Monday, December 30, 2013

Overheard from Booth 3: Some Scraggly Old Guy Who Recites Walt Whitman, Loudly.


To You



Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,

I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet 

and hands, 

Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, 

troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,

Your true soul and body appear before me, 

They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,

farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. 


Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be 

my poem, 

I whisper with my lips close to your ear, 

I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than 



O I have been dilatory and dumb, 

I should have made my way straight to you long ago, 

I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted 

nothing but you. 


I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you, 

None has understood you, but I understand you, 

None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to 


None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in 


None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never 

consent to subordinate you, 

I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, 

God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. 


Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre- 

figure of all, 

From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-

color'd light, 

But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its 

nimbus of gold-color'd light, 

From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it 

streams, effulgently flowing forever. 


O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! 

You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon 

yourself all your life, 

Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,

What you have done returns already in mockeries, 

(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in 

mockeries, what is their return?) 


The mockeries are not you, 

Underneath them and within them I see you lurk, 

I pursue you where none else has pursued you, 

Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the 

accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me, 

The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if 

these balk others they do not balk me, 

The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed, 

premature death, all these I part aside. 


There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in 


There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is 

in you, 

No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you, 

No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for 



As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like 

carefully to you, 

I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I 

sing the songs of the glory of you. 


Whoever you are! claim your own at an hazard! 

These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,

These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are 

immense and interminable as they, 

These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of 

apparent dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, 

Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, 

pain, passion, dissolution. 


The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing 


Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, 

whatever you are promulges itself, 

Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, 

nothing is scanted, 

Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you 

are picks its way.





Overread at the Counter: "Manifest Destiny" by Cynthia Lowen

from Poem of the Day, sent daily by the Academy of American Poets

Manifest Destiny
by Cynthia Lowen
The god I'd left behind sent one last email 
before returning to his people. 
That summer was sixty-five degrees and fluorescent. 
I was working at a law firm. 
The logical mind thinks, 
You'll be paid for your suffering. 
Paradise is of this earth 
and it is yours, 
said the copy-machine. 
The impenetrable old growth of paper on my desk 
begged to be made 
When I took off my skirt-suit I felt like my mother, or myself
done pretending 
to be my mother. 
I stood at the edge 
of a New World. 
I stared up the long rocky coast.
Whichever way was something to bump against 
I pressed on in that direction. 
It was like a sickness. 
It was like the uncontrollable urge 
to eat dirt.
Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Lowen. Used with permission of the author.


About This Poem 
"I've been exploring how the 19th century concept of manifest destiny--driving the westward expansion across North America in the 1800s--might play out in the context of a modern-day relationship. What frontiers in ourselves, our environments, and each other do we seek out and attempt to dominate? What motivates us to forge towards the unknown?"

--Cynthia Lowen 

Overread at Table 3: Talk to Me about Cinnamon

Don't you know how hard it is for me to talk to you?
the table between us, the space between the coffee and the croissants.
my fingers tracing the ridges of the bricks in the wall.
you, with your eyes on the black and white photograph of the Oregon coast,
you are lost in the somewhere faraway and inbetween
the silence is luminescent, it flavours our
many-rutted afternoons.

This morning I heard on the news new studies about cinnamon.
It can lower your standing bloodsugar.

It can save our lives.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Overread at Table 2: Upon Reading Lorine Niedecker's "In the Great Snowfall Before the Bomb"

Upon Reading, “In the Great Snowfall Before the Bomb”
-          For Lorine Niedecker

It is hard to believe that I can find myself
falling in lust with poets short-dead, but who
lived long lives, poets who were old by the year
I was born, but whose words, (written for
times when iron ruled commerce with a fist
so much stronger than the virtual e-commerce
that plagues us today)squeeze into my veins
and worm their way into my heart.

Ah! WhomI folling?
‘Tis not your words, dear lady, that
entice me so:it’s your
avi . . . what you would have called your
            stock photo . . .
your soft cheeks, your stout neck, your
thick lower lip that looks so much like my wife’s –
your heavy lidded eyes that gaze, with such
fiercely stoic intelligence, outward toward
the impenetrable dark.

Overheard at Booth 4: a husband's lament

Wow, you know, I would have thought that she would have thought, "Wow, that really hacked him off!  Maybe I shouldn't-a done that.  What could I do to fix things?" but nooooo, all I get is, "Are you for real?  Stop sulking!  It's not gonna work!  Go sleep in the garage if that's how you're gonna be!"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Remember (from a rather nihilist Christian!)



Remember who you serve – the great and living GOD.

Anything that happens to you is according to His will,

                and even if you lose your life, you will gain

                a glorious new existence in Heaven.


And hey, at the very least,

                you won’t have to worry about this world any more!!



Friday, December 6, 2013

CSN in 1991 the Acoustic Concert

So glad that the Z&T could accommodate such genius that night.   Special.

Overheard at Booth 4: Imported

So what she really said was "I really think I should be more important to you than anything else" but what I HEARD her say was "I really think I should be imported into Jewland where's the bus?"

So that's when I told her she was a filthy anti-Semite and to get out of my apartment before I called my mom who would come over and tear off her arms and beat her over the head with 'em.