Thursday, November 30, 2006

there are maps

down in the subway
there are maps
if you can read them
you'll get where you are going

of course, even if you can't read them
you'll get where you are going
that's just how it goes

I've been studying this phenomenon
for some time now
it's profound, yet simple:
you always get where you are going

to put it in other terms,
as a wise man once said:
"everything is the way it is
because it got that way"

--Ross Bender

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

winter over the meadow

winter over the meadow brings on mice
I saw Youth herself naked in the folds of blue satin
laughing at the present my lovely slave

--Louis Aragon

Thursday, November 23, 2006

july 20 1969

In the summer of 1969 I lived the hippie life in the East Village. In July the men were about to land on the moon, so I trekked up to Central Park for the celebration. Aliens danced about in the dark, and elaborate floats depicting spacecraft and moon rovers hovered about Sheep Meadow in the dark. In the center of the meadow three enormous television screens were erected in a hollow triangle and there the assembled lunatics watched in stoned and horrified awe as the deed was done.

July 20, 1969 (Central Park)

The police have taken to guarding
The high rocky places in the park
Nightly explosions in the subway
Have left a taste of a coal miner's
smoking fears
The sky is a dirty red fog;
The night drips over those trudging
through wet grass
To celebrate
Where monster spotlights
Strain and scream at the moon
A studied intoxication
A calculated stupor working itself
toward climx;
Vague gypsies, traces of witches,
Noisy lunatics are quarreling
a lovely corpse in the mud
Little sister, they've landed men on the
What obscene dance shall we make
To celebrate this rape?

--Amos Stoltzfus

Sunday, November 12, 2006

la via del tren subterraneo

All summer I roamed the vast expanses of the New York City transit system like a solitary cloud drifting with the wind, intoxicated by the elegant surrealist poetry posted in the graffiti-draped subway cars:

La via del tren subterraneo es peligrosa. Si el tren se para entre las estaciones, quedese adentro. No salga afuera. Siga los instrucciones de los operadores del tren o la policia.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

a coney island of the mind

In the summer of 1968 I went to New York and discovered the subway. My first trip was out to Coney Island, in homage to Ferlinghetti. The sand was dirty and the roller coasters shabby.

Let's go

Come on

Let's go

Empty out our pockets

and disappear

Missing all our appointments

and turning up unshaven

years later

old cigarette papers

stuck to our pants

leaves in our hair.

Let us not

worry about the payments


Let them come

and take it away

whatever it was

we were paying for.

And us with it.

--Junkman's Obbligato, Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Thursday, November 02, 2006

sozoro kami

I seemed to be possessed by the spirits of wanderlust, and they all but deprived me of my senses. The guardian spirits of the road beckoned, and I could not settle down to work

--Oku no Hosomichi, Matsuo Basho, tr. Donald Keene

sozoro kami no mono ni tsukite kokoro o kuruhase, dousojin no maneki ni aite . . .