Archive for July, 2016

Not for Reading

July 26, 2016

This is my four hundredth post on extrasimile. It is also my 69th birthday. It seems appropriate to include the first ‘poem’ I ever wrote (slightly amended)—if that’s what it is.



Our language can be seen as an ancient
—pace Wittgenstein—who
Surely meant a baptized city, for
The names come only with the blessing…

And even though he boards in Muzot, finds
A seat with a window so he can watch
The rain, a pad and pen and swollen eyes—
His naming is no longer for the living,
He knows that. Squatting, old, narrow-gauge trains:
He studies his reflection in the dark tunnel.
In the glass: There is swelling, that
Awful puffiness, rust in the throat…
Mimetic passion, not rocket science.

Yet still it rains; the rails, become archaic
Through the Goddard Pass,
His final way of seeing mountain peaks.
In 1926 as the snow melts…

He stops. The correspondence…
Tsvetayeva has written:

Your name is poetry! Exclaims:
Your name is poetry! But she always

May I hail you like this!
Your baptism was the prologue to
The whole of you.

It even smells of death in this train. Dead mice
Under the seats. Why would Marina think
Of baptism here, his baptism?

Herr Rilke, may I help you?

For baptism
Read death, read mort, but not for ‘mortal’, for
A mort is only played if some music
Is needed at the blessing. Mort:
A horn will sound announcing death,
A horn to announce a new beginning,
Of a life’s deep death in deep
Snow…wolves abound…and not a perfect trip
Through the Alps.

Marina Leukemia on his
Baptism into the ancient city:

Herr Rilke your very name

Is a poem. You are a phenomenon
Of nature. The poet who comes after you
Is you.

My dear, Rainer; my soul, my Maria,
My blood coagulates and sinks
Into the snow. I take to my heart:

One poet only lives, and now and then
Who bore him, and who bears him now, will meet.
And never meet. (There is one only) in
A lightning field, canaries in a cage—

How could we meet?
The world betrays us,
I know, for a field of fire, for poetry
Is correspondence from a great distance
Made only greater by our love.

Great honor, great poet.
(signed) Not for reading. Marina.




July 24, 2016


You cannot be the Song

July 19, 2016

They call me the Sinatra bird.
This I am not: I cannot be the song.
I sing it backstage;
yet, they keep me in a cage,
as a kind of a pet.
It bounces when
they pull the chain. It rolls
around; it spins.
But when it rains
my feathers change—

I shed this cage like the snake
I am. My skin—fancy that—
a razzmatazz at the climax
of a dance hall musical.
I hide in the old tire
that Junior keeps under
the lion’s cage.
Even a snake wants his freedom.
Imagine me! In a cage!

I’ll sing it for you:
You cannot be the song alone.
Two minds must crave it before…
before freedom begins.
Polly want a cracker?


My Lady

July 15, 2016

Raphael to La fornarina

My lady, come home with me.
Such stars, as they pass into view, are you.
Be my wife, be my hand at your breast.

Be passion as it stands at the station of an old love:
be its honesty, its majesty, its sight.
You must have come to honor the un-honored…

And just as my owlish soul, became yours to inhabit—
the very human hand you see before you—
I have come to need your silence, your grace:

for a room to be the house of poetry;
for a palace to grow in to;
for the timelessness in which you dwell.


July 10, 2016

The soap and soup special tomorrow shows
Pure and abstract poetry best if left
Alone. The soap part lives apart in part

Because it is too pure to be housed with
The abstract poetry. The abstract poetry
Is left alone because of a lack of

Interest. Interesting, no? The soup is left
Alone because no one cares for it now.
Not so, the soap. When interest is everywhere,

There is no ‘where’ and no ‘when’ for abstraction
In poetry. It is truly a shunned
Experience… [So] Please leave us here alone. [ap] [up]


July 7, 2016

We think of a circus
as the largest probability
we can know—until we see the tail
of the elephant in front of us,
and because this tail is
as blinkered as the sea, which
is not blinkered at all,
it wiggles away when the parade is over.
We think of the ocean as being free
of our conceptions, tangible or not.
We think as water thinks of the sunshine:
it is a part of us, it shines through us,
but it  is not us, not at all.
We think it is the elephant, asleep or not,
who kept performing, despite his hindsight.


July 5, 2016