Caveat: Poem #2824 “Another bus-riding poem”

On the bus, today, …

… I saw fields green with the young spring barley.

… I saw a man kneeling beside the tollway next to his SUV, which had a flat tire.

… I saw a banner with a Japanese flag and the words (in English): “Don’t give up, Japan.”

… I saw a motel designed to look like a Russian Orthodox Church.

… I saw a single broad patch of snow on a hillside of brown grass, near Gongju.

… I saw a shed on fire, in a field, with a great billowing cloud of white smoke.

… I heard “Aguas de março” sung by Elis Regina and Antonio Carlos Jobim, on my mp3 player.

… I saw a cow sleeping in some dirt.

… I saw a reproduction of a watercolor painting of Paris’ St.-Germain Square on the wall over a urinal at a tollway rest area.

… I heard grumpy old people with thick Jeolla accents pronouncing Yeonggwang as Yeom-gang.

… I saw a tall young man with tight jeans and shiny purple combat boots yelling into a cellphone and dropping his iced coffee onto the pavement.

… I heard Talking Heads’ “Found a Job” on my mp3 player.

… I saw brick farm houses with solar panels on their flat roofs.

… I read 50 pages of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.

… I saw many, many pine trees dancing under the sky, their roots sunk in the red-gold earth, looking like ink-drawings.

… I heard The Cure’s cover of David Bowie’s “Young Americans” on my mp3 player.

… I saw tiny villages packed up into narrow valleys, limned with leafless trees, where all the houses had blue tile roofs.

… I saw an angry-looking euro-dude with Miami Vice sunglasses, spitting onto the sidewalk like a Korean.

… I saw a giant statue of a squirrel.

… I ate something vaguely resembling tater-tots, with a spicy sauce.

… I saw a bridge over the tollway that had trees planted on it.

… I saw hundreds of plastic greenhouses, filled with hothouse vegetables growing, looking like large worms swimming in formation through the still wintery fields.

… I heard Juanes’ “Fijate bien” on my mp3 player.

… I saw families having picnics at the graves of their ancestors at random locations on hillsides alongside the tollway, and there were many children hopping happily, too.

… I saw a crow perched on the sign that indicated the Yeonggwang County line. I was almost home.

– a “prose poem” I wrote long ago, in March, 2011. It memorializes a bus trip from Seoul down to Yeonggwang, South Korea, where I was living at the time.

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Caveat: Poem #2672 “Buy now, at a discount”

Mikkerbauk fantasie Joe - 
Ah, blue hills of quiet paradise.

The captain-people will take it all away
in fancy flying rocket-planes of self-individual, 
hallucinatory love of masses - 
squalid suffering folk with homes of cardboard, 
you see, don't you,
the danger?!
(Buy now, at discount).

– a free-form poem from my own ancient past. I wrote this poem in April, 1988, in a paper journal I was keeping at the time. Don’t ask me what “Mikkerbauk” means – I frequently produced such vaguely Joycean nonces in my journal-writing of that era. The captain-people were ubiquitous, however.

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Caveat: Poem #2549 “The limbs of verisimilitude”

A dream

i. A Necessary Thought

I went into a white house, like the Louvre
With the paintings hanging on the outside
French expatriate in shades of tired green.
Semantic darkness, stark, damp depth of soul,
Missing faces with angelic expressions:
The sunset ocean rising, pearling rose.
I saw stairs there; worshiping the dead
And floors and attics, and rooms for dusty
Beasts which lay around like old loves... and older.
And where I wandered to the roof azure
And arrived at a tower, clouds outside
Then stepped into a carpeted cellar
With moist, damp dust of calico gone sour
A cellar filled with love-worn, saddened exhalations,
MacBeth of brandy, apricot, old love!
I emerged in a carport damp with rum,
Poignant with Peugeot, crabgrass and my heart;
I watched the paintings on the outside change.

ii. Cats Will Yeowl

Down with gravel! Worn redwood grey, suffice.
Railings splintered in their christian Deus.
Grip of time relinquished, mist finding blue-
Green a neighborhood of houses--Bishop,
Knight, Queen, King, Rook, Pawn the Diabolic
Laid out for a game of chess, thoughtless now.
The suffering of orchards, I walked on.
I came to a window blocked by a rug!
Toilet seat cover, unnatural vision--
A privacy act, declared, which was red.
Rap, rap: the sounds of a fist grey with gloom.
I crawled silent silence, dreaming within,
To a plastic dinette set, formica.
There my aunt drank her tea: myself and her
Discussing the pit of cats, quietly.
Between us a bowl of fruit, Sumerian,
Climbing through ladder-like time without a name,
On window shelves carpeted with blackish.
Until a red-headed woman into
Jesus showed up: She never had a name.

iii. Dionysus

Observe: Theological discussion,
Debate of the banal formica,
Plastic babble babble, guarded plastic
Apple: I think she got angry, my aunt.
Or sanguine faith emptied into nothing
Of king Sargon stripped of Saskatoon robes.
Gently, so apple did she fall, to hate.
I cried, but my aunt loved me, she was nice.
The argument faded, melancholy,
To an autumn resolution, of truce.
So she got up and whipped out an extra
Special damp walnut glycerine piano:
With which to pierce ignorant angels,
And a Jesus X Super Holy Songbook
With illustrations and anatomy.
We began to sing, as my aunt played songs,
And dwell on the colors of our mythos.
A faded Toyota, or a chaplain,
His lonely generosity for naught.
Love gives too much! So he watches T.V.
And we sing on, truant, aquarian.

iv. Somata

Unfortunate, I didn't know the words
Drifting on saran-wrap wings, mural.
Drifting Doze-ward, frustrated with four-spots,
Dwelling on patterns of soft formica.

A lemon vision dreamworld unfolds:
"There before audience of conference
"Grey mighty to behold, a wonderment,
"A holy Jabberwok Jaruzelski,
"Shaded, thoughtful, totalitarian
"Pursing of lips: The scalpel's prophet.
"A doctor, you know, shorn of tomato
"The white sinister seeds protrude, menace:
"The grand doctor, parabolic master,
"Plays at inseminating carpet scraps,
"In a thrumming laboratory, with strength,
"In a white jacket, yellow beneath lights,
"He is creating food, the corpses, gorilla;
"Green in banana; mushrooms, fungi, moss.
"Life from components, and he eats the fruit
"Naissant from the suffering of orchards
"And the patterns on the rug: myself."

v. Weltanshauung

Withdraw the mighty gyre of your vision!
Back, back! To the extremities of space,
To the limbs of verisimilitude.
Abandon that doctor, the white Satan,
That glycerine aesthetic, to darkness.
To a starship orbiting a comet
Through that black carpet bound for Sirius
Magister Temporis, brightest savior.
Hurtling, containing blue centipedes
Of laser light; uncannily birthed,
Begotten white-coated hatefulness,
Angry at women, terrifying fruit.
In moldy starlight, the ship races on,
One senses the Presence, omnipotent
The ship's computer, named Elohim
This slouching, slumbering beast, tiger-eye,
Frames that doctor in mutiny profound.

vi. Iskandar

So the captain is told that Iskandar
That man who was a paper-boy in green,
The golden king of spacetime, an android,
It is he who has been in charge: "Pirate!"
While I watch stunned, in silkygrey halls,
Those vast neon corridors of science,
Iskandar paces the impatient rug
Of cottony falsewood, the stage is set:
I was on that starship--Sirius bound,
Shaded in those creeping florescent lights,
Which crawled across the polyester breast
Of Iskandar, with argent amulet,
Covenant of empire, the blooming rose
Mastermind in mutiny, the fruition
Of my unclothed soul: a darkling realm.
And Iskandar, a mere lonely robot,
Whose own lord (Allah terrible in might!)
Tripping heavily through the timescaped garden
Yes, Elohim, his master and his rock;
Rational savage, once soft of Eden.

vii. The Measure of all Things

With unfeeling precision I stumbled
Against that cloudy rock, I know not what!
Thick with the corridor, vague shadows danced,
My friend Dan showed up, the traitor, my judge
He sat in that cat-box, little pebbles:
Siddhartha in silence, beneath redness (knife)
An exclamatory advertisement
"Coke adds life." In my soul I feel its truth
So like the thirty shining tokens, yes!
And Dan; he grew an extra pair of legs
Which, I am told, belonged to Iskandar.
"Just remember Judas Iscariot:
"He burns in hell for you: melancholy flame."
(Meus Dominus! The wind! Raping trees,
 Tearing at my very soul! I'm sorry...
 The fire, the terror, the horror, the heart,
 Creeping rainpetals swing 'cross the pavement,
 Leave me shiver, visionary prophet
 Dwelling on the integral of hellfire.)
Dan and I, we're off for school, I'm sorry,
He seemed dull, even with his extra legs.
A teardrop; I'm that Land Surveyor, K?
Forever helpless in the matrix/myth.

– a long, free-form poem from my ancient past. I wrote this poem in Fall or Winter, 1983. I was in my first year of college. The poem is embarrassingly bad, both because of its ambition and despite it. It grew out of a very vivid dream I’d had, but it goes off on unjustifiable philosophical and syntactical tangents. The influences are transparent and poorly distilled: above all, Stevens, but also Burroughs,  Borges, Vonnegut, The Bible. Nevertheless I like the poem, and I’m pleased I (re-)found it among my papers the other day. It conjures fragments of my rich private mythology. I find it more interesting for what it says than for how it says it, although the bold syntactic playfulness (rule-breaking) is something I wish I experimented with more, even today.

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Caveat: Poem #2335 “A fragment of Mahhalian cosmology”

wingsnake came dark, lighting and clouds and rain
monkey and raven grinned and danced
benevolent orca sailed the surrounding sea

when monkey killed the wingsnake at deity encompassing darkness's garden tree
the wingsnake was not dead but burrowed down
the monkey was hunted, deity darkness was deceived by wingsnake
monkey fled to the mountain
raven made a plan with monkey
but first needed orca's help
trick orca into bringing the sun
and they make humans from moss and discarded bones

deity darkness is defeated
but each year returns

in the beginning the sea serpents had wings

– a free-form poem. I wrote this sometime around 2016 – it is an outline of some cosmological material for my imaginary world called Mahhal. I recently found it in some old notes (having forgotten about it).


Caveat: Poem #2082 “While the Men Converse”

While the Men Converse
         Went so. / for Wntr.
         / can y. undstd --
       In spc. mny types
      awt. the end.
      °°° ~ now the
    blue/bk. over / turned
    the eggs of Tps.
    To reveal to me the
    That man dwells amidst * - c
  ? Id.s. ,,, / (,,,) -- ...
    / / / -- \ °°°
  Tps Vrts -- flowing like
lamposts on dusty grey
bookshelves --
While the Men.
Converse°°° °°

– A free-form poem, a guest-poem from my past. I wrote this poem in the summer of 1983, a point in time when I was keeping a fairly regular journal (a kind of analogue predecessor to this here blog thingy, right?). It was hard to transcribe – I was experimenting with what is called “concrete poetry” I guess. My handwritten letters and the spaces that I filled with bits of punctuation and pseudo-writing were as important as the actual text. I was being deliberately gnomic with my weird abbreviations and omissions of letters – most of them I can figure out, but in fact I’m clueless about the meaning of “Tps” in the above poem. I’m guessing that “Vrts” is “virtues”… maybe? So perhaps “Tps” means “typos” – that would please my notion of meta-referentiality, anyway. Let it be so.

So transcription is quite difficult. Here is the image of the original poem. And the facing page with its accompanying illustration.




Caveat: Poem #1806 “On Forgetting Having Seen the Cornice of a House”

On Forgetting Having Seen the Cornice of a House

The group of people I find myself with
That night as per the howling fugitives
Dana, Kray, yourself, others — perhaps dan,
In vaguely snow-strewn streets dwelling
The Darkness somehow uninterested in the commitment
Which is inevitably involved in introspection
We did walk and laugh as per the
adjourned party of this dream, perhaps
hoping, or at least hopeful.

Inevitable, perhaps again, that Kray & Dan
should take the stage, a wall along
the sidewalk bearing the hasty, sublime
imprint of white which has
its origins in this Minnesota winter.

That stage I forget. But, when if moved
to a framed window at the brown
forgotten cornice of a house, A framed action
which jumped through the window tho' the
picture was indeed still — The actress
my young mother, whom I've never known,
Tilted in misery, — Who appeared (after
Kray's antics as the carefree dog on an
elevator — which that boxed cornice became
through some trick of photography which I once
knew in some philosophic context, but which
given the retrospect of those pews I now forget.
More on the pews later. Kray swallowed
the spittle in his throat and danced,
blinking wildly in the droplets which escaped
his mouth to dance the blowing gusts of
The open window on this cornice accelerating
so rapidly downward.) in that aquamarine
fluorescence of the bottom of the ocean seen
in a black and white film which must
be seething with imagination or at least the
unwarranted indication of things
outside the realm of a black and white reality.

It was fine green workshop lighting,
as If Jacques Cousteau had wandered in
to film this depth, the nascent,
Yes, oedipally so, nascent sun filtering
downward with those discouraged probability functions
which Max Planck may or may not have understood,
but which the fish understand without
asking — perhaps that is their key. A fine gold
key it must be they possess, an ancient one
as they swim within the metaphor which
My motionless child-mother evokes as she bends
foetally upon herself, framed like the light,
within the cornice of that house
above the wall upon the street, wreathed with
the heavy winter taste of night.

The funeral, the man who entered talking loudly
as if he himself were the dead, the discussion
of his purpose on the gravel outside the whiteness
Of those pews, with mooning.

The arrival at your house, the… the decoration,
the food. Your athletics. Your "father."
the ensuing days. The shoes,
The car trip. The black place, the nukes, & John.
The terminal, taxes. writing. sleep.

– a free-form poem from my distant past. I wrote this in the late fall of 1983. It was the record of a dream, written in paper form, but then later I transcribed the poem to my blog in 2014 (though I posted the poem under an estimated date of composition, as I tend to do). I’m re-publishing it here in my daily poems for the sake of completeness, I guess. You can tell I’d been reading Ginsberg and Borges.

Caveat: Poem #1799 “10 ways of looking @ a city bus”

10 ways of looking @ a city bus
(after W. Stevens which I just was reading)

1. A boy is kissed by his girl
@ a bus stop on Figueroa St.
By the taco stand. A bus pulls up.
And struggles away in a cloud of exhaust.

2. A child watches the red & yellow bus,
all angular, be-wheeled giant,
irrelevant to his life
He watches from the window.

3. Rural, inter-city county bus,
bound for the university
A column of eucalyptus trees flips past
College students look out at
   the lumber stacked in rows

4. 11 pm on Washington Blvd.
A man waits, stomping to stay warm
Almost dancing on the icy sidewalk
The 16A doesn't come.

5. Two yellow and brown buses
careen down Avenida Insurgentes @ 2 am
their drivers are racing.
The passengers doze, or are drunk.

6. The newspaper headline says
the buses are overcrowded.
The state orders the transit authority
   to buy more buses
one man asks "Where's the money
   going to come from?"

7. An old woman clambers onto a bus,
Somewhere along 6th Avenue - the 50's, I think.
An impatient young man flicks his burning
   cigarette into the gutter
And reaches for the handrail to climb aboard.

8. Somewhere near St.-Germaine-des-Pres
a bus disgourges its passengers
The rich, intoxicating smell of diesel fumes
Still makes me think of Paris in January.

9. Accelarating passionately
the rural bus swings into opposing traffic
To pass a donkey cart
An old woman who boarded @ the mercado
   hugs her chicken protectively.

10. Sgt. Jones was impressed, when I knew
which bus to board - I decifered the hangul.
We went to the modern art museum
South of Seoul, amid luxuriant green trees.

– a free-form poem from my past. This poem was written April 18, 1999, in a paper journal, and transcribed under that date to this blog in 2013.

Caveat: Poem #1791 “Six cats in Trieste”

Six cats in Trieste

in the blue wind off the cold Adriatic,
off the snow-covered Alps
weirdly visible on the northern horizon,
I climbed the Scala dei Giganti,
up the hill to the castle,
around the back of the cathedral San Giusto,
past the monument to the dead of world war two,
down the stairs behind the ruins
of the foundations of the roman theater;
I saw six cats:

one in the sun in a window;

one on some grass,
looking up at the first one;

one on an abandoned,
ratty-looking suitcase in a vacant lot, behind the stairs;

one colored brown,
hunting the blades of grass,
staring at ghosts;

one mewing in the dark shadow of a crumbling stone step;

one sitting high up on the top of a wall
that was covered with spikes to keep the pigeons away,
but the spikes where broken off
and the cat was comfortable.

– a free-form poem originally written in March, 2005, when I was visiting Trieste, Italy. I wrote it on paper at that time, then transcribed it into the blog a bit later, but I only gave it it’s own separate blog-entry in 2011, but I put it under the appropriate date. Anyway, I’m “republishing” it now, as one of my daily poems. Mostly, I republish these older poems in the series of daily poems out of some notion of completeness – at some point I decided that the daily poems would eventually encompass ALL my poems. Anyway, by dredging these poems out of my past, I can find an occasional respite from the need to come up with a new poem each and every day.

Caveat: Poem #1785 “Awoke at 2 AM”

Awoke at 2 AM
I dreamed 3 things.
The first thing: I dreamed a language.
I was holding a language, that writhed in my arms like a weeping child.
Or like a laughing child.
It was a rough and restless language.
I was holding a language.
The second thing: I dreamed an emptiness.
I was holding an emptiness, that stretched out around me like an enveloping forest.
But it was shapeless, quiet, cool.
A smooth, safe emptiness.
More safe than feelings, more safe than optimism.
I was holding an emptiness.
These were evaporating abstractions, but I held them close to me, like two musical instruments, ready to play.
The third thing: I dreamed a smile.
I was holding a smile, that was like a cat's face in the sunshine.
Or like a painting of the stormy sky at sunset, more stunning than reality.
Or like a mask that reveals everything.
But it was a kind and guileless smile.
I was holding your beautiful smile, in memory.
I awoke at 2 am, from sleeping on a warm floor.

– a free-form poem from my past. I wrote and published this poem on this blog March 3, 2010, when I was living, temporarily, in Suwon, South Korea.

Caveat: Poem #1729 “And”

Un-Rhymed Sonnet.
A rotated rose is nothing more than
Some reconsidered kiss, intractable;
Love creeps like cats, like lawn-mowers across
The green summery suburbs of my heartbeat,
Who tug mercifully passive, all alone
To evoke the blood of reptiles beneath
The scattered rocks of over-civilized spirit
To drain into the corners of my room.
Lovelost.  Your face as if beyond recall,
Memoriam:  As if black / cupric seas
Did separate two serpent-blue-green isles.
Lovelost.  Lost love which clings to my conscience
While I wait like zoo-monkeys in a cage
A hop and step distant from my desire.
And Rhymed Sonnet.
What's lost?  I may die tomorrow-matins
While metamorphic metaphors fly blind
Through the lonesome corridors of my mind
To leap 'gainst these fearsome, scaley satins
Which clothe a cowering lust.  Somehow your smile
Can drag old bears from under winter oaks
To shed carelessly their black hair cloaks
On the floor:  rests a love note all the while
Discarded by love-green-romantic fool;
With the ruby guts of a lizard-king
Spattered on my innards by silver knife,
Parabolic precursor to blood-pool,
Inward-facing stone, little pebble-thing.
The fool must be fool;  I must try at life.
And prose-poem.
Dream:  A rose is your cliché – an expression
of horizontal love that's no love at all
but just like some simple multicolored
leaf – pretty but irrelevant to the soul
which is more like some dead leaf.
A rotated rose is the essence of cut
summer grass – moribund like the subjunctive,
lovelost.  Trees throw leaves down in angry
disgust, "you're too beautiful, and look:
winter comes!"  I want you more than any
silly rose because, somewhat as the cupric
seas of mythic green, you trace magic on
the retina;  a residue fluttering downward
from your eyes like rusting spring
leaves – caught in a late winter drizzling.
I guess it's more your face, traceries of
sea-foam on the somber, pensive rocks, which
danse irreverent of the genius of mother
earth.  Which, of course, evokes further
souls, more, more, than silly, shy, mine.
Suppose it's best you ignore this, as an
angel properly should, but remember to
dream at night about the saintless ocean,
glycerine panic, and that muddy path
along leaf-strewn, yellow-pink, cavernous
cliffs – your name has become my most
sacred prayer, and I don't even know you.
Calm the injunction now, the heartfelt
fool, under post-priori cobalt skies,
romancing a ghost within his own imagined
kingdom.  But you're real, aren't you?
Nevermind.  Néanmoins.  Maybe it's just
that you're Parisian in spirit:
kind-of-inconclusive.  But even dark satan
brightens when you blink.  Your smile
brings only bleeding, ecstatic lesions of
joy; romantics turn away and laugh, but
only at myself.  So what's funnier, this
poem or this man-boy?  A nasty wasp of
something cupid hath stung me.  Unsting
me or not;  ice cream at the beach in
July and now the leaves fly, now thinking
thoughts about you – because now I've
seen more in the wine-blue waves than
just cold Aphrodite.
If in some further time removed, fate
could act as sea waves to wash, for one
brief mote of singular time, your lips
nigh mine, I would fall within that mote
as someone from a bridge towards…

– a pair of sonnets and an accompanying prose-poem, written originally in November, 1984, and posted on that date but now also added to these daily poems.

Caveat: Poem #1692 “Memoirs of the Architect”

-> . . . )  Memoirs of the Architect ? {Post title}
When the calico cat on the couch fades
in the slanted rays of the wintersun
And when the streets outside the window
reach not for home but for their origins
Gentle, gentle, do my tears come.
Without the calculus of my memory to guide
those tears
Without the nurture of my once heroic
Quiet, quiet, the pain slips heavily.
Toward anger                .    Time
the                            .        out
Knife                .            of
slips                            time
home.                    lost,
for whatever reason,
That these viscous drops of blood are mine.
And so bloodied a knife in my trembling
Call me to mind,
A japanese garden I once
saw in a photograph which I perceived
with an ambition to become an architect.
A designer of my struggling end.
Little pebbles, little pebbles
.    for
.            nought
Quiet    .
11/17/83 JARED
There's no eagerness here.
Nor will it ever come to pass
But in the thick, timid soul
of the non-architect.
It is irremediable.  ( . . . ->

– a free-form poem, which I wrote in the Fall of 1983 – in mid-November – the evidence is right in the text, for this one. Back around 2010, I posted this under my “retroblogging” category (at the appropriate date), but I’ve thought to occasionally include these ancient efforts in my “daily poem” category so that they will eventually be included in a book. This poem appears to commemorate the exact moment in my youth when I gave up my childhood dream of becoming an architect. I’m not sure why I gave up that dream – it seems to have been largely a function of lack-of-self-confidence and laziness.

Caveat: Poem #1367 “Time”

Frogs and horses, why are they?
Time is inescapable.
A burden. We cannot ever
escape. A child knows not time
but they make him learn.
They throw it on his back,
and he never notices
until one day,
then it is too late,
and they are happy.

– a free-form poem. This poem is a “guest post” from my own past. A distant past. I wrote this while in high school, in December, 1981. I remember writing it… vaguely.

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