Sunday, October 16, 2011

Canteloupe

If you were here,
I would show you the canteloupe
that my grandmother never meant to grow.

It just showed up by the rose bushes,
like a mistake, some bastard child
that sprouted like an insatiable seed
thrown in with the compost

It took root,
and the canteloupe is no larger than a baseball,
the runt of the whole world's litter of fruit.

I would give it to you,
pass it into your hands, the way I do
with everything else. My feeble, crusted offerings:
striving for sweetness.

-Gillian Sze

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Further Postulation on the Violent Works of the Marquis de Sade

"My passions, concentrated on a single point, resemble the rays of a sun assembled by a magnifying glass: they immediately set fire to whatever object they find in their way."
-Marquis de Sade, Juliette

It's true, I loathe what you would have me love
and, in my loathing, goad your glee the more.
Marquis, my heart, the heart you'd have me have

takes pleasure from such crime there is no salve
to soothe it. Would you have me spell the gore?
It's true, I loathe what you would have me love.

Perhaps you'd like to know that, though we've lived
in such different times, there is no end to terror,
Marquis. My heart, the heart you'd have me have

erased, still quickens. Half the planet starves,
while half the planet fattens; we murder whores.
I can't help loathe what you would have me love:

a vision of the world so dark I'd crave
to be beathen so as not to see the stars.
Marquis, my heart, the heart you'd have me have

must never find its voice. We are not slaves
to vice as kindled wood is slave to fire.
Here is truth. I loathe what you would have me love,
Marquis. My heart can't be the heart you'd have me have.

-Elizabeth Bachinsky

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Postulation on the Violent Works of the Marquis de Sade

"I am said to have a hard heart, a very bad one
indeed; but is that fault really mine? or is it not
rather from Nature we have our vices as well as
our perfections?"
-Marquis de Sade, 120 Days of Sodom

Marquis, right now, a woman in Toronto
is pushing a length of pipe into a man
who is paying her to hate him. It's a strange
appropriation to finance a woman's hatred,
but it's also hard work to put a pipe inside
a man. After he's left her bachelor apartment,
she'll roll her drop sheet back and hose it down
in the tub. She'll peel away her tall plastic
boots and rub her calves. Her shoulders
and her jaw will be sore. She'll take a bath
and, afterwards, she'll make a pot of soup
and eat it while she watches HBO.

What's her transgression, or for that matter,
his? His torture's self-imposed; she'll spend time
in Venice for her holidays, get more time
off than a Safeway clerk will ever have.
It's too easy to call her a victim
and he her oppressor. His pleasure
and her commerce are entwined.
Perhaps it's preferable they marry
so she'll no longer require a paycheque,
but an allowance? This ain't the fifties,
man, though we've still got that atom bomb.
Imagine! That tool exists which, as you say,
"could so assail the sun to snatch it from
the universe and use that star to burn the world."

My terror is terror's ubiquity.
War: it's not murder, it's industry
and a pretty swell career besides.
Think of those sitting on death row
who await appointments with machines,
their last sensation that of a needle's
prick in the vein or a hand to secure
their restraints. It's no sweet sexual game
for the inmate or for the soldier who
might never know their killer's face but who
can put death on their calendar like a
holiday. There is difference between
what is real and what is fantasy.

Marquis, I see you in your cell;
it's cozy, despite the racket in the streets-
all around you, papers and books spread
open like mouths to mouth your fiction.
Outside, the revolution raves while you
have every comfort a man could desire
but freedom, yet there's more - even freedom
is a curse for you. Bourgeois, your own find
you reprehensible, and yet you are far
from a man of the people. Where does one
live when one fits nowhere but in fiction
and insanity? Even today
that's what we call our in-betweens: insane.
We give them lithium and bus passes and hope
they melt into the crowd. I think that, in my time,
you may have loved as you desired. That one
for whom your whip made passage through
the night? She lives, anticipates her agony
one blow at a time - and how she wears her stripes!
Such is the nature of our theatre, to paint
the coward's face with bravery, the bold pallid
with fear.

-Elizabeth Bachinsky

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Shark

In some quiet bay
or deserted inlet
he is waiting for me

It is noon
there is a stillness on water and land
as if some primal god is about to speak;
in the sky
not a single bird is to be seen flying

I shall swim out towards him
bringing him my incurable moral ache
and my cancered liver,
memories of women laughter Greek islands
griefs and humiliations I could find no words for

I want him to be black, wholly black
I want him to be famished and solitary
I want him to be quietly ready for me
as if he were the angel of death

The last thing I want my alive eyes
to behold before I close them forever
are his ripsaw teeth

-Irving Layton, 1974

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Horses of Bonavista

The horses of Bonavista pick their deliberate, delicate way
between sprawled stonepiles, graze between stone shelves.

Scrawny, shaggy, still dazed by the thin spring sunshine,
they ignore the elaborate, massive icebergs passing offshore.

The drifting crags, the lofted dazzle of antique ice, are common:
a great, green, summerspread maple might well spook them.

-Richard Outram

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Ideal Site for the Crime

I

To the child alive and well
caught up in her thoughts
obliquely
on this Monday with things to do
she heads toward the lot
where Sunday she'll be laid to rest

There is an evil person
who loves you
don't look now
he's coming from far away
to meet up with you
he knows
you're not afraid of him

His heart brand new
the brain eaten away
by twenty-five years of hatred
he's coming closer
a hero
for your calm youth

In exactly two days
you'll be cut to pieces
by an heroic double-edged sword
this is a first move
a prelude to love

a few little bites
in your life line and
the shattered membrane shocked
spurts forth
your thoughtful look
your joy no going back

uninterrupted cascade
all your blood
welling to the surface

II

To Tuesday's student
massacred Wednesday
buried Thursday

Don't stop to pick
the too red
December crocuses

There is a young man who loves you
clothed in white terror
Don't rush to meet him
Don't tremble when he sees you

He's only after dread
He has one desire only
to see pure terror
rise in your eyes

This young man is a flame-thrower
he will reduce you to ashes
before the day is out

He wants only
to catch your breath
between the pages of night
put it on the cross Friday
forget it Saturday
leafing through
the frozen specks of his
short memory

meanwhile your brief life
oozes like childhood
around the edge of your dreams
which he will have taken from you
without asking

III

To the young woman of the morning
who will be mowed down
at five in the evening
her place is marked already
under snow that flies up
behind her muted step

you will be carried to the earth
in a car like dark water
filed in thought
since the dawn of your meeting
among this scarlet week's
cut roses

There is a jackal who loves you
dangerously
He wants to touch your heart
and today makes ready
to riddle it with bullets

Yesterday he tried to close
the threshold of your flesh
with the iron padlock
of his iron love
and on your youthful body
like on an antique chest
he almost placed the seals

You are his shadow
cast for all eternity
no matter what

His fierce love
is phosphorescent
in the day's opaque light

It's you or him
It's your life against his
It's your heart against his

IV

To the schoolgirl of late morning
quietly writing
who will die a violent death
that afternoon
reciting
her adultered history lesson

Be careful
There is a boy who loves you
helplessly
You are in danger

He is born of man without end
born of haunted night
determined to destroy you
since your very first day

Your body
is the privileged portion of space
he chose
to annihilate
He gave himself the mission
to rid the species
of your tenacious existence

You are in danger
in your classroom
as the setting sun glints
off your cheek

He is the secret weapon
that bursts into the room
and before the blackboard
engineers
the fatal blow
the fall
for ever and ever

He forbids you ever
to go through this door
the way your brother can,
the heart beating

-Louky Bersianik

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Death Wish

Bury me anywhere,
Somwhere near a tree
Some place where a horse will graze
and gallop over me.
Bury me
Somewhere near a stream,
When she floods her banks
I'll give her thanks
For reaching out to me
In my childhood scene;
But please -
don't bury me
In Golders Green.

-Spike Milligan, Italy, 1944

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Pot of Red Lentils

simmers on the kitchen stove.
All afternoon dense kernels
surrender to the fertile
juices, their tender bellies
swelling with delight.

In the yard we plant
rhubarb, cauliflower, and artichokes,
cupping wet earth over tubers,
our labor the germ
of later sustenance and renewal.

Across the field the sound of a baby crying
as we carry in the last carrots,
whorls of butter lettuce,
a basket of red potatoes.

I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.

-Peter Pereira

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mote

When she turned her gaze upon me,
I was a mote of dust
caught in a beam of sunlight
I was huge and beautiful
and bright.

I laughed and danced
and shone.

And when she turned away,
a cloud moved across the sun
and I was extinguished.

-Keith Trim

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who Are We?

Into the past
I go like a stranger
to discover why at night
I lay alone as a child
waiting for the front door
to slam, my father gone
to night-shift work,
and my mother, Marie, to enter,
unable to sleep, and tell me
tales of childhood
war, pursued by those
who, as she spoke,
seemed to enter the room,
Gestapo men in leather coats
who ordered me to pack
and descend to a waiting truck,
for I am still going to Auschwitz
though a grown man in 1998
I am still boarding the freight,
crushed against numbed, frightened
Jews and Gypsies and Russian
soldiers and homosexuals
crossing frontiers to be gassed

I am her, in my heart,
though I am six feet two
and two hundred and ten pounds
and have played college football
and served as a soldier
and have scars from fights
with knives and jagged
bottles smashed on bars

I am still her, little girl,
hiding in chicken coops
and forests, asleep on dynamite
among partisans
I am still her, brushing teeth
with ashes
from the ruins of nations
gutted in war

I am still her brown eyes
and black hair of persecution
foraging scraps of thistle soup,
a star-shaped patch
sewn to my shirt

I am still my mother
every day in the streets
of New York or San Francisco,
the chimney skies glow and swirl
with soot like night above
a crematorium, or the Bronx
incinerator chute where I
threw out trash in a brick
darkness shooting sparks

I am still her in the streets
of Berkeley, walking among
sparechangers, dyed-hair punkers,
gays in stud leather, Blacks,
Mexicans and Asians

I am still her rounded up
among poets and thieves
and politically incorrect
social deviants
on sun-drenched sidewalks
in the Mission and the Haight,
Greenwich Village, the Lower
East Side, or anywhere the weird
congregate in tolerance

And every day in this age
of intolerance,
in a mental ghetto
affirmed by the homeless,
I pass the dying
with the loud ring of my boots,
ashamed to think that perhaps
my heels are the last thing
they heard
Every day I am a
survivor of AIDS and poverty

Every day I sit in cafes
watching tattoos turn to numbers
and I grow angry
I want America back
I want America to be
the home I never had

And you, who are you
if you hear my voice?
Who are you, stranger
if you read these words?

Who are we
who stand threatened
in these times of darkness?
Who are we, condemned to die,
who do not know ourselves
at all?

-Alan Kaufman
None of the poems posted on here were written by me, I simply choose poems that I like. Please check out my other blog, www.treestellstories.blogspot.com to view my own original poetry, as well as artwork, recipes, random musings and thoughts.

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