A table on which a book
lies open: History
of the Great American
Fortunes by Gustavus Myers.
A glimpse out the window
of gray and white
cat. I open the door
and in it comes.
This is the first day,
unlike any other.
Menorah, Melbourne, December 2003
The shows of Christmas lights in our street
continued to grow, though not to excess like elsewhere
streets which compete to attract gawking traffic jams.
This household consisting of an old agnostic
and a Krishnamurti-admiring Jew
wasn't lighting up for the season.
Still, Hanukkah, a family tradition she reaches
high to the back of the crockery cupboard and lifts
down her minimalist glass candelabrum.
Its nine little sockets require candles
of rare skinniness, and we shop around in vain.
We have only enough for the eighth day.
Besides, drawing attention to themselves as Jewish
has never been her family's style. But a drive through town
to glimpse the new giant civic menorah &151;
reclusive decades give way to a coming-out
gas-fed flames trembling in the evening wind,
roaring steadily as the nine flames flare.
Yes, her own menorah shall be seen:
perched in the front window, lit at sundown.
(Krishnamurti would say: mere distraction.)
Come see them! Aren't they beautiful!
Come see them from outside, from the road!
They can just be seen through the overgrown front garden.
She photographs them from the footpath,
and again inside, and poses her blonde dog,
our holy fool, beside the flames. Snap.
Slowly the candles are burning down to zero.
All this time scarcely a car or pedestrian passes.
None, I think, pauses.
28-30 December 2003.
- Max Richards, North Balwyn, Melbourne
quick get the
pen to paper
or run fast
raynes park uk
exact water soft in my
throat a blue glass half-full
of light filters through chest's
base brisk as new and
cold after summer makes flare
drive a future filled with
wheels inside the only room
the tree touches I am
falling asleep among clumps of
words and a drawer full
present clear even as sky
begins to close always future
waiting to be read across
moving clouds today roped solid
and only the leaves resist
of numbers the cup is
empty it's cracked and filled
white sun makes you forget
when the past is due
and what payment is most
rainwater soft hit in the
glass a happy sun makes
known the remains welcome showers
when we are dry voices
revolve in the door's recollections
small tremble wind divining pushes
green forward in breath sung
Wednesday 31 December 2003, 1.18pm
MANNY FARBER AT OK HARRIS, CLOCKWISE
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Pickup On South Street
The Naked Kiss
Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD USA / 4-14-73, 5-25-76, 12-31-03 (1:49 AM)
Three-thirty in the morning, the city quiet as it gets--
only the plaintive tones of an English horn
rising above strings, faint buzz of wheels on pavement
of the West Side Highway, car alarm some blocks
away, neighbors clumping in and down to feed their cats,
hum of electri-city, E above high C, I've heard.
New York City, 12/31/03
Hear the joyful noise of it
All all changes all
Pretence gone for a moment only
Possibilities the world slippage
You feel in your bones right
Now new as
Worldline fans out
Emerging from a dark
Anger going nowhere
Revealing something lost
Edmonton 09:55 December 31 2003
Someone invites me to write my way out of the year.
I feel today as though nothing is of moment,
there is a great sense of So Whatness.
Not everything is picayune.
Earlier, I received a note
to look on a website, at photographs,
taken before the fall of the city of Bam,
the city in Iran earthquaked into ruin.
I felt I was looking at Roman Vishniac's
photographs of prewar Polish Jews,
feeling not the superior knowledge of one
who knows how the story ends, but the tears
of God who cannot arrest the free will of
man or Nature run psychotic brandishing a knife.
There is another picture: a Bengal tiger,
up close, its eyes staring out at me.
He is in a zoo but he is not Rilke's panther:
there is nothing restless in the gaze,
his soul is calm and visible.
He has no interest in me, in others, even
in being let alone. He is content simply
to observe himself being observed,
confident in his self-knowledge
via my act of anthropomorphism that,
given the opportunity wrought by human stupidity,
he will eat my throat.
Tomorrow the memory of Bam will be in place.
The tiger will continue to stare.
The calendar will have changed.
So Whatness is too important to be wasted.
the plants will still be there, breathing
the light piercing through the balcony
with the same intensity at night
what changes is the emotional intention
mine as strong as that of my enemies
wall to wall at its densest
some best wishes are most welcome
superstition wins with artists
who feel thoughts as tangible events
are slaughtered/glorified several times
a day - a night _ no one will ever
be able to understand reincarnation
as poets do.
2003/2004 ___ Bozen, Anny Ballardini
reading "Ana Christie"
by icicle X-mas lights,
on a front porch perched
on a cull de sac somewhere
in Mentor, Ohio--
ghosts of now-
coming in and out
Jasper Johns's numbers
seen earlier that day
dancing like sugar plum
fairies in my head...
But then, just as quick
all those two by two, three
by three, four at a time...
dying in our name...
Mentor Ohio, 5:44 PM 12/31/03 Jerry Schwartz
Modernity arrives, and the Baron
must walk unattended
down from his ratty castle.
He retains - for how long? - his sword
and angled looks of respect
from the townspeople. But the latter
will not forever tug
their forelocks. Soon, journeymen
will be masters, peasants farmers,
women men, and merchants
something even the Emperor cannot
imagine, or so
they imagine. The Baron
responds to their (shortened) bows
with a sardonic look
that stands for wisdom and, he hopes,
precludes impertinent demands for it.
The half-timbered tavern
with its smoke and darkness
remains - for how long? - timeless,
and here he commands ale
and sits with his two friends.
But is the priest his friend?
Is he even, still, a priest,
with his robe soiled and a look
less of doubt than of beseeching -
not the grimy slice
of sky that can be seen
from their table, or the one
Guest whose arrival
he was detailed to hope -
but any other customer
than those who, rude and
already drunken, enter?
Only the alchemist, who
now joins them, appears
content, his smock cleansed
of mercury and sulfur.
Of late he has realized
that if one succeeded
in making gold, the worth of gold
would end. And in this
has descried a mystery
that can be pursued
The Baron scowls, the prelate shakes
his head while, through
the town, a fresh busload
of tourists - i.e., individuals - roam,
benign, feckless, resembling
(if you know the reference) shmoos.
undreaming the mouth
& buttercreme dream
of TV 800 number quilt
& strip mall
lending some I
New plucking leap
Year nothing Kandinsky would warm
over nor love too iceberg
massive nor tame
orchid small to
instead this fine of its
little ribbon of commonplace very
chris murray Dallas, TX, to PoetryEtc folks:
Wishing All a Very Fine New Year, 2004
5:30 p.m. 31 Dec. 03
Hot in night's layers, north easterlies
and acidic beverages
we climb over the city
the harbour's wide amphitheatre
The cliplock roof is safe but hard to traverse
as a world
the busy black lit sky
(Mel says an engineer has checked it out)
At count down end
(Jay, joking, begins calling the show
all on standby, pyros go)
fairy flash in hundreds & thousands
of useless cameras
flicker and miss the bursting drifts
Sky fills with cartoon stars
streaks, pompoms, blooming breasts
rose orchid galaxies
disturbing the night trip of flying foxes
ghost white against
the illuminated noise
Our awe is real
and ironic - we do that easily
under this boom crash opera
with a million friends
as the Bridge - our chunky old Bridge
dances in the light
(Mel says Martin got the gig
playing wonder games with decks and switches
in a room in Centrepoint Tower)
Another 'event' for sure
we've done events and know the wrangle
but we're happy in this smoke and energy
all exit stage left and easier now
getting across the roof though
I need your hand to steady me until we are level
Thursday 1 January 2004, Sydney, 12.45pm
we're burning a
in the dark
bright coloured fire
floor awaiting (truly) dancers real dancers
'mañana habrá'¡ que
de este mundo'
at our hands
december 31 2003
&january 1 2004
finished 02:30 am
Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.
Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic snaps of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.
The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.
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