Countermeasures

I wish I could keep my thoughts in order
and my ducks in a row.
I wish I could keep my ducks in a thought
or my thoughts in a duck.
My point is that we all exist, wetly, in the hunt.
The ducks are aware of this
in their own way, which is floating.
The way of the mind is brevity.
There may be other thoughts on other days
in the minds of other and better men
and their constant companions, the women,
but these same tidy capsules — never.
This is just one of the things
I noticed about my thoughts
as they passed easefully by.

- Sara Miller (Poetry magazine, 2013)

Girl on a Red Carpet

Felice Casorati - Girl on a Red Carpet

- Felice Casorati [1912]

How Evolution Came to Indiana

In Indianapolis they drive
five hundred miles and end up
where they started: survival
of the fittest. In the swamps
of Auburn and Elkhart,
in the jungles of South Bend,
one-cylinder chain-driven runabouts fall
to air-cooled V-4’s, a-speed gearboxes,
16-horse flat-twin midships engines—
carcasses left behind
by monobloc motors, electric starters,
3-speed gears, six cylinders, 2-chain drive,
overhead cams, supercharged
to 88 miles an hour in second gear, the age
of Leviathan …
    There is grandeur in this view of life,   
    as endless forms
    most beautiful and wonderful
    are being evolved.
And then
the drying up, the panic,
the monsters dying: Elcar, Cord,
Auburn, Duesenberg, Stutz—somewhere
out there, the chassis of Studebakers,
Marmons, Lafayettes, Bendixes, all
rusting in high-octane smog,
ashes to ashes, they
end up where they started.
- Philip Appleman

Untitled

The limerick is furtive and mean;
You must keep her in close quarantine,
Or she sneaks to the slums
And promptly becomes
Disorderly, drunk and obscene.

Morris Bishop

Image

The Black Sea (A Storm Begins to Whip up in the Black Sea)

The Black Sea (A Storm Begins to Whip up in the Black Sea)

- Ivan Ayvazovsky (1881)

Ancient Tea Ceremony of England (Simplified)

tea ceremony, originally uploaded by gemma correll.

On Death, without Exaggeration

It can’t take a joke,
find a star, make a bridge.
It knows nothing about weaving, mining, farming,
building ships, or baking cakes.

In our planning for tomorrow,
it has the final word,
which is always beside the point.

It can’t even get the things done
that are part of its trade:
dig a grave,
make a coffin,
clean up after itself.

Preoccupied with killing,
it does the job awkwardly,
without system or skill.
As though each of us were its first kill.

Oh, it has its triumphs,
but look at its countless defeats,
missed blows,
and repeat attempts!

Sometimes it isn’t strong enough
to swat a fly from the air.
Many are the caterpillars
that have outcrawled it.

All those bulbs, pods,
tentacles, fins, tracheae,
nuptial plumage, and winter fur
show that it has fallen behind
with its halfhearted work.

Ill will won’t help
and even our lending a hand with wars and coups d’etat
is so far not enough.

Hearts beat inside eggs.
Babies’ skeletons grow.
Seeds, hard at work, sprout their first tiny pair of leaves
and sometimes even tall trees fall away.

Whoever claims that it’s omnipotent
is himself living proof
that it’s not.

There’s no life
that couldn’t be immortal
if only for a moment.

Death
always arrives by that very moment too late.

In vain it tugs at the knob
of the invisible door.
As far as you’ve come
can’t be undone.

- Wislawa Szymborska
(1923-2012)

English Weather

January’s grey and slushy,
February’s chill and drear,
March is wild and wet and windy,
April seldom brings much cheer.
In May, a day or two of sunshine,
Three or four in June, perhaps.
July is usually filthy,
August skies are open taps.
In September things start dying,
Then comes cold October mist.
November we make plans to spend
The best part of December pissed.

- Wendy Cope

Chladni Patterns

John Tyndall, published 1869

Fort Hood

My vote’s a bet in a football pool
5 on the red, 6 on the blue
Wake up, fool, there’s no time for a shouting match

I smell blood and there’s no blood around
Blanked-out eyes and a blanked-out sound
I see them coming back, motionless in an airport lounge

Let the sun shine in
Let the sun shine in
The sun shine in

You should be getting stoned with a prom dress girl
You should still believe in an endless world
You should blast Young Jeezy with your friends in a parking lot

Let the sun shine in
Let the sun shine in
The sun shine in

Let the sun shine in
Let the sun shine in
The sun shine in

- Mike Doughty, Golden Delicious