Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a copse in winter

Shades tho yere leafless save the bramble spear
Whose weather beaten leaves of purple stain
In hardy stubbornness cling all the year
To their old thorns till spring buds new again
Shades still I love ye better then the plain
For here I find the earliest flowers that blow
While on the bear blea bank does yet remain
Old winter traces little heaps of snow
Beneath your ashen roots primroses grow
From dead grass tufts and matted moss once more
Sweet beds of vi’lets dare again be seen
In their deep purple pride and sweet displayd
The crow flowers creeping from the naked green
Adds early beautys to thy sheltering shade
-john clare

Thursday, November 21, 2013

another day coming up

It is early in the morning.  Maybe I should go for a walk.  I guess I could walk down to sheris...get a coffee..

I think I will do that.

Monday, March 25, 2013

mi corazón, por pablo neruda

mi corazón, es tarde y sin orillas,
el día, come un pobre mantel puesto a secar
oscila rodeado de seres y extensión,
de cada ser viviente hay algo en la atmosféra,
mirando mucho el aire parecerían mendigos,
abogados, bandidos, carteros, costureras,
un poco de cada oficio, un resto humillado,
quiere trabajar su parte en nuestro interior,
yo busco desde antaño, yo examino sin arrogancia,
conquistado, sin dudo, por lo vespertino.

My heart, it is late and without shores,
day, like a poor tablecloth put to dry,
sways, surrounded by beings and extent,
there is something from every living being in the atmosphere,
lawyers, bandits, mailmen, seamstresses,
and a little of each occupation, a humbled remnant
wants to perform its own work within us.
I have been searching for a long time, I examine in all modesty.
ovecome, without doubt, by evening.
-pablo neruda, ....un hombre chileano\

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

another day

the refrigerator sits full of juices in the corner
the wooden chairs gleam in the light
the sober reflections of mentalist ways through our changes
the birds sit down, and the cats fly across the grass
We all feel as if they are stand up men somewhere, editing themselves
the houses sink down in the moonlight.
it's the winter, the edge of things, the changing light
it's all dark in the head, we would have thought, and we change
somnabulent criticism, edited detail, and the marks of honor
we come home through the breezes
we tell black women to stop staring, they start yelling
we slice through the edges of our emotions and the edges of actions
the fast energy of a mentality, cutting through the conscious,
the reality of positivity, guitarists with sweet lyrics,
all the emotion, all the energy, all our ambition
suddenly gone through cookie-cutter lights.
-chris farrell

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

patsy and other poems by me...

Some words on Patsy

Patsy Todd was born in Compton, California, on August 3, 1929.  She moved to Oregon in ’37 during the depression, picked fruit, and her father bought a farm and sold it in ’47, moved to the coast, built a motel, called the “Miles Motel”, went to Chemeketa, learned to weld, worked at Wade’s manufacturing plant.  Mother did rations, worked for a millionaire, the father building fences, mothing taking something, moved father out to St. Helens and rioting started.  Worked at Smokecraft in the ‘70’s, linen mills in Jefferson, talked about Burt Reynolds.  Smacked her because she liked Bob Hope, not Burt Reynolds.  Joined the union and quit, kind of fraudulent run in Salem, bring my grandchildren. Can’t see after wreck, living with man, worked in restaurant “Chilibowl”, early shift, met guy, snow started, guy came over, started the affair, died of a heartache.  Clarence came home smelling of gasoline, left, after six years

-Chris Farrell

The following are more poems that I wrote:

Down in Reno
some seedy hotel
two fat people
amused by a rubber dinosaur

was down at the circle k
a bum looking for a cup of coffee
grizzled and disturbed
had encountered an old black man with a cane
had been here and there with a backpack
learned an odd sort of kung-fu
demonstrated in the misty grass
needed a ribbon to tie back the hair
needed a sleeping bag on a cement floor
asked me for a dime later
walking around with an indian
lighting up cigarettes in Starbuck's.

grass outside waving in the wind
wood bench on the large porch
Ann coughing in her large hair
cars whizzing by
notes of hope and worry
and tunes of bruce and jerry
the fourth string in need of tightening
the module coming out in rapid haste
and more trouble and worry
and the thought of the ant
and the poke-weed and parturience
and limitless are the leaves
stiff or drooping in the fields
portraying a frightening eschatology
and sense of the smart-ass

When I am in my room
I see again
the thousand daffodils laughing in the wind
and think again
of her long hair and green eyes.

So, when it comes to locating the precise measure of things
and leading to a preoccupation with the word
of where all this came from
who are active and residing on an earthly level
as one who is a doubter by practice
and tends to by longing reach the other side
who keep such a disconnectedness
that it is impossible to know what is rational, as
the lady that goes on about airplanes
the smoke trails are giving her signals
by sign language she communicates with them
by sign language she is in touch;
to sullen doubter she says
"well, buck-o, what do you know?"
and with wanton excitement will explain
how they follow her around

On Mary's Peak the rain came down
out the foggy windows the huge trees
I drove out a side road
far hills covered with green
electric poles cutting down the hill
a little creek ran by
in which I washed my feet, and drank
blackberries and thimbleberries here and there
failing heavy force of that which remains...
unsaid, and yet pervades all things
from this eye of the world
nature and its quiet rain

Monday, February 04, 2013

thoughts and Neitzsche

Thinking of my life, and how it has been going the last three months or so...I've been pretty stressed, seeing things that I didn't like, seeing people that seemed dangerous around town, and did the impression I have match with reality?  I'm going to assume that it did.  I've met a lot of people, a lot of good people, or people that have good qualities, and that is in some kind of contrast with the nastier people in the world...but the fact is, does what is going on in my mind really correspond to the world and how it is?  I think it does, because I get feedback from real people, who value my judgements and observations, but maybe haven't gone through precisely what I have gone through.  On the other hand, I think a lot of people, older people, have gone through getting stressed out like me, from who knows what.  I don't want to go into the details, and it is hard to see what about me would appear that interesting.  I guess a quality of me that is pretty interesting is that, for one thing, I'm kind of in my own little world, and on my own schedule, and for another, I'm not really seemingly connected with an identifiable group of peers.  But I got to where I am through some painful processes, through trying hard to make it in the working world, through having to go into the mental hospital at various times...the first time being back in Berkeley, when nothing seemed to make sense, but I did have friends that cared what happened to me, and I appreciate that....and over the years, slowly gaining some self confidence, finding some groups outside karate..finding people that meant something to me, that also might have been having issues, and trying to make sense through the personalities, and through trying to do the right thing and get through the hard points, to get to a place that makes sense.
  And as of now, I theoretically need to go out and get a job.  I guess I will volunteer at stone soup again, and at the homeless drop-in center, because I'm familiar with those.  Somehow shelving books at the library doesn't appeal to me.  I went over to the co-op to try to see about volunteering, and I mentioned stone soup, and the lady seemed to get really agitated with me, like she was making some unfortunate assumptions about me just because I'm working in programs that help the homeless.  People making judgements about me who don't really know me are kind of annoying.  For one thing, I don't have much to feel guilty about, having tried hard my whole life to improve as a person.  And furthermore "ye who has no sin on his hands, cast the first stone" as bob weir said.
  It's good I have one roommate who seems to be doing well.  The other seems to be moving out.

Nietzsche, from "Thus Spake Zarathustra", "On Scholars": I am too hot and burned by my own thoughts, often it nearly takes my breath away.  Then I must go out into the open and away from all dusty rooms.  But they (scholars) sit cool in the cool shade: in everything they want to be mere spectators, and they beware of sitting where the suns burns on the steps....

I think of the above line when I think about why I'd rather do actual creative writing than try to write academic papers, or teach.  I never enjoyed teaching, whether it was trying to teach english, or karate,....that's about it ..but I seem to write stuff.


Thursday, January 31, 2013


I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I'm accustomed to him grown,--
He hurts a little, though.

I thought if I could only live
till that first shout got by
Not all the pianos in the woods
had power to mangle me.

I wished the grass would hurry,
So when 't was time to see,
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.

.....the day is warm and I just got back from driving to Portland...I seem to have no tolerance for the traffic, or much interest in hanging out up there these days...and I feel dead from all the sitting in the car.  However, the day is peaceful and there's things to look forward to...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Story I wrote about visiting my brother in dc a few years ago

I stepped out of the taxi and into the rain, relieved to be moving after a day either sitting around or in traffic.  I had actually wanted to get out a block earlier, as the car was stuck in traffic, but the driver, an African that was driving me crazy with a long rambling dialogue to his wife in a language consisting of some English words that he would only describe as an "African dialect" or "pidgin", said that it was a very violent neighborhood and I should stay in the car, so since it was only another block to my brother's house, I acquiesced.
  I took a moment to admire the solid brick of the house that somehow gives that feeling of lasting sturdiness and a classic sense of history.  It reminded me of an elaborate painting of a building on the wall of a co-op I had lived in as a student.  Every brick was painted with painstaking detail.

  brick and mortar
  a sure and even hand

  Those rowhouses were build between 1890 and 1905, and were not in danger of falling down.  The door was an old deadbolt that I opened with a square key and carefully locked behind me.  Depositing my excess baggage, I headed out rapidly again down the street, bound for Dupont circle.  Many of the streets in DC run at a 45 degree angle, which makes for some very bizarre intersections.  I walked warily for a few blocks, and failed to detect much danger other than the traffic.  The street was quiet, and although the Howard University area was not much to look at, it was a calm street and things gradually improved as I walked.  North of Dupont was clearly a high rent area, and to the right the land rose slightly and looked as if it got even pricier.  I headed south and enjoyed the hustle of an uban district, but continued west toward Georgetown University.  I hardly know what to expect, but after crossing the parkway and admiring the trees wet with rain, the sidewalk turned to brick and the houses were beautiful.

  walking out in the dew
  the trees
  the drops of rain

  The university buldings were phenomenal, many looking European in age.  The library was a new and bland structure, and I had little hope of getting in, not being a student, but was admitted after showing a picture identification.  To my surprise, they did have a number of books in Japanese, so I went to look them up.  They were on a quiet floor, students sitting around with laptops.  An old card catalog was near the wall, but may have been there just for nostalgia.  The stacks were those kind that move when a button is pushed as a space-saving technique.  I keep imaging the headlines: "Scholar crushed to death by moving bookshelf", but I figured them out and after much hassle photocopied a couple of stories.  By that time I was starving and headed out of there eating a ham sandwich.  Flocks of students hung around outside on their cellphones, looking well-heeled and preppie.  I passed therough the commercial district again, but elected to head back to Dupont, where I figured there would be an older crowd in the cafes.  The light was dimming by the time I got to a cafe.  I ordered my coffee.
  I sat and read the paper, watching the busy people walking by.

  people on their cellphones
  The walk back involved a gourmet grocery store and a sideways street filled with cars and a man stumbling around on burgundy wine.
  The next day I came upon a nice little Japanese import store full of those amazing ceramics.  They had some of the strange and wonderful Japanese candies.  A book called "A Zen Wave", on Zen and Basho, contained a quote saying essentially that meditation can bring one to where anything can bring the joy of enlightenment, perhaps the "divinely superfluous beauty" mentioned by Robinson Jeffers.  There was a book of essays by R.H. Blythe, a scholar who wrote what is still the most amazing set of books on haiku.  I walked out of there and considered the day a success, having seen many things not seen in my everyday small town existence.
  a car passes by
  a foot reaches out
  the curb drops
  the foot lands

  I think we went out and saw some show by Sterolab after that, some French group that did not have a whole lot going for them.  I continued to have to endure the taxi driver who would not get off his phoen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

two poems...

I cannot live with you-
It would be life-
And life is over there-
behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to
Putting up
Our life-his porcelain
Like a cup

Discarded of the housewife
Quaint-or broke
A newer sevres pleases
Old ones crack..

I could not die-with you
For one must wait
To shut the Other's gaze down
You-could not

And I-could I stand by
And see you-freeze
Without my right of frost-
Death's privilege?

Nor could I rise-with you,
Because your face...
would put out the sign..
that new grace..

Glow plain-and foreign
on my homesick Eye
Except that you than he
Shone closer by-

Wow, I don't understand half of Dickinson...and this poem in particular is tricky to figure out.  She's done some other great ones...many great ones.

Lean out the window,
I hear you singing
A merry air.

My book was closed.
I read no more.
Watching the fire dance
On the floor.

I have left my book,
I have left my room,
For I heard you singing
Through the gloom.

Singing and singing
A merry air,
Lean out of the window,
--james joyce

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

poem 12, Sonnets to Orpheus, Ranier Maria Rilke

Hail to the spirit that can unite us;
for we live really in figures.  Always
go the clocks with little strides
along with our intrinsic days.

Without knowing our proper place,
we act as if from true relations.
The antennae feel their sister-stations,
and the emptiness of space

bore...pure tension.  O music of forces!
Aren't the interruptions turned away
by the indulgent affairs of the day?

However the peasant works and sows,
he never reaches those deep sources
where seeds turn into summer.  Earth bestows.

-translated by C.F. MacIntyre, University of Berkeley press, 1960.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Solitary Reaper-wordsworth

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!

Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more huble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain
That has been, or may be again?

Whate'er the them, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;-
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Patty, by John Clare

Ye swampy fall of pasture ground,
And rushy spreading greens;
Ye risings swells of brambles bound,
 And freedom's wilder'd scenes;
I've trod ye oft, and love ye dear,
  And kind was fate to let me;
On you I found my all, for here
'Twas first my Patty met me.

Flow on, thou gently plashing stream,
O'er weed-beds wild and rank;
Delighted I've enjoy'd my dream
Upon thy mossy bank:
Bemoistening many a weedy stem,
I've watch'd thee wind so clearly;
And on thy bank I found the gem
That makes me love thee dearly.

Thou wilderness, so rudely gay;
 Oft as I seek thy plain,
Oft as I wend my steps away,
And meet my joys again,
And brush the weaving branches by
Of brairs and thorns so matty;
So oft reflection warms a sigh,
Here first I met my Patty...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Even as a handy sheet of paper
sometimes catches a genuine master-stroke,
so, often into themselves the mirrors
take the one blessed smile of girls who awoke

and tried out the morning, alone-
or in the attendant lights' glitter
and where the breath of their real faces shone
there falls but a mere reflection, later

What have eyes once seen in the blackening coals
slowly cooling upon the hearth?
Glimpses of life, forever lost.

Ah, who knows the losses of the earth?
Only one, who praises nevertheless,
Can sing the heart born into the whole.