

who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for impossible criminals with golden heads and the charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet blues to Alcatraz,

who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky Mount to tender Buddhas or Tangiers to boys or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive' or Harvard to Narcissus to Woodlawn to the daisy-chain or grave,

who demanded sanity trials accusing the radio of hypnotism & were left with their insanity & their hands & a hung jury,

who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy,

and who were given instead the concrete void of insulin metrasol electricity hydrotherapy psychotherapy occupational therapy pingpong & amnesia,

who in humorless protest overturned only one symbolic pingpong table, resting briefly in catatonia,

returning years later truly bald except for a wig of blood, and tears and fingers, to the visible madman doom of the wards of the madtowns of the East,

Pilgrim State's Rockland's and Greystone's foetid halls, bickering with the echoes of the soul, rocking and rolling in the midnight solitude-bench dolmen-realms of love, dream of life a nightmare, bodies turned to stone as heavy as the moon,

with mother finally * * * * * *, and the last fantastic book flung out of the tenement window, and the last door closed at 4 AM and the last telephone slammed at the wall in reply and the last furnished room emptied down to the last piece of mental furniture, a yellow paper rose twisted on a wire hanger in the closet, and even that imaginary, nothing but a hopeful little bit of hallucination--

ah, Carl, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you're really in the total animal soup of time--

and who therefore ran through the icy streets obsessed with a sudden flash of the alchemy of the use of the ellipse the catalog the meter & the vibrating plane,

who dreamt and made incarnate gaps in Time & Space through images juxtaposed, and trapped the archangel of the soul between 2 visual images and joined the elemental verbs and set the noun and dash of consciousness together jumping with sensation of Pater Omnipotens Aeterna Deus

to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of thought in his naked and endless head,

the madman bum and angel beat in Time, unknown, yet putting down here what might be left to say in time come after death,

and rose reincarnate in the ghostly clothes of jazz in the goldhorn shadow of the band and blew the suffering of America's naked mind for love into an eli eli lamma lamma sabacthani saxophone cry that shivered the cities down to the last radio

with the absolute heart of the poem of life butchered out of their own bodies good to eat a thousand years.

by Allen Ginsberg

07-07-2004, 06:54 AM


O Allen
your beloved mother Naomi
went mad
had visions
cried them out to the waiting ears of
fellow-mad fellow-patients in the booby hatch and
died alone on the psych ward

You yourself
went mad
had visions
wrote them down
cried them out to the waiting ears of
fellow-mad fellow-artists in the Gallery Six and
were proclaimed a genius

Is that what talent is:
writing stuff down and
choosing your harkeners carefully?


O America
did you listen when he howled
loud and long
for forty years or

Did you avert your ears
your eyes
from this ragged-assed prophet of the present
this con man extrordinaire
this inverted dervish
this smirched, smutty angel?

Did you hear him growl
his scatalogical beauty
across the land?

Did you hear it sing
like graybeard Whitman's before it
with the resonant truth of living?


O Freedom
you are pared today
O Art
you are dwindled today
O Life
you are faded today
on this day the Dharma lion
howls no more.

Copyright 1997, Michael Barney

07-07-2004, 07:30 AM
I dont think he was an inverted dervish, I think he was a right way up dervish (although all dervishes are I suppose inverted so that is their right way up). And Ellis, I think you have some of that dervish energy in you, else how could you recognise it when you see it?


07-07-2004, 07:45 AM
Do you think he meant that, instead of the Power of Heaven entering through his raised right hand and being diverted through his down-turned left hand and then through his body to earth, that the hand were switched, with the "power" going "out" of Ginsberg?
hmmmm... that wasn't very well worded... do you know what I mean? :)

07-07-2004, 08:29 AM
Umm, well, he might have meant that. But it seems to me that that real dervish energy is exactly that, a switch of 'sacred' and 'profane' or heaven and earth. Because the dervish is in touch with the fact that it is all duality. It is the first time I have read that poem all the way through, so I could be way off on this, but it seems to me that Ginsberg is finding the extreme of the sacred in the extreme of the profane. There is that howling need, that desperation to find something divine or luminous and it takes one to the edge of depravity and when you cant go any further there it is. That strikes me as the path of the dervish. Uncompromising quest for light because nothing else will do.

The problem arises because the sacred is often pink tinged and soft focussed. So we think of a smirched and smutty angel, or a scatological beauty, or an inverted dervish, as being a weird way of seeing it. But I think (and now I am on to clovey theology..) that it is the absolute key to genuine divinity. After all there are enough angels in heaven. Earth and dirt and limitation and darkness are where the door way to the light can be found as much (more so, more so) than in the prettyness. Hmm. So Hafiz (thirteenth century sufi mystic/dervish) can talk about being dressed in clothes stained in the wine from the vineyards the saints tend......some people's path seems to be to find that ecstasy in the gutter. And I know myself that it is when I have been at absolute rock bottom, cried out, depressed, lost etc that the light has broken through and I have known...just known something.

I dont know whether Ginsberg thought of himself and his path like this. Probably not as if one is conscious of it I cant see it really being as visceral and authentic. But that is what I see.

So what I am saying is that yes he was pulling the dirt up and channelling it to divinity. And yes it was Dharma. My point was to emphasise that that is what the ecstatic mystic does best, and that they are often misunderstood. So I rankled at 'inverted dervish' because I thought it had that misunderstanding within it. Why should I care? Dunno. Personal stuff......feeling disappointed in the top down church/religions which say the light is 'up there' and you are not (esp if you are a woman but that is a whole other thing). And you look at Ginsberg, or Hafiz, or Rumi, or Leonard Cohen and they are seeing through it and saying 'no it's here and often it is covered in blood'.

So I think we are agreed.

I might have to post something fluffy. The problem with Ginsberg is that he has made us very....intense. So he can sleep easy in his grave. :lol: (not that I mind being intense, it is my most comfortable mode... :) )

07-07-2004, 08:40 AM
So I rankled at 'inverted dervish' because I thought it had that misunderstanding within it. Why should I care? Dunno. Personal stuff......feeling disappointed in the top down church/religions which say the light is 'up there' and you are not (esp if you are a woman but that is a whole other thing). And you look at Ginsberg, or Hafiz, or Rumi, or Leonard Cohen and they are seeing through it and saying 'no it's here and often it is covered in blood'. Oh, I'm with you there! :lol:

Sort of fluffy... :D

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

E. E. Cummings

07-07-2004, 09:32 AM
"I poured with a shaking hand,
a fragrant, bone-dry white from Italy, then watched
as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice, and drank.

It was then that I started to scream. "

Clovey, I love that she started to scream when the wine was in jeopardy! My kind of woman. Got to get some of that Carol Ann Duffy.

I'm working my way through the rest of the poetry, finding it the first significant replacement for food thoughts ever. I never did understand how knitting or cleaning could be true distractions for a good binge lol.

07-07-2004, 09:41 AM
Meowl by Allen Ginsberg's Cat (Henry Beard)

I saw the best kittens of my litter abandoned by humans,
feral delirious rabid,
propelling themselves through the calico weeds in over grown railyards, searching for a catnip hit,
silverwhiskered hipcats purring in blissful, herbal intoxication leaping to bat the hard white moon-ball bouncing in the black top sky,
who crossed the paths of superstitious pedestrians and
stolled with ominous nonchalance under window washers ladders,

who cowered in the window of the ASPCA shelter hoping that the lunatic in the loden green loungewear would adopt the paranoid parrot instead,
who ran through the subway tunnels pursued by herds of rats as big as broncos rhinos hippos, enormous armored rodents hammering along the knife bright rails on horny hooves
who were chased by stir crazy dogs in Central Park and clambered up Cleopatras Needle using the edges of the smog softened heiroglyphs as paw holds and sat laughing on the pointed peak at the impotents mutts below.

who whined and shrieked like car alarms in the brownstone gardens of uptown matroms until they put out the leftover gravlax appetisers in a Spode china dish,
who fell off a ledge of the Plaza Hotel trying to evade the house dick after browsing on room service trays and landed on little cat feet ten stories down this is a true story and walked away totally intact and didnt even rate a photo in the Post let alone Animal of the Year on the cover of Time Magazine,

who caught and killed and actually ate a pigeon in Herald Square that tasted of rust and grease and pizza crusts and bus exhaust,
who bit the animal control officer on teh ankle and dived into the storm drain and thereby narrowly avoided ending up in a lab cage in Brookhaven wearing a plutonium flea collar,

who slipped in to an exhibit of dadaist art in a gallery in Greenwich Village and dined on cheese cubes and cheap Chablis for a week until the artist showed up and petulantly declared that although the jar of water beetles and teh box turtle with the padlock on its foot were part of the aethetic conception the cat most definitely was not

who were adopted by Mafiosi while hanging around in an alley next to the Fulton Fish Market and lived for a month in an overdeocrated duplex on Queens Boulevard until someone found the decapitated corpse in the trunk of an Oldsmobile at Newark Airport and the cops came, and the lasagna ran out,

who lived happily for one whole year in a mouse bountiful bookstore on Braodway which one blown Monday was bought by Moloch Inc. a national chain which put up metal detectors and Garfield posters and hired an exterminator,

who paused halfway across teh Brooklyn Bridges vibrating wire woven web looking for the iron spiders and saw instead a madman make a clumsy human jump in to to oily Lethe'e filthy Bonxward flow, and thought cats would never do that what with their allotted span of no score and 10 to 15 years, not exactly a life sentence, and all that slimy fur to clean and dry if they failed,

who saw a fifty foot Kodak kitten on a billboard in Times Square and hallucinated a King Kong Kitty stroll through Manhatten pulverizing multitudes with two ton paws

and who afterward bounded through the sour streets inspired by a vision of the power of the meow the holy vowels the ultimate animal mantra the lone phenomenal feline dipthong,

to repeat the one sound song shout pure mysterious yell containing all words phrases speeches novels pamphlets leaflets ballads epics textbooks archives mounumental columned bibliographies filled with infinite alphabets of unfathomable meaning,

the burned out stray and bebop misfit cat, unowned, who beat skulls numb with metered feet and cried out loud what cats have said before and still have yet to say in all the eons after death

and reappeared nine lives later in the tinsel socks of fame in the blazing arc light glare of the tube and trumpeted America's rampant love of dear sweet pussy in a Hail the the Chief Cat saxophone caterwaul that scattered the dog walkers down to the last pooper scooper

with the indigestible furball of the poem in the heart coughed up out of their own bodies on to the absolute centre of the immaculate carpet of life.


07-09-2004, 10:38 AM
Billy Collins, the American Poet Laureate, wrote: "Most people regard poetry as something that you tie to a chair and beat with a rubber hose until it gives up some stort of hidden meaning." I love that! ;) I'm definitely one to do exactly that...I'll even resort to cast iron pans, if necessary. :lol3:

He writes delicious poetry that feels like a warm tortilla filled with rice and beans in your mouth. Yummmmm :T

I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey's Version of "Three Blind Mice"

And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.

Or was it a common accident, all three caught
in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
If not,
if each came to his or her blindness separately,

how did they ever manage to find one another?
Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
let alone two other blind ones?

And how, in their tiny darkness,
could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
or anyone else's wife for that matter?
Not to mention why.

Just so she could cut off their tails
with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
but the thought of them without eyes
and now without tails to trail through the moist grass

or slip around the corner of a baseboard
has the cynic who always lounges within me
up off his couch and at the window
trying to hid the rising softness that he feels.

By now I am on to dicing an onion
which might account for the wet stinging
in my own eyes, tough Freddie Hubbard's
mournful trumpet on "Blue Moon,"

which happens to be the next cut,
cannot be said to be making matters any better.

--Billy Collins

07-09-2004, 10:41 AM
The Lanyard

Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

07-09-2004, 10:42 AM
So, does anyone know what he's referring to about the cookie nibbled by a French novelist?