you are in a maze of words that have captured my soul in one way or another.

I write poetry; you may have read some of it already on other parts of this site. However, I'd like to share some poems that I really like; that have appeared in my plan file at one point or another, because they are either really beautiful or wonderful or have just struck me in one way or another. I am putting all of these here without permission of the authors, so please don't sue me; if anyone complains I'll just take this page down. I just really want to share what I consider to be some really fine works of poetry that aren't often covered in the conventional "literary canon".

Margaret Atwood, "It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers"

While I was building neat
castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses

and as I walked to the school
washed and combed, my feet
stepping on the cracks in the cement
detonated red bombs.

Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair
as quietly as a fuse

and the jungles are flaming, the under-
brush is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult 
maps go up in smoke.

I am the cause, I am a stockpile of chemical
toys, my body is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in love, my hands are guns,
my good intentions are completely lethal.

Even my
passive eyes transmute
everything I look at to the pocked
black and white of a war photo,
can I stop myself

It is dangerous to read newspapers.

Each time I hit a key
on my electric typewriter,
speaking of peaceful trees

another village explodes.


Richard Brautigan, "It's Raining in Love" I don't know what it is, but I distrust myself when I start to like a girl a lot. It makes me nervous. I don't say the right things or perhaps I start to examine, to evaluate, compute what I am saying. If I say, "Do you think it's going to rain?" and she says, "I don't know," I start thinking: Does she really like me? In other words I get a little creepy. A friend of mine once said, "It's twenty times better to be friends with someone than it is to be in love with them." I think he's right and besides, it's raining somewhere, programming flowers and keeping snails happy. That's all taken care of. BUT if a girl likes me a lot and starts getting real nervous ans suddenly begins asking me funny questions and looks sad if I give the wrong answers and she says things like, "Do you think it's going to rain?" and I say, "It beats me," and she says, "Oh," and looks a little sad at the clear blue California sky, I think: Thank God, it's you, baby, this time instead of me.

e.e. cummings, "i carry your heart" i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
e.e. cummings, "since feeling is first" since feeling is first who pays any attention to the syntax of things will never wholly kiss you; wholly to be a fool while Spring is in the world my blood approves, and kisses are a better fate than wisdom lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry --the best gesture of my brain is less than your eyelids' flutter which says we are for each other: then laugh, leaning back in my arms for life's not a paragraph And death I think is no parenthesis
The Cure, "Untitled" hopelessly drift in the eyes of the ghost again down on my knees and my hands in the air again pushing my face in the memory of you again but i never know if it's real never know how i wanted to feel never quite said what i wanted to say to you never quite managed the words to explain to you never quite knew how to make them believable and now the time has gone another time undone hopelessly fighting the devil futility feeling the monster climb deeper inside of me feeling him gnawing my heart away hungrily i'll never lose this pain never dream of you again

Richard Feynman -- from "What do you care what other people think?" There are the rushing waves mountains of molecules each stupidly minding its own business trillions apart yet forming white surf in unison. Ages on ages before any eyes could see year after year thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? On a dead planet with no life to entertain. Never at rest tortured by energy wasted prodigiously by the sun poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar. Deep in the sea all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make others like themselves and a new dance starts. Growing in size and complexity living things masses of atoms DNA, protein dancing a pattern ever more intricate. Out of the cradle onto dry land here it is standing: atoms with consciousness; matter with curiosity. Stands at the sea, wonders at wondering: I a universe of atoms an atom in the universe.

James Harms, "My Androgynous Years" I had a crisis at the supermarket, yesterday. I said to myself softly, so no one could hear, I said, Your soul is not stepping from your body. I said, Stop it, relax. And I did. I held it all together past the magazines and gum, through 8-Items-or-Less and out the door. I sat in my car and let mascara run down my arms like greasy rain. Until a woman in a Volvo beeped and pointed at the asphalt under me, unwilling, I guess, to wait any longer. When I was eight my sister hated me. She hated clothes and make-up. She hated buckled shoes. We'd walk Vermillion Street beneath the insect sizzle of neon to buy my mother cigarettes, loiter like felons till all seemed clear in Lee's Liquor-Mart. I'd ask Peter Lee where the Cokes had gone and he'd come around to help me look while my sister snaked her hand to a packet of Pall Malls and was gone. On the way home, sometimes, she ran ahead, easy over long legs. She'd find a crumbling vestibule to soothe her shadow down to stone, and time my slow arrival. We'd sit near a puddle of ragwater or piss, her laughter a hand against my nect, and wait for my sobs to soften. I share my lunch today with a boy from Peru, Indiana. He recites King's "I Have a Dream" speech rising off the bench to shake his fists at the assembled phantoms. Pigeons scatter and regather, and all around us haloes appear and vanish, the fountain mist blown in rainbows and to pieces. He is splendid and I offer all my Fritoes. One night he will come to me like a dream on the television, and announce a special offer: laser-sharpened knives or a three-record set. But that's the future. For now we hold hands and talk about the news, which is much better than yesterday's but only half as good as tomorrow's.
Jonathan Holden, "Falling From Stardom" When only the human remains, our two human faces licked clean of disguises like two friends, I understand what an ex-lover meant when she said she was tired of fucking celebrities, how this star director who confessed he'd grown bored of practicing stunts on one trapeze at a time turned out in the end to be no more than his assortment of methods. The persuasion in his hands, even the tropical weather moving through his melancholy eyes, seemed to her ulterior. On the mattress with him she was a mirror. I have friends who are afraid to say something trite. Every rejoinder must top what was just said. Their gossip's hilarious, it's a compost of envies. They'll tell you the sex habits of each president. At 50, they would still live as we did before we gave up counting the nervous thrills in this world and bore our children. But their mouths are chameleon, their faces want definition, are composites of all out faces, and we are the score which they cannot stop keeping. When they lend us themselves they use the word love. They would finish with us as with a piece of heavy equipment. Their motion's a form of immunity. Loneliness gives them freedom to move. I wake with you, now, and for the first time that I can remember I envy nothing. The morning's singular, it will not refer. Am I naive? Is this some child's drawing? There's a blue brook. On it, a boat. One cloud. One bird. The sun faithful, always righthanded, scatters its sticks of lemony candy. Everything's loyal. The boat only wants to be a boat, the cloud a cloud, the bird bird, the brook. If the word love means anything it must be like this -- how two sticks of sun that fall in the brook can shine all morning, shine beneath fame, the water descending without demur, filling one place at a time.
Jonathan Holden, "The Ordinary Deja Vu of a Rainy Morning" It must be this way, too, for the old men reading these pale zeroes the rain keeps typing, repeating perfectly in the pools-- the old men who have learned years ago that weather is to be taken personally, and who, though they are weary, are today almost happy, pleased with the way the rain recites its adages, something they had said once or written down, as if the rain, by being so many, defined them as indefinite articles define a noun, making possible a while longer the singular. And it must be here, surely, in the singular, witness again to that bitter green lacework in the elms, the gossip of grasses drinking this raw drizzle, adding the sum of the rain's digits, that we practice our aging like the young illicit lovers as they undress. On the border of the old country they remember, now, its climate-- the hot monotony-- that it has no nationality. And they know all that the old men coming awake this morning among the dark used furniture of a room that resembles their room on a day that resembles a forlorn April day could know of deja vu. And they know where they are going they will be anonymous again. They know, already, how the mask they draw on is common as the masks on their children asleep, the eyes lifted, birds lost in the afternoon glare, leaving the face empty, a pure desertion. Like the old men listening to the rain's adages, the forsythia lit all this dark morning, they remember when they were plural.
Jonathan Holden, "Duststorm" Here in this quiet room arrayed with soft parallelograms of sun, still dazed by your potent taste of broken apples, I've come to realize that even in silence such as this, with the boughs beyond my window nodding lazily, the sunlight's edges eating up the floor as the minutes bristle, filling up the room with the palpable activity of nothing, it is always storming. It's in the dust, this dust that sparkles, restless in the sun. There is desire in this dust that cannot cry. There is desire gathering even in the light, speechless, frozen, a kind of pain that makes the light, the dust and I tremble together. There is no shelter from this desire, it's everywhere, this storm that we are made of, this windless storm I thought could spend itself, that's closing in again.
Jonathan Holden, "Integrals" Erect, arched in disdain, the integrals drift from left across white windless pages to the right, serene as swans. Tall, beautiful seen from afar on the wavering water, each curves with the balanced severity of a fine tool weighed in the palm. Gaining energy now, they break into a canter--stallions bobbing the great crests of their manes. No one suspects their power who has not seen them rampage. Like bulldozers, they build by adding dirt to dirt to stumps added to boulders to broken glass added to live trees by the roots added to hillsides, to whole housing developments that roll, foaming before them, the tumbling end of a broken wave in one mangled sum: dandelions, old beer-cans and broken windows--gravestones all rolled into one. Yes, with the use of tables integration is as easy as that: the mere squeeze of a trigger, no second thought. The swans cannot feel the pain it happens so fast.

Kenneth Koch, "Days and Nights" -- part 5 A B C D F I J L M N R Y and Z were the friends I had who wrote poetry Now A B and C are dead, L N and Y have stopped writing Z has gotten better than ever and I am in a heavy mood Wondering how much life and how much writing there should be-- For me, have the two become mostly the same? Mostly! Thank God only mostly! Last night with you I felt by that shaken and uplifted In a way that no writing could ever do The body is after all a mountain and words are a mist-- I love the mist. Heaven help me, I also love you. When the life leaves the body life will still be in the words But that will be a little and funny kind of life Not including you on my lap And looking at me then shading your beautiful eyes. Do you want me to keep telling You things about your Poem or do you want me to stop? Oh Tell me. What? I don't think You should have that phrase "burn up" in the first line. Why not? I don't know. It Seems a little unlike the rest. O wonderful silence of animals It's among you that I best perhaps could write! Yet one needs readers. Also other people to talk to To be friends with and to love. To go about with. And This takes time. And people make noise, Talking, and playing the piano, and always running around. Night falls on my desk. It's an unusual situation. Usually I have stopped work by now. But this time I'm in the midst of a thrilling evasion, Something I promised I wouldn't do-- sneaking in a short poem In the midst of my long one. Meanwhile you're patient, and the veal's cold. Fresh spring evening breezes over the plates We finish eating from and then go out. Personal life is everything personal life is nothing Sometimes--click--one just feels isolated from personal life Of course it's not public life I'm comparing it to, that's nonsense vanity-- So what's personal life? the old mom-dad-replay joke or Sex electricity's unlasting phenomenon? That's right. And on This spring evening it seems sensational. Long may it be lasting! It helps me to be writing it helps me to breathe It helps me to say anything it gives me I'm afraid more than I give it I certainly have lost something My writing makes me aware of it It isn't life and it isn't youth I'm still young enough and alive It's what I wrote in my poems That I've lost, the way Katherine would walk As far as the tree line, and how the fruit tree blossoms Would seem to poke their way into the window Although they were a long way outside Yes sex is a great thing I admire it Sex is like poetry it makes you aware of your hands feet arms and legs And your beating heart I have never been inspired by sex, always by love And so we talk about "sex" while thinking a little about poetry There are very few poems Compared to all the thought And the activity and the sleeping and the falling in love And out of love and the friendships And all the talk and the doubts and the excitement And the reputations and the philosophies And the opinions about everything and the sensitivity And the being alone a lot and having to be with others A lot and the going to bed a lot and getting up a lot and seeing And so on and thinking about oneself In this somewhat peculiar way Well, producing a lot, that's not what Being a poet is about, said N. But trying to do so is certainly one of the somethings It is about, though the products I must say are most noumenous-- Wisps of smoke! while novels and painting clouds go belching over the way! Poetry, however, lives forever. Words-- how strange. It must be that in language There is less competition Than there is in regular life, where there are always Beautiful persons being born and growing to adulthood And ready to love. If great poems were as easy to create as people-- I mean if the capacity to do so were as widespread-- Since there's nothing easy about going through a pregnancy-- I suppose we could just forget about immortality. Maybe we can! Z said It isn't poetry And R said It's the greatest thing I ever read And Y said I'm sick. I want to get up Out of bed. Then we can talk about poetry And L said There is some wine With lunch, if you want some And N (the bad poet) said Listen to this. And J said I'm tired and M said Why don't you go to sleep. We laughed And the afternoon-evening ended At the house in bella Firenze.
Kenneth Koch, "In Bed" (excerpts) HAMMER AND NAILS IN BED To make it better They are making it a better bed And a bigger bed, firmer and larger And finer bed. So the hammer and nails in the bed And the carpenter's finger And thumb and his eyes and his shoulder. Bang! Bang! Smap! The hammer and nails in bed. SHEEP IN BED The sheep got into the bed By mistake. OTHER POETRY BED Shall I compare you to a summer's bed? You are more beautiful. FRIENDS IN BED Sleep well. SIRENS IN BED My face is plastered to the window When the sirens come. COURTSHIP IN BED "Please. Tell me you like me." "How did you get in this bed?" WET DOG IN BED There is nothing like a wet dog in bed. DOG BED In the dog bed I cannot sleep. PHILOSOPHY IN BED (I) Plato says this bed Isn't the real one. What did Plato know About beds? (II) Spinoza constructed a bed Which was slept in by Alfred North Whitehead. (XLIV) You say, "Let's go to bed" But those words have no meaning. LUNCH IN BED It's late! Get up! The roseate fruit trees Are blushing with the nape of new-frocked day! Awake! The modern breeze of spring Is pulsative through nest-caroming branches! COWARDS IN BED Afraid to turn over. Come on. Come on, turn over. Cowards in bed. CHOPIN'S ETUDES IN BED Here is the bed Of Chopin's Etudes, Over here is his Preludes' bed; And here is the bed of his Mazurkas. BED I'd wake up every morning And look out the window across the park. SUICIDE I was unable to tell you any reason To get out of bed. A BLUE AND WHITE BED Becomes a yellow and gold one, Then was green, pale green, Then violet, then onyx, Yes onyx, then it was an onyx bed. BALCONIES IN BED When you lean over When you fall When you speak AT ENDEBED At Endebed I mett you You go up on the lift, no, yes Then we hearing from sounds of guitars Americans strolling bingo hatrack in the lake. ENEMIES IN BED Enemies sleep in separate beds But in the same part of the city. ZEN BED I can't get to bed. Show me the bed and I will show you how tto get to it. INVITING SOMEONE FROM BED Come, let me help you out of bed. The sun is shining. The window is open. Look! From the balcony there is the street, which is like a bed. POST-MODERNISM IN BED Kadinsky, Arp, Valery, Leger, and Marinetti Are kicked out of bed. Then, for a long time, nobody gets back into it. STRANGE BEDFELLOWS The bear got into bed With his claws. POETRY BED To have it all at once, and make no decisions. But that is a decision. I AM SORRY I DIDN'T EXPECT TO FIND YOU IN BED With me I must have misdialed the telephone oh Wait a minute -- damn! I can't extricate Myself from these sheets yes I'm getting up what Did you expect after such a long night at the factory Of unexplained phenomena with your head and shoulders Beautiful as a telephone directory but please don't talk to me about love I have an appointment with my head with the dead with a pheasant With a song I'm nervous good-bye. It was the end of bed. PHILOSOPHY OF BED A man should be like a woman and a woman should be like an animal In bed is one theory. Another is that they both should be like beds. PSYCHOANALYTIC CRITICISM IN BED What are you trying to avoid talking about When you talk about bed? OWL IN BED The owl flew into the bed By mistake. SNOW IN BED Vanishing snowflakes, rooftops appearing And sidewalks and people and cars as we get out of bed. DISCOBOLUS IN BED The discus thrower Is still in bed.

Moody Blues (Graeme Edge), "The Day Begins/Late Lament" Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight. Red is grey and yellow white, But we decide which is right.. ..and which is an illusion? Pinprick holes in a colourless sky, Let inspired figures of light pass by, The mighty light of ten thousand suns, Challenges infinity and is soon gone. Night time, to some a brief interlude, To others the fear of solitude. Brave Helios wake up your steeds, Bring the warmth the countryside needs. Breathe deep; the gathering gloom. Watch lights fade from every room. Bedsitter people look back and lament, Another day's useless energy spent. Impassioned lovers wrestle as one, Lonely man cries for love and has none. New mother picks up and suckles her son, Senior citizens wish they were young. Cold hearted orb that rules the night, Removes the colours from our sight. Red is grey and yellow white, But we decide which is right.. ..and which is an illusion?

Phish, Rift last night in the moments my thoughts were adrift and coasting a terrace approaching a rift, through which I could spy several glimpses beneath of the darkness the light from above could not reach I spied wings of reason herself taking flight and upon yonder precipice saw her alight, and glare back at me, one last look of dismay, as if she were the last one she thought I'd betray so much the better I said to myself and drawing quite close to the top of the shelf I struggled with destiny up on the ledge and gasped when defeated he slipped off the edge and silence, contagious in moments like these, consumed me and strengthened my will to appease the passion that sparked me one terrible night and shocked and persuaded my soul to ignite
Edgar Allen Poe, "Alone" From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not bring My passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken My sorrow; I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone. Then- in my childhood, in the dawn Of a most stormy life- was drawn From every depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still: From the torrent, or the fountain, From the red cliff of the mountain, From the sun that round me rolled In its autumn tint of gold, From the lightning in the sky As it passed me flying by, From the thunder and the storm, And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view.
Ezra Pound, "Ancient Music" Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm, Raineth drop and staineth slop, And how the wind doth ramm! Sing: Goddamm. Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us, An ague hath my ham. Freezeth river, turneth liver, Damn you, sing: Goddamm. Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm, So 'gainst the winter's balm. Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm, Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

Cole Swensen, "New Math" As if the word everything meant everything as all words do. We refer again to "prosopognosia"-- that condition in which the victim cannot distinguish between faces. If we could compute the numerical value of a turning wrist, a sense of shock, toast on a plate, paint by number one picture in a single dimension. Both portrait and landscape can trace their ancestry back to the point. If every breath is a separate equation and yet they all equal zero, that egg with a vacuum inside, that insensible which we sense and call invisible has succeeded in imaging a new circle, imagine any thing in which each point lies the same distance from any other.
Cole Swensen, "Cathedral" A rural man with a common name A gap in our memory The sound of a chisel into stone still falling deeper into it. It was there in his hands the whole time. The key and the pointed arch, the waking early and the lack of math. No, in the lines of the palm are those of the temple, know the angles of a lover yawning let in light which for all its speed may never land. It took him centuries to knead out the weight until they floated from his hands at the final cut. This is the hush that dissolves the service, the forgetful air to the congregation. He went to work every morning like every other man, uphill without end but someone got to place the finishing piece and shrink to a sound as he stood below. Amiens. Ascent without boundaries and with so much history to go. When we dream we dream alone, the only true flight is that of stone.
Cole Swensen, "Something You Said" Light being a device for lifting. Something on the stair. Blank. "If I blink three times," The odd remarks, the rubbed out sky, all your voices, particles of harbor, some further breakdown, "No, not at all like that." A stream of simple observations, leaves, things below heels. You said something about dusting. You said something about dust. Something light, maybe paper has fallen to the floor. Punctuation of background noises, traffic perhaps or sunlight on the stair, voices follow us, satellites and as such are always falling in so permanent a way that it looks intentional. Even as you sit here with me your words return, calling.

GH Yaghoobian, "No More Negations" Lighten up, will you please, this sacred place: we (who have not yet begun to wait), we (who must grasp to gather while we may), we (who knock and bang at every door), we demand our celebration, and more Brighten up our world, and beyond that, space; turn on the lights for us, we humbly pray: drown us in the glow of forever today; envelop us with illuminating cheer, laughter, grace. Frightened not when it's time for us to wait, we will then have something more to say: we'll recall all those we love and hate, the monuments we built, awards we won, and other things we wished we had done.