Category Archives: Poetrylove

Parallels 14 – Piss, like Love

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’ happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’ help.

– excerpt from Charles Bukowski’s An Almost Made Up Poem, USA, sometime between 1960 and 1990


Karen, take me to the nearest famous city middle
Where they hang the lights
Where it’s random, and it’s common versus common
La di la
[repeat]

I have weird memories of you
Wearing long red socks and red shoes
I have weird memories
I have weird memories of you
Pissing in a sink, I think

I have weird memories of you
The National (lyrics Matt Berninger), City Middle, USA, 2005

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Love (27)

Just listen to this and read those beautiful lyrics.

Standing at the punch table swallowing punch
can’t pay attention to the sound of anyone
a little more stupid, a little more scared
every minute more unprepared

I made a mistake in my life today
everything I love gets lost in drawers
I want to start over, I want to be winning
way out of sync from the beginning

I wanna hurry home to you
put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain
god, I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it

Looking for somewhere to stand and stay
I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away
Can I get a minute of not being nervous
and not thinking of my dick
My leg is sparkles, my leg is pins
I better get my shit together, better gather my shit in
You could drive a car through my head in five minutes
from one side of it to the other

I wanna hurry home to you
put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain
god I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

The National/Matt Berninger, Slow Show, USA, 2007

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Love (25)

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’ all right,
go ahead, enter their lives, I’ not jealous
because we’ 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’ told
us, but listening to you I wasn’ 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’ mad but she’
magic. there’ 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’ happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’ 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, An Almost Made Up Poem, USA, can’t find the date, but common sense says it’s between 1960 and 1990.

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Parallels 12 – Wolves (1)

i.e., a mini collection of wolf references in Shakespeare, more to follow. I’m thinking of doing a series of Wolves posts, just like the one on Love, but I’ll see…

DROMIO OF SYRACUSE

No, he’s in Tartar limbo, worse than hell.
A devil in an everlasting garment hath him;
One whose hard heart is button’d up with steel;
A fiend, a fury, pitiless and rough;
A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff;

Comedy of Errors

PUCK

Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

PROSPERO

Thou best know’st
What torment I did find thee in; thy groans
Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts
Of ever angry bears: it was a torment
To lay upon the damn’d, which Sycorax
Could not again undo: it was mine art,
When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape
The pine and let thee out.

The Tempest

MACBETH

Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves, are clept
All by the name of dogs

MACBETH
Now o’er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder,
Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost.

Third Witch

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Macbeth (who would’ve thought)

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Love (23)

I´d like to say the fridge
was clean, but look at the rusty
streaks down the back wall
and the dusty brown pools
underneath the salad crisper.

And this is where I´ve lived
the past two weeks, since I was pulled
from the vegetable garden.
I´m wild for him: I want to stay crunchy
enough to madden his hard palate and his tongue,
every sensitive part inside his mouth.
But almost hour by hour now, it seems,
I can feel my outer leaves losing resistance,
as oxygen leaks in, water leaks out
and the same tendency creeps further
and further towards my heart.

Down here there´s not much action,
just me and another, even limper, lettuce
and half an onion. The door opens so many,
so many times a day, but he never opens
the salad drawer where I´m curled in a corner.

There´s an awful lot of meat. Strange cuts:
whole limbs with their grubby hair,
wings and thighs of large birds,
claws and beaks. New juice
gathers pungency as it rolls down
through the smelly strata of the refrigerator,
and drips on to our fading heads.

The thermostat is kept as low as it will go,
and when the weather changes
for the worse, what´s nearest
to the bottom of the fridge starts to freeze.
Three times we´ve had cold snaps,
and I´ve felt the terrifying pain
as ice crystals formed at my fringes.

Insulation isn´t everything in here:
you´ve got to relax into the cold,
let it in at every pore. It´s proper
for food preservation. But I heat up
again at the thought of him,
at the thought of mixing into one juice
with his saliva, of passing down his throat
and being ingested with the rest
into his body cells where I´ll learn
by osmosis another lovely version
of curl, then shrivel, then open again to desire.

Jo Shapcott, Vegetable Love, the UK, 1992

Maybe try reading Andrew Marvell’s ‘To his coy mistress’ for some sort of… intertextual background.

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Love (21)

It’s four in the morning, the end of december
I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better
New york is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on clinton street all through the evening.

I hear that you’re building your little house deep in the desert
You’re living for nothing now, I hope you’re keeping some kind of record.

Yes, and jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You’d been to the station to meet every train
And you came home without lili marlene

And you treated my woman to a flake of your life
And when she came back she was nobody’s wife.

Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth
One more thin gypsy thief
Well I see jane’s awake —

She sends her regards.
And what can I tell you my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you
I’m glad you stood in my way.

If you ever come by here, for jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried.

And jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear

— sincerely, L. Cohen
Leonard Cohen, Famous Blue Raincoat, the US, 1971

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See your eyes

The words are not what they seem they are smugglers of unknown lusts
They have set sail they have entered your veins
See your eyes now
The world that was yesterday drowned in your eyes
Now the visible is a vessel filled with new tensions
To be poured out into you
You must go with the birds on their reckless journeys
Across the forbidden territory
Metal
Stone
Ice
Respond to your touch like human skin

Listen
To your dreams
Where your soliloquies are conversations with a stranger
Where your hand moves and they are embers, seeds
Remaining there under your hand behind your back in the rooms of waking
And your deeds are terrible fruit to be plucked and forgotten
As the light
Finally enters you and only the outline remains
Around the void

The waterways of night
Great rivers canals to your heart
The enemy vessels are approaching
You have waited for them, the fires are flaring on the shore
The ports will welcome them, no one remembered to close the gates
Of the forts
Jubilant pennants still streaming in the square

And in the end
When all stand naked
Who is a stranger whom do you know in the multitude
You lose yourself
Look for yourself in the nearest embrace or pain or consolation at hand
Which is
Words
You hunt among words
Among
Your enemies.

Poem by Pentti Holappa, translated from Finnish by Anselm Hollo. Taken from ADAM International Review.
eyes

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