Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hail & Farewell

Many thanks go to Wendy Battin for seeing us through
May. At the wheel for June is Frank Parker.

¡Buen viaje, Frank.!

Donkey Muse 2, and farewell

So the Muse is Beatrice. The Muse is a donkey. Not the beloved person but the beloved beast, intransigent. The beloved is wholly human, or wholly cat or ocean. The Muse is form and the struggle to incarnate. Think of the souls in the Bardo, desperate to be born: you want to tell them, "No, don't. Not those parents. Not that time or place." As if any time or place is kinder than another. Blake's Thel knew it. But here we are, the rest of us, in bodies ourselves, needing to make bodies for the ghosts inside us. The chune in the head or the jar in Tennessee, its doesn't matter, as long as you get it out of the head, as long as you find a hill to set it on. Even pneumonia, that fogged my mind so much the only body I could give it was a cage of rhyme.

It's the end of May, so I pass the wheel to the next Trucker, having covered so few miles myself. Perhaps it's the beginning of Might or Shall, some other month less tentative than this one.

May you all be happy and free.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Donkey Muse, part 1

Beso the Donkey, by Richard Jarrette (Michigan State U. Press, 2010)
It was said of Cezanne
that he could look at things like a dog
("Cezanne and Beso")

It would be easy to say too much about this spare book, to quote and quote until the dance dissolved in notation. All you really need to know is this, from the title poem:

You could almost believe that a rock
to eat, dust to drink,
are all that he needs.
You would be more wrong
than the one who named him Beso
thinking that the kiss he gave
for a sliver of apple
was love.

This is the donkey muse: his name spoken in every title of 71 poems, a beast made of words whose weather is Sappho and Pound, Merwin and Rilke. Each rain or wind that touches him gives him more stubborn body, delineates four hooves, scarred haunches, his unknowable being. I want to tell what happens when "Beso Stomps," or how he is Pavarotti--not how you think--and Abraham Lincoln, but better to read Jarrette's book whole. He's answered my questions about the Muse, for the moment at least:

I set my chessmen on the ocean
replacing each one as it sinks.
I have many.
--"The Real Beso"

Sunday, May 22, 2011


that these posts are upside down, but can't be read bottom to top.


The muse who breaks one egg in every carton.
The muse of sore hip and morning limp.
The muse of Beso the Donkey, whose song is coming,
and of the onion sandwich, may they sing off
key or on, for nothing is worth saying and the nothing is.

Ill and Well

Beware of dissipating your powers; strive constantly to concentrate them. Genius thinks it can do whatever it sees others doing, but is sure to repent of every ill-judged outlay.
-- Goethe

Viruses, bugs, age, grief, broken bones, all insults to work, but we agree to be insulted, yes? No ego, no insult. Let it go. The muse of daily life who pays the taxes, the muse of distraction, the muse of sleepless nights, the muse of dulled mind: new temples for each. The muse of pink pollen painting the streets. The muse of taking the cat to the vet. The muse of surrender. The muse of energy wasted and the muse that fills the void. A modest temple for each, made of driftwood and broken railroad ties.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Muse according to Google

Recovering, browsing.

The lie, as a virtue, a principle, is eternal; the lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend is immortal” Twain

“Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction,- a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse”


Skiing on Parnassus--the billboard

It is Greece, after all, and I have drunk from their spring, which has been provided with taps for the thirsty tourist poets. I lined up with the students and I took my swig. Too easy, the expensive parkas of Europe schussing down the body of myth

the Muse of course fixates on that odd word "skiing," those two 'i's so wrong and inecapable. Ski-ing.

Ski...ing. Parnassus won't do, a word with unbearable baggage. --me

"The Earth would die if the sun stopped kissing her."


Monday, May 9, 2011

Walking Pneumonia

The sun is dim, despite
its being full and bright,
and does not touch the skin.
Know the body burns within.
Know the body is a cage
age catches mind in. Arms
around the body, just imagine.