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A Lot Later in the Day in North Amherst MA

Here’s Ron Padgett’s translation of Pierre Reverdy’s THE WRONG SIDE RIGHT SIDE OUT   (The Brooklyn Rail Black Square Editions,  2007)

He climbs without stopping, without even turning around, and no one but he knows where he is going. The weight he pulls is heavy but his legs are free and he has no ears. At each door he called out his name.  No one opened. But when he knew that someone was expected and who it was, he knew how to change his face.  Then he went in, in place of the person who wasn’t coming.



I love the name of a camera that doesn’t exist.

(Cynthia Arrieu-King’s PEOPLE ARE TINY IN PAINTINGS OF CHINA) (Octopus Books)

Against a figure we cannot/Figure out…..

(Michelle Taransky’s BARN BURNED, THEN) (Omnidawn)

And every house is a beautiful ship/But there’s a parallel world attached to this world

(Anthony McCann’s I HEART YOUR FATE) (Wave Books)

That left me feeling in on it, chosen, a real fun-time guy

(Timothy Donnelly’s THE CLOUD CORPORATION (Wave Books)

My tribe gave me walking papers.  Can you beat that?

But I’m on the case.  I’ve got cousins.

(Ish Klein’s MOVING DAY) (Canarium Books)

Give Me One Kiss

The list is simple and comprehensive.

-stupid peasant

-isolated artist




Despite popular belief you

can only be one of these.

I don’t care what you say.

Step from the woods into the clearing.


I will meet you in your red coat.

Love poems can sometimes get off

to a rough start.

(Michael Earl Craig’s JOMBANG JET) (Factory Hollow Press)

Lamb felt the need to be a favorite lamb.

Matthea Harvey’s OF LAMB (with paintings by Amy Jean Porter) (McSweeney’s Books)

There was an animal I could not identify and that also I lived with

(Heather Christle’s WHAT IS AMAZING) (Wesleyan University Press)

The great vision of art is one of simultaneity./So that there are many arcanes of the divine/Available to the readers of poetry at one time.

(Dorothea Lasky’s AWE) (Wave Books)

"There’re horse bones in the water,"/she says cool and simple….

(Arisa White’s HURRAH’S NEST) (Virtual Artists Collective)

and not even the same woods

the boys were sent to two different woods that were very far apart

(Rachel Glaser’s THANKSGIVING NEVER HAPPENED (in jubilat twenty)

                                 But after all, it’s heaven

                         Even death will be forgiven

(D.A. Powell’s USELESS LANDSCAPE or A GUIDE FOR BOYS) (Graywolf Press)

Beginning with an if we are oarless.

(Lesle Lewis’s LIE DOWN TOO) (Alice James Books)

I am not bored//On this hidden fence/I erase everything

(Elizabeth Willis’s ADDRESS) (Wesleyan University Press)

…..I am so sorry every night/for whatever I have done/and for the certainty/

with which I can’t remember it

(Christopher DeWeese’s THE BLACK FOREST)





Like how this is the big moment.

Like, now.

(Betsy Wheeler’s LOUD DREAMING IN A QUIET ROOM) (The National Poetry Review Press)

There was no baby involved when the gaunt/wolf entered and the musk of his hide congealed into an East African sculpture of a Venus…..

(James Grinwis’s THE CITY FROM NOME) (The National Poetry Review Press)

On his way to his beloved, one was led to a far pasture to see a donkey born.


……..Mention/your blue cockatoo, reference friends/in candy conversations./Encourage lives of crime:

(William Waltz’s ZOO MUSIC (slope editions)

It was a simple mallet.  It spoke simply, whammo, blam, I understood perfectly. Its oscillations filled the dark in waves of blue, some green and felt like no other mallet in my life.

(Peter Gizzi’s THRESHOLD SONGS) (Wesleyan University Press)

This is called The Saxophone, Found Inside a Pyramid.

That is what all our time is devoted to now…

(Ben Estes’s THE STRINGS OF WLNETTO ARRANGEMENTS) (flowers & cream)

……..He looks at her and says/It doesn’t end.  It isn’t a story, it’s a poem.

(Mark Leidner’s BEAUTY WAS THE CASE THAT THEY GAVE ME) (Factory Hollow Press)


11:11 on Tuesday Morning, 4/10/12 in North Amherst MA

Out in my backyard there is a lot of activity, a lot of spring mating in progress, chipmunks (see Chris Bachelder’s essay on humor and jokes in THE BELIEVER), gray squirrels and little fiercely attentive red ones, mourning doves, cardinals, mockingbirds, wrens, bunnies, many bunnies, a pair of groundhogs, yellow finches who are almost nearly completely finally now yellow again, juncoes, other birds I can’t name, it is nearly disney porn out there.


Last night I listened to the writer and poet Andrea Lawlor read an homage to Joe Brainard’s I REMEMBER.  So this morning I picked up Ron Padgett’s THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOE BRAINARD, read almost all of I REMEMBER but then found LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT PEOPLE which got me to thinking how well Brainard focuses on categories and possibilities within categories.  Following through as directed by seemingly so-called narrow passages, one thing artists do.


What ye contemplate that ye become;  John Cowper Popys; This is most likely but not definitely true.  Anyway, the “ye” makes this amazing in its aphoristic glory.




On the other hand who isn’t fond of his childhood’s countryside or neighborhood, a real place or an imaginary place from back before any awareness of civilization dawns on you.  Those places you know not so much because you choose to know them but because they are all you know at the time.


Chance favoring a prepared mind according to Louis Pasteur will always be one of my fondest hopes.


I wonder what are a few of the many ways to prepare a mind. Particularly, what do poems encourage brains to do?  That brains like to do.  Or that brains do well. 


A Little Later in the Morning in North Amherst, MA

 a flounder’s eye migrating to where it can best use what it can do

the man who experiences words as 3 dimensional material objects, they fall from his mouth as he speaks

the infinite numbers of everything that have crossed my path as I’ve crossed theirs

Like many others, and why not, sometimes (not all the time thank goodness) I don’t like that feeling of someone knowing something I don’t know: e.g. that is, keeping something from us, something we might could be helped by knowing, e.g. under some conditions of needing to be keeping a secret, the flagrant human hubbub bug a bear bruhaha  gossip provides, knowing that I don’t know what I could know, knowing what I won’t know will hurt me, all those everyday human interactions.  Oh, good morning Mr. Know-It-All, glad you’re here to tell us what we didn’t know.  Whew.  We’d be lost without you, Miss Smugness.  Your cousin Senior Condescending, just missed him.  Too bad, I mean thank goodness. Playground rules.  Just wandering around.

Some of that playground jousting early on leads us to believe that some things shouldn’t be known, or can’t be known.  Some things are better left alone.

And so it can be and sometimes it is, one understands how to be set aside, learns how to be invisible, or at least how to hide.

We can’t help but like the Cloud of Unknowing, the place where not to know is what there is to know.  It is the most wonderful paradoxical center of everything right there.

Keats made it simple and told it to his brothers whom he loved, no irritable reaching after fact and reason, he also wrote down some other great words when he wrote that letter to his brothers, he wrote disquisition, Penetralium of mystery, verisimilitude.  (letter to George & Tom, 12/22/1818)


John Ashbery is reported to have said:  sometimes words can get in the way of my poetry……


Morning of April 10, 2012, North Amherst, MA

The paratroopers fall and as they fall

They mow the lawns

Wallace Stevens


So I wake up thinking about linking together words.


Syntax.  I can’t help but love syntax.  Syntax is to language, to words of all kinds, what gravity is to living on earth.  I love what syntax can make happen between two words and among sequences of words.


Syntax is something to be crazy about.  To be worshipped and lauded, praised and thanked; syntax, ah syntax, without you our thoughts would be dispersed and without meanings, without you we would flail about willy nilly sans sense and near-sense and nonsense; we would be lost.  I know I would.


Mystery would have no where to propose itself in words; not knowing, being unable to know when being unable to know might be said to be our most significant, defining characteristic, knowing more about not knowing seems like one good idea, and it is often by means of syntax it manifests.


Faith has always accompanied me, a second shadow, an available shade impossible to see, impossible to not see.  A near superstitious understanding that to have faith is to believe not in what one knows but in what one cannot know, what isn’t able to be known.


A tricky situation in words.  If you know it enough to say something or anything about it, to go so far as to say,  it can’t be known, that seems to be indicating you know more than you’re letting on.  (And maybe we do, collectively know more than we’re willing to let on, maybe we need to be quiet about some things)


12am. My bed. NE Portland.

"The Reckoner" by Zachary Schomburg from Fjords vol. 1 (Black Ocean 2012).

11pm. My porch.

"La Patrie" by James Gendron from Mud Luscious #19. His chapbook, Money Poems, is available from Poor Claudia.

10pm. Ned Ludd.

"At Night: Womb" by Joseph Mains from Poum Poum Tra La La (Poor Claudia 2010). On the left is Casey Dienel of White Hinterland which is on Dead Oceans.

9pm. Roadside Attraction. 11th/Belmont. SE Portland.

3 poems by Sarah Bartlett from Spork Press. I was drinking a Deshutes Red Chair. It was good.

8pm. Roadside Attraction. 11th/Belmont. SE Portland.

"Flowers" by John Beer from The Waste Land (Canarium Books 2010).