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FOR L. J. REYNOLDS
Thin long bird
with a taste for snakes' eyes
Frayed tail, wildcat claws
His pinions are bludgeons.
Few brains, topped
By a crown
And a flair for swift in-fighting—
Try to take it from him.
Homage to Lucretius
It all depends on how fast you're going
Tending towards light, sound
Or the quiet of mere polarity
A walking sieve
Wide-open and nowhere
The mountains themselves
Picked up into turnips, trees
Wander as bones, nails, horns
And we want crystals,
Given a handful of mercury
(Which can be frozen into a pattern vulnerable to body heat)
The notion intimidates us
We can't easily imagine another world
This one being barely
We lined up and pissed in a snowbank
A slight thaw would expose
Three tubes of yellow ice
And so on ...
A world not entirely new
The process clarified
Blessyour little pointed head!
"Plus Ça Change ..."
What are you doing?
I am coldly calculating.
I didn't ask for a characterization.
Tell me what we're going to do.
That's what I'm coldly calculating.
You had better say "plotting" or "scheming"
You never could calculate without a machine.
Then I'm brooding. Presently
A plot will hatch.
Who are trying to kid?
Listen. Whatever we do from here on out
Let's for God's sake not look at each other
Keep our eyes shut and the lights turned off—
We won't mind touching if we don't have to see.
I'll ignore those preposterous feathers.
Say what you please, we brought it all on ourselves
But nobody's going out of his way to look.
Who'd recognize us now?
We'll just pretend we're used to it.
(Watch out with that goddamned tail!)
Pull the shades down. Turn off the lights.
Shut your eyes.
There is no satisfactory explanation.
You can talk until you're blue
Just how much bluer can I get?
Well, save breath you need to cool
Will you please shove the cuttlebone a little closer?
All right, until the perfumes of Arabia
Grow cold. Ah! Sunflower seeds!
Will you listen, please? I'm trying to make
A rational suggestion. Do you mind?
Certainly not. Just what shall we tell the children?
If You're So Smart, Why Ain't
I need everything else
But I have nothing
Shall have nothing
No one can afford
Being made here and now
17 May, 1955)
Behind them, the garage door
(Paint sold under a fatuous name:
which brings a war to mind)
And the mind slides over the fence again
Orange against pink and green
Returned of its own accord
It can explain nothing
Give no account
What good? What worth?
You have less than a second
To try to explain:
Say that light
in particular wave-lengths
or bundles wobbling at a given speed
Produces the experience
Orange against pink
Better than a sirloin steak?
A screen by Korin?
The effect of this, taken internally
on the mind
There is no equivalent, least of all
Which ought to manifest
A surface disorientation, pitting
Admitting some plausible interpretation
But the cost
Can't be expressed in numbers
a vagrancy rap
and the newest electrical brain-curette
Eating what the rich are bullied into giving
Or the poor willingly share
More expensive than ambergris
Although the stink
isn't as loud. (A few
Wise men have said,
"Produced the same way ...
Vomited out by sick whales.")
Valuable for the same qualities
Staying-power and penetration
I've squandered every crying dime.
|Homage to Lucretius||2|
|"Plus Ca Change ..."||3|
|If You're So Smart, Why Ain't You Rich?||5|
|The Slop Barrel: Slices of the Paideuma for All Sentient Beings||8|
|Sourdough Mountain Lookout||15|
|Literary Life in the Golden West||27|
|10:x:57, 45 Years Since the Fall of the Ch'ing Dynasty||28|
|For My Father||29|
|Metaphysical Insomnia Jazz. Mumonkan xxix||30|
|20:vii:58, On Which I Renounce the Notion of Social Responsibility||31|
|Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis||32|
|Complaint: To the Muse||33|
|Prose Take-Out, Portland, 13:ix:58||35|
|Self-Portrait Sad, 22:ix:58||36|
|Something Nice About Myself||41|
|A Distraction Fit||43|
|Haiku for Mike||44|
|Address to the Boobus, with her Hieratic Formulas in Reply||45|
|Boobus Hierophante, Her Incantations||47|
|To the Moon||48|
|Song for 2 Balalaikas on the Corner of 3rd & Market||49|
|Since You Ask Me||50|
|To a Poet||51|
|An Irregular Ode||52|
|Haiku, for Gary Snyder||53|
|A Vision of the Bodhisattvas||54|
|Dream & Excursus, Arlington Massachusetts||60|
|For Albert Saijo||62|
|Homage to Rodin||63|
|One of My Favorite Songs Is Stormy Weather||72|
|Early Autumn in Upper Noe Valley||74|
|Song to Begin Rohatsu||76|
|For Brother Antoninus||78|
|Life and Death and a Letter to My Mother Beyond Them Both||79|
|Plums, Metaphysics, an Investigation, a Visit, and a Short Funeral Ode||85|
|Raging Desire &c||91|
|The Fourth of October, 1963||92|
|The Lotus Sutra, Naturalized||96|
|The Metaphysical Town Hall and Bookshop||98|
|The Ode to Music||99|
|Homage to William Seward Burroughs||113|
|Dear Mr. President||115|
|Japanese Tea Garden Golden Gate Park in Spring||116|
|"A Penny for the Old Guy"||117|
|Love Love Love Again||119|
|April Showers Bring Rain?||120|
|A Morning Walk||122|
|"The Sun Rises and Sets in That Child," so my grandmother used to say||123|
|"California Is Odius but Indispensable"||124|
|Imagination of the Taj Mahal||125|
|That Eyes! Those Nose!||128|
|The Life of Literature||130|
|Good News and Gospel||134|
|3 Days Ago||141|
|White River Ode||146|
|The War Poem for Diane di Prima||149|
|Confession and Penance||157|
|The Grand Design||158|
|Success Is Failure||163|
|The Winter for Burton Watson||165|
|All of it went on the wrong page||171|
|The Dharma Youth League||172|
|A Romantic & Beautiful Poem Inspired by the Recollection of William Butler Yeats, His Life & Work||174|
|International Date Line, Monday / Monday 27:XI:67||175|
|America Inside & Outside Bill Brown's House in Bolinas||176|
|Life in the City. In Memoriam Edward Gibbon||178|
|Allegorical Painting: Capitalistic Society Destroyed by the Contradictions Within Itself. (Second Five-Year Plan.)||180|
|To the Revolutionary Cadres of Balboa, Malibu & Santa Barbara||181|
|Duerden's Garage, Stinson Beach||183|
|Walking Beside the Kamogawa, Remembering Nansen and Fudo and Gary's Poem||185|
|Behind the Door||186|
|Life at Bolinas. The Last of California||188|
|Excerpts from "Scenes of Life at the Capital"||207|
|Many Colored Squares||221|
|"Up in Michigan"||223|
|"Old Age Echoes"||224|
|The Letter to Thomas Clark 22:VII:71 from Bolinas where He Sat beside Me to Help to Write It||225|
|"Horrible Incredible Lies": Keith Lampe Spontaneously||226|
|Monument Rescue Dim||229|
|Look Look Look||231|
|"I Told Myself": Bobbie Spontaneously||232|
|Growing and Changing||233|
|Ode for You||240|
|In the Night||243|
|"Stolen and Abandoned"||245|
|The Universal & Susquehanna Mercy Co. Dayton, O.||248|
|High-tension on Low-pressure Non-accomplishment Blues||251|
|Detachment, Wisdom and Compassion||253|
|Money Is the Roost of All Eagles||254|
|"The Conditions That Prevail"||255|
|The Talking Picture||256|
|Murals Not Yet Dreamed||258|
|The Vision of Delight||259|
|Luxury in August||260|
|How to Be Successful & Happy Without Anybody Else Finding Out About It||261|
|Compulsive Obligatory Paranoia Flashes||263|
|For Clark Coolidge||264|
|The Radio Again||265|
|Somebody Else's Problem Bothers Me||266|
|Many Pages Must Be Thrown Away||270|
|The Congress of Vienna||271|
|To the Memory Of||273|
|"Past Ruin'd Ilion"||274|
|Tears and Recriminations||275|
|Homage to St. Patrick, Garcia Lorca, & the Itinerant Grocer||277|
|What About It?||278|
|Treading More Water||279|
|What? Writing in the Dining Room?||283|
|Violins in Chaos?||286|
|The Bay Trees Were About to Bloom||287|
|Dying Tooth Song||288|
|Rich Interior, After Thomas Mann||289|
|Chanson d'Outre Tombe||290|
|Hot Springs Infernal in the Human Beast||291|
|Homage to Hart Crane||292|
|What Are You Studying, These Days?||293|
|Some of These Days||295|
|Epigrams & Imitations||300|
|For Allen, on His 60th Birthday||302|