Young Girls Bring Parsley to My Shop

Wikipedia Poem, No. 537

“… and (watch) as I (grind) / coriander, garlic and calves’ hearts.” August Kleinzahler
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“The Sausage Master of Minsk” by August Kleinzahler

        I was sausage master of Minsk;
young girls brought parsley to my shop
and watched as I ground
coriander, garlic and calves’ hearts.

At harvest time they’d come with sheaves:
hags in babushkas, girls plump
as quail, wrapped in bright tunics,
switching the flanks of oxen.
Each to the other, beast and woman,
goggle-eyed at the market’s flow.

My art is that of my father:
even among stinking shepherds, bean-
brained as the flocks they tend, our
sausages are known. The old man
sits in back, ruined in his bones, a scold.

So it was my trade brought wealth.
My knuckles shone with lard, flecks
of summer savory clung to my palms.
My shop was pungent with spiced meat
and sweat: heat from my boiling pots,
my fretful labors with casings,
expertly stuffed. Fat women in shawls
muttered and swabbed their brows.
Kopeks made a racket on my tray.

But I would have none of marriage:
the eldest son, no boon,
even with the shop’s renown, was
I to my parents. Among mothers
with daughters, full-bottomed, shy,
I was a figure of scorn.

In that season when trade was a blur,
always, from the countryside, there was one,
half-formed, whose eyes, unlike
the haggling matrons’ squints, roamed
and sometimes found my own.
And of her I would inquire.
Before seed-time they always returned.

Tavern men speak freely of knives,
of this, of that. Call me a fool.
For in spring I would vanish
to the hills and in a week return,
drawn, remote, my hair mussed,
interlaced with fine, pubescent yarn.

Source: Kleinzahler, August. Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems : 1975-1990. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Print.

Going to Minsk

Wikipedia Poem, No. 481


dough stuck to       eat (or      stop   cannibalizing it
never ends all the dumplings will never end
all like a black rabbit head such improbable
writing         plastic trimming never ending all       like a rebus poem
the throat himself       (or     a stand-in    for the       paris
review facebook page someone somewhere must care
about a man who         smartly uses his petunia 
now he's unrecognizable          symmetry slides   down 
the dumplings will never end all the dumplings will never end
all     the dumplings he will never provide   myself to myself
(or stand for the grey pixels and       black     rabbit heads 
such        improbable      writing          a rebus poem 
then a laudable commander in the grey pixels 
and mouthed tooth    desire as idols to eat      
(or     stop   cannibalizing inside 
where it      never ends   i didn't know he had 
an earring    all the buying          fried dough stuck 
to an      unnamed company doing companion-dance
myself    (or myself    standing up to dumplings that will    never end
all like a rebus     poem    the grey mouth  pixels    will
unnamed commander the kids are tom 
veitch's         poison   meat to august kleinzaler's    poison 
meat       to august kleinzaler's poison meat 
august stands     for the kids sausage-master 
on the grey pixels and     the black rabbit head     
dwindling improbable writing starved dumplings
will never end      all      like a hidden end
all the throat (or a hidden-in grey commanding throat

Recent Notes

“You ask, Aristippus, and I tell you / it’s in the waiting; that the moment, like a stag / may arrive at your doorstep as if from a cloud / and disappear before you know it, / not even the after-trace of a phantasm; / and you will have missed it for all your scheming, / your daydreaming about lofty verses and fame, / your lunging and casting about like a spaniel / barking his way into the middle of a slough, / then unable to get out.” Kleinzahler, from “Epistle XIV”, 2003


A couple of days worth of scribbles from one Google Doc. Much recent work is for publication elsewhere. The blog may be relatively quiet. Apologies. Enjoy my head turned inside out and gently browned.


In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus.

moving-words in sappho:

watched, go down, …

In linguistics, a compound verb or complex predicate is a multi-word compound that functions as a single verb. One component of the compound is a light verb or vector, which carries any inflections, indicating tense, mood, or aspect, but provides only fine shades of meaning. The other, “primary”, component is a verb or noun which carries most of the semantics of the compound, and determines its arguments. It is usually in either base or [in Verb + Verb compounds] conjunctive participial form.

In modern grammar, a particle is a function word that must be associated with another word or phrase to impart meaning, i.e., does not have its own lexical definition. On this definition, particles are a separate part of speech and are distinct from other classes of function words, such as articles, prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs. Languages vary widely in how much they use particles, some using them extensively and others more commonly using alternative devices such as prefixes/suffixes, inflection, auxiliary verbs and word order. Particles are typically words that encode grammatical categories (such as negation, mood, tense, or case), clitics, or fillers or (oral) discourse markers such as well, um, etc. Particles are never inflected.

there are about 200 irregular verbs;

The copula verb be has a larger number of different inflected forms, and is highly irregular.

[Pleiades] was later mythologised as the name of seven divine sisters, whose name was imagined to derive from that of their mother Pleione, effectively meaning “daughters of Pleione”. In reality, the name of the star cluster almost certainly came first, and Pleione was invented to explain it.

… goes, am

In about 300 BC, a doctor was summoned to diagnose the illness afflicting Antiochus, crown prince of the Seleucid empire in Syria. The young man’s symptoms included a faltering voice, burning sensations, a racing pulse, fainting, and pallor. In his biography of Antiochus’ father, Seleucus I, Plutarch reports that the symptoms manifested themselves only when Antiochus’ young stepmother Stratonice was in the room. The doctor was therefore able to diagnose the youth’s malady as an infatuation with her. The cause of the illness was clearly erotic, because the symptoms were “as described by Sappho.” The solution was simple: Antiochus’ father divorced Stratonice and let his son marry her instead.

Sappho has probably had more words written about her in proportion to her own surviving output than any other writer.


“If the repression is not completely effective, then a state of anxiety can be stimulated by the unconscious mind producing threatening feelings without the patient being aware of the reason for the anxiety. This is where the descriptions of the demons may help the incantation treat the sufferer. The process of denial can be influenced by focusing on the demons as the cause of the anxiety, particularly if it remind the patient of those intimate feelings which were originally repressed. Repression, as explained by Freud, takes many forms, some of which can clearly be detected in Mesopotamian incantations.” Freud, Magic and Mesopotamia: How the Magic Works


jacobus: “Just as literal or symbolic acts of erasure challenge the authority of iconic images, Dadaist techniques of collage overturn received narratives and subvert aesthetic hierarchies.” 19

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset


“more equal” montfort 85


“I maintain my Twitter and Facebook for professional purposes.”
“I’m not allergic to mold.”


When I wrote of the women in their dances and
wildness, it was a mask,
on their mountain, gold-hunting, singing, in orgy,
it was a mask; when I wrote of the god,
fragmented, exiled from himself, his life, the love gone
down with song,
it was myself, split open, unable to speak, in exile from

There is no mountain, there is no god, there is memory
of my torn life, myself split open in sleep, the rescued
beside me among the doctors, and a word
of rescue from the great eyes.

No more masks! No more mythologies!

Now, for the first time, the god lifts his hand,
the fragments join in me with their own music.

”Emily Dickinson’s strictness, sometimes almost a slang of strictness, speaks with an intellectually active, stimulated quick music.” Rukeyser

“leveling of man” masons, heard in doc on burns

My favorite Queen song is, BY FAR, Princes of the Universe. What does that say about me?


Salcedo examines world violence and talks about the experiences of the victims. Refuses to let them be forgotten. Elevates them. The goal here is what? … So that we don’t forget? So that we can empathize… and change? So that in the split second before the sword meets flesh the executioner can pull up, pull out, disengage?


Reading Ruefle’s On Sentimentality: The internet as “Great Puddle of Sentimentality”. No time to expand on that right now, but good idea for an essay. Use her bibliography as a starting point. (John Gardner: “causeless emotion.”)

Bestowing upon one the permission to “see better”/”perceive better”/”sense better”/feel better” is the greatest gift a poet can convey. This is said in some form by Mary Ruefle in several sources. (Muck, a YouTube video from the Library of Congress where she speaks with Ron Charles, probably elsewhere…)


“singing of black despair is some consolation for having to endure it.” Badiou, Black, 5


I have a weird relationship with brilliant and eccentric people. I think a lot about how brilliance and that powerful cult-of-personality persona exhibited by a lot of religious/cult leaders a/o self-help gurus, celebrities, political figures, etc etc, are connected. I’ve been close to a few really brilliant people who can’t get along with others. is it a choice? a gift? a curse?


“Poetry is never encoded–it is never a convert operation whose information is ciphered and must be deciphered–and yet it does incline toward self-concealment, insofar as it concentrates intently on what words conceal, or, to put it another way, on what language seeks to reveal. // It concentrates on the inside in an attempt to reverse the situation; to turn it inside out. // Every word carries a secret inside itself; it’s called etymology. // It is the DNA of a word.” Mary Ruefle, p91

Wikipedia Poem, No. 258

“Unvisited I do not live, I endure.” August Kleinzahler


or fall into the talk abroad
that corrupts the few poetic souls
who still sing in macbeth’s blood

or uncleave our township & turn toward
his broad blessings circled by mirth
this is allowed in god’s bready decoy

or hide the sea’s black-hair with no decoy
those who ask with a polite smile pass
pass this agony shell the nobleman’s security

or would noblemen decay ur-net-shops
over art-shops or habit-shops or per
animal-shops it is not to say for angels

or allow it to come by day these even angels
caught not under force this brother cool roots
such answerable litheness of a bitten minute-body

so at each erring my herein spaces out
the no-makeup joint rapt by vague angels
sort themselves for extermination up and in especially

sanguine of



“Urban life is dense and fast and requires flexible structures that can incorporate speed and information.”


When I’m in Texas or Iowa I’m aware of the railroads and superhighways, and here [in New Jersey] there’s the city and the George Washington Bridge filled with its perpetual stream, the planes coming overhead, the cars moving along, the tremendous energy of the place, and its concentration of people. Nothing is still here. It’s very dynamic. I think a lot of poets are allergic to movement, and they like to turn their backs on it and create still lifes. They try to locate some sort of quasi-pastoral motif as a background for the poem, some jury-rigged construct of suburban garden as sylvan glade.

Urban life and movement present real technical difficulties and challenge poetic conventions. Urban life is dense and fast and requires flexible structures that can incorporate speed and information. It’s tough to come up with a coherent, interesting structure. Most simply avoid the problem or take refuge in some rote “avant-garde” gesture like fridge-magnet indeterminism, i.e. spilling the language all over the floor and stomping on it like a three-year-old child.

August Kleinzahler, The Art of Poetry No. 93, The Paris Review, Fall 2007