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The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Poem By and To My One True Love About the Floors in Our New House

First you wrote to me
via email: It was dark
So I couldn't see too well
But the floors looked good
As far as I could tell

And then I realized one more
Good thing about Lilac Corners
Is that we've lived together there
So happily you're starting
To rhyme just like me
Whether or not you intend it
That's married life

Together we live in splendor
Somewhere above the poverty line
And beneath the cut off
For Dynasty style wealth

Sunday, January 29, 2012

About The Tang Aesthetic

There's something important

About Tang poetry that sometimes

Gets overlooked or confused

With the Zen idea of

Living in the moment

I'm thinking about the poet’s

Use of direct address

Speaking personally

Though in regulated style

And neither is it labored

As is the diction of us moderns

When we wax poetic

It's stream of consciousness

Organized line by line

With courtly style and flair

Gan Yu -- After Visiting the Kimbroughs

Reality’s texture

Is much more subtle

Than you think

Providing revelations that

Reverberate long after

The first encounter

Thus I always try

To keep an open mind

While I'm wandering around New York

And even with my inner eye

Quivering and alert

I'm still searching

For a proper guide

To help me navigate

These more serpentine streets

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Speaking of long poems

Speaking of long poems, here it is, first digital edition of Chapter One. My very best wishes to Lan Hua on what he has so far completed and all the work still left to be done:


A New Beginning

This is a poem I wrote this afternoon on my way from Pret A Manger into Staples to buy a new notebook. I really like it and may want to use it as I think it might the great beginning of a longer poem.

Like a piece of fruit

At the supermarket

With a bite already

Taken out

This notebook was

Written in before it

Was bought at the

Neighborhood Staples

And thus it starts with

A story already in motion

Before the Poet even had a chance

To make a proper introduction

He must be begging your pardon

For attending to certain

Exigencies first

But Enlightenment comes suddenly

And without warning

And if you happen to be caught


Without a notebook

In your pocket

I can only hope

You will be lucky

To find a Staples close enough at hand

To renew your supplies

Without letting slip

The opportunity

Of writing everything down

Realizing that failure to act quickly

Will doom your next Iliad

To an early oblivion

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For a Better Understanding of the Common Origin of Love and Sorrow

The Chinese words
For love and sorrow
Consist of the same sound "ai"

But love is pronounced
With a falling intonation
And sorrow is pronounced
With a high pitch
In a straight line

It's the same sound "ai"
With a common point of origin
In one case it falls
With the gentleness of a lover's sigh
Whereas in the other
It persists with lament
Like a high pitched whine

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Writing a Long Poem

after a productive day spent with Richard Musto

Because writing a long poem

Sometimes feels like

You are scraping a pen

Along your innards

It really does proceed

At such a dreadful slow pace

Line by line and

Stanza by stanza

It must attain

Verticality and mass

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Something Unseemly

There’s something unseemly

About my new day job

Doing precisely

What it is

I most

Want and


By which I mean to say

In order to succeed

As a post-modernist poet

I must always


That many things

Including words

Are never quite

What they seem

Thus departing

From the world

Of mere appearance

And no matter the origin

I must cleave the root and

Try to find new meaning

Unseemly though it may be

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Theory and Praxis of Subscription Verse

My guess is that

If Proust was alive

And writing today

He would have

His very own Pod cast

I’ll bet you he would

I mean what better way

Is there to manage

All that endless badinage

About Madeleines

But what means of

Broadcast do you think

Would be most suitable

For an intermittent

And outcast poet

Such as me

Twitter I’m afraid

Just won’t do

And neither will

An email blast

Since in either case there’s nothing

Lasting about the impression being made

With the simple resort

Merely to click and send

Destiny accumulates slowly

As a tortoise builds its shell

So Cang Jie invented the scrivener's art

And I may learn it just as well

And here is the final stanza of the poem

as I have translated it into Chinese:

慢 慢 的 来

建 外 壳

相 同 方 式

仓 颉 会 写

也 我 可 学

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My New Marketing Plan -- 2012 Edition

Quite suddenly today

It all became clear

By which I mean to say

The general outline

Of this year’s revised

Marketing plan

With the outcome

Of things on planet Earth

Looking conjectural

By which I mean to say

Highly uncertain

From the market’s wild

Gyrations to the climate’s

Own tendency to greater

Extremes we seem intent upon

Creating such a deep market in

Extinction theories

But I remain resolute

In the commitment

To more and better

Tomorrows given the very

Form and substance of

My new marketing plan

You see

This year I am undertaking

The wholesale adoption

Of a subscription business model

Through which I seek to extract

Your commitment to stay with me

For at least one or two seasons

Of further tomorrows

With better rhymes

Still to come

So please click here if you wish

To receive the final stanza

Of this not quite complete

Subscription verse