Friday, February 27, 2009

Cleaving Nijinsky

Moonviewing Party

“orchid breathing / incense
into / butterfly wings”—basho

moon-viewing—thru clouds
cloud shadows—scudding down low
thru the—high whitecaps

Cleaving Edo

Edo Morning

“it’s really easy—
the art of giving
things up”
—Elizabeth Bishop

a cup—of coffee
cormorants—gliding by dock
death in the—cherry trees

Cleaving the Palace Library

The Palace Library

me”—tom clausen

swept away—the books
yet in an—alcove corner
a Gobi Desert

Cleaving Fu Manchu

Fu Manchu haiku

I escape—again
me and—my exiled lover
young—Fu Manchu

Cleaving Kyoto

Kyoto Boyfriend

“If not now—when?”—Rinzai

clean air is okay—
kyoto muse is fine but
I want New Edo

Cleaving buson

The Young Prince

“with no underrobes
bare butt suddenly
exposed a gust of
spring wind”
—Buson, translated
by Sam Hamill & J. P. Seaton,
The Poetry of Zen, Boston:
Shambhala, 2004, page 157.

how quickly—I move
when my toilet—is chilly
beneath—the cedars

Cleaving bashō

Political Haiku

“at midnight under
the bright moon a
secret worm digs
into a chestnut”

there’s a secret—worm inside
my little—pea-brain

Cleaving Vichyssoise


we’re born—to die
we come and go—like ships
ghost ships passing—in the night

we come—into this world
alone—and buck-naked, baby
we leave—the same way

in between—we’re alone
even with lovers—we’re alone
but all of us—in the same boat?

it doesn’t—make sense
every day—a ship of fools
every night—titanic deja-vu

each day—vichyssoise
best served cold—dontchaknow
death for me—soup du jour…

Cleaving Sylvia Plath

Douchebag Daddy’s Girl
—for Sylvia Plath

You don’t douche, you don’t douche
Any more, Daddy’s Little Girl—
Daddy’s dead like an old black shoe
All those years catting around—
Doing it on the Library Floor…

Dirty Douchebag Daddy
You died before you even died—
Full of Shit, Bag of Hot Air,
Grisly Old Prick with one big
Old Princeton IOU

Douchebag Daddy’s girl—
Dragged by Rexroth Daddy-O
From the Cow Pastures of mean
Old Minnesota to Santa Barbara
Looking for a little Tenure

Douchebag Daddy’s 4 Wives—
How they all Failed you Bad
The Third One sick of you
Ditching you for a young
Handsome New Mexico Poet

Douchebag Daddy’s Girl—
They say your Daddy had
Dozens of Blonde Blue-Eyed
Girlfriends on the side only
Too ready to Tongue the Root

Mean Old Douchebag Daddy—
How he hated the Beatniks so
Horning in on the Action with
Their Booze, Dope and North
Beach Tacky Sex Orgies
There goes Sapphic beauty—
Down the ugly Douchebag drain
All the queer Greek and Roman
Classics like campy Catullus and
Sextus Propertius the Prick…

Ginsberg, Kerouac, Corso—
Illiterate East Coast Pretenders
To the Throne of Dame Poesy…
How you hated all those Brutes
Douchebag Daddy-O…

Your San Francisco Haunts—
Invaded by dirty Hippies next
Brainless denizens and children
Of the Suburban Night of the
Living Douchebag Dead…

So, Douchebag Daddy-O—
They pulled you out of the Sack
And put you through the old
Rack and Screw Routine down in
The Dungeon of Edgar Allan Poe

They pulled out your Chain—
Like a telephone cord by the Root,
They rattled your Bourgeois Cage
Bad enough to make Rilke’s Panther
Addicted to Prozac and Madness

UCLA hated your guts, Daddy-O—
Gave you one more year after the
Ungrateful antiwar scummy drop-outs
Burned to the ground the Temple of
Their Success—The Bank of America

America drove a Big Black Stake—
Through your fat old IWW Commie
Black Heart, Douchebag Daddy-O,
The Villagers never much liking you
Vampire Poets very much anyway

Faggy bloodsucker Whitman—
Molesting all those cute vulnerable
Union soldier boys, Grungy Ginsberg
Sucking off Neil Cassady and then
Bragging about it in awful HOWL…

Ferlinghetti making it worse—
With City Lights Bookstore and all
Those nice little Pocket Book Series
Poetry chapbooks, so garish, vain,
Sarcastic and disgustingly lewd!!!

There you were Douchebag Girl—
Not exactly the place for a nice
Little Emily Dickinson type like you,
Your pussy full of canonical resurgent
Feminist Douchebag Propaganda…

Full of poisonous Big Daddy hate—
Campy caricatures of George Grosz…
Distorted smirk of Weimar cabaret,
Skulking around like some crummy
Creep from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari…

Giddy Douchebag Girlfriend—
Friend of all the Rich and Famous,
All the Fallen Gods of John Keats’
Lovely Hyperion, all the listless
Dead and old Saturn sybarites…

Here we are stuck with you—
Kvetching like a louche old Leda
Seduced by the Swan-God in the
Reeds like Yeats said, mastered by
The Brute Blood of Big Daddy-O?

Here we are glued hip to hip—
Ghoulishly joined by your busybody
Mean old cul-de-sac, our Passport
Down into your Douchebag Dis—
How you hate Camille Paglia!!!

Now you’re our Douchebag Queen—
Patiently cultivating your literary
And Horoscope desires, dissolving
Big Daddy’s Face into your own
Anorectic Ariel Achtung Ache!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cleaving the Archives

The Rexroth Archives

We don’t speak—of the Way
We don’t think—of what comes next
We didn’t question—names or fame
Here in the Archives—in the Stacks
Here is where—it all ends up…
Letters, manuscripts—true confessions
Like James Frey—A Million Little Pieces
Scattered down here—in files and boxes
All those years—catting around
San Francisco Beatniks—North Beach
Santa Barbara—The Viet Nam War
Four marriages—disillusionment
Some lonely—Japanese translations
Now it’s just—you and me here
Two “untitled”—groups of poems
Deep inside—this UCLA Library
Down in the dark—alone together

—Yosano Akiko

[ Box 86 ][ Folder 13 ]

Jarreau, Diane. 1964. 4 items.
Two untitled groups of poems; two letters

Cleaving Tadzio

Tadzio yaoi

He tempted me—to come in
His mother—and the maid gone
Back to Rome—for the weekend
I hesitated to respond—impatiently
He brushed—my hand away
And yet—the smell of his clothes
In the soft—Venice darkness
Made me—weak in my knees
His pouty—put-upon smirk
How I wish—he’d smile at me
Showing me—his rotten teeth…

—Yosano Akiko

Cleaving Mapplethorpe

yaoi mandingo / mapplethorpe

once deep—in new york city
I caught a glimpse—of a black snake
a huge mandingo—anaconda
his cheap—tacky polyester suit
crumpled there—on the floor
he was running away—from himself
mapplethorpe—was obsessed with it
couldn’t help himself—voodoo chic
once you go voodoo—there’s no
turning back—go down moses!!!

Cleaving winter night / morning

yaoi winter night / morning

at the beginning—of the night
the whispering snow—falls and falls
now this morning—waking up
my silk pajamas—cat and boyfriend
standing by the window—looking out
short black kimono—down to his ass
the bungalow’s cold—there’s only
one way to get—warmed up fast
turning around—undoing red sash
things start warming up—quickly!!!

—Yosano Akiko

Cleaving the Douche


“A gay subtext is
not hinted at and
then withdrawn”
—Colm Tóibín,
Love in a Dark Time


Douchebag Boy—who am I?
Where do—I come from?
Where is it—pray tell I’m going?
But the most—important question
How’d I end up—Douchebag Boy?

It all began—One Stormy Night…
It was snowing—and cold outside
How cold?—colder than a Witch’s Tit!!!
Colder than cold—it was just awful.
Night of The Douchebag Dead!!!

There I was—staying up late
With nothing to do—except read
The usual Trash—Escape from Elba
It’s a fine Literary Blog—perusing it
Much better—than The NYTimes

If I want to know—the True Lies
The Dirt—the Pulp Fiction Truth
The Doucebag Dish—the Snarke
The True Confessions—the Ultimate
Jive—those Unreliable Narrators!!!

Then that’s where—I detour, baby
Into the Slimeball—Digital Depths
Down where—Monsters of the Id
Lurking—Deputizing themselves
Smirky Doucebags—for the Devil!!!

Especially here—Gay Rights Forum
It attracts Dirt—like Flies to Honey
Dirty Doucebags of the World—Unite!!!
And there was—brave little Weezo
Bitching about—Spam Queen Inca…

Incadove—that’s her full name
Although there’s—nothing dove-like
About her smarmy—snarky Mouth
She’s a slimy—Junkyard Watchdog
Her vicious Pussy—has Teeth…

Inca’s bosom buddy—Madame Mad
Flying from Forum—to Forum
Like Margaret Hamilton—the Witch
Elmira Gulch—Wicked Witch of the West
She gets around—on her Broom

So there’s Weezo—like Dorothy
Lost in the Land—of Doucebag Oz
She’s got a pair of—Ruby Slippers
She can click them—Together
But there’s more to it—than that.

There’s always—Fairytale Jive and
Munchkin Tales—Blogosphere Babies!!!
Weezo is complaining—about Incadove
Spamming the Rainbow—ain’t it Awful
Authoress—Doucebag Literature!!!


I be Doucebag Boy—it’s the Truth
I’ve always been one—ask Jbottle
I realize now—Doucebag Lit is okay
There’s ain’t nothing—wrong with it
Some of my best friends=Douchebags

I’ve been called—This and That
By tacky Trolls—Homophobes and
Queer Bashers—Queer Baiters
All the various & sundry—Sharks
And Bottom Fish—of the Internet

Douchebag Lit—did the Trick
Each Day—I was a Born-Again Fag
They made certain of it—the Sexists
The Mormons—The Religious Right
They knew me—Better than Myself?

Spamming here—in Gay Rights
Seems Innocent—compared with
The Poetry Forum—where Spam
Goes for the Jugular—where the
Wicked Witches—Fly by Night

Spawn of Evil—that’s me
Miss Sodom—and Gomorrah
Well, well—Just Shut My Mouth!!!
And here I thought—someday
The Pusillanimous—Pulitzer Prize!!!

Daddy Daddy—Oh so Cruel!!!
With your Smile—and Nazi Drool
Down in the Gutter—Orson Welles
Play me yourt Zither—Harry Lime
Teach me to be—Third Man Slime

Here’s the Secret—of Douchebag Lit
Pretend you’re living—inside a Novel
And everybody else—Characters
Living breathing—Cartoon Creeps
Crummy Kvetching—Thespians

Incadove JakeJoliet—Kidcarter!!!
Klintorius Madupont—MrUtley!!!
Nytempsperdu Srnich—Suckadicbitch!!!
The Hundredth Idiot—Thinking Plague!!!

Douchebag Lit—attracts Writers
Rexroth, Plath—Ginsberg, Bolaño
Writers like to—cat around & schmooze
Groupies clot—Wannabe’s linger
Many get laid—on Library floors

Many end up—Failed Poets
Pushing Lit Crit—to make a living
Doing Horoscopes—for a buck
The Archives—are full of them
Douchebag Lit—Hollywood Confidential

I’m writing this—Douchebag Novel!!!
Thinking of all my lovely Royalties!!!
All those lucrative—Film Contracts!!!
Like Vladimir Nabokov—and LOLITA!!!
I wanna be—RICH and FAMOUS!!!

What shall I call it—my NOVEL?
“A Million Little Douchebags”—James Frey?
“Great Douchebag Expectations”—Dickens?
So many great Titles—so little Time
Excuse me while—I Douche myself…

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cleaving Rauschenberg

yaoi love #1

—for Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg

I leave all—the scarlet flowers
for the man—I love and
hiding my tears—from him
I pick the flower—of forgetfulness

cleaving yaoi

yaoi love #2

how can—I complain
that you’ve—shaved your
pubes—since I can never
again pull—your heartstrings
like a catalpa—wood bow
I have become—a nun
following—your way


cleaving yaoi

yaoi love #3

—for Imelda Marcos

jet-black—smooth hair
tangled up—in thousands
of strands—purplish pubes
tangled limbs—long nights
of lovemaking—on Suma beach
while scudding clouds—moody
skulky overhead—ooze slowly by
the jealous old—snarky witches
denizens of the night—ogling
down at us—forever kvetching
tight thighs—around brooms
oz emerald city—twilight sky
the same old—usual skanky
Margaret Hamilton-types
gazing down—from full moon
coveting your—ruby slippers
my tin man lady—lioness other
scarecrowess—Imelda Marcos
come to me—my young little
philippine—wizard goddess
let’s make love—oblivious to
the endless—carping old bags
tail-spinning—from above
down—straight into hell

cleaving yaoi

Notes on Japanese Translation

“To tell you the truth—I kind of
like re-translation—like the
of movies…”
—Haruki Murakami

translation—as interpretive art
re-translation—as interpretation
of a previous—interpretation
a new pianist’s—performance
of a beethoven—sonata based
on hearing—an older recording
having not—seen the score
such translations—age in ways
that original—works don’t age
translation—as close reading
an act of criticism—not creation
the need for—new interpretations
becoming apparent—when new
ideas arise with—passage of time

cleaving yaoi

yaoi love #5

within the spring—night moon
after I’ve—dared to reveal
my love—to you

—chino masako

cleaving yaoi

yaoi love #6

who would—have guessed
in the depths—of the ravine
of the red mountain—that the
morning sun—would slowly
touch your—sleepy thighs
in bed—next to me?

—empress eifuku

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cleaving Japanese Lit

—for Phuoc Tan

Thank you—for posting Gamelan Music.
I was looking at it tonight—enjoying Gamelan Blue too.
Your Cleave has this Full Screen—that’s really NICE.
It lets the Reader—see the Cleave so clean and crisp.
None of the baggage—that litters most Pages.

No sidebars—no flashy little gimmicks.
No layout equipage—just the Cleave.
There’s just the single Cleave—on The Cleave page.
It’s so elegant that way—so smooth and clean.
I can see the Cleave—the Cleave can see me.

I’ve been going thru—these Cleave stages.
Letting the Cleave do its Thing—since we started.
The Pound series—got my attention right away.
It turned Personae (1926)—into an interactive poetics.
The surprise vertical stanzas—spontaneous oracles.

From then on—each Cleave was a happy surprise.
I’d compose the Horizontal—then Cleave it gently.
Like a succulent slice of Cherry Pie—a la mode.
And that’s the way—I’ve been doing it ever since.
Except for one thing—I let it take me where it wants.

The Trinity—is more than just a chance three-way.
Or maybe it is just that—maybe that’s enough.
Enough of a doorway to get me thru—to the Other.
Whatever it is—it’s checking things out quickly.
What Mac Low and Cage couldn’t do—it does easily.

Gamelan Music & Gamelan Blue—so Elegantly New.
So simple there on the Page—no clutter no distractions.
Just the Cleave—opening up like a Gong or Rose.
Bong!!! it says—immediately in the Here and Now…
So that there’s more than—just Vertical Surprise.

Many poets have tried—to capture it somehow.
Spontaneity they call it—Kerouac, Ginsberg, the Beats.
But in the end like Mac Low—they shrug in defeat.
No matter how diastic—no matter how much chance.
No matter how much they improvise—ad lib so coyly.

It alludes them—because of their Ego.
They throw up their arms—all systems simply fail.
Like Mac Low’s seed text—and diagonal slice.
Down thru the Text so cleverly—so what?
Playing with chance is one thing—doing it another.

I didn’t want to plunge—into the Anthology.
With preconceived Theories—about LangPo etc.
L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetics—and Silliman.
I’ve studied how his Anthology—turned out to be.
In the American Tree—an exciting genre spree.

The problem with American Theory—and Poetics.
It’s still a Box to shove—Words into like a coffin.
Once you’ve tasted Spontaneity—like the Cleave.
There’s no turning back—you want it to be Free.
And Freedom is—what Freedom wants to be.

It’s like riding a Tiger—across the River Styx.
Hold on Tight—the Dark River is swift.
The Cleave is Alive—it’s a Giant Cat with Eyes.
It slinks nonchalantly—thru my Literary Blog.
It’s pretty simple—you dialog with it that’s all.

I’m doing it now—the dialogical imagination.
Cleave conversationalese—it’s the Other.
Ever read Borges—“August 25, 1983”?
A nice little short story—about the Other.
Two writers in a dream—Doppelganger Lit.

Is that what The Cleave is—the Other?
The younger writer—confronting his older self.
The dying author—telling him his future?
The Double—both in Cambridge by the Charles?
Then that mysterious hotel—in Buenos Aires?

My approach—a Cleave Journal day-to-day.
Google tracks it too—like a Digital Shadow.
Put—into the search box.
Up pops page after page—haiku snapshots!!!
Quick little summaries—of each Cleave post.

Reading Google at night—clever satori.
Late at night—reading what I wrote.
Digital RE-translation—of The Cleave.
Google tracks Snarke—with ironic ease.
Tracking the hits—from around the world

Mapping the visitors—watching StatCounter.
The Cleave goes Global—what does it mean?
The Snarkosphere is cool—it’s totally Cleave.
Like a Cleave Diary—it tracks Cleave Flow.
Nonesuch Gamelan Threads—come and go.

Playing DJ Shadow—all night long
Leaving my Bose—on continuous Replay.
Working and Sleeping—Gamelan Blue.
Moving now—into Japanese Love Poems.
Kenneth Rexroth—and Sam Hamill.

RE-translating them—into something new.
Cleaving Japan for myself—and Strangers.
Cleaving Japanese Lit—Manga and Yaoi.
Lady Izumi Shikibu—Lady Murasaki Shikibu
Prince Fujiwara No Motoyoshi—Mikato Shami.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cleaving Rexroth


“One might say that he
became a female poet
in his last years.”

—Sam Hamill, “The Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth,”
A Poet’s Work: The Other Side of Poetry, Seattle:
Broken Moon Press, 1990


I loathe the twin seas
Of being and not being
Straight—I long for
The boy untouched
By the changing tides.

—Anonymous, Manyóshú


Your tit-ring tingles
You pout as usual—
You take off your kimono
Your don’t hurry—
You’re the Prince.

—Anonymous, Manyóshú


On Komochi Mountain—
From the time your new
Moustache sprouts until
It curls upward into the
Clouds—I want to sleep
With you—so what do
You think of that?

—Anonymous, Manyóshú


We ditch the Palace—
To make love out there
Where the Inami Moor
Fills the fields with—
Smeared moonlight.

—Anonymous, Manyóshú


I don’t care if
Everybody knows—
All I want to do is
Pull and pull the
Rainbow out of you.

—Anonymous, Manyóshú


In the moonlit valley
I can feel bamboo grow—
Sliding upward through
Your smooth foreskin.

—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


When my boyfriend’s gone—
It’s like the ground beneath
The date palm trees—
Full of rotten pits.

—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


We wiggle
Like eels in a pool—
When my lover and I
Make love each night.

—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


This morning I won’t
Comb my hair—
It combed the pubes
Of my lover last night.

—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


My knuckles turn white
My heart’s all knotty—
Because of you I’ll never
Untangle myself.

—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


We live in an age in
which the poetry of
mature erotic love
is out of fashion.”

—Sam Hamill, “The Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth,”
A Poet’s Work: The Other Side of Poetry, Seattle:
Broken Moon Press, 1990


I wait at homeIn your room
By your empty bed—
Gazing at your
Black kimono.
—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


I waited for you
By the lake forever—
Until I heard somewhere
In the night a frog
Suddenly go Kaplunk—
Deep inside my heart
—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro


When I squeezed
Your left fig on the
Path up the slope of
Mount Hikite—
I felt as if surely
I was dying.
—Kakinomoto No Hitomaro

Wound-up tight like a top
You’re ready to spin out—
Unwinding yourself into
Exquisitely complete
Abandon—there’s nothing
I can do except hold tight.
—Mikato Shami


Everybody tells you
Your hair is too long—
I leave it alone because
I am the Prince and you
Are my disheveled Page.
—Lady Sono No Omi Ikuha


Better to have run
Into an old whore—
On Nob Hill than to
Wake up and reach out—
For your hands not there.
—Otomo No Yakamochi


When I see the slim—
Faint new moon against
The evening sky, I think
Of the raised eyebrows
Of a boy I once knew.
—Otomo No Yakamochi

To love a young man—
Who doesn’t love you
Is like going to a
Temple and kissing the
Tight asshole of a sullen
Young nonbeliever.
—Lady Kasa


I wish I were close—
As close as I could get
To the wet kimono of
That drowned boy who got
Washed up by the sea.
—Lady Kasa

He was like the swaying
Kelp in the surf waiting—
For somebody to gather
His seaweed pubes and
Cold blue lips to shore.
—Lady Kasa

That night I dreamed—
The drowned boy swam
And swam as far out to
Sea as he could—trying
To forget his lost lover.
—Lady Kasa


All the roads—
I took trying to find you
Just a glimpse would be
Enough but coyly you
Wouldn’t let me see it.
—Lady Kasa

Knowing the Pillow
Talked while I slept—
I slept without one to
Keep love fresh without
Too much pillow talk.
—Lady Ise
When we make love—
I want to see him
Overcome with blushes—
Like an embarrassed
Rosebush—ashamed of
Himself—and what we do.
—Lady Ise
Your young love—
Is like the jet-black ink
Of a Calligrapher—
Sucked up by the
Parched parchment of
My imperial stationary.
—Prince Fujiwara No Motoyoshi
I can’t stand to be
Without you all the time—
Even if you drown in
Tokyo Bay—
Take me down deep
With you forever.
—Prince Fujiwara No Motoyoshi

The waves crawl
Over the beach of
The Bay of Sumi—
Even at night
The waves curl
Around your curls.
—Prince Fujiwara No Motoyoshi

Yoshima River—
Flows between Ino
Mountain and your
Bulging bellybutton—
All the world’s an illusion
When I tongue your
Pink Mt. Fuji asshole.

—Prince Fujiwara No Motoyoshi

When my Yang—
Is far away and my
Yin hides from me—
Both the cold winter
Night and blue moon
Above cry out to be
One again.
—Prince Fujiwara No Motoyoshi

“There is a sweetness,
a depth of love, in the
later poems that is
probably a result of
Rexroth’s “feminization”—
It is surprising to think
Of it...”

—Sam Hamill, “The Poetry of Kenneth Rexroth,”
A Poet’s Work: The Other Side of Poetry, Seattle:
Broken Moon Press, 1990


Yes, I’m still doing it—
Falling in love and how
They gossip about me—
How awful it is that
I fall in love without
Even knowing why?

—Mibu No Tadami


Funny how disordered
The tangled ferns of
Michinoka cloth seem—
But not as disordered
As my mind around you.

—Mina Moo No Táoru


Love always seems—
Over after being with
You—leaving me like
A Phantom—your face
Covering itself with a
Veil so nobody sees
The real you.

—Mina Moo No Táoru


I try to hide it—
But my face always
Blushes around you—
So then you ask me
Who am I thinking of?

—Taira No Kanemori


Even during a
Summer typhoon—
Your pearls cling to
My cheek like a sticky
Broken necklace.

—Taira No Kanemori


Thinking of the days
And nights before—
I met you back when
I thought I had no—
Troubles at all.

—Fujiwara No Atsutada


Sometimes I pass by—
Some place we once
Loved to visit—that’s
When the midnight
Moon stops—clouding
Over with darkness.

—Lady Murasaki Shikibu


How many blue moons
Does it take and take
And take again—to forget
The one I used to love?

—Daini no Sanmi


A bed full of books—
A cat, a pillow that
Talks, the only thing
Missing—a boy who
Says nothing and
Nothing some more.

—Kakinomoto no Hitomaro


From Mt. Rainier—
Over the pumice plains
The wind blows over
The Enumclaw Plateau.
How can I ever drive
To the Carbon River
And Genius Falls without
Feeling that wind blowing
Through my empty heart?

—Daini Sanmi


It’s already too late—
Tonight for our meeting
But I’m not melancholy—
Standing on the dock
By the rotting cabana—
Listening to the seagulls
Flying low over the lake
The clouds scudding by?

—Ise Tayá


The pillow knows who—
To tell and tell again,
All there is to tell and
Then some more—
But only I know what
To whisper in his ear—
Even though he tells
Me not to ask or tell…

—Lady Izumi Shikibu


The pillow talks—
The pillow talk is just
Simply awful—it’s not
Shy about telling dirt
But then the more we
Do—the more there
Is to gossip about!!!

—Lady Izumi Shikibu


The azaleas are pink—
Their bloom doesn’t last
Very long, they blush like
The boy whose pink turns
Crimson, when I kiss him.

—Lady Izumi Shikibu


Japanese boyz come & go—
Thirty years go by and how
Many spider webs cover the
Path overgrown with louche
Memories, clinging to my
Face as I get the mail.

—Lady Izumi Shikibu


I forget already now—
I barely remember their
Names, as if there was
Was surely only One Name
And his Name is Love.

—Lady Izumi Shikibu


How many chanting sutra—
Later listening to the young
Monk’s gong—my life as a
Poet reverberating during
The intervals between the
Boyz of Tokyo and Kyoto.

—Lady Izumi Shikibu

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cleaving Japantown

The Kinokuniya Bookstore
—for Winston Leyland

The young poet Antler
met Rexroth at the Milwaukee
home of Morgan Gibson…”
—Linda Hamalian, A Life:
Kenneth Rexroth

The same thing—happened to me
When I was in Japantown—last weekend
Taking a walk down the Hill—from Pacific Heights
I met myself—in the Kinokuniya Bookstore

I met my Other—the Poet
The Poet from—thirty years earlier
Who published a book—called Chicken (1979)
By Gay Sunshine Press—in San Francisco

The smell of eucalyptus—was the same
The Golden Gate Bridge—the view from the Hill
The smell of clean ocean air—from the Bay
Strolling thru Lafayette Park—that afternoon

Funny how nothing’s changed—except me
Bringing memories back—now in 2009
Earlier times—during the SF Gay Renaissance
Giving readings—the Bookstore & the Castro

Finding myself standing—this fragrant afternoon
By the Kinokuniya Bookstore—in Japantown
My favorite haunt—whenever I visited SF
Staying at the Miyako Inn—enjoying sushi

The Bowling Alley—long gone now
The soothing sounds—muffled balls and pins
As I drank tea—and cruised all the cute
Young Japanese boys after school…

Funny how things—come and go
Literary Renaissances—smooth and fast
Like schools of salmon—shooting up the
Rapids of one’s—time-spiraling mind…

There I was—in Japantown USA
Looking at myself—in the store window
Of the Kinokuniya Bookstore—much as
Antler contemplated—Kenneth Rexroth

“It was as if he—were slowly falling asleep
Sitting in that chair—while everyone at the
Party asked him questions—suddenly
Wondering if someday I’d be bard too”

I stood there—in front of Kinokuniya
Tilting back my head—for a minute or two
Pretending to doze—my eyelids closed
Empty with no questions—to ask myself

Other than seeing—myself dead
Deader than a doornail—in a coffin or
Stuffed in a vase—in a mausoleum
Maybe ashes tossed—into Elliott Bay

Nobody would say—nodding knowingly
A great poet has died—we’ll miss him
And so will—the great Male Muse up
There on gay Olympus—weeping tears!!!

Hardly my dear—let’s get real…
What’s standing there—in the Kinokuniya
Bookstore window—isn’t a Whitman or
Kenneth Rexroth—or Hart Crane

I’m not one of them—I never was
I never could be—I don’t want to be
Sleek salmon no longer—shoot the rapids
Of my once—sharp transgressive mind

Stonewall came and went—just like that
The bay bookstores—have all gone kaput
Proposition Hate—continues to disenchant
With Mormon glee—POTUS Palin smirks

Sam Hamill—Rexroth’s Zen Brother
Continues to rally—all the Antiwar Poets
Refuses to take Tea—in the Rose Garden
Chaney the Troll—Snarks under the Bridge

All my gay friends—are gone now
They’ve all gone straight—mainstreamed
By Metrosexual—Metropolis USA
I’m just a lowly Zit—of the Zeitgeist

Standing here now—in Japantown
In front of the—Kinokuniya Bookstore
What do I know now—I didn’t know then
Like Rexroth—should I be a Buddhist?

Literary movements—not important now
My bowel movement—more soup du jour
I hear rats in the—yellowing wainscoting
Of my fading—Miss Havisham mind…

Cleaving Antler

Antler’s Original Poem (1968)

Antler's original poem for Kenneth Rexroth is what I based my online poem on:

Rexroth as He Appeared to Exist
March 24, 1968, 5:15-9:00 P.M.

It were as if he were slowly falling asleep,
Sitting in that chair, while everyone at the party

asked him questions.
Suddenly I wondered if someday I would become

a bard
And if I would, as they asked me questions,
tilt back my head and for a minute or so

pretend to doze, eyes peering under lids,
And I wondered if then, in that future crowd,
There would be anyone like me who once
could not think of any questions to ask.
And only through my mind the thought: how soon
he will be dead,
An that's the way he’ll look in a coffin,
his head back like that
with Halley's Comet hair
And the crowds whispering A GREAT POET HAS
yet feeling about as sad as old men do
when they see a boy lose his beauty
and become one of them.
Years from now when I hear the news of his death
I will remember that night and this poem
Shivering a little as I did now and as I did then,
Surprising myself,
with the thought of salmon shooting
up the rapids of his brain,
What he was as far as Orion, as near as a grosbeak,
And what he is now —
the sound of mice moving
in the walls of his flesh.

—Antler, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Volume 19, Number 1, Fall 1968

Comparing my version with Antler's, one can perhaps see how I was both looking back in time to 1968 when Antler published his Rexroth thoughts in the BPJ and later in Last Words in 1986.

Looking back and then looking forward to now 40 years later revisiting Rexroth as he was then—perhaps as the way both Antler and I are now. Political poetry then—the Viet Nam War—has changed somewhat now with the Iraq War. Between the two wars a great deal of water has flowed under the bridge.

The politics of engagement—and disengagement. Have they changed much at all for poets? Sam Hamill continues his mentor Rexroth’s anti-war commitment with his Poets Against the War anthology and blog.

As I read Revolutionary Rexroth: Poet of East West Wisdom by Morgan Gibson, it’s interesting to trace Rexroth’s changing POV as he moves from San Francisco to Santa Barbara and then Japan.

So I did my own Fabulation on Antler's Rexroth poem and posted it. Earlier in 1979, I got a letter from Antler saying how much he enjoyed Chicken (1979). A year later he came out with Factory (1980), a rather depressing City Lights pocket series chapbook about how working in a factory kills the soul and creates a dehumanized mindset that's totally anti-Whitman and suicidal.

I mentioned to Antler that we've been discussing Rexroth's political poetry in the NYTimes Elba Exile poetry and Latin American Literature forums; and that I'd been posting poetry about Rexroth, Bolaño and Pessoa in an online Thread series in, my modest literary blog, i.e., cleaving Rexroth, Bolaño, Pessoa poems over into a new format modeled after a fellow poet Phuoc-Tan.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cleaving Ginsberg

—for Allen Ginsberg

I saw the best scowling minds of my generation—
destroyed by ennui, yawning complacently,
jaded, dragging themselves through vast
lonely empty neocon new world order streets,
crummy strip-malls and dark back-alleys…

Yakking away on their dead cell-phones, talking
to themselves in strange twilight worlds
floating through ruins of gone suburban malls,
parking lots full of burned-out spectral SUV’s…

Their snarky scowling burned-out microwaved—
varicose-veined mushy brain-dead minds,
young meathead ratty robots, children of
the gone millennium, microchips hanging out
their assholes, talking blindly into thin air…

Scowling zombie-eyed American youth—
seduced by FOX-News bubble-headed bimbos
like O’Reilly the TV Wizard of Oz, children of
the couch potato generation, Saturday afternoon
football games and six-pack babies, darkness
descending over vast American Twilight Zone…

Bored bipolar post-traumatic deficit disorders—
back-engineered by scowling bionic shadowy
dystopian corporate mad scientists down to the
last biofeedback twitch & spastic electronic
bioluminescent biohazard greasy fart…

George Orwell’s Bad Hair Day soup du jour—
making sure all the Prison Planet’s clocks are
striking thirteen o’clock with Boredom Bingo
ruling the Earth with the same old fascist
interplanetary SSDD corporate mentality…

Giving bored bourgeois baby boomer offspring—
that lovely spoiled blue-blooded blue-moon
bloated blue-ribbon bulimic glow at night…

Scowling Breeders Awake!!! Look around you quick!!!—
See how all your fat-assed Big Mac children
are fat and obese, sucking up all that cheap
mercury-tainted corn syrup in all the fast
food they gobble up like starved maniacs…
all of them fat-assed with diabetes, your
vaccine-poisoned offspring, look at what
they’ve done to your pretty progeny…

Scowl, double scowl, triple scowl, my dears—
once the epicurean epitome of postmodern
culture, once the envy of the known world,
now becoming just another crummy down
and out third world dump, ignored by all the
enthralled enthroned TV viewers ogling at
and watching Entertainment Tonight…

Scowling Lost Boy ephebic weltschmertz—
living inside their Cinderella curse, dim-witted
entrepreneurs & louche lobbyist ugly sisters
dumbing down the masses, scowling like
pouty Palin POTUS, after the fixed election
with all the voting machines programmed to
celebrate the elephantine GOP victory and
Republican entrechat leap into oblivion…

Cleaving Antler

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cleaving Rexroth

Rexroth Footnote—New Cleave Formats
—for Phuoc-Tan, Hoffman & Diana

While reading thru —The Collected Short Poems
Of Kenneth Rexroth—New Directions (1966)
I came across this—proto-cleave poem that’s
Interesting in terms of—the history of cleaves
It’s entitled—“This Night Only from his
Air and Angels collection—page 330:

This Night Only
—to Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie #1
The winter night the few stars
Far away millions of miles
The sea going on and on
Forever around the earth
Far and far as your lips are near
Filled with the same light as your eyes
Darling darling darling
The future i s long gone by
And the past will never happen
We have only this
Our one forever
So small so infinite
So brief so vast
Immortal as our hands that touch
Deathless as the firelit wine we drink
Almighty as this single kiss
That has no beginning
That will never

“This Night Only” is a proto-cleave poem—with a triple-columned set of unhyphenated stanzas. From a typographical POV—some proto-cleave poems like this on are simply vertical columns lined up with the left-hand margin. Others are centered on the page. If the poem has 2 vertical columns—sometimes it’s centered along the spine of spaces running down the center of the poem. Other times such poems—especially with more than 2 stanza columns—are centered with or without hyphens.

For example, I prefer simple hyphenated cleaves lined up with the left-hand margin—as with his version of the above “This Night Only” Rexroth proto-poem. It then becomes more a cleave than a proto-cleave poem for the reader:

This Night Only
(Cleave Version)

Moonlight—now—on Malibu
The winter night—the few stars
Far away—millions—of miles
The sea—going on—and on
Forever—around—the earth
Far—and far—as your lips—are near
Filled—with the same light—as your eyes
The future—is long gone by
And the past—will never happen
We have—only this
Our one forever
So small—so infinite
So brief—so vast
Immortal—as our hands that touch
Deathless—as the firelit wine we drink
Almighty—as this single kiss
That has no beginning—
That will—never end

Usually I embolden the left-hand stanza column to emphasize the fact that each column is a separate Voice and that the second column is also a separate Voice. With the reading culminating in 2 vertical Voices and one horizontal Voice. The more complex cleaves like Diana Manister’s polyvocal cleaves such as “dearly belateds”—exquisitely baroque perhaps even cleave rococo in style—change the whole nature of the Line as we know it by combining tables or blocks of embedded text & images into new Cleavages:

Diana’s Cleave Anthology cover pictured here at this link along with her Cleave of the Month “dearly belateds” poem shows how sophisticated the cleave form has become. For example, the Cleave cover is a cleave poem in itself. Notice how the usual cleave Line format (from left-hand margin flowing horizontally / vertically across the page) has been replaced by diagonally-radiating Lines!!! Lines that are both radiating outward—and inward into & out of the Eye that centers the Cleavage going on so uniquely and spontaneously there on the Anthology cover!!!

Both the avant-garde Anthology cover and the new way of embedding stanza lines into the new Cleave format is for me one of the most exciting things to come out of Phuoc-Tan’s idea of expanding The Cleave on the Internet and into the new world of POD (Print on Demand) Poetry publication thru the Lulu Adobe pdf. File format.

Seeing the Cleave format expand and innovate the Line as well as the Sentence in new ways thru the work of Diana and the other Cleave poets being published in Phuoc-Tan’s “Cleave of the Month” and “Cleave Short List” is very exciting and gratifying to me.

The Cleave seems to be expanding not only the way the Line and the Sentence appear on the page—but also I sense The Cleave moving into Lit Crit as well (perhaps along the lines of this Essay at its cleave-beginning). Seeing how Kenneth Rexroth went beyond poetry into REXroth Lit Crit with his Pulitzer Prize winning essays on politics, literature and poetics—makes me want to do the same thing.

Also, the possibility of a Cleave Novel authored by collaborating cleave writers appeals to me—although as Phuoc-Tan has suggested perhaps a Cleave Short Story before launching into a Cleave Novella or Novel would be more realistic.

I’ve published some inane chatty Cleave letters—on my literary blog Snarke as well as on the Elba NYTimes Exiles poetry forum as an example of Cleavage going conversationalese—rather than being completely literary all the time. As well as some experimental film reviews—along more nonchalant satirical campy Lines of Cleavage.

Rexroth’s “This Night Only” as well as the rest of his political activist oeuvre lends itself well toward Cleavage; the real test however is with more contemporary socially-engaged poets such Roberto Bolaño who represents to me not only The Boom literary movement in Latin America but also The Boomer generation of North America as we phase into so-called Modern Maturity… whatever that is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cleaving Rexroth

The Savage Detective

“When in 1953, Dylan Thomas
died, Rexroth wrote the
remarkable “Thou Shalt Not
Kill,” which is widely considered
To be the forerunner to, if not
The model for, Allen Ginsberg’s
“Howl”—Bradford Morrow,
Kenneth Rexroth: Selected Poems

They’re still murdering—them
All the young men—everyday now
Ever since the Civil War—ask Walt
But don’t ask him—too much tho
Poor nervous wreck—Timber Creek

They’re still killing them—in Iraq
Can’t wait to get them—to Mars
Every year—they invent new ways
In the jungles of Asia—Middle East
In the ghettos—of Los Angeles

Can’t wait to murder—them
In the slums of—New York City
In the nightclubs—of Vegas
The murderers—are hard at work
Killing off the—Next Generation

They shot King—in the throat
On a motel balcony—yesterday
Blew JFK’s head off—in a limo
Stuffed Lincoln—in a coffin
Put him on a train—back home

Savage Rexroth—writing
Savage Rexroth—writing himself
Savage Rexroth—writing himself outward
But rarest of all—reading myself thru him
Inside him—one of Rexroth’s stories

Literature—inhabiting books?
Nightclubs—Bank of America ruins?
Literature—Golden Gate Bridge?
Burning Sled—Orson’s Rosebud?
Literature—Crystal Ball of Risk?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cleaving Rexroth

The Savage Detective

“Never forget that
Bolaño, before he was
a novelist, was first and
forever a poet.”
—Rodrigo Fresan,
The Savage Detective

Christopher Walken—Lidless Eyes
Orson Welles—Third Man Smile
Carlos Wieder—Wolf among Lambs
Jorge Borges—Monsters of the Maze
Raymond Chandler—The Big Sleep!!!

I’m a Detective—a Political Poet
Roberto Bolaño—Not Savage Enough
Too Nice Guy—Los perros románticos
The Romantic Dogs—what bullshit…
Gimme—The Savage Detectives!!!

Gimme True Lies—a Distant Star
Gimme Pinochet—and the Chile Night
Gimme a Strap-on Dildo—and a Taser
Gimme Peron—gimme Evita tonight
Let me be—The Savage Detective!!!

Gimme a Helicopter—All the Priests
Watch me throw ‘em—all to the Sharks
Gimme a New Deal—Shuffle the Cards
Gimme a New Hand—a Chance to Be
Savage Dog—Savage Detective!!!

Cleaving Rexroth and Bolano

Rexroth and Bolaño — Two Political Poets

Thank you, Hoffman, for sending me the Rodrigo Fresan essay “The Savage Detective—The Only Protagonist of Roberto Bolaño’s Work—The Authentic Heroine of His Books—Is Literature Itself,” translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer.

It’s probably one of the best Bolaño essays I’ve read. Some of the topics discussed have helped me a great deal in understanding this excellent writer and poet: Barcelona, Borges, the Tlatelolco Massacre, Philip K. Dick, Pinochet, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Big Brother, The Boom, Blade Runner, etc.

What I like about Bolaño is that he’s more contemporary than Borges or Pessoa or Paz. I’ve enjoyed reading the poetry of Pessoa thanks to Mringel and I understand certain technical aspects of Pessoa poetics such as his use of heteronyms.

The same with Paz—the poem I posted for the Latin American Literature Forum is technically very close to the “cleave” form we’re publishing with The Cleave Anthology.,36.msg141356.html#msg141356

Both Paz and Pessoa are interesting poets to study from a technical point of view—something that may not interest all Latin American Literature or Poetry readers.

There is definitely a political POV to poetry as well—there always has been. It goes back much further than Ginsberg’s “Howl” or Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” or Pound’s “Cantos.”

And it continues into the future with poets like Roberto Bolaño and his excellent “The Romantic Dogs” New Directions (2006).

Speaking of Poetry—we’re having a fascinating discussion over in the Poetry Forum about Kenneth Rexroth’s poetry published by James Laughlin’s New Directions. The same Press publishing Bolaño today.

As I read more of Rexroth’s poetry—the more “political” his POV becomes. The similarities between Rexroth and Bolaño’s “political poetry” are quite startling and it’s amazing how much Rexroth saw into the future of Big Brother and the Pinochet Planet we live in today.

Thanks to Madupont, Incadove as well as "The Selected Letters of Kenneth Rexroth and James Laughlin," Morgan Gibson’s online Letters from Rexroth and Linda Hamalian’s fascinating biography “Kenneth Rexroth: A Life” (Norton: 1991)—I now see Rexroth and Bolaño as two of the most radical political poets of the Twentieth Century.

Thus, comparing and contrasting Rexroth and Bolaño—studying them and moving back and forth from the Poetry Forum to the Latin American Forum—has for me been very enlightening and gratifying.

To have been a close friend of Bolaño like Rodrigo Fresan to the very end and to have known the poet intimately during that time must have been an incredible experience for Fresan.

I’m sure it was something very similar to being Kenneth Rexroth’s personal secretary Dianne Jarreau or his 4th wife and executor Carol Tinker.

The UC-Santa Barbara Archives with Morgan Gibson’s files, letters and Rexroth’s material is something Hoffman and I are researching now.

Politics and Poetry are like two sides of the same coin. How does Bolaño and Rexroth’s political poetry compare and contrast?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cleaving Cid Corman

Corman's Coffee Shop

“[cid] corman's—coffee shop
and ice cream parlor—is a hangout
for gaijin—gaijin lovers
jitoku is worse—katagiri's brother
runs a coffee shop honyarado—which is better
but all these places crawl—with freaks & cia
usually the same people—my advice to you
associate—as much as possible with
ordinary japanese people—in japanese places
and get a—japanese girlfriend

—Kenneth Rexroth, Letter to Morgan Gibson