. . . it says:
I remember everything simultaneously:
Like the distant beam of a distant lighthouse,
I carry the universe before me
Like an easy burden on an outstretched palm,
And in the depths, mysteriously growing, is the seed
Of what is to come . . .

"Creation" by Anna Akhmatova (1889 - 1966), poet.

(via livingthinking)

Reblogged from Living Thinking
Tags: occult lit poetry
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931) - writer and poet.

(via livingthinking)

Reblogged from Living Thinking

Keeping Things Whole
by Mark Strand

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

Mark Strand, poet.

(via livingthinking)

Reblogged from Living Thinking

God Is The One Who Comes In The Night
To Slit The Throats of Those Who Long
To Slit The Throats of Horses

by Ben Lerner

When the secret you take to your grave
is a punchline, that is the punchline.
When they save you the trouble
that is the trouble. And when a starlet
likens a tear to a diamond
a starling smacks into her window. It isn’t
a starling. It’s a baseball. And I am the one
who threw it, a zero
just like my old man. Mother
try as she might, is dead. To settle her debts
I’ve missed meteor showers, trains
that might have kept my black and white dream
of a small parade from recurring. Something
like spume plastered her wig
the night she was hyphenated. The result
is this ursine mug I keep showing
all over our boomtown. ‘Nighttime
provides the radical interpretive charity
required to love you’ she told me
the morning they sent me to study
cigarette smoking with widows
at Casa Feliz. Whenever I drink
I remember the obese, eloquent
hooker they hired to teach
me to ash. Other than that
I recall only a sequence of pleasing
sensations resulting in scars
and suspension. If Doctor Boneshine
hadn’t converted my trendy hemorrhaging
into a profitable Rorschach industry
I would never have made it to Cali
in time for the ‘big one’: As I was tending
my crop of commas in the moonlight
a starling lit on the exposed nerve
they call my ‘tongue.’ It wasn’t
a starling. It was a locust
husked from the ‘Y’
in the Hollywood sign. Whether by fate
or design, my lung-shaped tent
collapsed into a dust that blanched
my hair. I swear I meant to share
the grain and grapeshot with my critical
companion, but my plot of turf
opened like a siren in the dark. Yes
her teeth were just so many sparks
against her scurvy blackened gums. Yes
her fingernails detached like plectra
from her slowly burning hands. But if
her heart became undisciplined
it was because no man competes
with sleep. I buried her beneath
sheaf of music. I wore my suit
of photographs. Her cenotaph
stuck to my sole like gum. ‘That
is gum,’ the thanatotic cobbler
deduced in his lugubrious bazaar.
Regardless, I admire from afar
how, in death, her breasts achieved
the heft she sought in life through surgery.
From my unauthorized autobiography:
‘It was raining gauntlets when I left
the marble canton of the favored sex.
I only took my dampened pack of fags
and six aesthetic principles of
silence. It was then I realized the American
is more of a practice than an essence
and hope’s maladaptive schema underpins
our every gesture west. Or something.’
Later, in Königsberg, as I sold
my bouquets of data door to door
I wondered if the frontier dreamt
itself. At night from my hotel
I’d watch the clippers hazard whitecaps
with sails so keen, so categorical
that my swank animism became
both a source of onus and of fame:
here I’m pictured with Herr Boneshine
on the cover of the Aufklärung Gazette
angling my martini toward Berlin
with fatidical abandon. If I sketched
the dialectic of a mushroom cloud
on a napkin back in disappearing ink
if I packed my starling-skin satchel
with charred books and gold teeth
if I gallivanted with the deaf
starlet of Prussian pornographic film
it was because as Professor Emeritus
of Silence, with my swollen technology
of quiet, I could detect the coming hush.
I remember how I used the ruts
the sun avoids and other metrics
to orient myself when I decamped
through the inverted forest. I hanged
myself repeatedly, but each
root failed to bear the deadweight of
my speech. My speech:
‘I discern no difference between pleasure
and reconnaissance, between the sensate mirror
and the pink cicatrix
called horizon. I have no memory of Reagan
but I recall the Reagan era films
with great precision:
how heroes’ reappearances are marked
by disrupted feasts. Villains
teach us how to put our dreams
to sleep, that many screens
ensconce a dearer screen
on which the cogitations of our pets
philander with an ease
our mentholated logic lacks.’ With that
I’d fix the perfumed noose, the root would snap
the laugh-track taped in labor-camps enwrap
the forest in a chorus of dark chortles. I take
that back: it was only I who laughed. I laughed
the laugh I save for crippled clowns
for Uncle Boneshine when he nearly drowned
in a puddle of vomit, in a thimble of light
the night we toasted our reunion
with absinthe in the cellar
of the Louvre. By then I’d proven
the danger of the fiction ‘innocence’
and so was delivered
from my penal tutelage
under Mrs. Meta-Hunger
into a more blue-blooded form
of penance: Vietnam. I peppered
the jungle and moved on
to less reflective surfaces, to bombs
so brief they constitute a flurry
not a blitz, not wars, but incidents
that nag like accents
at the singed end of the flag. If a fist
can’t both be tender and be black
it’s no mystery why the majority
of stillborns still prefers
white dolls. In my heart’s damp stalls
I knew that it was wrong
to lynch, even in effigy
but the very verb made birch boughs flinch
and made the granite sheriff drag
my pond. From my nuptial sod
I read the night sky’s fiery errata. I belonged
I thought, as much as any absence
can belong, to the unspeakable
parking lot of God. ‘Beyond
the future,’ I was fond
of saying to my bitches
‘lies another past in which
you costarred.’ Armed with this
theodicy they learned to work hard
harvesting dice and leeches
from the bone yard. To retard
one’s growth is not a question
I then believed, of morals
but to retard the growth
of autonomous hormones
implicates the Law
of Phosphor: ‘What glows, glows
by grubbing on the difference
at the heart of difference
on the delicate velvet guts
of coffin pillows.’ So billowed
my sense of beauty became silly
dangerous, I drew
attention to attention, drew
rumors from mattresses, and drew
the precious final decibel from schools
of bullshit, schools of brass
impregnating what I painted
and painting mainly portraits
of myself. This spelled
the death of the ‘original’
spelled it in Braille
the only alphabet that doesn’t
echo, doesn’t spill. Around this time
ignorance was first described
as a veil, which implied
that it was bridal wear. Accordingly
I divorced Mademoiselle
Boneshine and prepared to wed
my own elephantine head. Vegas spread
out before us like the mindscape
of a child murderer. We abjured
and corked our phalli in the Elastic Chapel
prayed for the sublimation of the egg
then exchanged our golden staples
and our vows. ‘Do you, Saint
Silence, promise to undergo
continuous deformation
without rupture?’ ‘Do you
fungal, liberated pate, promise to resist
the temptation to imagine the terminus
of imagination?’ We did. The stuttering
priest pronounced us univocal
and my husband kissed a negative
of his lips. But when, that night
my paper hymen ripped
the faggot fainted at the very sight
of ink. They displayed our blotted sheets
in the casino lobby while I played the slot
machines. Of all possible jackpots
I won a heap of miniature slot
machines. Needless to say
I went ballistic, plunking fetal starlings
into coin-holes, ‘winning’
ever tinnier starlings, which I stuffed
into my satchel and took off
for Argentina, land of émigré
war criminals in adult diapers, land of lost
fulcra, where comets track
the night sky with ellipses. In those days
before public spectacles were perilous
they’d bathe the streets
in ketchup, limelight, anything playful
once a month. I know some people claim
to have seen blood, searchlights
but I myself rehearsed
the confabs that they’ve since dubbed
massacres. August evenings I would roll
Obersturmbannfuehrer Boneshine
to the plaza in his wheelchair
so he could bet on cockfights and down jugs
of blackened wine. With what pomp
his death arrived! svelte, tuxedoed, blondes
on both arms, bejeweled stopwatches dangling
from his belt loops. He carried a hunting crop
rigged with an 4 shaped lash. I reckoned that
was hackneyed but I held
my tongue and watched him husk
mine Boneshine’s dome. Beneath his face
there was, praise God, another visage
this one sentimental
and nothing, I mean nothing, frustrates death
like simulacra. How this relates
to the extra-textual
to the abyss between the labial
tissue of signs, was the riddle
that I pondered as I biked
across the blasted gaucho country
where hornets stung the other hornets only
and where, beyond the field, objects were slowly
coming into focus out of view. I never knew
that the opposite of ‘true’
was ‘corporeal’ in auctorial
cultures. As a result, I was deported
for claiming to have tongued
the governor’s furred lacuna. Among
the thirteen forms of exile
to be banished from the dreams of mustangs
is most cruel, but to be ejected
from the very stars that image you
is more disorienting. I moved
to New York but New York had moved
to Boca. Umbrellas opened
somewhere on the margins
of my future, maybe graveside
so I quit smoking, hoping
to inseminate myself by breathing only
jasmine and the fissile fumes
of glue. Whatever logic grew
inside my logic soon
outgrew it, causing me to vomit
the tufts of effervescent cilia
they call music. Like all my gifts
I learned to abuse it
traveling around the south and getting paid
to swallow okra and regurgitate
Wagner. I pitched Wagner
like a parasol of pain
over the Appalachian graves
of bloodhounds, their disembodied
sense of smell flushing the game
from chestnut thickets
flushing out the ducks that nested under
duck blinds, flushing starlings
from the silver manes of mustangs
mustangs I would dream
insure, and burn, dream
insure, and burn until I’d filled
my mattress with the cash
their ashes fetched. The funny thing
is that I couldn’t shed the stench
of burnt steed, no matter if I bathed
in moonlight or the gasoline
it rained all May. It’s been suggested
that this is why I stayed
despite the brisk approach of hurricane
Boneshine, that the reek
embarrassed me, it’s been suggested
that they identified
my body by the smell. I believed
that the children were taller than the poplars
in hell, but no amount of reading could prepare
me for their vacant orbits or gray hair. To tell
what I saw there requires blinding
the reader, requires that I line
the reader’s womb with billiard felt: I felt
the shadows in my mouth foreclose
my tongue. Death has skunked
enough mnemonics one would think
that a single spontaneous technique
snared in cerebral mud would lend
credence to our blueprints and the ginthinned ototoxic blooms confused
for song. But the motile poles of love
aren’t long enough to probe
the inviolate anus of the lord. Not lust
but phototaxis damns
the pliant to the second circle
where proximity to limbo
accents Paolo’s madcap spooning
of Francesca. The corpora
callosa bridge each nervous annulus
until the core
curricula of underworlds
adorn the heavens’ hemispheres with scores
of jacklights. And there
where angels meal
on the rinds of night the shades discard
He naps. Where the syntax
of the sand suggests
a more responsible paralysis
He suns. And where the unborn long
for the garden of longing
He puns his teeth into a powder
they can sniff. ‘If language
is a function of the fall
then what the fuck is this,’ I questioned
tugging at my nametag. He claimed
it was the foreskin of the soul. ‘If only
the enraptured aspect’s legible
than how can you decode
and sort a corpse?’ He explained
the holy choreography of rigor
mortis. I guess I stored
the lexemes that He shat
inside my skull, because
when I awakened I was full
of shit the sacerdotal
bureau of the hospital
was eager to procure and expurgate
before my transfer to the leftist
wing. Rabbi Boneshine
helped me edit dreams
I had of my pet starling
barking up a cross
of pork. Medication? Mainly
just for sport: I’d harvest gellcaps
from the orchard of shakes
and snipe arboreal tremens
with my 12-step gauge.
When our ward staged
Eichmann in Jerusalem
as our summer play
I was chosen to portray
Jerusalem. My monologue
concluded: ‘Even the antebellum
firmament was spanned
by turnpikes of cloud
by charcoal nimbostrati that appeared
to pipe the Nile’s bile back and forth
between the mouths of hostages
like prayer. To build a ventilated temple
or replace the linen tallisim with mesh
requires that the rabbinate invest
in the lipstick hives of jezebels or sell
my onyx prepuce to the Muslims. Perhaps
my father’s abusive use of
pronouns helps explain
the generic nature of my pain. Even now
a hundred years after the wan
mustachioed philologist proclaimed
His death, His name remains
unspeakable, the sacred
caesura of the West.’ Our success
led to tours of choicer clinics
where Gucci glasses
corrected patients’ parallaxes
by refracting every theory through the praxis
of the spleen. In the Chateaux 1963
a home for those with infirm temporal lobes
each night’s production
was interrupted when the lone
gunman Boneshine picked off schizos
claiming to be president.
It was there that I developed
the dramaturgical technique
of presenting all my dreams with actors deep
themselves, in dream. Because Americans believe
nictitation presages our decease
Broadway fancied the unblinking eyes
I painted on my troupers’ lids to be
worthy of the theater’s highest honor:
a new TV. From my acceptance speech:
‘To dream within a play about a dream
is to fulfill the mind’s jealous fantasy
about the muscles. And of my muscles
I would like to thank these three:
the erratic contractile fibers in my lips
that opportunely limited the scolding
I delivered like a pizza to the angel
Gabriel, whom I mistook in Munich
for a mirror; the oneiric pump
fastened to my liver
that has rushed a certain carbonated serum
to my heart in times of need; and the wreath
of stretch receptors in my retina
that distends my field of vision like a snake jaw
when I spray for rabid starlings in my coppice
of radical signs. Least of all
I’d like to thank my dad
for lowering his anchor in mom’s black
magician’s hat. To commemorate her suicide
I’m expunging every vowel
from my bad name.’ The resulting
cognomen could not be uttered
except by dashboard statuettes of Cyril
so I assumed and patented
the acronym ‘TM’™. Suspicion
that my name had been ‘The Man’
caused me trouble everywhere
save Washington, where I sipped rum
and serotonin stolen from the bar
association. Sundays I would stroll
across the mall, ogling the state fata
morgana and the digital memorials
for Mammon. To disarm
my drunken declamations
I donned habits of corrective glass
designed to resize and hide
my penetralia. Nevertheless, good old boys
dipped their brandy soaked cigars
into my mind, enkindling my archive
of centerfolds, leaving me devoid
of nude platonic models at the time
I needed them the most:
my Bar Mitzvah. At my Bat Mitzvah
my water broke
across the bema in mid-chant. I claimed
my soul decanted, but the cantor
began to sing the Kaddish. If I had one wish
I would bring that tiny baby back
further back than birth, back before the first
single-cell starlings stirred
in the primordium, back before
on account of love, the earth
began to die. I scattered half
the fetus’s minim of ash
over my train set’s plastic tracks
and half among the actual tracks of bone
that decussate the volkloser Raum
where nursing mercenaries roam
the steppes in party hats. I grew old again
this time by picturing a zephyr
of blood drifting over the grasslands
detaching the eyelashes of children
the abdomens of lightning bugs, the bulbs
of porch lights and onions. Hovering above
the silos and grammarians, I watched
a crimson drizzle delay
little-league games, stain and animate
cash crops, which began to fuck
and faint in the fields below. What can I say
if my lumbering brain conjured
Rio Boneshine, rapid of platelets
to carry away my salad days? What can I say
if the bladders of housewives
were heavy with pearls? Can I say
when I unhooked the orphan’s bra
beneath the stars I found
another bra, that when we touched
we touched under the supervision
of the water? Not according to the jury
that sentenced me to be
her father, a sentence they suspended
above me like a halo
of vultures. I was expected to peel
the foil from her baked potatoes
but not to scan her glyptographic
pubes. I was entrusted
with her education
but told I couldn’t use
the nominative, velvet case in which
my swabs of pollen grew
into high cultures. Her chores were
few but formal. I requested that she light
the back deck’s potted fraxinella
in her sleep, dance the ignis fatuus
for my buddies, take her lignin pills
with breakfast, and dehisce
on camera when she reached
maturity. Instead she pissed
all over me, pissed long
and thoughtfully, until my screen
memories dissolved from the acidity
revealing scenes of boredom so extreme
my psyche had supplied the sequences
of images called ‘history.’ Believe you me
I wanted experience to be criterial
to store humiliations in the humidor
of the subconscious and to sell them
to the barbate pre-pubescents
of Topeka. But how could I be sure
if it was my dream
from which I was awakening
and not a dream that I’d first seen
some rheumy starlet in a movie dream?
Or in a movie about the making of that movie?

— Ben Lerner.  ”God Is The One Who Comes In The Night To Slit The Throats of   Those Who Long To Slit The Throats of Horses”
Tags: poetry lit
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
And he whose heart beats quickest lives the longest:
Lives in one hour more than in years do some
Whose fat blood sleeps as it slips along their veins.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end,
Beginning, mean, and end to all things — God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.

Phillip James Bailey (1816 - 1902), poet and mystic.

Bailey was known mostly for his epic poem, Festus, which is about the angelic hierarchies, God, etc.  He’s all-but forgotten now.


(via livingthinking)

Reblogged from Living Thinking
Tags: occult poetry
If I eat one more piece of pie, I’ll die!
If I can’t have one more piece of pie, I’ll die!
So since it’s all decided I must die,
I might as well have one more piece of pie.
Chomp — Gulp — ‘Bye.
— Shel Silverstein, “The Pie Problem” (aka Happy Thanksgiving everyone!)
Tags: lit books poetry