Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm Afraid You'll Find Me Out...

—John Berryman

Henry's nocturnal habits were the terror of his women.
First it appears he snored, lying on his back.
Then he thrashed and tossed,
changing position like a task fleet. Then, inhuman,
he woke every hour or so—they couldn't keep track
of mobile Henry, lost

at 3 a.m., off for more drugs or a cigarette,
reading old mail, writing new letters, scribbling
excessive Songs;
back then to bed, to the old tune or get set
for a stercoraceous cough, without quibbling
death-like. His women's wrongs

they hoarded and forgave, myterious, sweet;
but you'll admit it was no way to live
or even keep alive.
I won't mention the dreams I won't repeat
sweating and shaking: something's gotta give:
up for good at five.


Hidden Passage Poetry Reading is coming up tomorrow (9/28) from 6 to 7 p.m. at Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St. in Placerville. It's an open-mic read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen and gaze at the skeleton under the floor. We hope to see you there!

In the mood for a longer road trip? This coming Thursday (9/29) is the monthly Writers Read Poetry Reading in Ukiah. This month we are honored to have poet Cynthia Bryant here, Poet Laureate of Pleasanton. The location is new this month; it will be hosted at Colored Horse Studios. For those of you inland who haven't yet had a chance to visit Colored Horse Studios, here's how to find us:

780 Waugh Lane, located midway between Talmage and Gobbi (on the Gobbi side, turn at the intersection with the Kelly Moore Paint Store). We have a six-space parking lot in front, park there till it's full, then there is street parking. The driveway is lined with wine barrels, an easy visual landmark. Phone: 707-462-4557.

Featured Reading starts at 7 pm, open mic is at 8:15. Suggested donation: $5;
supported in part by Poets & Writers. Info:
Theresa Whitehill at theresa@coloredhorse.com, or www.coloredhorse.com/WritingPoetry/Writing.html

—John Berryman

O parakeets & avocets, O immortelles
& ibis, scarlet under that stunning sun,
deliciously & tired I come
toward you in orbit, Trinidad!—albeit without the one

I would bring with me to those isles & seas,
leaving her airborne westward thro' great snows
whilst I lapse on your beaches
sandy with dancing, dark moist eyes among my toes.


Howzabout some Berryman Dream Songs?

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) 'Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.' I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights and gripes
as bad as achilles,

who love people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself and its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.


A shallow lake, with many waterbirds,
especially egrets: I was showing Mother around,
An extraordinary vivid dream
of Betty & Douglas, and Don—his mother's estate
was on the grounds of a lunatic asylum.
He showed me around.

A policeman trundled a siren up the walk.
It was 6:05 p.m., Don was late home.
I askt if he ever saw
the inmates—'No, they never leave their cells.'
Betty was downstairs, Don called down 'A drink'
while showering.

I can't go into the meaning of the dream
except to say a sense of total loss
afflicted me thereof:
an absolute disappearance of continuity & love
and children away at school, the weight of the cross,
and everything is what it seems.


Henry, a foreigner, lustful & old,
bearded, exasperated, lay in bed
cursing his enemies.
He loved his friends with a thick love, them to hold
to him in all his bad times, which were rife.
Henry living & dead

was full of friends & foes: he had no team-spirit.
He lashed the lapses of those who were to inherit.
He sank back exhausted.
Grimy dreams wore him out. He woke half-sane
& screamed for stronger drinks. Open the main!
Pour, if necessary, drinks down him.

I, Henry Pussy-cat, being in ill-health
& 900 years old, begin & cease,
to doubt.
When my old friend complained to my older friend
'Why don't you come see me more often?'
'I'm afraid you'll find me out.'



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to kathykieth@hotmail.com for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets.