Camomile Tea: Katherine Mansfield!

katherine_mansfield NPG P1009; Katherine Mansfield by John Herbert Folker

(l) Katherine Mansfield, Menton, France. 1921. Ref: PAColl-6826-1-15-1. Source: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand Website: http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/23146336

(r) Katherine Mansfield, by John Herbert Folker, 1917 – NPG P1009 – © National Portrait Gallery

Outside the sky is light with stars; 
There's a hollow roaring from the sea.
 
And, alas! for the little almond flowers, 
The wind is shaking the almond tree.
 

How little I thought, a year ago, 
In the horrible cottage upon the Lee 
That he and I should be sitting so 
And sipping a cup of camomile tea.
 

Light as feathers the witches fly, 
The horn of the moon is plain to see; 
By a firefly under a jonquil flower 
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.
 

We might be fifty, we might be five, 
So snug, so compact, so wise are we! 
Under the kitchen-table leg 
My knee is pressing against his knee.
 

Our shutters are shut, the fire is low, 
The tap is dripping peacefully; 
The saucepan shadows on the wall 
Are black and round and plain to see.

From: Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Rankine-Claudia-hr
Image Credit: CSU Fullerton
 .
 .
 .
CLAUDIA RANKINE co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. She lives and teaches in California. She is the Holloway/Mixed Blood poet for the spring series.
 .
 .
You are in the dark, in the car, watching the black-tarred street being swallowed by speed; he tells you his dean is making him hire a person of color when there are so many great writers out there.
/
You think maybe this is an experiment and you are being tested or retroactively insulted or you have done something that communicates this is an okay conversation to be having.
Why do you feel okay saying this to me? You wish the light would turn red or a police siren would go off so you could slam on the brakes, slam into the car ahead of you, be propelled forward so quickly both your faces would suddenly be exposed to the wind.
/
As usual you drive straight through the moment with the expected backing off of what was previously said. It is not only that confrontation is headache producing; it is also that you have a destination that doesn’t include acting like this moment isn’t inhabitable, hasn’t happened before, and the before isn’t part of the now as the night darkens 
and the time shortens between where we are and where we are going.
/
When you arrive in your driveway and turn off the car, you remain behind the wheel another ten minutes. You fear the night is being locked in and coded on a cellular level and want time to function as a power wash. Sitting there staring at the closed garage door you are reminded that a friend once told you there exists a medical term — John Henryism — for people exposed to stresses stemming from racism. They achieve themselves to death trying to dodge the build up of erasure. Sherman James, the researcher who came up with the term, claimed the physiological costs were high. You hope by sitting in 
silence you are bucking the trend.
/
When the stranger asks, Why do you care? you just stand there staring at him. He has just referred to the boisterous teenagers in Starbucks as niggers. Hey, I am standing right here, you responded, not necessarily expecting him to turn to you.
He is holding the lidded paper cup in one hand and a small paper bag in the other. They are just being kids. Come on, no need to get all KKK on them, you say.
Now there you go, he responds.
The people around you have turned away from their screens. The teenagers are on pause. There I go? you ask, feeling irritation begin to rain down. Yes, and something about hearing yourself repeating this stranger’s accusation in a voice usually reserved for your partner makes you smile.
/
A man knocked over her son in the subway. You feel your own body wince. He’s okay, but the son of a bitch kept walking. She says she grabbed the stranger’s arm and told him to apologize: I told him to look at the boy and apologize. And yes, you want it to stop, you want the black child pushed to the ground to be seen, to be helped to his feet and be brushed off, not brushed off  by the person that did not see him, has never seen him, has perhaps never seen anyone who is not a reflection of himself.
The beautiful thing is that a group of men began to stand behind me like a fleet of  bodyguards, she says, like newly found uncles and brothers.
/
The new therapist specializes in trauma counseling. You have only ever spoken on the phone. Her house has a side gate that leads to a back entrance she uses for patients. You walk down a path bordered on both sides with deer grass and rosemary to the gate, which turns out to be locked.
At the front door the bell is a small round disc that you press firmly. When the door finally opens, the woman standing there yells, at the top of her lungs, Get away from my house. What are you doing in my yard?
It’s as if a wounded Doberman pinscher or a German shepherd has gained the power of speech. And though you back up a few steps, you manage to tell her you have an appointment. You have an appointment? she spits back. Then she pauses. Everything pauses. Oh, she says, followed by, oh, yes, that’s right. I am sorry.
I am so sorry, so, so sorry.
/
.
 .
 .

BUY!
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=American+Women+Poets+in+the+21st+Century%3A+Where+Lyric+Meets+Language&x=0&y=0
NEW from Independent bookstores: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780819565471

Charles Bukowski on a white cross-eyed tailless cat

The History Of One Tough Motherfucker. When poetry is just the best thing ever… The final word on cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cats. The only words probably because most people would not write about cats that have come back from the dead. I should take a look before I state that so positively of course: for all I know there is a cannon of poetry on this range of cats.

By Charles Bukowski

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
terrorized
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over

I took what was left to a vet who said,”not much
chance…give him these pills…his backbone
is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he’ll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he’s been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off…”

I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn’t eat, he
wouldn’t touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn’t go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn’t work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I’d had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough

one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
“you can make it,” I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn’t want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.

you know the rest: now he’s better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left…
and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,”look, look
at this!”
but they don’t understand, they say something like,”you
say you’ve been influenced by Celine?”
“no,” I hold the cat up,”by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!”
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he’s relaxed he knows…
it’s then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it’s bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

Black History Month- British black poet Shamshad Khan “High Time.”

Black History Month- British black poet Shamshad Khan:

“High Time”

Black elephants 
jazz dancing
gold and red
grin
i imagine
they wave
as they pass the window
of my third floor flat
just in case they are
i wave back

 

The Fire People: Collection of Contemporary Black British Poets
NEW and USED: Abebooks.com The Fire People

When you long for warmth… Poems about fire – I

When you are old- William Butler Yeats
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep 
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; 

How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
And loved your beauty with love false or true; 
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled 
And paced upon the mountains overhead, 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


Burning Drift- John Greenleaf Whittier

Before my drift-wood fire I sit, 
And see, with every piece I burn, 
Old dreams and fancies coloring it, 
And folly's unlaid ghosts return.
... 
O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft 
The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
...
Did I not watch from them the light 
Of sunset on my towers in Spain,
...
Did sudden lift of fog reveal 
...
Have I not drifted hard upon 
...
Did land winds blow from jasmine flowers, 
...
And find in Bagdad's moonlit street, 
Haroun al Raschid walking yet
...
Dear souls who left us lonely here, 
Bound on their last, long voyage, to whom 
We, day by day, are drawing near, 
Where every bark has sailing room.
I know the solemn monotone 
Of waters calling unto me; 
I know from whence the airs have blown 
That whisper of the Eternal Sea.
 

As low my fires of drift-wood burn, 
I hear that sea's deep sounds increase, 
And, fair in sunset light, discern 
Its mirage-lifted Isles of Peace.


Shelley- To a sky lark

Higher still and higher 
From the earth thou springest, 
Like a cloud of fire 
The blue deep thou wingest, 
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
 10 

In the golden lightning 
Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 
Thou dost float and run, 
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
 15 

The pale purple even 
Melts around thy flight; 
Like a star of heaven 
In the broad daylight, 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight¡ 20 

Basho, Takako and the moon!

Exciting! Full Beaver moon tonight!! Full. Beaver. Moon.

Beaver and Moon! Moon beaver beaver moon. It sounds good. Here are some haikus. First 5 by Basho -who was gay!

This bright harvest moon  
keeps me walking all night long
around the little pond 

occasional clouds
one gets a rest
from moon-viewing

the setting moon
the thing that remains
four corners of his desk

a peasant’s child
husking rice, pauses
to look at the moon

Autumn full moon,
the tides slosh and foam
coming in

Takako:

the disk moon
the disk frozen lake
reflecting each other

Haikus about quiet.

Standing still at dusk
Listen…In far distances
The song of froglings!

Meaning: Dusk is the period where boundaries disappear, and before the light of the stars emphasizes the darks and the lights. Wandering around at dusk is disappearing yourself into everything around you. You can focus on sound. Sounds from afar seem close by. Songs are carried far. Froglings who feel safe sing to each other and by the grace of dusk you are part of their audience, of other froglings. Dusk calls in the loneliness and the loneliness is eased by the froglings who are far and seem close. Doesn’t really matter that they are far. Dusk is when the flowers open and their scent comes towards us.

 

Buson

If you were silent
Flight of warblers on dark sky
Oh! Autumn snowflakes!

Sokan

Come come! Come out!
On pebble roads worn tires fade-in the dark
And look… the stars

Come come! Come Out!
From bogs old frogs command the dark
and look…the stars”
― Kikaku,

Obi Nwakanma- four seasons!! And now it is so so very cold here. Nigeria!

image_column-one

Favourite lines:

Icicles fall from trees,...they limber
like the gods terrified into silence,
like tall brooding deities looming out of the fog:

The cypress -whitening-
...;wearing her best habit,
a pale green in the forest of ghosts-

And so I walk through this windless night
through the narrow imponderable road
through the silence - the silence of trees- 

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath;
I hear the slow silent death of winter-

when the sun is yellowest

...to every good, to every
flicker of stars along the pine
shadows;
to every tussle with lucid dusk,
to every moonlit pledge, to
every turn made to outleap
silvery pollen, 

I have desired to listen,...


USED and NEW: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=2685567879
NEW through independent bookstores, book on Nigerian lyrical poet: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781847010131

“Obi Nwakanma is one of the Nigerian literary awards winning troika invited by Harvard University to represent New Voices From Nigeria at a recent Africa Events Reading (the other two being Maik Nwosu and Akin Adesokan also featured on this site).

Poet and journalist, he featured at the Poetry International Festival in 1995.

Holder of a BA degree from the University of Jos in Nigeria, Nwakanma was a visiting scholar at one of the pre-eminent universities in Nigeria, UN at Nsukka. Formerly an Assistant Editor at the Sunday Vanguard, he is currently a visiting scholar at The Meeting School, Rindge, NH, where he teaches Literature, Creative Writing and Journalism.”

http://www.poetrysoup.com/biography/obi_nwakanma

“Thirsting for Sunlight, his biography of the tragic modernist poet, Christopher Okigbo, was published by James Currey (UK) in 2010.
His collection of poems, The Horsemen & Other Poems, was published by Africa World Press (New Jersey) in 2007. Nwakanma’s first collection of poems, The Roped Urn, was awarded the Cadbury Prize in 1996 by the Association of Nigerian Authors, and he received the Walter J. Ong Award for Distinguished Achievement in 2008 from Saint Louis University.
His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Okike, Vanguard Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. His poetry has been translated into Spanish, Dutch, German, and Turkish.
Obi Nwakanma has also worked as a professional journalist, reporting internationally for Newsweek, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and as Group Literary editor for the Vanguard,one of the major national newspapers in Nigeria, for which he continues to write a weekly column, “The Orbit” in the Sunday Vanguard.
5474688568_2a1f5c5b3b_b He is currently working on a novel, a new collection of poems, and a book on The Mbari Movement, Transnationalism and Modern African Literature.”
In FULL:
ICICLES fall from trees, molten with age, 
without memory - they stand aloof in their 
nakedness - they limber; 
like the gods terrified into silence, 
like tall brooding deities looming out of the 
fog: 

The forest hugs them 
carves them into stones, 
Etches them into the slow 
eastern landscape: rivers, hills 
the slow running water, 
times broken inscapes…

The willows are burdened with ice 
the white shrouds of burial spread 
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes 
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking, 
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of 
immemorial ages; the cycle, the 
eternal ritual of mystical returns - 

The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best habit, 
a pale green in the forest of ghosts -

And so I walk through this windless night 
through the narrow imponderable road 
through the silence - the silence of trees -

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath; 
I hear the slow silent death of winter -

where the sun is yellowest.
 
But above, Monadnock looms 
like some angry Moloch, her 
white nipple seizing the space

drained of all milk.
.
.
 

A she-devil beckoning to worshippers 
seductive - her arm stretching outwards -
to this lonely pilgrim
lost in the mist: 

Behold the school of wild bucks 
Behold the meeting of incarnate 
spirits -
Behold the lost souls bearing tapers 
in rags of rich damask, 
Down Thomas - the saint of 
unbelievers - down the road to bliss 
Down to the red house, uncertain 
like a beggar's bowl hanging unto the cliff 
of withdrawn pledges, where the well is 
deepest.
.
.
 

I have dared to live 
beneath the great untamed.
 

To every good, to every 
flicker of stars along the pine 
shadows; 
To every tussle with lucid dusk, 
To every moonlit pledge, to 
every turn made to outleap 
silvery pollen, 

I have desired to listen - to listen -
to the ripening of seasons.
.
.
.
 

Winter 2001
This is ONE of a continuing sequence.