Thursday, December 9, 2021

Perverse Pleasure

"Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair"
by Reginald Shepherd

In the painting by Guido Reni of Saint Sebastian
in the Palazzo Rosso, which reproduction makes available
to those who travel only on the page, the saint to be 
(he's not yet assumed by artifice, encumbered

with perfections) endures continual martyrdom 
with a visual sigh, gazing almost directly upward 
as if to ask What now my love, or hum a chorus of
Is that all there is, the body always some song

or another. The eye tramping the simulacrum 
of a surface hands have touched can't help but note
how lush the uncorrupted flesh appears: the curve, for one 
example, of the waist (narrowest circuit of the boy),

just beneath the instance of an arrow's entrance, or
the shadow just above the tangled loincloth that is surely
pubic hair. One grasps that sainthood is an attribute of youth,
the wondrous fair, as in old ballads; they always end.

The boy in the Eagle Discount Supermarket, 
for another, an apparition in a backwards baseball cap 
appraising cuts of meat in artificial light, 
deciding what he can afford

to buy, how much each cut costs. I love the ground
on where be stands. His face? Unverifiable.

Image from the Internet

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Perverse Pleasure

Bunny Slope
by Tadeusz Dąbrowski

When I'm writing a poem,
there's less and less of it.

As I approach the mountains,
they vanish behind a gentle hill,
behind the bunny slope.

And once I'm standing with them
face to face,
they take away my speech.

The very best poem 
finishes half way

Image from the Internet

Friday, December 3, 2021

Perverse Pleasure

On Being Coy
by Kimiko Hahn
Issue no. 186 (Fall 2008)

Many fish in those murky ocean caves
of Mexico, Brazil, Croatia, Oman

have no eyes.
Though in the streams outside—

clear as a frat bar in '75—

other males zip around and nip the females

to test chemical signals
and harass

with so much sex

that the females often cease to exist.
Better off

with a slower, blind suitor

I say—then think of Marvell's "rough strife"—
which I adore.

See—a little coyness can work
to cloud the current.

Those black lizard boots instead of mules—
that Manhattan tourist spot.

He's twenty-five. I'm forty.  
He demands one thing—well, two: my feet.

See what I mean?
Little has changed in the carpe diem—
or the simmering transparent stream.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Perverse Pleasure

Domestic Life — Gregory Orr

from: The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems

         1. TODAY 
Open yourself up: today 
that's no different than opening 
a refrigerator door: large chunks 
of meat, eggs 
scattered on the metal racks, 
and cowering in the back: 
a tiny, frightened woman. 
You are huge and clumsy; 
you fumble for her, breaking 
all the eggs, and she eludes you, 
and you don't feel a thing 
except cold inside.

         2. SOMETHING 
Something is burning inside you 
like a rose made from cellophane, 
like something white burning 
in a snowfield: no flames, 
all you can see is the shadow 
of smoke on the snow.

         3. BEFORE DAWN 
Your wife left before you woke. 
She scratched a note on your back; 
you try to read it with mirrors. 
You decide to talk to the cat, 
but when you open your mouth 
honey-colored wasps fly out.

The blood in the lightbulbs 
burns less brightly.

         4. THE WATERFALL 
Failing to hold on to things, 
a man can become 
a waterfall. 
His friends stare, 
silent and aghast, 
as he disappears 
over the cliff, carrying 
off his books, his wife, 
all his furniture.

         5. FALL CLEANING 
This morning, the almost weightless bodies 
of insects drift down 
from the ceiling. It's seasonal; 
you have to expect that sort of thing 
when you live in a burrow under the earth. 
Yesterday a package arrived 
in the mail; it contained bird beaks 
in assorted colors and sizes. 
Some are small like yellow thorns, 
but others are larger; 
I slip those over my fingers, 
clack them together and dance 
around the room in my gray bathrobe. 
The insects revive. I am their god. 
They dance after me up the tunnel 
and out into the autumn woods.

Perverse Pleasure

From Life
by Shane McCrae

I came from life from living I arrived

Nowhere     in the midst of God     in the midst of God

God is a city      in which no one has ever lived

We live      in houses like the houses we once had

Some in their first      some in their last

I live in the house I lived in with my wife

The first year we were married     a small white

House at the edge of campus it's as if

We never graduated     never left

Except she isn't here     and none of our

Friends but the friends who died so long ago

They aren't our friends anymore

I do what old friends do

And love them anyway    we eat together at the Waf-

fle House on Saturdays and wait all week to die

How many weeks now I don't know

Except it can't be more than three

Thousand I guess about three thousand    sixty years or so

Or how long do young people live

Seems like it's longer every day    three thousand or

She would be here with me I have

Thought hard about it and I'm sure

But sometimes     I feel like I've thought about

Her life for longer than she could have lived it

And mean to ask an angel      why we can see

Everything but Earth     from Heaven

But I don't ask     I don't think I could stand to not

Be answered     but I don't think I could stand the answer

Monday, November 29, 2021

Perverse Pleasure

by Alice Notley
Issue no. 56 (Spring 1973)

       The havoc-caused
        soul occurs not
        recovers yet the
        treatment bought
        with submission
        fiddles and
        caricatures contains nothing but
        heal intoxication
        (courage is in-
        toxication) wide
        & embedded
        stalactite and
        fall of snow... so

He winds a sheet around me
which must be sarong & song
He asks can I protect myself
I say I'm aware of my self-
inviolability he says
he means can I grease a car
for everyone must run a race
in the body's own running place

Running's itself's pure pleasure
I begin to overtake myself
and suddenly I was first
at the end of the race
along with everyone else

For we are all in college to learn to Marry:

        the winding dragon of night
        and horses of day and humming-
        birds motes of light and the
        dragon of the night:

        in black dress will be the lady
        in a silver vest or it's black
        against which looms the lighter
        black tree loom.

   One steps
   on a rusty nail, disbelieves
   in lockjaw one thinks forever without a thought

   telephone poles & railroad tracks
   the same and the same and the
   same silver clack telephone wires the
   luminous lines of the world
                                       on which I walk

   bare feet in fog
   foggy-footed spider     See
   the spider toe-dance on its
   tender tendril legs across
   my hand shimmering mote
   with room comfort room service
   silver artifice & uprightness
   an arrow's a lily a lily's an arrow

   blank blank yellow & red blank

   ...I weep I read novels
   Someday I'll count all your freckles
   bagatelles of transient experience
   A different one always dies
   whose name seems forgotten a sacred
   thread blows away
my rags of righteousness

            are all your heroism your social charm your
            wit your victories on land
            on sea?
            Style he says is the ultimate morality
            of mind
            Stick cinnamon is 84 cents

O Turmeric
of use in mustard chow-chow piccalilli
sauces where the color the COLOR
yellow is thought desireable!
for that is life, to blaze with color.

One ignores the gossip
rounds the turn
dances & ducks & jabs
& Bites the Blade. Pleasant days.
There's a tone-free bullet
Someone cycles away

                something strums
                not tree not airplane
                not seen
                       I stop
                not entirely to pieces

                       I flow
                 in litter of sunflower seeds.

"The whole path of a material particle
between any limits of time must achieve some
perfection worthy
of the providence of God"
Everything I have has an earwig in it

which will make light of sacred things,
a genuine form being seen

                 a light and things

                                                   some kisses being exchanged
amid the whirl of the maddening dance.

Joy now is high-wire joy.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Perverse Pleasure

The Great Confinement

Year of sighs, year of planning ahead—
how to acquire food or meet friends
for afternoon talks in the outdoor air.
Of planning nothing. Whole days washed clean
in the round of known rooms, known chores.

I followed forecasts to calculate when
to walk down the alley, around the block,
the same dogs barking, recycling bins
bursting with cardboard. I envied people stuck
in the country amid trees, beside a lake
that took in sky. And people, I presume,
envied us, with our covered front porch
and back garden, its sloping tangle of leaves.
We'd thrown ourselves down wherever the music
stopped, in a place we planned to stay a season
at most, until a hidden hand could hit the volume.

Year of stories—of books, recorded voices
through the night, faces on screens: familiars
holding cocktail glasses, jam jars
into view to toast . . . what precisely?
happy hours? Of meetings, of classes: click
to speak, click to mute, click to leave.

Year of household tasks. Mold that grew
because we used the kitchen so hard:
the endless sponge-down—meal after meal,
day after day. Dust that gathered
like thoughts of Somewhere Else, Another Time,
Other People. When I set two plates for dinner,
I could imagine my mother on her daily walk—
careful, stiff-hipped, alone—to the mailbox,
silence at each elbow, around her throat.
When I searched for new ways to cook kale
or tried baking bread, as oven warmth
and savory smells revised the room in stews
or casseroles, I could imagine mothers
trying to stretch their kids' milk between
food-bank trips. Year of feeling lucky.

Year of forgetting in the days' drift. Then
abruptly remembering: sadness sensed
in a jolt, the way when I opened the kitchen bin—
just emptied, just cleaned, it seemed—
a rotten smell hit me, knocked me back.

Year of sighs, year of sighs, names
of the ones gone away, their faces appearing.
For months, as afternoon light grew long,
I thought, Must call Mom. Even after.

I thought of Hélène—years ago,
when we stood, she and I, before
a painting she'd made, its colors shifting
as the oil she'd rigged behind the canvas
face shifted inside its frame,
and I thought, I like your art, your stories:
her story's end in plastic tubes,
white edges, machine thrums
and bleeps, room mostly bleached
of color against the blue hospital
gowns that hovered then disappeared,
Hélène, inside her great struggle,
the suffocating, persistent,
solitary smell of alcohol.

Year of distance upon distance. I thought
of candles in the Hall of Mirrors when, one night,
I'd walked its length after a concert—light
echoing as lights regressed from sconce
to mirror to mirror and back in Versailles, the flames'
flicker—presence, movement—enclosed in infinite
space, each candle point insisting, here,
here, smaller and smaller, left and right,
as I passed through, passed among them.
What is the pointHere is the point. What
is the pointHere. Thrilling, a privileged sight
as I moved down the Hall, as down the year,
toward the night air, the dear dead
ones receding, drifting further back,
in reflected, refracted, lovely multitudes,
and then, at the end, no point, no point at all.

Perverse Pleasure

Madhuja'r jonmodiney lekha kobita - Anindya Chatterjee জুলাই মাসে, কোনও কোনও জন্মদিন আসে। ঘরের পাশে,ভিড়ের বাসে স্মৃতির ঘাসে, জলোচ্ছ...