Poem of the Week


Week 5

To All and Everything
Vladimir Mayakovsky  

It can’t be.
You too, beloved?
Why? What for?
Darling, look -
I came,
I brought flowers,
but, but... I never took
silver spoons from your drawer!

I staggered down five flights of stairs.
The street eddied round me. Blasts. Blares.
Tires screeched.
It was gusty.
The wind stung my cheeks.
Horn mounted horn lustfully.

Above the capital’s madness
I raised my face,
stern as the faces of ancient icons.
on your body as on a death-bed, its days
my heart ended.

You did not sully your hands with brute murder.
you let drop calmly:
“He’s in bed.
There’s fruit and wine
On the bedstand’s palm.”

You only existed in my inflamed brain.
Stop this foolish comedy
and take notice:
I’m ripping off
my toy armour,
the greatest of all Don Quixotes!

Weighed down by the cross,
Christ stopped for a moment,
Watching him, the mob
yelled, jeering:
“Get movin’, you clod!”

That’s right!
Be spiteful.
Spit upon him who begs for a rest
on his day of days,
harry and curse him.
To the army of zealots, doomed to do good,
man shows no mercy!

That does it!

I swear by my pagan strength -
gimme a girl,
and I won’t waste my feelings on her.
I'll rape her
and spear her heart with a gibe

An eye for an eye!

A thousand times over reap of revenge the crops'
Never stop!
Petrify, stun,
howl into every ear:
“The earth is a convict, hear,
his head half shaved by the sun!”

An eye for an eye!

Kill me,
bury me -
I’ll dig myself out,
the knives of my teeth by stone — no wonder!-
made sharper,
A snarling dog, under
the plank-beds of barracks I’ll crawl,
sneaking out to bite feet that smell
of sweat and of market stalls!

You'll leap from bed in the night’s early hours.
“Moo!” I’ll roar.
Over my neck,
a yoke-savaged sore,
tornados of flies
will rise.
I'm a white bull over the earth towering!

Into an elk I’ll turn,
my horns-branches entangled in wires,
my eyes red with blood.
Above the world,
a beast brought to bay,
I'll stand tirelessly.

Man can’t escape!
Filthy and humble,
a prayer mumbling,
on cold stone he lies.
What I’ll do is paint
on the royal gates,
over God’s own
the face of Razin.

Dry up, rivers, stop him from quenching his thirst! Scorn him!
Don’t waste your rays, sun! Glare!
Let thousands of my disciples be born
to trumpet anathemas on the squares!
And when at last there comes,
stepping onto the peaks of the ages,
the last of their days,
in the black souls of anarchists and killers
I, a gory vision, will blaze!

It’s dawning,
The sky’s mouth stretches out more and more,
it drinks up the night
sip by sip, thirstily.
The windows send off a glow.
Through the panes heat pours.
The sun, viscous, streams down onto the sleeping city.

O sacred vengeance!
Lead me again
above the dust without
and up the steps of my poetic lines.
This heart of mine,
full to the brim,
in a confession
I will pour out.

Men of the future!
Who are you?
I must know. Please!
Here am I,
all bruises and aches,
To you of my great soul I bequeath
the orchard.

Week 4

I wish to leave the world
José Martí

I wish to leave the world
By its natural door;
In my tomb of green leaves
They are to carry me to die.
Do not put me in the dark
To die like a traitor;
I am good, and like a good thing
I will die with my face to the sun

Week 3
Allen Ginsberg

America I've given you all and now I'm nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can't stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don't feel good don't bother me.
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I'm sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don't think he'll come back it's sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I'm trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I'm doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven't read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I'm not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there's going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right.
I won't say the Lord's Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven't told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
from Russia.

I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.

Asia is rising against me.
I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
I'd better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I'm a Catholic.

America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they're all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don're really want to go to war.
America it's them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia's power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader's Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I'd better get right down to the job.
It's true I don't want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I'm nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.

Week 2
As I Walk These Broad Majestic Days
Walt Whitman

As I walk these broad majestic days of peace,
(For the war, the struggle of blood finish'd, wherein, O terrific Ideal,
Against vast odds erewhile having gloriously won,
Now thou stridest on, yet perhaps in time toward denser wars,
Perhaps to engage in time in still more dreadful contests, dangers,
Longer campaigns and crises, labors beyond all others,)
Around me I hear that eclat of the world, politics, produce,
The announcements of recognized things, science,
The approved growth of cities and the spread of inventions.

I see the ships, (they will last a few years,)
The vast factories with their foremen and workmen,
And hear the indorsement of all, and do not object to it.

But I too announce solid things,
Science, ships, politics, cities, factories, are not nothing,
Like a grand procession to music of distant bugles pouring,
triumphantly moving, and grander heaving in sight,
They stand for realities—all is as it should be.

Then my realities;
What else is so real as mine?
Libertad and the divine average, freedom to every slave on the face of the earth,
The rapt promises and luminé of seers, the spiritual world, these centuries-lasting songs,
And our visions, the visions of poets, the most solid announcements of any.

Week 1
I Remember You As You Were 
Pablo Neruda

I remember you as you were in the last autumn.
You were the grey beret and the still heart.
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.

Clasping my arms like a climbing plant
the leaves garnered your voice, that was slow and at peace.
Bonfire of awe in which my thirst was burning.
Sweet blue hyacinth twisted over my soul.

I feel your eyes traveling, and the autumn is far off:
Grey beret, voice of a bird, heart like a house
Towards which my deep longings migrated
And my kisses fell, happy as embers.

Sky from a ship. Field from the hills:
Your memory is made of light, of smoke, of a still pond!
Beyond your eyes, farther on, the evenings were blazing.
Dry autumn leaves revolved in your soul.

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