BY JAN HAAG
THE 2010 POEMS
VASES OF FURY -- AND OTHER VICES
My cat and I, we lead a plain and simple life.
We eat. We sleep.
He likes to be brushed. I like to brush him.
He purrs --
especially if I brush while he eats.
Shiva-purna, God of Destruction, God of Creation --
we share a taste in jewelry:
little of it.
He enjoys playing with stuffed mice and thin rings.
Twice a year I wear earrings.
We both sing hosannahs to austerity,
long for silence.
Suddenly I see, individually and collectively, human beings
as just a ubiquitous, earthly filtration system.
We beam in every direction, drawing in what is, filter it through
what/who we are and project it back out
to mix with universal data.
It changes bit by bit, though, coffee-like, it remains the same.
I NO LONGER NOTICE
I no longer notice the weather.
Inside, outside, its a uniform grey
with shocking sunshine bursts now and then.
I no longer notice the weather.
She apparently died in her sleep
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Perfectly natural --
joining the yearly
-- and no one knows why.
its thought to be electrical,
a cessation of electical impulses
in the heart.
Goodnight, sweet princess.
Everything is more fragile.
Everything is making its way toward being a ghost.
Encounters at the end of the world.
World without end. Ha!
Losing ones mind is not quite as scary as one might think.
One can watch the minds disintegration with a certain
and fondness for entertainment, observation, an amused kind
of thinking -- that on some other day, in some other time
one will, with delight, watch a replay of its happening
under better circumstances.
THE OUTSIDE WORLD
The outside world is too sad to look at.
Look within for brightness, beauty, brilliance, wit
Out there are children without arms -- or legs,
a black Gulf of oil-soaked birds,
mud flows engulfing Indonesian villages,
women yelping and gnashing their teeth for dead spouses, dead kids
-- young men killed by the dozens -- American, Muslim, Afghani, Iraqi
and limbless ones returned home to manage mangled lives on unswept
Look within, where there are remembrances of bright summer days,
cool moonlit nights on the Arabian Sea,
sweat-sprinkling hikes through sand swept deserts,
Asian and American,
vistas of poems and words to be learned ,
treasured, used, forgotten -- and found again.
Look within, Happy Fool, for with-out is sadness beyond bearing,
tears beyond shedding,
cries beyond hearing,
pain beyond endurance.
The outside world is too sad to look at.
Look within, feel bliss.
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
From Bacteria to Sauropod in just a few million years.
From thence to humans.
How did it happen?
Every once in a while I think of the Mima Mounds -- like
Buddha bowls inverted -- and wonder why I no
longer know the need to travel.
There are whole hemispheres of knowledge in my head
that I have barely visited -- even once.
Where is there to go?
Changing from a healthy, striding, intelligent woman
into a funny old elephantine gnome
is not fun, but it is certainly scientifically interesting
to watch it happen -- day by day, itch by itch,
pain by pain -- the result of all those magnificent
life-extending skills and experiments of all those
academy award winning doctors
whod much rather replace an eye
than help you through the common cold
or alleviate a knee pain or
a pain in the ass.
The trees are taller than I remember them
even in the sunshine,
even as I come from the doctor adjusting
to be looser than in
Im dizzy. I hardly know how to put one foot
of the other.
How? Where? From
there to here and back again? -- in the sunshine
beneath the trees
high as a galleons sails,
tossed by the wind on the Sound, and dark, even
I watch their crescent sweeps --
midnight in a storm. Did the doctor release a storm
in my neck,
Should he have let me get on this bus?
of the Good Shepherd
I walk through the now -- feeling fortunate --
though its too early for reflections to be seen on the floor.
I think about annual Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) or Camphorweed
(Heterothea suboxillaris) vying, lately, to be my favorite plant/weed/
flower: tiny yellow daisy-like flowers, fragile stems,
gem-like dots of green pods all over on the high weed
as thick as a stiffened human hair,
fine as the shadows of cats whiskers.
I remember an evening, after yoga, Clives ran up one
of the tapered square pillars. Then, his feet safely wedged in
the woods delicate coffering, he waved from the top -- and came back
laughing. I, too, laughed. I am reminded of the delicacy of the
or Camphorweed -- and how fortunate I am to live on the other
side of the vast golden floor where, late in the afternoon,
the milky purple windows throw their auras
before the descending sun strikes
shafts of primary blues, reds, golds, greens from the shield
heart of each stained glass. How fortunate to live on the other
side of the Chapel, to have need to walk its width, to ascend the attic
I live where my cat lies on his back in the heat, his white belly
turned up and fluffed like a dandelion.
IM NOT SURE
Even if we do gang together for protection,
Im not sure man is a social animal -- except by default
when his mostly monstrous fellow beings swarm to attack him.
Usually, the older, wiser, richer, freer-to-express-themselves they
the further from their fellow humans they move:
big houses, big lawns, miles away from neighbors,
sealed off in cars, carriages, planes, yachts
-- almost anywhere -- out of sight of the others.
They lead rich lives without phones, door
chimes, face-books, radios or TVs. The extravagantly
rich have tired of computers. Theres nothing left
to do but turn inward, stare at their bloodied
souls hiding deep in flesh, sinew and bone,
untouched by the miasmic world.
Every emotion, every experience
becomes a stitch,
to match against
to differentiated by subtle
colors and hues, to define by
unusual shapes, patterns lights, shades.
You cant outguess nor outvisualize
the threads of the mesh.
Will it sing with its grid mate(s)?
You can only be
sure after a thousand
stitches and years, decades, epochs
would have been better
to leave it skeined alone,
twisted, no more than a three ply.
The holy, inexplicable savagery
of the body rebelling with
itches, pains, stiffness, instant
amnesia, reducing ones life to
screaming prayers: that I wont drop!
this, too. Wont drop it, spill it, wont
detonate anger into murder and mayhem,
viciousness or violence. I keep asking: What
can I possibly be learning from this? The only
answer that manifests is: This, no doubt, is how,
evil, wild, wicked, savage people must feel all
their lives -- or intensely, intermittently -- on fire
with itch escalating to kill! Driven by petty
annoyances to drop bombs, mystified by
continual frustrations, like a mistaken,
psychopathic detainee, developing a
compulsion to wreck vengeance
on the universe, on,
loved, but, no doubt,
ugly, guilty counterparts.
If you live past the ignorant grace of childhood,
youll meet the paralyzed fury of stiff knees,
immovable joints, the all too liquid fury of
cant do, the incipient realization of
wont do, the gibbering idiocy of
dropsy of the soul.
Too incapacitated to clean house? Write poetry,
Enjoy a Socratian cup of hemlock.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
Today starts anew
Is today Suzannes birthday?
Why is 8/15 significant
will be remembered
for the brilliant sunshine
the refreshment of my memory,
energy, maybe even hope -- for what?
That the aches
might stop, or at
lessen enough to allow,
to encourage me
to work after
my three years waltz
death, despair, sickness, peering down
black holes of nothingness. What was
there? Unexplored oceans
washing my soul. Is
the form of human
life: sickened in
-- spending the
rest of life
curing the misguidance, the
the madness? Is some human life
-- my human life -- only damage repair?
To what end?
Trying to do things slowly enough
to match my reduced capacities.
Its not easy to slow down
in a speedy society, in a society
whose very image of self-worth depends
on supersonic speed in all things.
To slow down is equal to societal
death in 21st Century America
where all media announcers
now talk at double speed. Makes
no difference if anyone understands
what they say, because, if not erased
by speed, its sure to be erased by
the next murder, the next scandal,
the next global disaster. Who really
cares what they say? Its meaningless
filler until the next Ponzi scheme,
the next failure of Congress to
right the wrongs of a supersonic
society, the next oil spill comes
along to transfix a society fixated
on talk and, more or less, do
My computers spelling check
refuses to spell Ponzi.
While watching LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA
I am almost sick
Then they got old
and it seemed much less horrifying
I have no consciousness of being loved
of ever having been truly loved
by any of my four great loves
or the others
A kind of longing
But never love
What would it be like to feel one was/is loved?
This seems the next secret to attack
after apologizing to D-- for my turning
away -- so unfeeling -- from her
after we made love
But no feeling of love that I loved her
or that she loved me
Just horror at how fragile she was in my embrace
I am still basically unlovable
With men it is always a market exchange: if I would only be
the person they dream of and be as they dream
then they would love me -- forever
Just me wanting to be who I want to be do what I wanted to do
Not suitable not loveable
Fulfill a mans dream? -- Or my own?
choose my own dream
and end up
(from time to time)
I do remember one ecstatic night of blue light,
phosphorescent bones of pure light
But, for that, to put up with all the nonsense
of six male years?
Insanity? -- or -- masochism?
I feel the same re: enlightenment.
Why would one want to put up with all the nonsense
it takes to get there? --
Then the brief visit
-- In fact, without doubt:
one night of en-lighten-ment
than one night of blue lights.
At some point you get rewarded for doing what you want to do.
Follow your bliss.
They used to say:
The best things in life are free.
Now they say a lot of idiotic things.
The moon rises,
the sun sinks.
Shlain is busy drawing some parallels
even I doubt.
But why not? Nothing else makes sense.
I look across land, the townscape, the sea and see there are a billion
or a billion billion billion interesting things going on,
yet I have allowed my vision to narrow
down to just not wanting to get
out of bed.
It wasnt always thus.
I wonder if I will change tomorrow.
Surely there are more things in heaven and earth than are thought
of in my recent,
restricted, view of the universe.
They say: work hard and rewards will come.
Others say: there is no reward except the process of doing.
I throw my lot in with the latter.
But then I am alone
in my quest.
I cant even imagine another human able to fill that void.
Shiva purna tries: comes, nuzzles the book I am reading,
lies down beside me,
if I respond with a pet.
Growing old is,
the best thing I ever did.
It is: Meditation,
blank mind, live in the now, relaxation.
At some point you get rewarded for doing what you want to do.
TESTAMENT, THE NEW
Ah so! And life goes on,
*Ancient Romans would conclude a transaction by placing
their testicles in each others palm while mutually reciting an
oath -- the ultimate expression of trust. The words
testimony and testament both derive from this
ancient practice. Footnote, p 229, Shlains Sex,Time and
Power, ref. from Brownmillers Against Our Will: Men,
Women and Rape, 1976
even though I didnt read this in 1976.
Would it have changed my life? --
If I had known?
Will it change my life now? Having today
read up to p. 229 in the Shlain -- a book
that should be mandatory reading! for
every woman, man and child.
One shouldnt be allowed to become
(all fetuses begin as female) without
Sex, Time and Power having been read.
Early on! Even though, in my opinion,
Chapter 14 is full of nonsense, as if
all women were born as princesses
and carefully instructed in the mating dance.
My childhood was passed in ignorance,
almost without instruction, and later,
though crammed full of oceans of knowledge,
more so than most, no one ever
spoke the truth to me like Shlain attempts
to do. Holy Nature! to think what we could be
and no doubt once were (developing into)
and look around now to see what we have become.
But fear not, hope remains high and free floating,
as we begin our trip around (once more)
under feminine influence.
Remember: Birds, reptiles and fish began
as males until estrogen washes over the chosen
to become female.
A revivifying fact!
TESTAMENT II, THE NEW
I shuffle around doing the little things:
re-hanging the laundry,
reading a page or two of Shlain.
Whatever out of place my trajectory crosses,
I restore it: a knife, a scissors, a poem,
a shoe, a thought.
Whatever comes to my ambling attention
as I drift through
the energyless days,
I deal with.
I putter, I drift, I shuffle.
My right knee hurts
from time to time.
But it seems no reason
to stop walking.
I had wanted to commit suicide
all the days of my life,
and here I am at full-term
(most people, it seems -- via the obit page --
die in their seventies) but now,
life is so 1) outrageously beautiful and surpassingly interesting
and 2) idiotically dominiated by
Republican Christian weirdos, that
who wouldnt want to know
the next step that Nature
has in store for us.
Maybe another bump-up
as colossal as
from the dinosaurs
One step more and were
wo - man.
100 FINE ADJUSTMENTS
I used to do things so easily, so accurately,
so gracefully, so without flaw.
The 100 fine adjustments that were necessary
took care of themselves without bothering me.
Now, apparently, the automatic button is
switched off. I dont know by who, or exactly
when -- or Why? But now, unless, I myself,
actually, physically, consciously think of every one
of those adjustments, I spill the coffee, or drop
the book, or stick myself in the eye when aiming
for my hair or cant find or cant do or cant
remember to the point of the screaming meemies
setting in. I ask myself why I want to write all
these trivial poems, these poems about trivialities.
All I can say is That Is Whats Happening. I find
I have nothing else to write about except the
torment of being enclosed in this body that
just doesnt work very well anymore. Why?
It seems the same, but each outcome, one
after the other, one by one, is not the same as it
once was. Do I really have to CONCENTRATE!
on each god-damned screw of the jar lid? Am I
the crazy one when I cant get into the
package? -- so well protected that the sentinels of Fort
Knox should imitate their methods guarding our gold?
Which is more paranoid? Me? or our insane society?
I am so sick of the 100 fine adjustments I must
make today, just to breathe, just to step out the door
or cross the street, or try to make one more god-damned
cell phone call. We have perfected technology
to the point where it occupies 100% of our time:
figuring it out, maintaining it, updating it, so
that we have no time left to just live, to just
put our fingers in the earth, plant vegetables.
a garden, tomatoes here, flowers there. Life has
become all idiotic instructions. The medium, indeed, has
replaced the message. There is no message. There is no
content anymore. Theres nothing to send, just the message
itself: trivial, useless, sad, angry, unintelligible.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT DEATH?
The concept of death, the fear of death? What exactly
must one do -- to preserve ones equilibrium, in the face
of certain extinction? Here today, gone tomorrow. No
truer definition of life has ever been advanced -- except,
possibly: What is there to do but laugh about it. Here
and gone -- the Gods smile. For even they know that
when I am gone, when you, the human race is gone, they,
too, will disappear -- Poof! fictions of the human mind can
not outlast the thoughts that invented, loved, sustained their
existence. Even Shakespeare has had his day, along with the
crumbling pyramids, even the internet which laces the sky
and the earth and the ether will dissolve back into sulfurous
vapors. The sun, itself, its luminous rays, decay day by day.
And though we are future-tellers and can know this, no one
of us will be around taking the last notes on this before our
consciousness dies. What are we going to do about death?
Its a personal thing.
Water tinkling through and the squeak of birds
in the trees
Dense head and I still havent taken my pills, is
all there is?
And then the guy, the gutsy bird that actually
a song, overrides it all for a moment.
The oddest array of bugs seem to be visiting me this (approaching)
big ones, little ones, ones with antlers, antenna, transparent green
spiders of a giant size and ones rather smaller. Is it global warming,
housekeeping? Skeletons appear here, corpses there and, eternally, a
crawly feeling that one is ascending my leg or descending my back --
just out of reach As Galbraith said of his India assignment,
...it is a job ,
so fascinating that for whole seconds at a time, I forget about myself
I float egoless as Buddha into vast spaces of wonderment, bemusement
then, like the usually vicious human male, strike out! -- a smashing
and move on.
THE WAY THINGS ARE
The sorrow goes on for years and years and years
until it solidifies into the way things are
the changes stop
there is nothing but the way things are
RAISING THE SUN ON A GRAY DAY
A little fish, green curry, tomatoes and bread
fed to the reluctant stomach
and the cat meows.
I put a little nettle leaf on his
Then he remains reverently silent
while I write this poem.
I, too, drink a little nettle tea.
10-10-10 and nothing happening.
Did Linda die just because she ran out of things to do?
She sits heavily on my spirit lately.
Gone. The great appreciator , just gone.
And I go back to bed
to see if a nap might lift the weight
from my eyes.
Dont be so clever, mocking and sarcastic
Its all right once in awhile, but you are more
serious then that, and need to be taken more
Not like FOX and its fanaticism, its idiocy.
You must not meet Those People on their level.
Have you never heard the dictum: All publicity
is good publicity. or its twin Bad news is better
than silence, or its triplet: As long as theyre
hearing about you, youre winning.
I wouldnt have thought you were so naive,
but you are,
and have wasted endless hours of making fools
of their tarnish and guilt, but have given almost
no hours to publicizing, the good
whose virtues need to be howled from the roof-
tops, so that the good about them is as
ubiquitous as the gaffs and idiocy
of the Republican fools.
You already have the audience.
With your silence, They will fade.
With your attention
the fine people
on the right side,will shimmer, glimmer
and glow. Jon Stewart is a great comedian.
Youre one of the best, most passionate
shapers of public opinion --
designed to succeed if you dont get
carried away with your own cleverness,
mockery and sarcasm. Shimmer for the truth,
forget the shadow
cast by the lies. Set your own agenda
do not contribute to theirs. Youve captured
the medium, now give us a message
A friend gave Shiva-purna a Cat Tree, a homemade
series of scratching platforms
When she left, he said to me:
I dont do little platforms.
Cest la vie.
So I gave it to my plants.
I WANT TO
Imagine things being different.
Reverse the development of time,
Go on through these molecule,
Leave without a whimper.
Nobody ever wanted to do
What I wanted to do,
Go where I wanted to go.
I have two friends and I
Hate both of them.
What should I do? *
I was better off alone.
Until my body began to decay
For lack of contact,
For lack of exercise.
I want to imagine things
But I love my solitude.
Im willing to touch
Heaven with my fishhook,
But, God knows, I dont
Want to take up residence.
I can imagine things being different.
I had a nosebleed this morning,
Almost bled to death,
At no time regretting
And yet, here I still am,
Things could be different
But they are not.
*from Dear Abby
My cat has a white blaze on his tummy
Somewhere in the middle of his chest
The fur changes direction.
My hand lingers on the warmth
Until his claws flash
Then quickly withdraws.
I wouldnt be able to grasp a
Dagger vigorously enough
To pierce my heart.
Nor would I want to
His white blaze is silkier than
I FEEL LIKE
I feel like a character in someone elses novel.
For surely I would not have chosen for me, or
for anyone I invented, this perpetual itch, as if
my skin were made of pepper and all the days
of my life were salt rubbed into open wounds.
Shutting down civilization looks like this:
Lines of little stores, in the poorer sections,
go dark, pay-day loans, and mom, pop and brother
stores lose their lights, close their doors, Then uptown,
the bamboo store moves out, leaving blank windows,
Whole Foods stops supplying their reliable fruit and meat
tidbits breakfast. Their prices come down, at least to anyone
elses normal, no more bits of expensive, exotic pastry.
The secondhand CD store where you could get some
Indian Ragas, goes dark. Even the leaves that were
brighter than could be believed go mud and dark
gold after a wind storm. Republican nut-jobs
get more and more rabid. The mid-term-
becomes shriller than the peacocks
cry, not counting the banks
and financial institutions
that fold their doors
of millions of dollars
in CEO compensation.
Pouf, theyre gone! And
the younger generation no
longer knows the difference
between theyre and their
or your and youre. So, ding-
dong on public education.
Skyrocket tuition, so
only the rich
A short, sweet return to
feudalism: 5% vying to
own the world,
starving. Of interest
when the civilized world
has to worry about the spread of
SHUTTING DOWN II
I always had too much energy to settle down and just live.
Its one of the reasons I always over ate, trying to damp
that energy down, stagnate myself so I could just live.
But even now as my energy revives, it doesnt revive
to do the household chores. The repetitiveness of life
is hard to take. Do it today. And tomorrow. And
again the day after, round and round until youre
dizzy from the merry-go-round of life, longing
to get some static play.
SHUTTING DOWN III
Ten years ago, Ruth said, It was shut down ten years
The news, startlingly, seems to close off the past.
Memories oozed up.
We were on the phone, I only had time to ask about The Lake,
the giant lake that Guru Mayi had dug, and the stones, the
almost-as-great-as-Stonehenge stones that had been nosed
into the earth. The large buildings, all the halls, the spacious
halls and the little. I had not realized how much the ashram
infiltrated my past, propped and supported my assumption
that it was all still there intact. I didnt even know I had
such an assumption. The great yards, the gardens, the
workrooms, the woods, the lawn where I had lain
in the sunshine with Darcangelo -- reflected in his eye.
It took me a while to see that it was myself, I saw
reflected in his eye. The drama, the anguish, the
revisiting -- all in the past, all now stilled, all
stilled in the past, brought to a halt 10 years ago.
No sadness, just a deer-startled-in-the-headlights
look in my heart -- adjusting. Always, at 76,
I find myself adjusting to a world I do not
know, that has come to replace the world
I once knew. I think about 75 years, 3/4 of
a century -- and see the devastation wrought
on my own remembrance -- and do not
wonder at the whirlwind that is Time Past.
I remember meals, visits, yoga, donating
Gypsy Rose Lees 16mm Bolex to that
ashram. I remember a walk or two on the
road. But mostly, when I was there, I was
only there, trying sincerely to distort my own
inclinations into the mold of Siddha Yoga.
Not quite a comfortable fit. And yet the
love of the great silence when I first arrived
and no one spoke. Ten Years. Where have I
gone? What have I been doing? I can only
list the dead, I cannot name them.
Its one of those mornings when everything seems stuck,
like its coming in on a different runway, and I dont
know where to look, I dont know how to taxi, I dont
know how to field the ball.
I know next to nothing but anger, white hot, screaming
anger. This slips, that tweaks, the other swings askew.
Why the fuck is my world made of such idiotically
I itch, the skin crawls, the ears smart, the head feels
creepy-crawly as with lice. The bridge of the nose
twitches as millions of martial ants of gossamer
strength march across it.
My mind has gone dense and I want to scream and
scratch my itchy, damp armpits, the upper turn of
the ear lobe, as well the lower third of the right side
skin of the back.
This is not suitable material for poetry, but I dont
want to go through all this and have no one ever know.
It isnt suffering exactly, but madness! bright, glowing,
I announce that this is what I have gone through
to write my poems. I remember reading a bio of an
Indian saint or guru, and all the bodily torments he
went through while
his wife cooked his meals, washed his clothes, tended
him assiduously. Me? I wash my own clothes, make
my own meals, scream and scratch in isolation. If I am
becoming a saint,
so be it, but Holy Shiva! what a pain in the ass it is to
live jumping with itch and hot, spiky pains at the hair
line, and no hope to understand where it comes from
or where itll go
freestanding mountain on the continent:
Mount Rainier is sliced from the world by a thin layer of clouds.
It floats like childs cutout in the blue sky.
A little later:
Blue mountain floats off into blue sky.
Its nearing the end of autumn
and the gold leaves are no longer illuminating my high cave.
The twigs are showing. They dance
in the wind -- high up knocking the branches about.
What should I do now? whispers the cloud of evolution.
Ive come to you on my belly,
longing for food and compassion, and yet the mountain stands aloof
fading blue and white into the blue-white sky.
Its always a mess.
I live here.
It never statically rearranges itself
into a comfortably livable pattern
Because I live here.
Im a mess
for I do not know what is going to happen next.
I dont flutter about trying to hold back
the drifting of grains from
the basalt cliffs
unto the basalt plateau
This is not Eastern Washington.
The flood basalts came at one time.
they will not come again in my lifetime.
My studio rests secure on the top of a secure hill,
an old nunnery, built by those who knew how to build.
It hasnt budged in 100 years,
and I complement it by doing the same.
Vivid light rakes through the stain-glass windows,
just down the hall.
papers drift -- like the sand grains.
open up in the mind.
What I think about now is not what I will
be thinking about when I get to the end
of this plateau,
nor what I was thinking about when I began this journey.
Charles disturbs my peace of mind
because he becomes so snotty and know-it-all
as we talk --
as if I havent thought of all (99%) of everything he says
99 years ago.
And yet he does lead me into avenues where I have
never been before, or at least not like now, with my glasses on.
My biggest questions (always unasked so far) is:
If thats what makes a painting so great,
and I do that and have done it for years,
how come my art is not recognized as
Or maybe it will be in future times. Maybe this is just
where Vermeer or Picasso or Matisse was
when he was thinking out portraitures or cubism or vermillion.
Or, not thinking,
Painting. Discovering as he goes.
And, when done, he sets the painting aside
and does the next.
And only critics -- 100 years hence --
point out how fine and complex it all is;
and highly interpretable: This follows that and that that
and it all hangs together.
Nonetheless, at the time, it is just what he was doing between
breakfast and lunch, and only discovered after dinner:
Oh my God! Isnt that fabulous: It goes back. It comes
That color, which has always receded, now has jumped right
into my room with me -- to be admired
and danced with.
I live in a warm house with stale air.
Only when I step on the concrete path
into the garden do I feel that rush of
cool air -- like diving into a clean pool
beneath a willow tree, or eating coffee
ice cream -- on a grey winter night. It
wakes me up.
Its like emerging from the warmth
of the summer into a blast of winter
wind. Refreshing, expansive, I breathe
deeply and wonder why I lingered so
long in the suffocating warmth of the
womb, cozy, comforted, drugged,
HIS BRAIN MY BRAIN
No matter where my brain wanders
sooner or later, especially sooner, if I am
trying to understand something in the realm of creativity,
I run up against a concept I cant understand,
or, more accurately, a concept I cant picture,
for instances, where the notes of music dwell out there,
in the air. How to grab them, pinpoint them, how to know
where they might be found, and where I go to manipulate them.
And more recently, in talking with Charles, trying to grasp what
seems to find so understandable -- i.e. what art is,
what makes it good
what advances it along. How Serra of the free standing walls
is such a
great artist, and enjoys such tremendous recognition when, it seems to
he recapitulates only the work of a half builder. He puts up
things to no
purpose, stands them there, wants admiratiion, when, with any luck at
might end up the underpinnings of a bit of architecture, a magnificently
piece of architecture, but without meaning until it does become
Which to me is much like the trickery which Charles seems to
in, say, a cubist painting. I see it, but essentially it makes me shrug
Of course one does that! -- goes through that on ones way to
something else, making something...
Why stop there? why admire that curve blending into a reverse curve,
when the answer is probably no more profound than Ooooh, its more
fun that way.
But then youve stopped the world to admire this and not that.
Both are just evanescent constructs of the brain as it passes through
fun of making a stitch on a needlepoint, or that, putting one more
among many on a painting.
IM SO RATTLED
Im so rattled and distracted
and my right nostril hurts abominably
My grand kitten scratches his scratch box.
Ruth is just leaving New York, tomorrow.
Nancy is still housebound with her hammer toe.
I ruined my entire positive mood
by overindulging in Coffee Ice Cream.
I dont even dare try another walk, as I got
very tired this morning, walking down to Greenlake
and bussing home.
I chose this; what do I do next?
Arrested in Stockholm;
Having upset the most powerful
nation on earth.
Flee? Remain? Sit in jail?
my peripatetic life doesnt
Almost everything that has to be said
has been said.
What is to be will be.
One gets so very tired,
not of living, so much,
as of the chat about it.
A COLD WIND DOWN MY BACK
The day yawning before me.
Grey, relentlessly gray.
I can still hear/feel the rumble
of I-5 traffic, and now a plane
above -- or inside
Concentrate very hard and one
can imagine the traffic to be
the solar winds constantly blowing
as we turn into the wind.
Spinning, spinning, spinning.
Then a burst of sound, a howl,
a bird chirps, crows caw,
Copyright © 2010 through 2015 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE 2010 POEMS
BY JAN HAAG