After a crazy week

As Bette Davis once said, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” Only in this case, a bumpy 10 days.  I came again to this Robert Duncan poem, imagining a quiet and sacred place.

But this poem, by Ishion Hutchinson also seems to resonate.

The Difference

They talk oil in heavy jackets and plaid over
their coffee, they talk Texas and the north cold,

but mostly oil and Obama, voices dipping
vexed and then they talk Egypt failing,

Greece broken and it takes cash for France not
charity and I rather speak Russia than Ukraine

one says in rubles than whatever, whatever
the trouble, because there is sea and gold,

a tunnel, wherever right now, an-anyhow-Belarus,
oh, I will show you something, conspiring

coins, this one, China, and they marvel,
their minds hatched crosses, a frontier

zeroed not by voyage or pipeline nor the milk
foam of God, no, not the gutsy weather they talk

frizzled, the abomination worsening
opulence to squalor, never the inverse.

Ishion Hutchinson

Poems of Berkeley

duncanAs part of poetry month, Susan Cohen (a fellow poet) and I are orchestrating a reading of poems about Berkeley at the North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on the afternoon of Saturday, April 25. Gathering poems for the event, I wanted to include something by Robert Duncan, who was a romantic and powerful figure in the poetry scene in the Bay Area in the sixties.  Here he is with Denise Levertov, another poet we’re including., along with Ginsberg, Spicer, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Chana Bloch, and others–hard to narrow it down to 20 poems.

Duncan held dawn readings on Mt. Tamalpias and was part of the legendary Six Gallery reading in San Francisco. Larry has a large broadside of his most famous poem, My Mother Would be a Faconress. But this quieter, mysterious poem of his is one of my favorites.

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place, Continue reading “Poems of Berkeley”