Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dreaming of Perfect Concentration

Rooftop Mannequin Gathering
Photo by Bob Dreizler

—Robert Grossklaus

The grasses yawn in
the streetlights; the night
air thick with insomnia.
Every tree planted firmly
in asphalt pits, illuminated
by corporate logos. Each
subtle variance betrays
similarities and agendas;
intentional landscapes.


—Robert Grossklaus

The hollowed eyes
of the night streets
bore into mine with
fevered gore. An
absence of presence
passing me in phantoms
one after another...


—Robert Grossklaus

My favorite sin
is in your eyes,
Where skin and
shadow converge.
Pull me back
into myself
and release me.


Thanks, Robbie, for the poems! Tonight (Thurs. 7/23, 8 PM), Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe (1414 16th St., Sacramento) presents Phillip T. Nails, Robert Grossklaus, Julie Valin. Open mic before and after.


—Adam Zagajewski

(To Ryszard Krynicki)

While living in Stockholm Nelly Sachs

worked at night by a dim lamp,

so as not to waken her sick mother.

She wrote in darkness.
Despair dictated words
heavy as a comet's tail.

She wrote in darkness,
in silence broken only
by the wall clock's sighs.

Even the letters grew drowsy,
their heads dropping on the page.

Darkness wrote,
having taken this middle-aged woman
for its fountain pen.

Night took pity on her,
morning's gray prison
rose over the city,
rosy-fingered dawn.

White she dozed off
the blackbirds woke
and there was no break
in the sorrow and song.


—Adam Zagajewski

The room I work in is as foursquare
as half a pair of dice.
It holds a wooden table
with a stubborn peasant's profile,
a sluggish armchair, and a teapot's
pouting Hapsburg lip.
From the window I see a few skinny trees,
wispy clouds, and toddlers,
always happy and loud.
Sometimes a windshield glints in the distance
or, higher up, an airplane's silver husk.
Clearly others aren't wasting time
while I work, seeking adventures
on earth or in the air.
The room I work in is a camera obscura.
And what is my work—
waiting motionless,
flipping pages, patient meditation,
passivities not pleasing
to that judge with the greedy gaze.
I write as slowly as if I'll live two hundred years.
I seek images that don't exist,
and if they do they're crumpled and concealed
like summer clothes in winter,
when frost stings the mouth.
I dream of perfect concentration; if I found it
I'd surely stop breathing.
Maybe it's good I get so little done.
But after all, I hear the first snow hissing,
the frail melody of daylight,
and the city's gloomy rumble.
I drink from a small spring,
my thirst exceeds the ocean.


Today's LittleNip:

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.

—Richard Bach