Category Archives: Poetry

On Marriage, by Kahlil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

An Almost Made Up Poem by Charles Bukowski

I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny

blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny

they are small, and the fountain is in France
where you wrote me that last letter and
I answered and never heard from you again.
you used to write insane poems about
ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you
knew famous artists and most of them
were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’s all right,
go ahead, enter their lives, I’m not jealous
because we’ve never met. we got close once in
New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never
touched. so you went with the famous and wrote
about the famous, and, of course, what you found out
is that the famous are worried about
their fame –– not the beautiful young girl in bed
with them, who gives them that, and then awakens
in the morning to write upper case poems about
ANGELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they’ve told
us, but listening to you I wasn’t sure. maybe
it was the upper case. you were one of the
best female poets and I told the publishers,
editors, “her, print her, she’s mad but she’s
magic. there’s no lie in her fire.” I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’t happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’t help. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide
3 or 4 months after it happened. if I had met you
I would probably have been unfair to you or you
to me. it was best like this.

– Charles Bukowski

God Hopping

You may or may not know that I write poetry when I’m tortured. Here is a transparent string of words for your perusal. Comments welcome…

God Hopping

Inscrutable priest
in absentia –
who is guarding the temple gates?
(let’s  do it on the altar.)
I’ve sacrificed you here a thousand times,
smoldering flesh
rising unto the heavens.
plumbing the depths of my
soul , indiscriminately
to an empty booth.
What happens if l lift the veil?
Bless me, father
for where I’ve been.
Every Judas earns his
silver’s weight in guilt.
blasphemers  desecrate the sacred
with false contrition
moneychangers sell
all the indulgences,
and hypocrites write the best prayers,
just as purveyors of unlikely hopes
make the best priests.
This is my body.
(Your love is better than wine.)
Too late I’ve learned that
when you live in Eden,
the Tree of Knowledge can only provide
a taste of darkness
by which to appreciate light.
Take, eat of the meat
I once offered to idols.
You were the iron, in feet of clay.
(I remember your love more than wine.)
Small gods lurking
in every shadow of my past
inspired no worship.
Lip services belying
my truths.
Pantheism is exhausting,
and Baal can’t bring the fire.
Day after day, the birds come
while I realize that you are the one that breathed
life into me.
Broken for you.
the priest has become my god,
and my desire is unto him.
This is my blood.
(Stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.)
Sacrament to cure the love,
the sinner lays down her soul at the altar.
So much for Philemon and Baucis.

It has to be you.

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like a disaster.
Elizabeth Bishop

Tom Robbins is a genius.

I can’t sleep. I’m haunted by the ghosts of Christmases past and the idea of a chrysanthemum seed. To commemorate the occasion, I present to you the poem Incognito, by Tom Robbins.

Meet me in Cognito, baby.
In Cognito we’ll have nothing to hide.
Let’s go incognito, honey,
And let the world believe that we’ve died.

Meet me in Cognito, baby,
Of course we’ll have to color our hair.
The best thing about life in Cognito
Is that everybody’s nobody there.

Meet me in Cognito, darling,
Sure, some may think that it’s rash,
But you’ll look chic incognito
With your fake nose and Groucho mustache.

Meet me in Cognito, baby,
We’ll soon leave our pasts behind us.
The present is always a mystery,
As the future never fails to remind us.

Once we’re alone in Cognito,
We’ll remove all of our clothes very fast,
But though we be naked as jaybirds,
At no time will we take off our masks.

Cinderella went incognito,
And it’s said that she had a ball.
It’s always midnight in Cognito
By the black clock at the end of the hall.

We’re destined to be clandestine,
Incognito is our very last hope.
I’ll meet you where the sun don’t shine,
With a fake I.D. and some dope.

So do join me in Cognito,
You know that I’ll never tell.
We’ll sneak in the back door of Heaven
And stroll unnoticed through Hell.

There, every day’s a surprise.
Where truth tells all the best lies.

(Those who travel in Cognito
-Their very lives can depend on a hunch.
They eat intuition for breakfast
And sip cold paranoia at lunch.)

If you won’t meet me in Cognito,
Baby, I’m apt to go out of my head.
But if you really can’t handle incognito
Meet me in Absentia, instead.

The One Who Is Missing is missing,
He can’t run but He certainly can hide.
His ghost car is parked in Cognito,
Do you think He might give us a ride?

You play the game incognito,
You risk paying a very stiff price.
You’ll bet the ranch on Number 13,
Though that number is not on the dice.

No news is good news in Cognito,
Addresses are damn hard to find.
The queen of spades runs the mailroom
And all the postmen are legally blind.

Just because you’re naked
Doesn’t mean you’re sexy,
Just because you’re cynical
Doesn’t mean you’re cool.
You may tell the greatest lies
And wear a brilliant disguise
But you can’t escape the eyes
Of the one who sees right through you.

In the end what will prevail
Is your passion not your tale,
For love is the Holy Grail,
Even in Cognito.

So better listen to me, sister,
And pay close attention, mister:
It’s very good to play the game,
Amuse the gods, avoid the pain,
But don’t trust fortune, don’t trust fame,
Your real self doesn’t know your name
And in that we’re all the same:
We’re all incognito.

In an Artist’s Studio

This Christina Rosetti poem always reminds me of Kirinjirafa.

One face looks out from all his canvases,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
A saint, an angel — every canvas means
The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

Sylvia Plath Melts Hearts

This poem was only a third of why I fell in love with Slyvia Plath. The Bell Jar being another third, and her diary the last. The movie didn’t help her case much – though it made even my ex tear up a little.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write for example, ‘The night is shattered

and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to a pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

-Pablo Neruda



Nobody But You

Poetry can be inaccessible, vague, or outright mystifying. Beat poetry (unlike most other Beat writing) usually isn’t. Charles Bukowski stands out as one of the clearest, most evocative Beat writers of all time. Below is one of his best, in my humble opinion, enriched further by the voice of Tom Waits.

If you want more Bukowski, read on. My all-time favorite poem, nobody but you, lies ahead.

nobody can save you but
you will be put again and again
into nearly impossible
they will attempt again and again
through subterfuge, guise and
to make you submit, quit and /or die quietly

nobody can save you but
and it will be easy enough to fail
so very easily
but don’t, don’t, don’t.
just watch them.
listen to them.
do you want to be like that?
a faceless, mindless, heartless
do you want to experience
death before death?

nobody can save you but
and you’re worth saving.
it’s a war not easily won
but if anything is worth winning then
this is it.

think about it.
think about saving your self.
your spiritual self.
your gut self.
your singing magical self and
your beautiful self.
save it.
don’t join the dead-in-spirit.

maintain your self
with humor and grace
and finally
if necessary
wager your self as you struggle,
damn the odds, damn
the price.

only you can save your

do it! do it!

then you’ll know exactly what
I am talking about.