Category Archives: poetry

Free Play Softball Slow Rolling Regression to the Mean

Free-Play-Aug-23-roster

We haven’t enjoyed a close game in weeks. Each week’s games over the last month have reflected most of the ways unpredictable regressions in performance, especially on defense, aggregate to severely tip games toward, as it were, one side.

Last week a newcomer crushed a ball 350+ feet. Who knew? Obviously, the oddsmaker didn’t know ahead of the stirring shot.

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Interlude #1 Perfume

Stephen Calhoun, fine artist, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Bardo, A (Stephen Calhoun, 2015)

Indivisible

Forgive & let go
open the head
free the heart

be wary of vengeance
a life for a death

if you can’t
see anyone entire
there’s no one
there

not even you
aha aha

death is a giving up
risen as having gone
to be

the theatre of art
the spirit of fact

what you don’t know
give into

what the mind thinks
happens

(Vincent Ferrini, The Pleroma, 2008)
Kenneth Warren wrote the Introduction.

Pomegranates

A young man had finished his schooling and thus was hanging around the house.

His mother told him, “It is exactly the right moment to figure out what you are going to do with your life.”

The young man nodded his head. He also decided to get out of the house and spend more time in the village and observe what was going on every day there–because he hoped he would discover a clue about what he was to do.

For most of the next month he did exactly this. Over those weeks he found himself gravitating to a healer, a specialist in the ills of the back and spine. He observed people barely able to make it through the front door because their pain was so bad. He observed people returning after their treatment too. He figured these were follow up visits. These people were apparently free of back pain.

One day he announced to his mother,

“I’m going to ask the good back doctor, Dr. Fine, if he will take me on as an apprentice.”

His mother turned to him and nodded.

The young man felt good about his decision. One morning he knocked on the door moments after he had observed Dr. Fine arrive for the day’s consultations and treatments. He asked the doctor if he might need an apprentice. The doctor thought for a long moment and replied:

“Yes, you can join me as a student. All you’ll be required to do is watch closely, and, hold all your questions until I come to feel you have spent enough time watching.”

The young man thought to himself, ‘Simple enough,’ and nodded, and told Dr. Fine,

“Thank you very much!”

Over the next several months, the young man arrived everyday at the same time, put on a white lab coat, and, dutifully watched Dr. Fine work with, and on, his patients. As his time being watchful grew, the young man’s list of questions began to shrink.

Then one day, a middle-aged gentlemen somehow dragged himself into the examination room in a terrible state and in pain so great it was hard to watch. But Dr. Fine took a history, had the man lie down and rest, and then sent him home after asking him to make an appointment for a week later.

The young man was surprised by this case. All the previous worst cases looked the same: Dr. Fine would take a history, do an examination, have the patient lie down and rest for an hour, and then he would give the patient a quarter of a pomegranate. He would direct the patient to eat a tenth of the pomegranate each morning. Finally he would schedule a follow up to take place three weeks after the ten day course.

The young man had been Dr. Fine’s watchful apprentice long enough to see how wonderfully effective the pomegranate cure was for the persons stricken with the most terrible back afflictions.

This case was different. At Dr. Fine’s request, this same patient came back three times, and, each time he was sent away without the curative pomegranate. Finally, on the fourth visit, Dr. Fine gave the man the usual course of pomegranate.

A month later this same patient strode through the door for his follow-up appointment. He declared himself ‘a new man,’ and Dr. Fine nodded his affirmation.

The young man bit his tongue. Still, when Dr. Fine closed up for the day, as both stood on the small front porch, the young man turned to Dr. Fine and put to the good doctor his very first question,

“I have to ask this question, for I am disturbed to observe you give your worst cases the pomegranate medicine on their first visit, yet this patient today was made to wait a month. Why?”

The doctor put his hand on the young man’s shoulder,

“You see, every case is actually different, and is unique in its own way. The patient today presented a very difficult case and, likewise, the treatment recognized this, for where many unique cases are resolved by the pomegranate and healing regimen, in this man’s case, his difficulties could only be resolved by time and pomegranates.

With this, Dr. Fine, nodded, turned in the direction of walk home, and departed for the day.

(Adapted from a cassette recording of a presentation of Idries Shah.)

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Each Arrives With A Gift (World Poetry Day 2015)

World Poetry Day 2015

Barbara O'Connelly (1967) from THERE WERE DREAMS

Barbara O’Connelly (1967) from THERE WERE DREAMS

Timothy Calhoun, poet

by Timothy Calhoun

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Unafraid

GO Cuba from Joshua Morin on Vimeo.

Our late mother Jean emphasized for decades that she believed Cuba would make a fine candidate for statehood, were we just to open up our relations all the way.

I’ve always wanted to write this poem.
I loved her but was afraid to die.
Sitting on the balcony she told me: Butterflies live for one day.
One single day of radiance and then they die.
(Marcelo Morales; translated by: Kristin Dykstra)

Poetry of Cuba, translated at BrooklynRail

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Moon, Other Side, Sound

Moon Gathering
Eleanor Wilner, 1937

And they will gather by the well,
its dark water a mirror to catch whatever
stars slide by in the slow precession of
the skies, the tilting dome of time,
over all, a light mist like a scrim,
and here and there some clouds
that will open at the last and let
the moon shine through; it will be
at the wheel’s turning, when
three zeros stand like paw-prints
in the snow; it will be a crescent
moon, and it will shine up from
the dark water like a silver hook
without a fish–until, as we lean closer,
swimming up from the well, something
dark but glowing, animate, like live coals–
it is our own eyes staring up at us,
as the moon sets its hook;
and they, whose dim shapes are no more
than what we will become, take up
their long-handled dippers
of brass, and one by one, they catch
the moon in the cup-shaped bowls,
and they raise its floating light
to their lips, and with it, they drink back
our eyes, burning with desire to see
into the gullet of night: each one
dips and drinks, and dips, and drinks,
until there is only dark water,
until there is only the dark.

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Between Heaven and Hell

Hell
Hell, S.Calhoun (2014) symmetry experiment

Heaven&theGarden-of-Eden
Heaven and the Garden of Eden, (2014) S.Calhoun, symmetry experiment

Without contraries is no progres-
sion. Attraction and repulsion, rea-
son and energy, love and hate, are
necessary to human existence.

From these contraries spring what
the religious call Good and Evil.
Good is the passive that obeys reason;
Evil is the active springing from
Energy.

Good is heaven. Evil is hell.

Energy is Eternal Delight.

Those who restrain desire, do so
because theirs is weak enough to be
restrained; and the restrainer or
reason usurps its place and governs
the unwilling.

And being restrained, it by degrees
becomes passive, till it is only the
shadow of desire.

The history of this is written in
Paradise Lost, and the Governor or
Reason is called Messiah.

And the original Archangel or pos-
sessor of the command of the heavenly
host is called the Devil, or Satan, and
his children are called Sin and Death.

But in the book of Job, Milton’s
Messiah is called Satan.

For this history has been adopted by
both parties.

It indeed appeared to Reason as if
desire was cast out, but the Devil’s
account is, that the Messiah fell, and
formed a heaven of what he stole from
the abyss.

This is shown in the Gospel, where
he prays to the Father to send the
Comforter or desire that Reason may
have ideas to build on, the Jehovah
of the Bible being no other than he
who dwells in flaming fire. Know
that after Christ’s death he became
Jehovah.

But in Milton, the Father is Destiny,
the Son a ratio of the five senses, and
the Holy Ghost vacuum !

Note. — The reason Milton wrote
in fetters when he wrote of Angels
and God, and at Uberty when of
Devils and Hell, is because he was
a true poet, and of the Devil’s party
without knowing it.

excerpts from William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (fulltext)

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Sixty

Tim Calhoun Cleveland poet

Timothy Carl Calhoun – Cleveland Poet, philosopher, father – September 2, 1954 – February 24, 1993

Sixty_edit

Stephen Crespi Calhoun – still unpeeling the layers

Stephen&Timothy-1958

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,–John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ’s sake, look
out where yr going.

(Robert Creeley)

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Dance A Round

Sema'a No. 1

Sema No. 1 – from a photograph (2014, S.Calhoun)

Paradox

Paradoxes: best wakefulness in sleep, wealth in having
nothing, a pearl necklace

fastened around an iron collar. Fire contained in boiling
water. Revenues growing from

funds flowing out. Giving is gainful employment. It brings in
money. Taking time for

ritual prayer and meditation saves time. Sweet fruit hide in
leaves. Dung becomes food

for the ground and generative power in trees. Nonexistence
contains existence. Love

encloses beauty. Brown flint and gray steel have orange
candlelight in them. Inside

fear, safety. In the black pupil of the eye, many
brilliancies. Inside

the body-cow, a handsome prince.

Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

 

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Silence

Fusciaphoto:S.Calhoun

Hey brother, why do you want me to talk?

Hey brother, why do you want me to talk?
Talk and talk and the real things get lost.

Talk and talk and things get out of hand.
Why not stop talking and think?

If you meet someone good, listen a little, speak;
If you meet someone bad, clench up like a fist.

Talking with a wise man is a great reward.
Talking with a fool? A waste.

Kabir says: A pot makes noise if it’s half full,
But fill it to the brim – no sound.

Kabir

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Doorkeepers of the Heart

DiPrima - pieces of a Song

Diane Di Prima’s poetry comes to me in volume only recently. Her poems seem to me to be either talismans holding personal events, poetic captures from distinct times and places, or, for me best of all, universal unions of human horizons and verticalities. In this latter respect, she reminds me of Rabi’a, the Sufi poetess of the 8th century

Diane Di Prima

Thank you for indulging me. I hope to voice some of my late brother Tim’s poetry, soon.

I am fully qualified to work as a doorkeeper, and for this reason:
What is inside me, I don’t let out:
What is outside me, I don’t let in.
If someone comes in, he goes right out again.
He has nothing to do with me at all.
I am a Doorkeeper of the Heart, not a lump of wet clay.

(Rabi’a Al-‘Adawiyya)

Doorkeeper of the Heart. Versions of Rabia,
Translated by Charles Upton

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What, no there/their?

Ten Most looked-up words (Merriam-Webster for 2010)

1. Pretentious
2. Ubiquitous
3. Love
4. Cynical
5. Apathetic
6. Conundrum
7. Albeit
8. Ambiguous
9. Integrity
10. Affect / Effect

Flash poem:

APATHETIC

cynical love
pretentious integrity
albeit
ambiguous affect
ubiquitous effect
conundrum!

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WOODSHED WITH CHARLES OLSON

“History” (excerpt from A Bibliography On America For Ed Dorn)

click to see large version
“Theory” Theory of Society

click to see large version
(source: Additional Prose of Charles Olson Four Seasons Foundation 1974)


I offer three pages for closer inspection, the only way to start —

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