my latest favorite poem for last

to end national poetry month, by author Anne Tammel

Endless: A Literate Passion

Anais Nin to Henry Miller

 

My search for you is endless…
Searching, seeming
like a wife, an insatiable wife. A lover
of silk…and words…and your breath.

You taunt me; a lost baby rests
at the tip of my torture. Your torment
travels through me as I travel
morning trains, and cafes–

Paris, and ships to Spain—and then
America…where I will fight
not to remember your name.

An endless list of lovers, knowing
only my wholeness, my silhouette
parfaite. If they knew–if they were
seized by you—seized

by your words, fighting
to forget the supreme
immolation of

the ego:
motherhood,
that endless,
volatile curse.

And Hugh waits, an endless trail
of dull husbandry; I wait
an endless amount of time,

until our lives
have become dust
and history,

and the red silk journals
are covered
in sweat
and secrets…

 

 

marvelous links below for further reading:

cover art: Eric Anfinson / Key West

author and brand strategist: Anne Tammel

the love affair and love letter from Henry Miller to Anais Nin: letters of note

 

yes, it’s still national poetry month

and I haven’t posted nearly as many poems as I would have liked. Will certainly save them for another time. But, because I’ve cheated you from daily poetry readings, I’m closing with two of my favorites, both of which I have posted before.

 

 

HER

There is no noisier place than the suburbs,
someone once said to me
as we were walking along a fairway,
and every day is delighted to offer fresh evidence:

the chainsaw, the leaf-blower blowing
one leaf around an enormous house with columns,
on Mondays and Thursdays the garbage truck
equipped with air brakes, reverse beeper, and merciless grinder.

There’s dogs, hammers, backhoes
or serious earthmovers if today is not your day.
How can the birds get a peep
or a chirp in edgewise, I would like to know?

But this morning is different,
only a soft clicking sound
and the low talk of two workmen working
on the house next door, laying tile I am guessing.

Otherwise, all quiet for a change,
just the clicking of tiles being handled
and their talking back and forth in Spanish
then one of them asking in English

“What was her name?” and the silence of the other.  – Billy Collins, Horoscopes for the Dead

art: ramiro gomez

 

 

 

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. – Wendell Berry

art: ray ellis

I have a deep attachment to the Berry poem and a childish, “I found it first” possessiveness about it. It was framed and given to me by another alcoholic very early on in my sobriety, 20 some years ago.

 

the himalaya

 

 

The Himalaya, Seaside Heights, New Jersey, 1964

 

Their provisions included seagrams and coke and lip gloss,

Their clothing not at all appropriate for the trek across

Stone and sand and beach litter

The road to the mountain full of teenage anticipation and expectation—

The promise of nothing and everything.

 

They could see it from miles away

Magnificent metal rising from surf

Chaos and colors, sex and summer,

Closer, come closer, thoughts repeating

Look at me, Look at me, I could be your girl!

They arrive at the base and watch the machine

Music screaming and filling their lungs

Sweat and cigarettes and a little more seagrams

Feigning fear and into the core

Hooks and bars and men with muscles

Forward reverse faster faster

A swiss voice booming, swooning,

Do you want to go faster?

Yessssssssss

Fasterrrrrrrr.

 

They were starlets on the boardwalk stage

Dancing on a neon sea,

Scaling new heights to play

the part they rehearsed every day.

Nothing and everything,

Outside of the confines,

Everyone turning,

Everyone drawn to that magic mountain,

The Himalay-ya-ya-ya-ya. – pn

 

I have reworked this poem one thousand times and am still not 100% happy with it, but close. I do enjoy the images and memories it generates, however, and for now, that is enough.

 

photo credit: etsy / nightingale artworklots of interesting art and illustrations

 

iguanas, more critters, and a band

 

 

If you are a reader of this blog, you are well aware of my feelings regarding reptiles. If perchance you missed the “fucking iguana” post, please start there. The invasion continues.

My part-time cat, a healthy and happy wandering tiger, shared by all the soft souls on the block, has left 1 deceased, baby iguana in the yard, and today, carried a second, larger than the first, not-so-dead iguana to me as I sat on the porch. I screamed at the cat and ran indoors–I couldn’t watch what happened next. He was not quite ready to release this unfortunate critter and I wasn’t about to save it. Disgusting, nature as nature was designed to be. But what disgusts me most right now is the thought that their nest may be somewhere close—like under my house. On previous visits, my handsome Mr. Kat also brought one dead bird to my yard and brought a wounded one indoors. I’ve been giving this killer feline kibble and allowing him in my home, but no more of that—doors closed and kitty food on the porch—which was enjoyed recently by a fat-ass, ugly as sin, possum. And then came the insects.

While typing away inside the safety of home, completely unaware of what nature had in store, a limb from the avocado tree next door fell on my roof; a large and rotten limb, large enough that the crash was heard by the neighbor on the other side of my house. A large and rotten limbfilled with termites. Termites were swarming everywhere. One half of this avocado tree is rotten and surprise! filled with bugs. Termites in Florida are airborne as well as subterranean, houses are tented for infestation approximately every 4 years, and it’s swarm season, meaning that the colony is full and time to find a new home. Like mine. Fuck. No one to call—the offending house next door is vacant but was recently sold, so I contacted the realtor and told her I needed to speak with the owner, STAT. I waited an hour for a call and nothing—so up to the roof I go (I could not live with that crap up there) and with the help of another neighbor, removed the limb and broken branches, blew the roof clean, hosed it and sprayed it with whatever insect spray I could find.

And then came the band. Same evening as the termite event, I’m taking my trash to the street, greeted by a jeep trying to get down my non-driving lane. I stop him and we chat and he tells me he’s moving into the vacant, termite-tree house this week. And he goes on to tell me that the owners of Hogsbreath Saloon, one of the most raucous, infamous, shit-kickin’ bars in all of Key West, bought the place for their BAND HOUSE! The FUCKING BAND HOUSE; the many, the transient, the groupie lovin’, bad-ass bands are moving in next door. Well, shut the door and call me fucked.

Two days later, I’m finally face-to-face with the Hogsbreath owner, a woman my age, a small and snappy, no bullshit blonde. She and her partner were all over the termite issue, immediately making an appointment with Keys Electric to clear the wires that are tangled in the rotten tree, as no tree guy will go up there until they do. She took my phone and punched in her number. “Be my eyes and ears,” she said. “I will not, WILL NOT, stand for any band crap.” I liked her, I believed her. What else can I do? But what else is out there, poised and ready to invade my property? I can’t freak out over what hasn’t happened yet, I can’t hold my breath in anticipation of scorpions, giant cockroaches, raccoons, rats and 4 a.m. guitar riffs—but I bet they’re coming. It’s Jurassic Park, now with sound track.

 

 

Mr. Kat photo credit: Diane Van Doren

wonder woman photo credit: pinterest

 

best enjoyed hard

 

 

Best Enjoyed Hard

Certain species of pear; one variety of persimmon
Apples; beckoning the bite of appetite,
flesh crisp, bursting juices inside
The cucumber, officially fruit,
should definitely be eaten firm

It’s not that I’m not enjoying
the soft fruit of your kiss
the luscious suck of lower lip
It’s just that I hunger for harder
So down the trunk of your torso I shimmy
grazing knees against the bark of your jeans
in tom-boy haste to grasp what I desire
Down your torso;
to pluck at your buckle
twist at the stem of each button
plunder fingers through your thicket
Seeking and finding the vital rising of sap
firm flesh pulsing against palm
warm as sun-drenched figs

As my lips surround you;
the nibble-tease of teeth undoes you
I relish the feast of your reach
on the platter of my tongue
gorge, voracious along your contours
feel you quiver and quicken,
draw the juices from you
Your trunk bends and bucks;
I cling, marsupial-clawed
a wild nocturnal creature,
weathering the hurricane-frenzy
of your scattered seeding dream
Spill of nectar licked over lips
Holding fast to your fullness

Hunger sated for harder
harder varieties of fruit  –  Adrea Kore

 

‘Best Enjoyed Hard’ – Ripe Ideas & Fruity Poetry

art: J Palmer

my thanks to ms. kore for this wonderful poem, and my apologies for not asking permission to reprint

 

bob dylan poet

 

 

In a controversial decision, the Nobel Prize for Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Arguments against this decision were fairly predictable; a dumbing down of standards, questions regarding plagiarism. Telegraph columnist, Tim Stanley, wrote, “…Perhaps a Nobel Prize in 2025 being awarded to Donald Trump for lyrical tweeting.” Although I have never been a big Bob Dylan fan, nor of most folk artists, I do appreciate his immense body of work and what is brilliant, timeless, and indisputably, poetry. Kudos to you, Nobel Committee for Literature, for this choice; for if literature fails to break the confines, if we dismiss the unconventional, we would be a stagnate and unsatisfied body of readers.

As much of Dylan’s work is long, I’m offering a Dylan Sampler, excerpts from pieces you will recognize, but excerpts that have become lost over time and over-shadowed by the ease of memorizing choruses. Full lyrics can be read in each accompanying link. Enjoy.

 

from Mr. Tambourine Man, 1965

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy bench
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory of fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Mr. Tambourine Man


 

from It’s Alright, Ma, 1965

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

It’s Alright, Ma


 

from Masters of War, 1963

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion’
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

Masters of War


opinion: Rolling Stone

Nobel Prize Organization

 

art credit: nanamiart.com

 

key west burlesque

 

 

It was Marcella, the girl (yes, girl) doing my toes, the 108 lb. spitfire with the mohawk and butterfly tattoo, that told me to go to the show. A tribute to Prince; Erotic City was the headline and opening song, Marcella was one of two, backup-dancers. I showed her my picture with Prince at the zombie bike ride—“hell,” she said, “you have to go.” Marcella was so cool and did such a great job on my feet I would have paid to see her do handstands on sunset pier. I bought one seat at a table for six, got good and high and went to the burlesque. The house was packed and my table mates were great, burlesque fans and just the right amount of chatty. They bought me drinks (diet cokes) and one was also there because Marcella had done her toes the day after mine. Little hustler.

I’ve been to strip clubs and drag shows, hired a belly-dancer for my husband, I’ve seen naked people in the street, but I’ve never seen a burlesque show. It was fabulous. It was tits and ass and costumes and song and dance, raspberry beret and purple haze. I must say that I never saw so many good looking bottoms. The french lady shook the old men’s ponytails, the fat lady sang, the I-don’t-know-what-gender-person danced so frickin’ fast and hard the floorboards were smokin.’ Marcella was adorable, a teetering tease on stilettos. But the show stealer was the buxom brunette with pasties the size of saucers, with weight-lifting muscles that could direct her breasts to every compass point, independent of each other or in unison. The audience was fixated on the swirl of shiny, red beads attached to her tits, breaking gaze only to ask their neighbor, “how does she do that?” A good question and a well deserved standing ovation.

I suppose that in the world of burlesque this was a pretty amateurish production. The venue was good but the sound system needed help. The master of ceremonies was excellent but several performers missed their cues. Wigs fell and zippers stuck. Shoot, I didn’t care. I hooted and hollered right along with the entire theater and smiled as I walked home, imagining the bedroom shows that would be playing around town later that evening.

 

 

Key West Burlesque / facebook

 

a little sugar in my bowl

 

 

as I have always considered lyrics to be poetry, from nina simone. to be read and enjoyed slowly.

 

Sugar in My Bowl

I want a little sugar
In my bowl
I want a little sweetness
Down in my soul
I could stand some lovin’
Oh so bad
I feel so funny and I feel so sad

I want a little steam
On my clothes
Maybe I can fix things up
So they’ll go
Whatsa matter Daddy
Come on, save my soul
I need some sugar in my bowl
I ain’t foolin’
I want some sugar in my bowl

You been acting different
I’ve been told
Soothe me
I want some sugar in my bowl
I want some steam
On my clothes
Maybe I can fix things up so they’ll go
Whatsa matter Daddy
Come on save my soul
I want some sugar in my bowl
I ain’t foolin’
I want some, yeah, in my bowl

 

Written by Nina Simone • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

photo credit: unknown

home alone

 

 

Home Alone

 

The house was green and brown and cool and calm

and midday sun would find its way through shuttered windows

in a way she imagined was like a southern novel.

Alone she walked the upstairs hall, checking

each room as if they were the sleeping ones,

just to see that all was right.

 

Play cards or read or watch tv,

feed the cat, the dog, the husband.

Work and friends and play and such

and she really did enjoy these things—

but always hurried home to her solitude, her secrets.

 

Oh, how hard she tried to live a life in balance.

Oh, how well she knew she lived a life of compromise. – pn

 

art: Edward Hopper, Empty Room

 

political satire / it’s all about humor, folks

 

 

I have never posted a video on this blog. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but short of dog-and-cat-at-play videos and James Corden, I often find them boring, and honestly, I don’t like the way they look on the page.  That, plus the glut of videos out there is obscene. HOWEVER, this video, Vox’s Comedians have figured out the trick to covering Trump, is so on point, so smart, that I have to share.

I once posed a question on FB asking if there were any republican “Alex Baldwins” out there—minus a master of ceremony at some right-wing-convention, addressing a crowd of tighty-whiteys, there are not. So what does that say about the republicans? I personally believe that they don’t have the smarts for comedy, and to be crass, laughter is hard for those who have a giant stick traveling from their bottom straight up to their neck. Humor is not the strong suit of the privileged, the conservative. But because republicans are, now more than ever, masters at flinging the absurd, the accusational, the sensational, the nose-up-in-the-air “bullshit” (all this fodder!), they become the perfect springboard for comedians, who unlike journalists, cut thru the crap and make fun of the crap because they can—it’s their job. They make us laugh, they stretch our consciousness.

If you feel as if you can’t watch one more political video, one more spin, one more take on trumpism, too bad—watch this one—it is as much a commentary on humor as it is on the coverage of our current administration. COMEDY, people! It’s what gets me through this mess.

 

http://www.vox.com/2017/4/3/15163170/strikethrough-comedians-satire-trump-misinformation

 

photo credit: davegranlund.com