Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Frog Song for Children's Day

art © Russell Rosander 2009
Rana by Russell Rosander
                                Dedicated to my grandchildren, Madaline and Emily

Well, I’ve gotta tell you. There are still a lot of frogs in Mexico. Of course, frogs’ll live just about anywhere where there's water. At least that was true before the humans started getting’ careless and lettin’ all kinds of poison stuff get into it. Now, some places, there ain’t any frogs left at all.

Well, at least Mexico’s still got a lot of ‘em. A frog’s gotta feel lucky just to be here.

Well, you may be wonderin’ why frogs start everythin’ they say, by sayin’, “Well,” first. That’s because all frogs honor the first place where water came up outta the ground, the “well” of creation and it flowed into the Great Pond of Creation. That’s the place where frogs first got started.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

In Search of Roberto Bolaño

There's a soothing cadence to his voice, though I don't understand anything he says.

I feel tired. That's how soothing his voice is.

Smiling and nodding I drift away to a very comfortable place. The room dims and we go from talking about Roberto Bolaño to Roberto Bolaño and I talking about Roberto Bolaño. In a room full of Roberto Bolaño readers, the writer and I are anonymously invisible as we sit on gray folding steel chairs. Only one of us is talking and only one of us is thinking in English.

That's no matter.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The One About St. Mark's Place

photo © Mark Butkus 2015
Getting Physical on St. Mark's Place.

There was that night on St. Mark's Place?
      At St. Mark's Church
I stand corrected – At St. Mark's Church
     OCC Q PIE Wall Street
We were going to change the world – again
     Just like our parents thought they would in the 60s
Just like their parents thought they did in the 40s

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Beat It

They laughed at struggle and tears
fears and nomads wandering
in the dust of explanation

Scowled at happiness
written on beach sands

Frowned at roaming
aimlessly wherever tides of wind
took the soul as faintly delivered spirits
roared in adoration

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Love Is and Other Google Poems

Feeling lucky? There was a time that Google's web search claim to fame was the "I feel lucky" button. You knew that there was a web page that you wanted to get to but you didn't know the URL.

The lucky button was intuitive. The lucky button was a godsend and saved people countless seconds.

Google is even more intuitive today. Start keying in strokes and Google tosses up options as you type. Some have turned these options into Google poems.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sic Vita

Morning dew at Walden Pond.

I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
By a chance bond together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
For milder weather.

A bunch of violets without their roots,
And sorrel intermixed,
Encircled by a wisp of straw
Once coiled about their shoots,
The law
By which I'm fixed.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Thought I'd Get Stoned On My Birthday

Marrakech Express, Morocco 2011

Thought I'd get stoned on my birthday
Found I didn't really have to try
Thought I'd get stoned on my birthday
Since my friends had all said good-bye

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out at CIMMfest

Ya-Ya's getting out to see the Rolling Stones circa 2003.

The fifth edition of the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest) kicks off tonight, April 18. One of the highlights of the four day (April 18-21) festival  that brings together live concerts and film is a 10 film retrospective of the world's greatest rock and roll band — The Rolling Stones. Immortalized on film by the likes of Jean-Luc Goddard and Martin Scorsese, Mick and the boys are celebrating 50 years of rock and roll in 2013.

First Lines Second Thoughts — The Last Good Kiss

First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works.
On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today we revisit The Last Good Kiss. Written by James Crumley. Published in 1978.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sharon Olds' Stag's Leap Wins 2013 Pulitzer for Poetry

The 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry was awarded to Susan Olds on April 15 for Stag's Leap.  The book is " unflinching poems on the author's divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self knowledge." Along with being recognized for a "distinguished volume of original verse by an American author" the Pulitzer comes with a cash prize of $10,000.

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Stag's Leap carries the reader through the seasons when the author's marriage was ending. Olds opens her heart to the reader and the radical change in her sense of place in the world. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman.

For Jack and Allen

I’m hallucinating spiders.
Cracked benzedrine haziness
smoking and supping ethanol fumes
from cracked glass, dirty frompaw prints
and titted & cocked filth.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Library Walk: Samuel Beckett

Born on April 13, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was the 1969 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The author of 22 dramatic works, six collections of poetry and numerous other novels, novellas and biographies he is best remembered for the play where nothing seemingly takes place — Waiting for Godot.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Chris Hosea: 2013 Walt Whitman Award Recipient

Marcel Duchamp's notorious Nude Descending a Staircase.

The Academy of American Poets announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery has selected Chris Hosea as the recipient of the 2013 Walt Whitman Award, the Academy's prestigious first book prize. The award was established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet's first book.

As the winner of the Whitman Award, Hosea's manuscript, Put Your Hands In, will be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2014 and the Academy of American Poets will purchase and distribute thousands of copies of the book to its members. Hosea will also receive $5,000 and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. A native of Princeton, New Jersey, Chris Hosea earned an A.B. cum laude in English and American Literature from Harvard College. He then went on to receive his M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Du Fu's Winding River

Each piece of flying blossom leaves spring the less,
I grieve as myriad points float in the wind.
I watch the last ones move before my eyes,
And cannot have enough wine pass my lips.
Kingfishers nest by the little hall on the river,
Unicorns lie at the high tomb's enclosure.
Having studied the world, one must seek joy,
For what use is the trap of passing honor?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Truth About Men

Adorned with masculinity, compassionate
  A quiet aptitude, from man came woman, astute
    Charming, scholar, heroic, enigmatic, resolute

XY chromosome meaning eloquently garrulous
 Watchful protector, always making him fond
    A friend in need, a builder of a strong bond

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Fire

Snow covered concrete jungles
Where one could see one's breath
And feel the snow underfoot
Crunching with every childhood stride
Running toward a makeshift goal
Marked by two steel posts along a schoolyard fence
    That was the spark