Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lady Lazarus - Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it-----

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot ------
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.
Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bukowski 1

tonight I wonder where
my Bukowski went,
looking tirelessly under
laundry, plates, sheets,
bottles, and more
scholastic books.
I pause at an anthology
American Modern
Flipping through the
pages until confirming
Bukowski is absent
and Tom Waits is
silently looking out
a dark window at
pigeons eating
out of children's palms.
so quiet.
Would swear
he never

-Patrick Conners Jr

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Alone – by Philip Levine

Sunset, and the olive grove flames
on the far hill. We descend
into the lunging shadows
of goat grass, and the air

deepens like smoke.
you were behind me, but when I turned
there was the wrangling of crows
and the long grass rising in the wind

and the swelling tips of grain
turning to water under a black sky.
All around me the thousand
small denials of the day

rose like insects to the flaming
of an old truth, someone alone
following a broken trail of stones
toward the deep and starless river.

-Philip Levine, Alone

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dying Hour

I want to use these great lungs of mine
To hold my breath for an hour.
I practice meditation for hours,
Warming up for the final act.
The final pause at the end of Life’s stanza.
The Taoists say holding your breath
Is yang, it strengthens every muscle
And every bone in your body.
The Taoists say that exhaling is
Yin, it relaxes and prepares
The body for some final rest;
And so, to breathe out, even to sigh
Is to die. When you read poetry
Out loud, you die. Not metaphorically,
But literally. It is the cycle of life.
I want to hold my breath for an hour
So that I can feel immortal. So that I can
Feel a strength that has never been
In my muscles and flesh. So that I can
Hold time still for just that short, minute,
Dying hour.
-Patrick Conners Jr

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What message is there
In these bones?
Who would learn
Time from me?
How does God pray?
What was the language
Used by my ancestores?
Who will listen, laugh, and cry?
Should I lie? Will I change?
Into what? Who?
How many poems
Are writ in my soul?

~Patrick Conners Jr

Have You Prayed by Li-Young Lee

When the wind
turns and asks, in my father's voice,
Have you prayed?
I know three things. One:
I'm never finished answering to the dead.
Two: A man is four winds and three fires.
And the four winds are his father's voice,
his mother's voice ...
Or maybe he's seven winds and ten fires.
And the fires are seeing, hearing, touching,
dreaming, thinking . . .
Or is he the breath of God?
When the wind turns traveler
and asks, in my father's voice, Have you prayed?
I remember three things.
One: A father's love
is milk and sugar,
two-thirds worry, two-thirds grief, and what's left over
is trimmed and leavened to make the bread
the dead and the living share.
And patience? That's to endure
the terrible leavening and kneading.
And wisdom? That's my father's face in sleep.
When the wind
asks, Have you prayed?
I know it's only me
reminding myself
a flower is one station between
earth's wish and earth's rapture, and blood
was fire, salt, and breath long before
it quickened any wand or branch, any limb
that woke speaking. It's just me
in the gowns of the wind,
or my father through me, asking,
Have you found your refuge yet?
asking, Are you happy?
Strange. A troubled father. A happy son.
The wind with a voice. And me talking to no one.

-- Li-Young Lee

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Arthur Rimbaud

Arthur Rimbaud
You have some
Beautiful lines, but
You know that—
“L’amour divin seul
Octroie les clefs
De la science”—
I don’t speak French,
I’m sorry, I can’t understand.
“Goodbye chimeras,
                ideals, errors.”
~Patrick Conners Jr

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In The Library

In the library,
Human Physiology
Looks across
At Climate Change;
Their gaze unbroken
For these many years.

Behind them listen
The Dynamic Natural Gas
Industry, and
Potroleum Product

There are entire encyclopedias
Written in the dust
On their spines.

~Patrick Conners jr
"The hand that writes is as good as the hand that ploughs."
~Arthur Rimbaud

Monday, November 14, 2011


There will still
Continue to be

Cats named
Next year

~ patrick conners jr ~

Sunday, November 13, 2011

from Dylan Thomas Poem in October

 It was my thirtieth year to heaven
     Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
        And the mussel pooled and the heron
                Priested shore
           The morning beckon
     With water praying and call of seagull and rook
     And the knock of sailing boats on the webbed wall
           Myself to set foot
                That second
        In the still sleeping town and set forth.

 -from Dylan Thomas, Poem in October

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kept Awake

“God’s refuted but the devil’s not”
-Charles Simic

I used to be kept awake
For hours each night,
With poems circulating
Through the veins of my mind.
It was a chore keeping up;
Like keeping the yard clear
               in the fall.

They were mad thoughts.
I thought they were not from me,
But from some dream state.

I collected more lines than
A confessional booth;
The notebook I refused
                to set down.

In the morning a shadow
                remained on the page.

-Patrick Conners Jr

Friday, November 11, 2011

Morality is trivial
Mice make metaphors

Unfocused eyes see
Nothing out the window
Crayons, markers, glitter,
safety scissors, stick glue,
Elmer's glue, colored pencils,
finger paint, Pastels.

Stuffed rabbit, Legos,
G.I. Joe, soldiers,
Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures,
cars, Quake.

Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak,
Shel Silverstein, Bruce Coville,
R. L. Stine, Poe,
Lovecraft, Stephen King.

Pretty Pretty Princess, Candy Land,
Mouse Trap, Checkers,
Life, Monopoly,
Risk, Chess.

Gather, Hunt,
Grow, Culture,
Plow, Irrigate,
God, Math, Philosophy.

Stick, Sling, Sword,
Catapult, Cannon,
Gun, Bomb,
Nuclear end.

-Patrick Conners Jr

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Seducer Only Smiles At Himself

There is so much more
Security when everything is naturally
                At odds--
Then we do not need to invent ways to
Fill the silence
                So unnatural.
Crafts and trees should
All be bells,
They should scream or just echo
Their last brilliant murder.
Dullness is never sought.

We need to
Fly toward the vibrant
Light until unconscious flies.

We need to be stuck in a
Wind tunnel. Though we crave
Silence we cannot
Master--it breeds in us,
We do not produce in it.

If we only appreciated
Stillness, surely there'd be
no survival--Life depends
                on strife.
Love moves toward war of forms.
When you've gotten everything
Else done, just get high,
                You deserve it after all.

The alternative is stagnation,
un-accomplishment. Motion measures
man--growth, worms, cities,
rain, the heart beat-- Movement
                is connection.
Sound unites, we are
Comforted by distraction. Jesus
Was born, performed, spoke, died
Rose once more--even in death
Was not silent--silent, stillness,
                A disease,
There are pills for that!

If connection is holy, we must live in a
Holy age, right? Contemplation, no, that
is odd--Seclusion shows an indifference
and intolerance--War has always been
                a love story. The seducer only
Smiles at himself.
A soldier is anyone who knows
For whom he died.
                God does not smile at all.

-Patrick Conners Jr

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
And put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
Then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
-Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

flesh 'n wine

God, you're holding your palm out
for your future to be read
you've cast lots to divide your realms
we, we, we, our great race us humans
Have been entrusted to fight holy wars
To bless your children Because we hold your
Palm and study the lines God you should use
hand cream your skin could use to be smoother
Its rough as a snake we, we, we
Improve nature Have a cure for that
our reason and understanding The civilized
nations and our courts have no need for justice
you could say we we we know a great deal of
divination and tarot prophecies The man with
the beard and his half completed song we we
we are premature we want bread and wine
flesh and blood ripped from holy flesh
-Patrick Conners Jr

Monday, November 7, 2011

OF NICOLETTE - E.E. Cummings

dreaming in marble all the castle lay
like some gigantic ghost-flower born of night
blossoming in white towers to the moon,
soft sighed the passionate darkness to the tune
of tiny troubadours,and(phantom-white)
dumb-blooming boughs let fall their glorious snows,
and the unearthly sweetness of a rose
swam upward from the troubled heart of May;

a Winged Passion woke and one by one
there fell upon the night,like angel's tears,
the syllables of that mysterious prayer,
and as an opening lily drowsy-fair
(when from her couch of poppy petals peers
the sleepy morning)gently draws apart
her curtains,and lays bare her trembling heart,
with beads of dew made jewels by the sun,

so one high shining tower(which as a glass
turned light to flame and blazed with snowy fire)
unfolding,gave the moon a nymphlike face,
a form whose snowy symmetry of grace
haunted the limbs as music haunts the lyre,
a creature of white hands,who letting fall
a thread of lustre from the castle wall
glided,a drop of radiance,to the grass--
shunning the sudden moonbeam's treaerous snare
she sought the harbouring dark,and(catching up
her delicate silk)all white,with shining feet,
went forth into the dew:right wildly beat
her heart at every kiss of daisy-cup,
and from her cheek the beauteous colour went
with every bough that reverently bent
to touch the yellow wonder of her hair.

- E.E. Cummings, OF NICOLETTE

Sunday, November 6, 2011

When corporations       determine                ethics
Elephants               look
            In the snow

And                          whales                are        at home
In a                                                                                  tub                performingstunts                                                                For          SunkistTuna We                     become                                            dronesObsessed with The IMAGE of rebellionPhotoshopped     and                     juxtaposedin                our                                music on theRite                                        Aid        playlistWe  pay                 millions    To sing                                                alongSmile politely customer                                          serviceComes                                  first Don't loseA single          sale Dignityisn't profitable Insincerity
"We have all been in rooms
We cannot die in"

-James Dickey

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I went looking for you in a hill last September.
The wind tossed my hair in front of my face,
My legs burned underneath me,
feeling the urgency of the search.

I ran up toward the expanding dark blue.
As I crested the hill the sun blinded me for a moment.
I looked around into the pure white light;
Everything was gone, the wind was deafening.

In another instant, everything had returned.
I was at the top of the hill with the sky and blown leaves.
So clearly I saw all around me, the small creek beyond the hill.
Alone on the hill, I walked to the creek.

The shallow and clear water did not even hold a face.
I was alone for miles in all directions;
I wondered at where you had gone.
For all these years you've wandered far from home.

It is impossible to describe my disappointment
I thought I had found you,
And my joy faded like a young child's at dusk.

I knelt at the water's edge,
Began dipping my cupped hand
Into the water, bringing it up in handfuls,
Digging just on the surface for a trace of you.

The water never left a spot to be reclaimed,
A constant stream entirely unaware of my hand.
I wanted some essence, some proof.
Digging and digging, tirelessly, the wind did not cease.

-Patrick Conners Jr

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cthulhu and Aristotle

I was really getting into Aristotle
When the stars leaked a blazing
Red current through their void
From another world came
The mysterious Cthulhu
Waving his hundred arms
My coffee spilled
Erasing a thousand words
From my essay
That categorized gods
                and flowers
-Patrick Conners Jr

Evening Walk by Charles Simic

Evening Walk

You give the appearance of listening
To my thoughts, O trees,
Bent over the road I am walking
On a late summer evening
When every one of you is a steep staircase
The night is slowly descending.

The high leaves like my mother's lips
Forever trembling, unable to decide,
For there's a bit of wind,
And it's like hearing voices,
Or a mouth full of muffled laughter,
A huge mouth we can all fit in
Suddenly covered by a hand.

Everything quiet. Light
Of some other evening strolling ahead,
Long-ago evening of silk dresses,
Bare feet, hair unpinned and falling.
Happy heart, what heavy steps you take
As you follow after them in the shadows.

The sky at the road's end cloudless and blue.
The night birds like children
Who won't come to dinner.
Lost children in the darkening woods.

-Charles Simic

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I admired the way you
Described god so clearly,
While dusting the cold
                                glass window.
The evening is like that,
Grave and alive, as you
Said. Tall and short,
Nothing to marvel at,
Like a child reading a
Book out loud. Some
Words he gets and
Some are skipped over
-Patrick Conners Jr

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"That horrible march home,
that little unknown history of

-from Charles Bukowski, Clothes Cost Money
Unwritten chapters
Of a person’s heart and soul
(Holding a flower)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Writing in the Afterlife - Billy Collins

Writing in the Afterlife
By Billy Collins

I imagined the atmosphere would be clear,
shot with pristine light,
not this sulphurous haze,
the air ionized as before a thunderstorm.

Many have pictured a river here,
but no one mentioned all the boats,
their benches crowded with naked passengers,
each bent over a writing tablet.

I knew I would not always be a child
with a model train and a model tunnel,
and I knew I would not live forever,
jumping all day through the hoop of myself.

I had heard about the journey to the other side
and the clink of the final coin
in the leather purse of the man holding the oar,
but how could anyone have guessed

that as soon as we arrived
we would be asked to describe this place
and to include as much detail as possible—
not just the water, he insists,

rather the oily, fathomless, rat-happy water,
not simply the shackles, but the rusty,
iron, ankle-shredding shackles—
and that our next assignment would be

to jot down, off the tops of our heads,
our thoughts and feelings about being dead,
not really an assignment,
the man rotating the oar keeps telling us—

think of it more as an exercise, he groans,
think of writing as a process,
a never-ending, infernal process,
and now the boats have become jammed together,

bow against stern, stern locked to bow,
and not a thing is moving, only our diligent pens

-Billy Collins, 1941
They don’t trust us with shoelaces here
                They may be used to strangle ourselves
The sheets and blankets are so thin that
                They tear if you should try to hang yourself
The mirror is polished metal
                No glass shards to split your own throat
Hospital gowns and doped up patients
                Hungry from weeks of hospital food and sleep deprived
Only the truly ignorant claim to understand themselves
Assignment today: Come up with
                Five things you are thankful for
The lady next to me will
Not stop on about how
                They took my babies!
Her husband, she just knows is dead.
They replaced him with a clone,
                She won’t sleep with him
I don’t doubt that’s not why she’s here
My roommate is a returned war vet
                He screams out profanities
At night as he dreams of repeatedly stabbing me
He screams out my name like
                The Lord’s name in a desperate prayer.
He is a pile of rocks under the thin bed spread
Screaming damnation
                Fuck the doctors and fuck my soul!
I can feel it filling the room
                He’s near climax
When he wakes in sudden terror
And moves quickly to the shower
                On quiet feet.
The games of chess I play here
Are the most sincere I’ll play anywhere
-Patrick Conners Jr