Abraham Lincoln, in 1824, Tries on Women’s Clothing and No One Bats a Lash

Wikipedia Poem, No. 616

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“If all this be not rebellion, I know not what to call it. I certainly regard it as sufficient legal cause for suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.” William W. Morris

gray to wear lipstick his mouth
he ate breakfast before lincoln wanted
to like to wear lipstick his mother wore
lincoln wanted to wish away war lincoln
wanted to like his mother school her
wear her caring peach lincoln wanted his mouth
to mother his mouth he watched her
thin serious mouth he wondered what
i could do for him and why she did
most mornings air on most mornings while
budget-bonded why she did it efficient
elegant wary to wear lipstick that
i could why all night she wears lipstick
his mouth he wondered while tightening the draw
strings of his small leather sack why
she did it freshly applied
she did it as commentary

Strange Candy

Wikipedia Poem, No. 613

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“Crack, crack, old ship! so long as thou crackest, thou holdest!” Melville

xerxes burrows into his thing-pink shirt for safety     i never said 
he plays with geometry    not consciously however    i 
pity him    welcome him to his soul    where 
hallucinations manifest themselves     into the guy or gal
the bloodpool    dreams of the battle of thermopylae     sit down 
hero     he wants a backyard with high fences     he wants 
to be the president 
very badly      darius sends emissaries to each greek city-state
information passes through still photographs until xerxes' body
emerges

 

To Think and Choose in America Now

Wikipedia Poem, No. 576

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“What can I do to myself? Bones / and dusty skin. Heavy eyes twisted / between the adequate thighs of all / humanity (a little h), strumming my head / for a living. Bankrupt utopia sez tell me / no utopias. I will not listen. (Except the raw wind / makes the hero’s eyes close, and the tears that come out / are real.” Amiri Baraka, 1964

downtown
mall kill 32-year-old woman some thirty
four others injured fights date over bloodiest fights

date over
bloodiest
city’s choice

remove
statue robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition

nineteen rally city’s choice remove
statue robert
e lee

nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen
rally city’s choice remove statue robert e lee

nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally
city’s

choice remove
statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan

demolition
nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue robert e lee nationalists no

plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s
choice remove

statue
robert e
lee

nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue robert e lee nationalists no

plan
demolition nineteen
rally city’s

choice
remove
statue robert

e lee nationalists
no
plan demolition

nineteen rally city’s choice remove statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally
city’s choice remove statue robert

e lee
nationalists no
plan demolition

nineteen
rally city’s downtown mall kill 32-year-old woman
some

thirty
four others
injuredition nineteen rally

city’s choice
remove statue robert e lee
nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally

city’s downtown mall
kill 32-year-old
woman some

thirty four
others
injuredition nineteen rally city’s choice remove

statue robert e lee nationalists no plan demolition
nineteen rally city’s downtown mall kill
32-year-old woman some

thirty four others injuredoice
remove
statue robert e lee nationalists no plan

demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert e
lee

nationalists
no plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert e

lee nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove

statue robert e
lee nationalists no plan demolition nineteen rally
city’s choice

remove statue robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s choice remove statue
robert

e
lee nationalists
no

plan demolition
nineteen rally city’s
choice remove statue

robert e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s choice
remove statue robert

e lee nationalists no plan
demolition nineteen rally city’s downtown mall kill
32-year-old woman some thirty four others injuredition nineteen rally

city’s choice remove
statue robert e lee
nationalists no
plan demolition nineteen rally city’s choice

remove
statue robert
e lee

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Sources: 

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, and Brian M. Rosenthal. “State of Emergency Declared in Charlottesville After Protests Turn Violent.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Aug. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.

Baraka, Amiri. “History as Process.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, Dec. 1964. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.

Family Happiness (Nondidactic)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 572

W572

“Overture of my voice like the flash of bats. / The hyena babble and apish libretto. // Piscine skin, unblinking eyes. / Sideshow invites foreigner with animal hide.” from Cathy Park Hong’s ‘Zoo’

they move today as was written   hold that sound
against one of

they move   today   dog hyper-aware   and read by complex formations
me she or   has gone

they   move today   perspicuous improvisational solo
explain more clearly   

they move   today it is being written   
hold it against one's   patience

they   move   today   for difference radiates 
one of us   curious dog

Hadrian’s Wall

Wikipedia Poem, No. 532

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If there were no metals, men would pass a horrible and wretched existence in the midst of wild beasts.” Georgius Agricola

of new obstacles take up or
pass
weak against surgery the leader says
he healths the senate on rest to dismantle
their bill pass it this weak vote on blood
a blood clot above a blood clot above a bill above blood
a timeless date for the rack precedes but without hadrian
clots above blood clots above a bill announce
the wall on a wall the party’s cherished goal
the signature says health
block
domestic care achieves what

Notes from an iPhone

Wikipedia Poem, No. 527

w527

“it is impossible not to hunger for eternity” Jorie Graham

men stand at car windows
knock on car windows
crystal stemware

in the lonely gardens of
masculinity crystal
stemware knocking watch

mediterranean men
stand watch stand
in the lonely

gardens
of skinny
mediterranean

men standing off
fingers off
antique replicas of skinny offers

skinny mediterranean
men stand at the skinny windshield
crystal stemware knock on car windows

crystal stemware knock
car windows and windshields
crystal stem knock car windows

crystal knock in car windows
crystal stemware knock the car
wind whip the window

crystals stemware
knocking
fingers

off antique
replicas of
masculinity

mediterranean
men men men
standing watch

in
the lonely
gardens

of skinny
mediterranean standards at car windows
dirty crystal

stemware knock
car
windows into begging

crystal
crystal
stemware knock knock

crystal car windows
crystal stemware
watch

in the lonely gardens of skinny
mediterranean men standing
fingers

off antique replicas of masculinity
poems?
his vicious

iron
hammer
bursting

watch
in the lonely gardens of
masculinity

his
vicious
iron hammer bursting car

windows
crystal
stemware knocking

watching
in the
lonely garden

“be frank (if you can’t be frank, be john and kenneth).”

be frank

From “The Last Avant-Garde” by David Lehman:

[Frank] O’Hara’s ironically self-deprecating tone was much imitated. “I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love,” he wrote. He kiddingly called his own poems “the by-product of exhibitionism” and wrote constantly about his daily life. It was O’Hara who initiated the policy of dropping names in his poems, a habit that became a New York School trademark. O’Hara peppered his work with references to his painter friends — [Jane] Freilicher, [Larry] Rivers, Mike Goldberg, Joan Mitchell, Norman Bluhm, Grace Hartigan, Al Leslie — with perfect indifference to whether readers would recognize their names. That indifference argued a certain confidence in the poet’s ability to make the details of his autobiography-in-progress so irresistible that the reader feels flattered to be regarded as the poet’s intimate. O’Hara s celebration of friendship in poetry represented an ideal that second-generation New York School poets, such as Bill Berkson, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Ron Padgett, and Anne Waldman, emulated in the 1960s. Everyone wanted to be, as [Ted] Berrigan put it, “perfectly frank.” James Schuyler has a marvelous rift in a letter to Berkson urging him to “be frank (if you can’t be frank, be john and kenneth). Say,” Schuyler continues, “maybe our friends’ names would make good verbs: to kenneth: emit a loud red noise; to ashbery- cast a sidewise salacious glance while holding a champagne glass by the stem; to kenward: glide from the room and not make waves; to brainard, give a broad and silent chuckle; to maehiz, shower with conversational spit drops–but I said friends, didn’t I–cancel the last. To berkson and to schuyler I leave to you.”

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Source: Lehman, David. The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets. New York: Doubleday, 1998, print, p. 73.

Poets Reading the News publishes ‘Agraphia’

Car5

“Car 5”

A great poetry website, Poets Reading The News, has published another one of my poems, Agraphia, along with one my recent photos, Car 5 (above).

I’m extraordinarily fond, and proud, of this poem. It’s about the way that war and violence affect one’s humanity.

It begins with a quote from Gabriele de’ Mussi, a historian of sorts, who gave one account of the beginning of the black plague in Europe in the mid-14th Century.

He tells of the siege on Kaffa (now known as Feodosia in Crimea) in which the Mongols launched the rotten flesh of their own sick and infected soldiers over the city walls in order to weaken the defending forces — an early version of biological warfare.

Please read and share it. You mean the world to me.

Thanks for being a part of this crazy project.

— Joe

“To Psychoanalysis” by Kenneth Koch

I took the Lexington Avenue subway
To arrive at you in your glory days
Of the Nineteen Fifties when we believed
That you could solve any problem
And I had nothing but disdain
For “self-analysis” “group analysis” “Jungian analysis”
“Adlerian analysis” the Karen Horney kind
All—other than you, pure Freudian type—
Despicable and never to be mine!
I would lie down according to your
Dictates but not go to sleep.
I would free-associate. I would say whatever
Came into my head. Great
Troops of animals floated through
And certain characters like Picasso and Einstein
Whatever came into my head or my heart
Through reading or thinking or talking
Came forward once again in you. I took voyages
Down deep unconscious rivers, fell through fields,
Cleft rocks, went on through hurricanes and volcanoes.
Ruined cities were as nothing to me
In my fantastic advancing. I recovered epochs,
Gold of former ages that melted in my hands
And became toothpaste or hazy vanished citadels. I dreamed
Exclusively for you. I was told not to make important decisions.
This was perfect. I never wanted to. On the Har-Tru surface of my emotions
Your ideas sank in so I could play again.
But something was happening. You gave me an ideal
Of conversation—entirely about me
But including almost everything else in the world.
But this wasn’t poetry it was something else.
After two years of spending time in you
Years in which I gave my best thoughts to you
And always felt you infiltrating and invigorating my feelings
Two years at five days a week, I had to give you up.
It wasn’t my idea. “I think you are nearly through,”
Dr. Loewenstein said. “You seem much better.” But, Light!
Comedy! Tragedy! Energy! Science! Balance! Breath!
I didn’t want to leave you. I cried. I sat up.
I stood up. I lay back down. I sat. I said
But I still get sore throats and have hay fever.
“And some day you are going to die. We can’t cure everything.”
Psychoanalysis! I stood up like someone covered with light
As with paint, and said Thank you.
It was only one moment in a life, my leaving you.
But once I walked out, I could never think of anything seriously
For fifteen years without also thinking of you. Now what have we become?
You look the same, but now you are a past You.
That’s Fifties clothing you’re wearing. You have some Fifties ideas
Left—about sex, for example. What shall we do? Go walking?
We’re liable to have a slightly frumpy look,
But probably no one will notice—another something I didn’t know then.

paculum-spec2-sm

Source:

Koch, Kenneth. The Collected Poems of Kenneth Koch. New York: Knopf, 2007. Print, p. 609.