Friday, July 21, 2017


A fine poet, interesting thinker,
acknowledgeable in the ways
of poetry, but not one to draw from
any poet other than compatible to the usual syllabus;
the most Hass let's his hair down is drawing an example of
Ted Berrigan and Jackson MacLow —
no Bob Kaufman here, Thomas McGrath or Janine Pommy Vega.
Where Hass has intrigued me the most are his informal
and off-the cuff introductions he presents from his post at the
University of California Berkeley reading series.

Thursday, July 20, 2017



This book was gifted to me knowing, as the presenter
does, that I read everything by Simic. Simic actually
advises this for poets, young ones, so I must still be young: read
everything and pretty much do your own thing as a writer.
He left off: and accept the consequences.
We are throttled by poetry schools, foundations, houses,
frat-party poetics, mean and lean criticizing threshers,
swords with blood on them, so you take your chances writing
as you wish. But please do so. I want to read you. I am reading
this new Simic slender book of poems in early June and
because I am always reading, and writing, and doing as I wish,
this won't appear until sometime in July.
The Birdhouse is nicely bottled up and singing.
If we're still here.
There's a Menace in the White House
also doing as he wishes.

The Week

Monday comes around with a new tattoo

It won't show us and here's Tuesday

Walking its latest nightmare on a leash

And Wednesday blind as the rain tapping

On a windowpane and Thursday sipping

Bad coffee served by a pretty waitress

And Friday lost in a confusion of sad

And happy faces and Saturday flashing

Like a pinball machine in the morgue

And Sunday with a head of crucified Christ

Hanging sideways in a bathroom mirror


Monday, July 17, 2017


Old Back Road Story

Saw Cliff the day before in his backhoe
moving a good size rock in the jaws
of his bucket, he stopped a moment
and flipped open his cab door to talk
said they’d be tearing out the small
back woods road bridge the next day

we looked at the sign maybe Cliff
or some other worker had scribbled
a notice for all travelers to note:

bridge closed
june 22 from
7 am to 7 pm
if any Q
please call ...

Cliff then asked us :
its June 22

we also got
a feeling
Cliff or some-
one ran out of room
to write “Questions”
and that’s why on the sign
they used a “Q”

the writing looks like
it was written by god
if god was a bear

I ask Cliff what they
are going to do with
all the old hemlock
timbers from the deck
of the bridge?

gee, I don’t know, Bob
do you want’em?

I nod yes
he nods okay
consultation over

the next day, in driving rain,
all the way up the back road
a good mile comes Cliff in
his front end loader, every old
hemlock long plank and timber
he’s got balanced like a pro and
he raises his wide bucket high
and swings right through our stone-
wall barway and meets me with a grin to
his grin as I point to an edge of the
woodlot where he sets the whole load
down soft as an egg


Bob Arnold