Tag Archives: poem

{berets and bongos} 56;

“the campus, an academy of trees,
under which some hand, the wind’s i guess,

had scattered the pale light
of thousands of spring beauties,
petals stained with pink veins;
secret, blooming for themselves.

we sat among them.
your long fingers, thin body,
and long bones of improbable genius;
some scattered gene as kafka must have had.
your deep voice, this passing dust of miracles.
that simple that was myself, half conscious,
as though each moment was a page

where words appeared; the bent hammer of the type
struck against the moving ribbon.
the light air, the restless leaves;
the ripple of time warped by our longing.
there, as if we were painted
by some unknown impressionist.”

-ruth stone, in the next galaxy.

{berets and bongos} 47;

“you’re sad because you’re sad.
it’s psychic. it’s the age. it’s chemical.
go see a shrink or take a pill,
or hug your sadness like an eyeless doll
you need to sleep.
well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
count your blessings. better than that,
buy a hat. buy a coat or a pet.
take up dancing to forget.”

-margaret atwood.

{berets and bongos} 40;

“anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did

women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guess (but only a few
and down they forget as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then) they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)”

-ee cummings

{berets and bongos} 38;

“somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as spring opens
(touching skillfully,mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me that understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”

-ee cummings

{berets and bongos} 33;

“i do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
i love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
i love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
i love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
i love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so i love you because i know no other way than this:
where i does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as i fall asleep. ”

-pablo neruda, sonnet xvii.

{berets and bongos} 28;

“sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
if i could just get my hands on you,
kierkegaard, or conor cruise c’brien,
they seem to say,
i would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

other comments are more offhand, dismissive –
"nonsense." "please!" "HA!!" –
that kind of thing.
i remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
who wrote "don’t be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in the life of emily dickinson.

students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
one scrawls "metaphor" next to a stanza of eliot’s.
another notes the presence of "irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of a modest proposal.

or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
hands cupped around their mouths.
"absolutely," they shout
to duns scotus and james baldwin.
"yes." "bull’s-eye." "my man!"
check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

and if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "man vs. nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

we have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

even irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

and you have not read joshua reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with blake’s furious scribbling.

yet the one i think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of catcher in the rye
i borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
i was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents’ living room,
and i cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when i found on one page

a few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, i could tell,
whom i would never meet-
"pardon the egg salad stains, but i’m in love."