March Poems

The Voices*


by Maryclaire Wellinger


(for Doug)

Do the opposite

of what the voices tell you.

They come from people,

                        spirits who have died.


Some are still alive

and they will grow weaker;

sooner or later

                        they will give up.


You think they are devices

      implanted in your head

      by someone,       a god?

                        They are not.


How do I know?

I was born with

insight and wisdom,

wisdom and insight.


The charismatics think you grow

      into this,

      but I was born this way.


The universe does end,

      it is not infinite --


      but is shaped like a half moon

      with a black hole

      moving through it in the middle

and we are moving

                              through it.


The stars were made

      when a lightning bolt

      kissed a whisper,

      creating all those bright stars,

                              so many.


Maybe the voices are from God.


*This is a "found poem", heard and transcribed by myself in 1993 when I worked as a "counselor" at a residence for the "mentally ill", men and women diagnosed as psychotic and/or schizophrenic, in Lynn, Massachusetts. Doug's illness was caused by brain damage from a serious auto accident.  His intelligence and charisma were dramatically apparent when I heard him lead a discussion around the diningroom table -- about the origin of "the voices" everyone heard.  I have transcribed his words exactly and the words took the form of this poem. m-c.



A Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke*
translated by Susanne Dubroff in 1987
God only speaks to you before he makes you,
then he leads you quietly out of the night.
But the words as you begin,
the cloudy words are:
Emerge from your sense, go
to the farthest edge of your longing,
clothe me.
Be a fire behind things
so that their great shadows
envelop me.
Let everything happen:  beauty, terror.
Simply walk:  all feeling near.
Don't allow yourself to leave me.
The land they call Life
is close by.
You will know it
by its heaviness.
Give me your hand.
*Published in the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Spring 1999.



by Diane di Prima

You cannot write a single line w/out a cosmology
a cosmogony
laid out, before all eyes

there is no part of yourself you can separate out
saying, this is memory, this is sensation
this is the work I care about, this is how I
make a living

it is whole, it is a whole, it always was whole
you do not "make" it so
there is nothing to integrate, you are a presence
you are an appendage of the work, the work stems from
hangs from the heaven you create

every man / every woman carries a firmament inside
& the stars in it are not the stars in the sky

w/out imagination there is no memory
w/out imagination there is no sensation
w/out imagination there is no will, desire

history is a living weapon in yr hand
& you have imagined it, it is thus that you
"find out for yourself"
history is the dream of what can be, it is
the relation between things in a continuum

of imagination
what you find out for yourself is what you select
out of an infinite sea of possibility
no one can inhabit yr world

yet it is not lonely,
the ground of imagination is fearlessness
discourse is video tape of a movie of a shadow play
but the puppets are in yr hand
your counters in a multidimensional chess
which is divination
& strategy

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.

the ultimate famine is the starvation
of the imagination

it is death to be sure, but the undead
seek to inhabit someone else's world

the ultimate claustrophobia is the syllogism
the ultimate claustrophobia is "it all adds up"
nothing adds up & nothing stands in for
anything else



There is no way out of a spiritual battle
There is no way you can avoid taking sides
There is no way you can not have a poetics
no matter what you do: plumber, baker, teacher

you do it in the consciousness of making
or not making yr world
you have a poetics: you step into the world
like a suit of readymade clothes

or you etch in light
your firmament spills into the shape of your room
the shape of the poem, of yr body, of yr loves

A woman's life / a man's life is an allegory

Dig it

There is no way out of the spiritual battle
the war is the war against the imagination
you can't sign up as a conscientious objector

the war of the worlds hangs here, right now, in the balance
it is a war for this world, to keep it
a vale of soul-making

the taste in all our mouths is the taste of power
and it is bitter as death

bring yr self home to yrself, enter the garden
the guy at the gate w/ the flaming sword is yrself

the war is the war for the human imagination
and no one can fight it but you/ & no one can fight it for you

The imagination is not only holy, it is precise
it is not only fierce, it is practical
men die everyday for the lack of it,
it is vast & elegant

intellectus means "light of the mind"
it is not discourse it is not even language
the inner sun

the polis is constellated around the sun
the fire is central



"Eat at O's:  A Portrait of Charles Olson"
by Mark Fisher       March, 2003

War on the Mind in a Time of Love
by Charles Olson
quartermasters and filibusterers
was the beginning
of the new
and all those who heark back
to a better time
ought to get out,they'll never
make it
Now this doesn't mean
one has to put up with
the present, clearly
the successors
of the quartermasters and the filibusters
ain't anything, they're
worse, they're
out the other side, gone
beyond. They make nothing,
and much of it.  They sell
what you quickly
can't make use of (a lady
naked on a horse,
a child
makiing connections,
a tree
stripped of leaves
will overcome
the attention,     leisure
can't be filled
with art
Traffic managers
have no desire


"Pollen" by Gary Snyder

POLLEN. California, PA: the unspeakable visions of the individual, 1986. FIRST EDITION. Fine. Rare broadside postcard poem by Gary Snyder  issued in a limited edition by Arthur Knight. Printed on both sides.


Stars wheel in purple
 by H.D.
 Stars wheel in purple, yours is not so rare
as Hesperus, nor yet so great a star
as bright Aldeboran or Sirius,
nor yet the stained and brilliant one of War;

stars turn in purple, glorious to the sight;
yours is not gracious as the Pleiads are
nor as Orion's sapphires, luminous;

yet disenchanted, cold, imperious face,
when all the others blighted, reel and fall,
your star, steel-set, keeps lone and frigid tryst
to freighted ships, baffled in wind and blast.

Copyright © 1982 by the Estate of Hilda Doolittle. Used with permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this poem may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher.


by H.D.
You are as gold
as the half-ripe grain
that merges to gold again,
as white as the white rain
that beats through
the half-opened flowers
of the great flower tufts
thick on the black limbs
of an Illyrian apple bough.

  Can honey distill such fragrance
As your bright hairó
For your face is as fair as rain,
  yet as rain that lies clear
  on white honey-comb,
lends radiance to the white wax,
so your hair on your brow
casts light for a shadow.


My Lover's Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun

by Diane di Prima

for Sheppard

These eyes are amber, they
have no pupils, they are filled
w/a blue light (fire).
They are the eyes of gods
the eyes of insects, straying
godmen of the galaxy, metallic
Those eyes were green
are still, sea green, or grey
their light
less defined. These sea-green
eyes spin dreams on the
palpable air. They are not yrs
or mine. It is as if the dead
saw thru our eyes, other for a moment
borrowed these windows, gazing.
We keep still. It is as if these windows
filled for a minute w/a different

Not blue, not amber. But the curtain drawn
over our daily gaze is drawn aside.
Who are you, really. I have seen it
often enough, the naked
gaze of power. We "charge"
the other with it / the leap
into non-betrayal, a wind
w/ out sound we live in. Where
are we, really, climbing
the sides of buildings to peer in
like spiderman, at windows
not our own


Eyes of the Moose
by Maryclaire Wellinger
Sometime after the sun
falls below the ridge--
Fritz, no Rin-Tin-Tin,
hides beneath the bed
from the mad noise of boys
shooting off caps in the field--
eyelids closing, we make love.
Your stars          are out there
floating above the wave-
crest of Mount Cranmore.
We are in here, sleeping,
for the mountain has left.
The eyes of the moose        are out there
           glowing beneath branched antlers
before the sun kindles the pond
to red with light.
At dawn the mountain gives us back.
Fog is firing the mountain's cache
of mist onto the imprint
          of horse hoof in the field,
onto our tin roof.


Winter March

 by Mark Fisher


Dear M-C,


There are no poems in me this morning


I thought I felt one rub against my neck,

but it was only the draft of an old western.


Mr. Rumsfeld says we can do it alone.


He just dropped a 21,000 pound ordinance

on a military reservation in Florida.


First footfall on a winter march

to the sandstorms of Eden.


Don't forget to let the cat in.






Four fragments of poems
by Sappho
I confess
I love that
which caresses
me. I believe
Love has his
share in the
Sun's brilliance
and virtue.
At noontime
When the earth
is bright with flaming
heat falling straight down
the cricket sets
up a high-pitched
singing in his wings
I took my lyre and said:
Come now, my heavenly
tortoise shell: become
a speaking instrument
Although  they are
Only breath, words
which I command
are immortal


Three Poems from "Instruction Paintings"
by Yoko Ono
(painting for cowards)
Drill a hole in a canvas and put your hand out
from behind.
Receive your guests in that position.
Shake hands and converse with hands
1961 autumn
Let Water drop.
Place a stone under it.
The painting ends when a hole is drilled in the
stone with the drops.
You may change the frequency of the waterdrops
to you tase.
You may use beer, wine, ink, blood, etc. instead
of water.
You may use a typewriter, shoes, a dress, etc.,
instead of stone.
Hang a bottle behind a canvas.
Place the canvas where the west light comes in.
The painting will exist when the bottle crates a
shadow on the canvas, or it does not have to exist.
The bottle may contain liquor, water, grasshop-
pers, ants, or singing insects, or it does not have
to contain.
1961 summer

A sestina
by Michael McClure
and we are silver candles
smiles on roses
newborn babes
otter consciousness
and night shades.
We are ghostly shades
and the shapes of black
bonfires that melt through consciousness.
Perceptions are candles
and we are babes
who imagine the thorns of roses.
The petals of roses
make pink and blue shades
and scents over babes
who fear no black
in the hugeness of consciousness.
We are the autumn of consciousness
giving birth to spring roses
by the silverware next to the candles.
Not all of the shades
nor all of the purple and black
convinces us we are other than babes.
You know we are babes.
Each thing is our consciousness.
The cave is black
but it is filled with roses.
And though we draw the shades
we light the candles.
The bright glow is from the candles
in the hands of babes
who outline the shades
of perception in consciousness.
See there are roses!
They stand in the black.
Those are candles of consciousness
that show we are babes and floating roses.
We are shades of flesh turning on black.


No Problem Party Poem

by Diane di Prima

first glass broken on patio no problem
forgotten sour cream for vegetable no problem
Lewis MacAdam's tough lower jaw no problem
cops arriving to watch bellydancer no problem
plastic bags of melted ice no problem
wine on antique tablecloth no problem
scratchy stereo no problem
neighbor's dog no problem
interviewer from Berkeley Barb no problem
absence of more beer no problem
too little dope no problem
leering Naropans no problem
cigarette butts on the altars no problem
Marilyn vomiting in planter box no problem
Phoebe renouncing love no problem
Lewis renouncing Phoebe no problem
hungry ghosts no problem
absence of children no problem
heat no problem
dark no problem
arnica scattered in nylon rug no problem
ashes in bowl of bleached bone and Juniper berries no problem
lost Satie tape no problem
loss of temper no problem
arrogance no problem
boxes of empty beer cans & wine bottles no problem
thousands of styrofoam cups no problem
Gregory Curso no problem
Allen Ginsberg no problem
Diane di Prima no problem
Anne Waldman's veins no problem
Dick Gallup's birthday no problem
Joanne Kyger's peyote & rum no problem wine no problem
coca-cola no problem
getting it on in the wet grass no problem
running out of toilet paper no problem
decimation of pennyroyal no problem
destruction of hair clasp no problem
paranoia no problem
claustrophobia no problem
growing up on Brooklyn streets no problem
growing up in Tibet no problem
growing up in Chicano Texas no problem
bellydancing certainly no problem
figuring it all out no problem
giving it all up no problem
giving it all away no problem
devouring everything in sight no problem

what else in Allen's refrigerator?
what else in Anne's cupboard?
what do you know that you
haven't told me yet?
No problem. No problem. No problem.

staying another day no problem
getting out of town no problem
telling the truth, almost no problem
easy to stay awake
easy to go to sleep
easy to sing the blues
easy to chant sutras
what's all the fuss about?

it decomposes - no problem
we pack it in boxes - no problem
we swallow it with water, lock it in the trunk,
make a quick getaway. NO PROBLEM


which is a mind, beats out
and floats
and fills the resonance of space
with its extension of my face
and toes and hair
in sound
that's made
--it goes!
The sun-cup
in the sunny, dewy
reflects back the touch
of bright in the raptor's eye.
The songs we sing are no more
nor less than the deer mouse
This light--these plaster walls--
are both my skin,
like histories,
like sighs!
                              at once.
grows thin
                                      to be
the solid
of consciousness,
the final self
I start
to realize.
by Michael McClure, from "Antechamber & Other Poems"
New Directions, New York City, 1975.


Song to My Muse
by Maryclaire Wellinger
She is starfish soaked in sun
radially symmetrical in form--
when you take her
from the dorsal view, or the ventral view
from either perspective,
you will see her five arms
fall against the seabed
extending from her  central disk
of brain and flesh.
During the Act,
she is dismembered
but she is a member of class Asteroidea,
has the power to regenerate.



More poems will be collected and selected by the March Hare.

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