Five Poems by Nanao Sakaki*
sunshine orange, brilliant beach cirrus colored
remote from toil, remote from singing, remote from prayer
sunshine orange, brilliant beach
wrecked boats rotting, sandals rotting, sea wrack rotting
wild rose rotting, mermaids rotting, fire works rotting
soap bubbles rotting
monksfood-flowers rusting, a torpedo rusting
rusting raven asleep, the Giliaks asleep. Czo wolves asleep
the pygmy fairy asleep, the savertooth asleep, mammoth asleep
dinosaur asleep, Poseidon asleep, submarine-volcano asleep
seagull's circle dance dreaming high
Indian blue sky spinning
sea current, Big Dipper spinning
sunless heaven spinning raven dark
Mother Earth, Gran'ma Rock
fallen over the precipice
Shuko shines with her bloody smile
that towering rock roken off last year by
drifting ice-- flaming cleaer like her
where is the debris?
far from Tierra del Fuego, far from Nepal
far from Shkyamuni, far from Hong Kong flowers
beyond the end of thundering
a thundering rainbow
sunshine orange, morning-glow beach salmon pink
a stray fox kit cries in the woods
last night a hermit crab
crossed over for the channel, border
the sun walks in Libra today
a wagtail chases a hawk
Universe the ocean of Eternity
Eternity, the beach of peace
Peace, near a cascade in the canyon
between sea-rumbling and ear-drumming
bouncing sound bouncing rock
sunshine orange, brilliant beach cirrus colored
remote from toil, remote from singing, remote from prayer
sunshine orange, life's beach, sunshine orange.
Shiretoku Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan
ONE TWO THREE FOUR
There is no human kind
There is no nature:
two three four
eight thistles flowering
in evening breeze.
Summer Morning Song
On a summer morning
Walking in Japanese mountain woods
A sixteen-year-old boy
I met my first love--
This round-faced girl
Slim body, sharp-eyed
Gold-eyes--not really shy--
Liked me to look at her
Dressed up green just for me.
We met in a high meadow.
I called her "mountain Lady"--
Behind a thorn fence
Watching her lips blooming
In summer morning light.
Crossing many, many winters, grey-headed man
Finds his way to a new continent
Walking woods in southern Rockies
With another summer morning light
I meet my old love.
She's still sixteen years old as before
With a round face and edible root--
A native yellow south Asian plant.
What a traveler walking east to Japan
Wandering west to the Rockies
Without fear, without feet.
From my mountain lady's golden face
Shine out beauty, intelligence and patience.
No beginning, no end to love.
Whenever Summer blooms back over earth,
We meet in a high meadow . . .
Weaving fuzzy globe of star-seed cluster
Waiting for another Summer to glide.
Don't call my lady
Summer Solstice, 1979
by Nanao Sakaki
Everything starts from Miso soup, good morning!
Miso soup is made of shiny spider web
Life begins with Amazon ocean
Grand Canyon ends with God-like Odysseus
His great grandson shall be Dharma bum
Your grat gan-ma shall be rattlesnake
Rattle snake is seed of meditation
Meditation seed of pumpkin pie
Pumpkin mother of sacred mushroom
Mushroom father of God
God grows with galaxy
Galaxy is a stolen diamond
Last night my turkey vulture ate it
Tomorrow I fly to high glacier
Duncun Spring, California
A gigantic evening glow--
Stay with me
My brother, Summer!
Your light, your heat, your soul!
Transient crimson sky--
The flavors of life
Sweet, sour and bitter
All melt into the dark.
calling star names
I boil bracken's fiddleheads
--Supper for everybody.
El Salto, New Mexico
from his book, "Real Play: Poetry & Drama" by Nanao Sakaki, Tooth of Time Books, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1983, copyright Nanao Sakaki. Introduction by Gary Snyder who says this about Nanao's poems:
Written with sand and rainwater; written not by hand or head but with the feet. These poems have been sat into existence, walked into existence, to be left here as traces of a life lived for living--not for intellect or culture. And so the intellect is deep, the culture profound. Nanao has walked Japan from end to end, and lived long and far in the mountains and deserts of Turtle Island. He has passed through huge cities and tiny islands, through war, poverty, affluence, and revolution. . . . one phrase once used by a group that followed Nanao's lead in Tokyo was "we are the primitives of an unknown culture." . . . he once responded to a Buddhist priest in America about lineages--with "I need no lineage. I am just a desert rat." . . . he has bony knees, dark tanned face, odd toes, a fine, chanting voice, a huge capacity for spirits, and a taste for top quality green tea. His work or play in the world is to pull out nails, free seized nuts, break loose the rusted, open up the shutters. You can put these poems in your shoes and walk a thousand miles!
Gary Snyder, Kyoto, July 4, 1981
In Erasmus Darwin's Generous Light
by Gerrit Lansing
Erasmus Darwin would have agreed with Wilhelm Reich and Robert Ingersoll,
"Better rot in the windowless tomb
without a door but the worm's red mouth
the jewelled collar
of a Mental Slave."
He saw how Joys were trampled in the priests' black rounds
twisted by quibbles
of ministers and schools
in the jovial social web commodious
where mystified misery hides
in starspangled gleams of beauitfied credit
and repo men swing
in Death's tremendous porch
Such a mouthful. How do you put it?
This way the gnostic garden.
Orgonomic functionalist fields forever.
And will he come again, Christ, sexual habit?
Heavy meat knows no vacuous constraints,
what does a ruling class do when it rules?
Flog me, show me, you unlimited political bookstore.
Honeysuckle, grape, and orange tremolos.
But courage, isn't it available somewhere?
It grows not in rows, but in beauteous blotches,
a gorgeous gallery of gallant inventions.
Dont' expect it where you look for it.
It's out of sight.
Fickle, fickle, document time.
False documentation is still documentation.
You idiots. I trace the history of the worship of document
to that social loss we've long ago suffered
you slaves who should know how to get OUT,open your eyes.
If the bishop ever lifted his head for a moment,
looked at Nature, Erasmus Darwin said,
instead of document, text, "nothing but pages,"
he'd have realized he was talking through his episcopal hat.
Why man, you have only to go and look at the High Force waterfall
not thirty miles from here
to realize it took tens of thousands of years, at the very least,
to carve its course through rock. And faces in the rock.
The earth we live on is older than old, in spite of the bishop,
& in spite of the attack on "within" the reductionists mount
within remains within
there's a monkey puzzle tree.
My "spirit of animation"
I don't want to get rid of it,
Erasmus Darwin said.
Within the skull the skill
within the winter dream the whirligig
all & everything:
"Ing" supreme rune and secret song of "Ong."
Forget all derivations,
they dance in happiness,
the early ones down there,
and this isn't myth of origin
or oozing essence origin.
Fuck you, Derrida, Erasmus Darwin said,
origin is beautiful as black
and centers whirl around us as we round them in.
4. Telluris sacra theoria
If you consider the sacred theory of the earth,
water below and water above,
the egg cracked and split, the spirit spurting out
flood and ark of sacred origin, waterfall of starry jism
the milk of the stars from her paps
on uplifted ecstatic faces and lovers locked in happy freedom in their crucible . . .
in my garden, Erasmus Darwin said, blooms
bright surprise galore on bright surprise
and from their volant passion splurge cataracts of eyes.
In the tulgey wood the light consoles
and in the generous light of Erasmus Darwin's ripe exuberance
(and he knew the caves below where sun at midnight shone)
the fields, his very strawberry fields, are Eleusinian.
by Gerrit Lansing
I tell you it was real
bayberry bushes on the hill,
the house, yellow moon and simple love.
But o fox laughter from the woods
the white fox running thru the pines!
The Castle of Flowering Birds
by Gerrit Lansing
Fancy in the mind
The graceful flaunters of the summer air
Arise like flowers from their sea,
Bodies bronze and fledged in blue,
Uniforms that music wears
Whe most she is herself, not sound
Only, but fugitive and sly,
The fox occult among the grapes,
Anonymous in summer's horn.
Brilliant beyond a self, the birds
Are dumb with feeling, an afternoon
of wings. The company of love,
Safe int he garden that is themselves,
More ghost than garden, more brute than bird,
Acclaim the throbbing animal,
The beastly petals green with blood.
October, 2001, John Sinclair's Gig, "Artspace"
Gerrit Lansing was born in Albany, New York in 1928 and grew up in Northern Ohio. He was educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities. His favorite comic strips were Little Orphan Annie and Mandrake.. He was a professor at Bard and a close friend and colleague of poet Charles Olson. In 1959, he conceived of a magazine which he named "SET"; his manifesto stated " "SET is interested in the poetic/scientific study of American experience and Nature. . . [it] will be more James Dean and Andrew Jackson Davis than Marcel Marceau or the Sar Peladan . . . certainly I want niether the 'monumental' nor the 'study' . . . " Gerrit is the author of "Heavenly Tree, Soluble Forest," and many essays, reviews and poems over his more than fifty year distinguished literary career. He lives in Gloucester and this poet is fortunate enough to have been invited to dine at his table-- Gerrit is a generous host.
The Sun is Bleeding Over the Sky!
by Philip Lamantia
The sun is bleeding over the sky!
Beauty be my prophecy and
youth my analog of wisdom,
to strike notes of wild wondrous song
where the rays of childwood eyes
extend far beyond the enemies of all natural ecstasy!
Youth's dream that zaps the zepher
of galactic sex! Youth's flood
of rapture's delight
that intercepts the candle of the sky
and rolls up its fire into balls of tropic night
lightning down the grey monsters of rational crime
Oh! Go out to the end of the world, Hands
of my surrealist youth! When all the trees
bent to they rites
of savage runes and lights the sunbird made
on midnight's exploded jewel!
Diamond eye of rocket heads of youth!
Flame brain that banished the horizon
with a fourteen year old Scowl
of the Sibyl's spear
crashing down to living death
those who'd stop my march
to the rawmeat city of Flame-Sea-Sun-Ecstasy!
Drinking in the USA
by Mark Fisher, July, 2003
listening to james taylor while the quiche cooks
cleaned up this pile of old cassettes into something manageable
hot and humid today
kind of summer day for moving slow and watch the flowers grow
red sox might get rained out tonite
posted more kyle images to the site today
long cool mount gay and coke
too old for camping
I brought my vacation home.
Sonnet XLIX from "The Sonnets" by ted berrigan
Joyful ants nest on the roof of my tree
Crystal teaars wed to wakefulness
My dream a crumpled horn
Ripeness begins in advance of the roken arm
The black heart two times scary Sunday
Pale thighs making apple belly strides
And he walks. Beside the fifteen pieces of glass
A postcard of Juan Gris
Vast orange dreams wed to wakefulnes
Swans gone in he rain came down, came down and went
Warm hands corrupting every tree
Guiding his eyes to her or a shade
Ripeness begins My dream a crumpled horn
Fifteen pieces of glass on the roof of my tree
Sonnet LI from "The Sonnets" by ted berrigan
Summer so histrionic, marvelous dirty days
is not genuine it shines forth from the faces
littered with soup, cigarette butts, the heavy
is a correspondent the innocence of childhood
sadness graying the faces of virgins aching
and everything comes before their eyes
to be fucked, we fondle their snatches but they
that the angels have supereminent wisdom is shown
they weep and get solemn etcetera
from thought for all things come to them gratuitously
by their speech it flows directly and spontaneously
and O I am afraid! but later they'll be eyeing the butts of
in the street rain flushing the gutters bringing from Mem-
Gus Cannon gulping, "I called myself Banjo Joe!"
by Bernadette Mayer
I'd kiss your eyes three hundred thousand times
If you would let me, Juventius, kiss them
All the time, your darling eyes, eyes of honey
And even if the formal field of kissing
Had more kisses than is corn in August's fields
I still wouldn't have had enough of you.
(for Adam Purple)
by Bernadette Mayer
Close to a house on a piece of ground
For the growing of vegetables, flowers and fruits
On fertile well-developed land
Is a delightful place or state, a paradise
Often a place for public enjoyment
Where grows the alyssum to cure our rage
Oriental night of the careless developers
Carpet of snow of the drugged landlords
Basket of gold the city's confused
Royal carpet of its bureaucracies,
Bored with bombs
Political ones of the complicated governments
blow stick up the ver orb
For its nonmetal yet golden remains
Competing with the larval corn borers
The salaried test-borers
imminently lead antipsexually down to the foundation
Of the annihilation
Of a circular garden in which live members of
the mustard family
The tomato or nightshade family
The poppy family
The geranium family
The aster family
The mint family
The thistle or aster family
The violet family (heartsease)
The lily family
The cucumber or gourd family
The rose family
The composite or daily family
The parsley or carrot family
And other families
(I don't think the pokeweed family lives there,
It earns too little or too much money per year)
We are told to swallow not a rainbow
But like the celandine the juicy proposal
That the lemon balm of low income housing,
Applied lik agerarum to the old Lower East Side
(As early matured as the apricot)
And probably turned by deeply divided leaves
Like a rape of grapes before it's all over
Cannot coexist with the gleaming black rspberries
Is an ancient abandoned place
Around Eldridge, Foresight and Stanton Streets
We're asked not to think, like pansies do
That the pinnately compound, ovate, lanceloate, non-linear,
lobed, compound, toothed, alternate, opposite,
palmate, heart-shaped, stalkless, clasping,
perfoliate, and basal rosette-ish leaves
Can heal like the comfrey
And cause to grow together
The rough hairy leaves of the city's people and
the rough hairy leaves of the sublimity of
a gardener's art
Make with vegetarian shit and free as cupid's darts
If all our eyes had the clarity of apples
In a world as altered
As if by the wood betony
And all kinds of basil were the only riders of the land
It would be good to be together
Both under and above the ground
To be sane as the madwort,
Ripe as corn, safe as sage,
Various as dusty miller and hens & chickens,
In politics as kindly fierce and dragonlike as tarragon,
Revolutionary as the lily.
light through a leaf*
quilts a small green pillow
prints a silkscreen
puts to sleep spring peepers
. . . their last throbs ring
through my dreaming, broken
sound and light swing shut
the screen woven nightly
by those who grieve
. . . their throats are still throbbing
*"light through a leaf" by Maryclaire Wellinger
Boat of a Million Years*
by Gary Snyder
The boat of a million years,
boat of morning,
sails between the sycamors of turquoise,
Dawn white Dutch freighter
in the Red Sea--with a red stack--
heads past our tanker, out toward Ras Tanura,
sun already fries my shoulder blades, I
kneel on tagged steel decks chipping paint
Gray old T-2 tanker and a
white Dutch freighter,
boat of the sun,
the abt-fish, the yet-fish,
play in the waves before it,
salty Red Sea
dophins rip sunlight
streak in, swirl and tangle
under the forward-arching wave roll
of the cleaving bow
Teilhard said "seize the tiller of the planet" he was
We are led by dolphins toward morning.
*from "Mountains and Rivers Without End," by Gary Snyder, Counterpount, Washington, D.C., 1996.
Twelve "Kipps"* for June
by Maryclaire Wellinger
Will you please tell Jesse
that Mrs. Wilson is here
to see about the geraniums.
I find Jesse
standing with Letitia by the potting shed:
Mrs. Wilson is here
to see about the geraniums
Mrs. Wilson, white-haired
Returned from Florida,
tall in stature and elegant
old New England accent,
waits in Number Two Greenhouse
for Jesse to arrive.
Consultant on window-boxes,
Beds and borders
never leaves her garden.
Jesse will know
I'll go find Jesse--
One woman arrives
With samples of color
So Jesse can decide
For her what color
She should paint her house.
I'm not here about flowers.
Jesse is the mother of Sara.
Sara is Dancing with gravity upon the landscape
Digging in the dirt on the Neck
A course in landscape architecture
Cannot constrain the loosened imagination.
Sara's wall is serpentine,
Slides along the front garden
Three feet tall
Her masonry cements the stones
From the back. Assymetry.
I am tending the geraniums
In Number Two Greenhouse,
I call it the customer greenhouse,
Pick the dry leaves off
At the base of the stem,
You need to hear the snap.
I remove fuschia blossoms
Which fall onto begonia leaves
Below them . . . In my palm I stroke
The blossom, a baroque finial
In sculptured detail,
And a bee stings me in the finger.
For five minutes, I am five years old.
Jess gets me a glass of icewater,
the pain disappears.
Letitia, Lydia and Amelia
Are three young women from Guatemala.
Who have stepped out of
A Mayan hieroglyph.
They are so small and so strong,
They carry trays of annuals
Two at a time, they haul trash, they sweep.
Jessica dice to take a break.
Su bicicleta, su sombrero?
I ride my bike to work
All during May, it rains every day.
Maria-Clara, are you triste,
Are you allegra, simpatica?
Donde est su ninos?
Yo tengo uno esposo and dos gatos,
One husband and two cats.
Pero no ninos.
Los clientes are loco.
One customer imagines her house-and-garden,
Arranges two heavy plants, back and forth
Sits them in various glazed pots,
two white hydrangeas, is creating
perennial beds in two areas of her imaginary garden . . .
for the second time, she bounces a check.
La Paloma, the black crow,
stands in the tree
Above Lydia and me, observing us,
cries out caw,
Then flies off. I flap my arms
Like a bird, but Lydia cannot tell me
The Spanish word for flying.
*Note: "Kipps" are Haiku-like poems emerging from my experience
as a worker at Kipps, Inc., a Marblehead garden center
All of the images are digital photos
I shot "on location"
at Kipp's Greenhouse on
May 2nd, my birthday.
I spent the day planting
new Spring bulbs and transplanting
perennials in my garden's flowerbeds
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