Poems by Proust

Your sky
So often wet,
But always underneath
A bit stays blue.


Through the Window

Sixty degrees in the land of Black Hawk.
In January. Not good.
But a mother and child walk to the library
and the city-man empties the parking meters.
The world is coming to an end,
yet the sophisticated woman lurches
forth in boots and a short skirt,
earphones and coffee.
There’s drizzle and sickness
and a gray loveliness to notice.
In the meantime, there’s work to do.

Inspired by this Daily Prompt.

Poem to Consider: Delusion Angel

daydream delusion
limousine eyelash
oh baby with your pretty face
drop a tear in my
look at those big eyes on your face
see what you mean to me
sweet cakes and milk shakes
I’m a delusion angel
I’m a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
don’t want you to guess anymore
you have no idea where I came from
we have no idea where we’re going
lodged in life like branches in a river
flowing downstream
caught in the current
I’ll carry you you carry me
that’s how it could be
don’t you know me
don’t you know me by now

David Jewell

Milk Shake

In one of my favorite scenes from Before Sunrise, one of my favorite movies, Jesse and Celine encounter a homeless poet as they’re walking along the Danube. The poet makes the following offer:

I’d like to make a deal with you guys. Instead of just asking for money, I’ll ask you for a word. I will then write a poem in which that word will be used. I’ll write it in English. If you like it, if you feel it adds something to your life in any way, then you can pay me whatever you feel like.

The word given was “milk shake.” That’s our prompt for 1/21/13. Write a poem incorporating the phrase milk shake.

Check back on Thursday for the poem offered in the movie, or simply click the link above for the poet’s recitation of it.

All That’s Left

Sometimes, I have poems, and sometimes I don’t. This week, I didn’t. I sat at the desk trying to make something, and nothing happened. Then, I started wondering why I was trying. Why write? Why does it seem to be such an important thing to do? By coincidence, I came across the following quote by Alexandra Fuller and thought, yes: that’s why.

“What is important is the story. Because when we are all dust and teeth and kicked-up bits of skin – when we’re dancing with our own skeletons – our words might be all that’s left of us.”

Here is an article by Fuller about life for modern-day Sioux on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Poem to Consider: The Silken Tent

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when the sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one’s going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightlest bondage made aware

— Robert Frost via PoemHunter


Jesus, could the irony be that suffering forms a stronger bond than love?
David Bottoms

B, I do not address this poem to the Lord, because
I do not believe in the Lord but that you are the Lord.

We are bonded, are we not? After all, do we not cling
to each other in the dark by the cold window?

I don’t know that we’ve suffered the way that people can truly suffer –
in an ulcerous, cancerous, one of us is dying, kind of way (thank the Lord).

Instead, we have a child and a dog and we laugh, so it’s all pretty good.
But, we’ve arrived at middle-life with not much money or exotic experience.

We’ve never been to the musée Rodin, for example.
I feel bad about that. I am to blame.

I was too holy for Big Law, and now they don’t want me and that’s fine
because I still don’t want them. (I’m stubborn as hell, Lord knows.)

But something new happened with this new year, didn’t it?
I handed the public my name. I stopped worrying about the judges.

I said I do not aspire to robes or prizes; I aspire only to be worthy
of my name and your embrace of it.

I am, in short, going for the money because we have suffered so much that
we are really close now, Lord help you.

How do you start a poem?

I wonder if it might be fun to talk a little about process – beginning at the beginning, of course. How do you start a poem? Here are three perspectives:

Jack Gilbert: There’s no one way. Sometimes I’m walking along the street and I find it there. Sometimes it’s something I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it’s an apparition.

Allen Ginsberg: It’s a feeling that begins somewhere in the pit of the stomach and rises up forward in the breast and then comes out through the mouth and ears, and comes forth a croon or a groan or a sigh. Which, if you put words to it by looking around and seeing and trying to describe what’s making you sigh—and sigh in words—you simply articulate what you’re feeling. As simple as that.

Nicholson Baker: I ask myself: What was the very best moment of your day?