I use ugly words on purpose (poem written with a found pen)

Nothing in word form (small) - 327635449_3c0ec68ed9_c

I use ugly words on purpose
I write ugly words on purpose
ugly ugly ugly ugly
until they lose all meaning
until they lose meaning
ugly ugly ugly ugly
words words words words
meaning meaning meaning meaning

I like it that they
have to do what I say
but sometimes it’s better
when they no longer matter

The way a first taste of coffee
is exquisite and delicious
and by the end of the day
you can drink it down like water
and it means nothing at all

just (to extend the metaphor)
makes you jittery and mean
and puts a bad taste in your mouth
and builds a brooding stockade
(fence posts bristling like unkept teeth)
against sleep

In this bitter analogy, what is sleep?
Sleep sleep sleep sleep.
I’ll know it when I see it
I I I I I.
I write using these ugly words
on purpose
I I I I.

 

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The Obvious Will Never Lose Its Power to Persuade

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A dog lying in the sun
looks very wise.
Of course that is only the sun
making her narrow her eyes.

No, it is not the appearance of wisdom
that makes a dog wise:
it’s the fact that she lies
in the sun.

 

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Master, where are your bones tonight?

Object from the exhibition We call them Vikings produced by The Swedish History Museum

Master, where are your bones tonight?
I heard the coyotes keening as the moon rose;
and the heavy air brought the scent
of burgeoning prairie grasses.
Summer is coming on fast,
and faster every year.

Master, where are your bones tonight?
You went into the desert, again and again, and then
one night you never came home.
We knew why, we had brought you there—
brought your body and your ghost: your life
had already leaked out of you, into hospital tubes, and was gone.
We left you there in the desert,
to reconcile with the Earth.

I had a recurring dream after you died:
Coyote, as a lark, was playing a reel
on a flute made from your shinbone.
His eyes looked sad and he was dancing
a few feet above the earth.
His eyes looked sad. But—you know—
with Coyote, you never can tell.

In my dream, if it was mine,
summer was always coming on fast, and the prairie grasses
whipped in a playful dance
until I woke. And summer came.

I haven’t had that dream in years.
Just tonight, though, the rising moon caught me wondering—
Where are your bones tonight, Master?

 

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The true art of the curse is lost

Curse_tablet_BM_1934.11-5.1

The true art of the curse is lost
no takes the time anymore to scowl so deeply
it leaves a permanent furrow
spit three times and cross the street to avoid a shadow
and carry a grudge to the grave

no one bothers any more to cast malisons
into dark corners and forget them there
because to be lost is the truth
of the true art of the curse
that no one escapes

The true art of the curse is the room with dark corners
a pinch of tansy
reddened eyes from weeping
the secret grave the doll was buried in
and the stained bones

not slurs
imprecations
mere bad language

No

the true curse
splits one’s own tongue in twain
and cares not

 

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Lives of the Poets

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Robert Frost
Very nearly got lost
In a snowy wood at night.
But fortunately, it turned out all right.

William Butler Yeats
Is accounted one of the greats
So much so that poor John Keats
Now has to correct the pronunciation of everyone he meets.

Ezra Loomis Pound
Wrote verse difficult and profound
The fact that even he couldn’t figure it out
Should suffice to remove any doubt.

Wallace Stevens
Was always at sixes and sevens.
He never could decide exactly
Whether to rhyme slant, or perfectly.

Edward “e e” Estlin Cummings
Marched to the sounds of different drummings.
Without making any apologies
He ended up in some anthologies.

Ogden Nash
As a poet was brash
His lines rushed out in a lengthy and seemingly unstoppable torrent
And his rhymes were abhorrent.

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Was heard on occasion to say
That only the author of Euclid’s Elements
Had ever seen Beauty without habiliments.

Mr. Edward Lear
Was rather queer.
But of course, the word had a different meaning back then
So instead, one should simply say that he preferred men.

T.S. Eliot
Never ate anything smelly. It
Was only understated food
That ever suited his mood.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Died discontently
Aware that decent rhymes for Clerihew
Are, alas, very few.

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In the event, there was little for them to say

Childs_flowers_and_sun

In the event, there was little for them to say,
The flowers, so they stood still, swaying,
Not even murmuring amongst themselves.
Meanwhile my mother’s funeral rose up in me
Like a volcano.

They clung to the soil and the rock
For dear life, the flowers, while far below
Suspended like a miracle in infinite space
The sun, too, clung on for dear life—
So small, hot, and bright!

Each flower, surely, had its petaled meaning:
Bridal and Christmas Rose, Red and White Clover,
Meadow Saffron, varieties of Geranium and Thrift.
But on that day, as I recall, they said
Nothing to the point.

A poem could have stopped then and there
Like a cut flower, like a vase
For cut flowers, like a cut glass vase
Glittering—the human element—
In the hot, bright light.

But from the garden where we stood, I participated
In a greater miracle: the earth, all flowers
And volcanoes, was whipping the sun
Around and around in circles, around, around,
Like a child’s toy.

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The stampede of History

Radioactivity_of_a_Thorite_mineral_seen_in_a_cloud_chamber

The stampede of History
occurred on this site in 1872
on this prairie—flat, enduring,
tasting of noon sunshine
and its black, black shade—
where the dusk-blue flowers of History
previously blossomed.

We have been living backwards
toward that day ever since–
forgetting that first giant step,
the big blue marble the color of History,
and the light of a thousand atoms
that smelled as black as History
and roared in our sovereign bones.

On that day in 1872, which was a day
like any other, the cicada chant
of History will be heard in the land
where lately the lightning blossomed
and the concomitant thunder rolled
like enormous cannonballs
across a flattening plain of History.

On that day, you’ll put on a beaded shirt
and ride through the fusillade
of soldiers—Sitting Bull
will be with you, and Jack Wilson,
as you ride, and the blue flowers
will part before you, the land
will rise up before you, and everything
will go down in History.

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