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Thursday
Nov072013

Through the window

Windblown leaves in bright light
tumble and plunge

in air, scrape
along the street.  Another scraping's

in my head.  I heard it, an unknown
sound, while reading in bed

when I was a kid.  A rat gnawing an electrical wire
in the wall.  Suddenly

a pop!  The lights went out.  Days later
the electrocuted rodent's stink started

oozing through the plaster.  With a hammer
my dad bashed a basketball-sized hole

in the wall, then scooped up what was left
of the rat in a dustpan and dumped it, like a woman

after a secret abortion
getting rid of the evidence, in  

the alley garbage can .  Goodbye, reek.  But nothing
else changed. The leaves

still fell, the trees grew scrawnier, barely
able to stand upright, like the Jews

my uncle saw in the camps when the war
with the Nazis ended, and how

they leaked diarrhea in their pants
as they tried to keep their balance.  This afternoon, too,

the trees, losing the only thing they own, their leaves, grow
nakeder and skinnier by the minute

as do I, with my
cancer cells and foul mouth and also, in spite

of sinking lower every day, my mulish
refusal to give up the ghost when told to.  Which is why

observing me
those who want me gone

stir restlessly.  Still, they say nothing, except
in code, a silent

smirk one minute, a roll
of the eyes the next.  Me, I'm not

so quiet.  Even felled
by cancer, I like my words

out in the open, unafraid
of the assassins all around.     

Sunday
Oct272013

Dying for fruit

On by one, they move away, claiming
I'm too old to explore their depths, too diseased
to enjoy their physiques, too surly
to savor the sweetness that makes them unique.  A negative endorsement.  Still
it's true:  fruit no longer opens up

to me, showing me its pulp, reveling in
how my teeth sink in.  
Apples, mangos, kiwis, plums, they're like
some folks I know, uneasy around the new, too wedded
to tradition to study how dying means

(in certain cases)

focus, being
so alive that death can't screw with you.  

But the ones who want you dead think otherwise.  
"It's comin' fer ya," Billy's dad tells me in a dream.  
From his cigarette, smoke curls upward, dissolves.
Outside the Brass Rail Bar, we watch
a train rattle toward Massapequa.  

What I wouldn't have given
for a taste of banana, then!

Wednesday
Oct232013

Trying To Distill It

for Nitoo

The apple on the table is only that, an apple.  

And the table, not table-like, but simply table.  

Similarly, the heart's stories, frail tales
told in words of blood and oxygen,
are only what they are, clandestine explorations
of night and day and all
gradations in between.

Much later, when the apple's long gone
and so are we
and the table decays, the stories
remain.  For a while.  Although containing
neither morphine or miracles, they nonetheless
help those who hear them
to survive.
Eventually, after decades
of downpours and sleet, the stories
and their new listeners
disappear.

In the end, more men and women than before
find in grimness a new kind of hope.  
Watching the crime-rate sink daily, they listen at night
to blood-curdling screams
as, one by one, the gods, hiding
in the last minds to cry out for them,
die noisily.  

Sunday
Oct132013

Essay in Radius

My essay, "Eating Black Mucus: Notes on language, history, creativity," has been published by Radius, the literary journal.  Click this link to read it

Wednesday
Oct092013

Russian Punk Group Pussy Riot . . .a protest Music Video

Pussy's Riot's song "Like a Red Prison" protests Vladimir Putin's close relationship with the petroleum industry and its (in the words of the song) "evildoers at the oil towers." Click here to watch the vieeo and read the accompanying Rolling Stone report.

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is currently serving a two-year prison sentence  for the group's 2012 performance of its "Pink Prayer Protest" against Putin in a Moscow cathedral, was recently transferred to a hospital by prison officials for going on a hunger strike against mistreatment of prisoners on work details.  

Maria Alyokhina, another Pussy Riot member,  is also in jail. 

Yekaterina Samutsevich, their third cohort, was released on appeal last year because she was removed by police from the protest site before the performance had fully begun. 

Monday
Sep302013

Poem Nominated for Best of the Net Anthology

My poem "Port Washington Song," which was published in September 2012 in Radius: From the Center to the Edge, was nominated by Radius for the Best of the Net Anthology.  The poem can be read here.

Thursday
Sep262013

Another day

If the easing-in
isn't simplicity itself, the body stops.  No hope
of squeezing between two rose petals now.

Still, the going's not about
movement, but focus.
Of the wind's many roads, choose one.  Any one.

Your destination isn't where
the meaning is.
Under your toenails is.

No trip really ends.
It merely seems to end because
we obsessively divide it into parts.

Again, two rose petals flutter in the wind.
Pass between them, body-surfing a wave of photons.
Like the struggle for justice, the ride never stops.  

Sooner or later, a biopsy report.
Walk through the door.
The doctor sits on a stool, everything's clear.  

AC fan noise.  Sky through window.
Forever or never ever. Which?
One hello, then another.  So many sounds.

Tuesday
Sep242013

Lotte Anker & Gerald Cleaver playing live

Sunday
Sep222013

Science Reading

The Science Essayist is an interesting assortment of essays for readers interested in meditative writings on science related matters.  The blog's author is Meera Lee Sethi, who began as a volunteer bird taxidermist at Chicago's Field Museum.  The Science Essayist is her old blog with an archive containing many writings.   

Her current blog is being sponsored by Coyot.es Newwork.  The blog itself is called Dispersal Range .

Monday
Aug262013

Notes from the diary of a solitary bird photographer 

Besides being a photographer, Nitoo Das, the creator of this diary, is a poet and sketch artist. 

Her work is always worth careful attention.

To connect to this particular work, click here - Notes from the diary of a solitary bird photographer .