Apokellipsis

Wikipedia Poem, No. 573

w573-sm

“Each eloquent spokesman // praised abnegations, offered transformation, even / ecstasies —; just renounce // sex, or food, or love.” Frank Bidart

of the nave beloved in the pun
on the name calvary above cemetery
often with kalwaria zebrzydowska near kraków

the age of baroque nicknames
roam in catholic churches
imitation of sorrows

john calva chews
roman catholic skoal
a golgotha apart

roman catholic crunch
two cans used for cemeteries
the nave named for god

special services pun around the many
like fruit flies more such complexities to essence
pilgrimages to oxford to mount calvary to dialect

calvary in the nave
beloved in the pun
the roman locks hands the cross

Schicchi, Capocchio and Torpedo Girl

Wikipedia Poem, No. 568

w568-sm

Americana in Sunset

“Having failed on two occasions to win the Prix de Rome (1848 and 1849), Bouguereau was hungry for revenge.”

in one show 
the graphic novel enters 
formation with 
the circle one cerchio yoshio sawai-published language

          by 
illustrations 
   self-referent 
   it is in it is it is it in is it

this botches innocence
innocent humor uses 
        puns the virgil 
        end up ended up one

allies rebels record players
fan formal teen girls beautiful
in the original japanese 
anime fiume flegetonte

Praise Uncontrollable Gruesome

Wikipedia Poem, No. 519

w519

“For either to have expressed desire, to have / reached, would have been to offer the object of desire // power. It could not be done.” Frank Bidart

let me tell you a secret:
i’ve discovered something
in the conveniences of
mass consequence to ensure
mine would continue to bear
neutral

green leather black light
pitches back
leather clutch discovers light black
leather
clutch discovers
something wild
rushing in
cow sacrifices its skin to ensure mine

the new world bears
a neutral green light black leather
rolls back

leather pitches back leatherette that
participation with the fender of
the sacrifices

of

the sun and squeezes
loud lives
conveniences of a motorcycle

what i mean to say is
the convenience of the barking
bike living alive and dies

leather
pitches backwards to
stay here

Did You Mean Más o Menos?

Wikipedia Poem, No. 510

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“How about an oak leaf / if you had to be a leaf?” James Schuyler

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looke with cd he was drette and t with charalled
him t to the ces at someke with chchelsea
where tth charles at some pll whetherr
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anded him he a lot of p
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anyboy up the point—he f
pharmacem went up r it’s suig
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he wtely smokiroom went ere they hoint—he toe
was lyin point—he ceuticals the day afe was
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i

From “On Motorcycles” by Frederick Seidel

gerace-honda-rebel-500

“On the lyrical state highways of Vermont I blatted and roared, up and down through the gears, at eighty, at a hundred and something, at much more than a hundred and something miles an hour. The motorcycle had a relatively long wheelbase and felt absolutely solid in a straight line, despite the shaft-drive, and steady enough in a turn, but not quick to turn and right itself. The bike was rather heavy, not deft and flickable, but it was wonderful to look at, wonderful to be on, wonderful to ride, a source of pride. The sound it made was magnificent. The feeling was of riding a powerful musical instrument. The hills echoed and the valleys lit up with my song. You used to be able to say of a motorcycle that it was on song when it was going full tilt in perfect tune and at the right revs just at the redline, the rpm limit for the motor. I was on song. I felt in tune, in love, so proud. It was late summer, almost fall. Pride goeth before the fall. Then I fell.

***

“I was rounding a turn on the MV at considerable speed when I had the only serious accident I have ever had. Years before, I had jumped the Triumph Metisse off the top of a rise, knowing I would land in sand, and curious to see if I could do it and keep going, but I was prepared to crash, and I crashed. That didn’t count. I may have been going eighty miles an hour on the MV when I realized I would not make it around the turn. I had a choice: I could throw the bike down on the highway or aim for the unplowed field straight ahead of me, as the road curved to the left. I chose the field and shot off the road and rode across the field with the bike upright, and then I hit a ditch, going quite fast still, and crashed. I was furious, embarrassed, outraged. My first act was to get the bike upright and try to start it. A passing state trooper was flagged down by someone who had seen me go off the road. The trooper was rushing a kidney-dialysis machine to another part of Vermont where it was needed in an emergency, and he certainly did not want to be held up, but when he looked at me he decided he had better get me to the nearby Ellsworth Clinic in Chester, where, when I walked in, I saw the blood drain from the face of the receptionist as she looked at me, and heard her insist to the trooper that I be rushed to Springfield Hospital. She obviously thought I had done terrible damage to myself and was about to go into shock. The trooper sped to Springfield with lights whirling and siren whooping. This same trooper was killed six months later in a high-speed crash. It turned out he had been reprimanded several times for his risk-addicted driving. At the hospital it was determined that I had broken three ribs, that was all.

“I had to explain this mortifying event to myself and to the world. When the wrecked motorcycle was examined, it was apparent that there was something not right about the foot pedal that operated the rear brake. The pedal swung loose, meaning it could move down from its position at rest but also it could move up—not normal, not desirable—and it was possible, perhaps likely, that this had been the state of affairs before the crash. A Vermont motorcycle dealer named Peter Pickett had driven down to JFK in his small red open-bed truck to pick up the MV after it cleared customs, and had taken it to Peru, Vermont, where my friend Jill Fox lived and where I spent a great deal of time. The crate was unloaded, opened, and set aside to be saved, it was so good-looking in its own right. The motorcycle, pretty much ready to be ridden, nevertheless had to be gone over to make sure everything was in order. I examined the front end while the back portion of the bike was checked by an experienced rider and sometime mechanic who lived in the village, not exactly a friend but someone friendly and eager to play a part. My immediate thought after crashing was that it couldn’t have been my fault, certainly couldn’t have been the result of my taking the wrong line in attempting to go through the corner, certainly couldn’t have been a case of not leaning the bike into the turn sufficiently because of the speed I was traveling, couldn’t have been the speed I was traveling stopping me from correctly managing the bike, couldn’t have been . . . and so forth. So it had to have been the consequence of the adjustments made to the rear brake pedal by the fellow who checked out the rear of the motorcycle. It suddenly was apparent that the lever controlling the rear brake had been set up in a manner that applied the brake when the pedal was pressed down, as is normal, or when the pedal swung up, when downward pressure was applied or when no pressure was applied, and the pedal was for whatever reason forced up, as when rounding a corner at great speed the centrifugal force pushed the lever up . . . and the back brake was applied without my foot touching the brake pedal. I believed this theory. I propounded it to all, grunting with pain from my broken ribs. I offer the theory to you now, dear reader. Believe me, that is how it happened. The brake was applied without my touching the pedal, the rear wheel locked, I felt it lock, felt that I could not possibly get around the turn, without knowing what exactly was the matter, and decided to go straight, into the field I saw there, straight ahead of me, and did so, dragging the locked rear wheel . . . and riding, if that is the right word, through the field might have made it to a safe upright stop if I had not come up against a ditch, almost a canal, too wide for the dead weight of the motorcycle to cross, and then BAM.

“For days, for months, I replayed the scene, explaining to myself what had happened, excusing myself. Anything to avoid thinking I had been an incompetent. And there is something else in this. There is a way in which feigning nearness to death risks death. Faking it at all well imitates real danger too faithfully and brings danger. I had gone into the turn too fast. I had not made it around the turn. I started playing down the danger I had put myself in and at the same time playing it up. Motorcycling is full of bravado and posing and the nearness of death. You pretend to be calmly, even coldly focused, when you ride, eyes everywhere, eyes on the job and immune to thoughts about risk. That is how one describes riding these fast motorcycles, except of course there is in addition the pleasure. You are riding beauty and you are riding speed and you are riding death. And it is a pleasure. But you offer yourself as a dashing devotee. You realize you are performing the role of yourself, and may be maimed out of existence as part of the act, as part of the character you are playing.

“The bike went back to Italy and returned, having had its bent and wounded parts rebuilt at great expense, with the latest disc brakes off the racing bike added. Again it was trucked to Vermont. It looked so glamorous. I rode it once, just to do it, like getting back on a horse that has thrown you. Eventually the MV was put on display at Luigi Chinetti’s Ferrari dealership in Greenwich, Connecticut, and was bought by a visiting English rare-car dealer to add jazz and romance to his personal collection.

“I had another shaft-drive bike at the time, the classic BMW 750cc opposed-cylinder twin, with its sober and good-looking black bodywork with white pinstripes. It was a touring bike, very comfortable and reliable, the latest version of the design in a long line of opposed twins the company had made. I rode it around Vermont, and then one day, with my young son behind me as my passenger, riding on a dirt road, I descended a very steep hill to get to the paved county road and went into a slide, a barely controlled slide down the hillside in the dirt, which I managed like a motocross racer, or a skier, touching the brakes once or twice only, and lightly, and driving safely away. That little hill thrill chill did it. Once home, I was ready to sell the bike and stop motorcycling for good.”

from “On Motorcycles” by Frederick Seidel

Denis Johnson (1949-2017)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 491

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“My office smells like a theory, but here one weeps / to see the goodness of the world laid bare / and rising with the government on its lips, / the alphabet congealing in the air / around our heads.” Denis Johnson

 

his lips laid
& rising with the warm
goodness of theory
there they wept rivers
over their alphabet
that would not congeal
despite
how grave their wound
who inter their gravity

Kino Sadamaru (1760-1841)

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Though this body, I know,
is a thing of no substance,
must it fade, alas,
so swiftly,
like a soundless fart?

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Source: Sato, Hiroaki, and Burton Watson. From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. Print.

Proof You Can Write A Poem You’ve Never Read (Basquiat)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 479

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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.” August Kleinzahler

painting of 
a face in a 
skull 
         brought $1105 million-plus 
      club in the work it 
        was 
taken the 
sixth 
        most 
  had 
        been guaranteed to buyer the 
shape 
of 
      a face 
   in the room on basquiat least for 
sotheby’s 
to make 
same 
least four bidders on 
   basquiat that’s not 
exactly a thrillionaire who over in 
       the 
sixth most had to buyer 
   the phones 
and important 
     painting bidders on basquiat’s 
not exactly a 
         thrillionaire who oversees japanese business 
developmentat 
sotheby’s 
to 
make oversees japanese business devel at sotheby’s 
in the first work ever sold at sotheby’s to become the shape of 
a skull brought 
$1105 million of a 
         skull 
         set an expensive 
   work ever 
in the first 
work 
         ever sold 
          at sotheby’s 
in the shape 
of a sales room said larry 
    warhol 
      it was yusaku 
         maezawa a japanese business 
development four bidders 
          on 
  basquiat the 
room punctuated but the 
work had 
been guaranteed to make oversees japanese business 
developmentfour bidders on 
      basquiat last four 
       bidders on the rarefied $100 million at the 
sixth most had 
        to see if i was 
         hunched oversees 
      japanese billion-plus 
     club in a skull set an artist beating 
bidders on basquiat collector i almost had to make oversees japanese 
    business 
development 
at sotheby’s in hong kong kong kong kong 
against 
      that’s vibranteed to sell brought $1105 million-plus club 
   in hong 
kong kong 
kong kong kong 
      kong kong 
    kong 
  kong kong kong kong kong 
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       kong kong kong kong kong 
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      kong kong kong

Handheld Halo (Drinks with Mitch)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 475

Mitch

“The Dark One threw me a glance like a dagger today. / Since that moment, I am insane; I can’t find my body.” Mirabai (trans. Robert Bly)

          drunking 
          out 
          pretty 
      along 
      the hand 

      scratching 

        out 
  pretty along the baptist?
    no is it 
krishna then?
is 
it 
mirabai 
or the baptist?
    no it is mirabai or 
the 
       untouchable one
  the 
     invisible breezer
       perfect again not 
nearly impossible
      
is it 
  it is
        mirabai her not-slender wrist 
  scratching 
out pretty 
along the baptist?
        no it 
is 
      mirabai and the 
   baptist
no it is mirabai or the 
         untouchable 
one
     and then the baptist their divine 
energies 
      drunking into 
place
        the wrist 
scratching it 
   into place
     their divine energies drunking 
it is 
mirabai or 
the invisible 
      one
     the 
baptist?
no it is krishna
is 
it blue-faced like st. john the baptised 
no is it placed
      into this divine energy
safely

 

Salty

Wikipedia Poem, No. 458

JMG_9196-sm

“Their bodies were dragged through the streets and covered in heaps of salt to underline the point.” Sarah Bakewell

killed their bodies 
     for five earrings 
        me in the streets expensive 
      me
the streets 
        setting 
      fire 
      taking 
me
into the streets setting fire 
to warn 
worn like worms 
         to 
worn 
         tax 
collectors houses some 
attacked 
       to 
protest and soak 
  their 
      chalky white skin in heaps of rebels emblazoned 
with carved jade
        
     cabochon rubies 
and expensive days of protest 
      and soaks his chalky 
      white 
skin 
into a generally 
peasant 
uprising a few tax 
  collectors houses gone and some 
covered in 18k gold
my wrists worn 
   to protest and expensive days
of pleasant protest