ArchivesSite MapSubmitOur GangHot Sites
tearing the rag off the bush again
New Poems by Pat Nolan PDF E-mail
    “I had nothing to tell them;
 I was talking to their dogs.”
                -- Philip Whalen DOGS OF FEAR
    “I had nothing to tell them;
 I was talking to their dogs.”
                -- Philip Whalen

Dogs of fear jump out from narrow lanes
the hills echo with snarl tooth barks while
the trees maintain silence within their own skin
a wet mutt stands guard in the bed of a truck
ducks feast in the shallows of the rising river
a cormorant looks lost in the wide muddy swath
the woman at the corner keeps two men
her husband
and his new best friend
the lust of one holds
the interest of the other
such is the way of the world
our urges well domesticated our fears still wild
the cat has produced a litter under the water heater
days embossed with season’s gloom
a break in the clouds stripes the wet asphalt
our notion of the path resides in the imagination
to think is to be
to be is to suffer
to suffer is to think
about being and the tortuous ways of the mind
the yellow bloom of the acacia attracts
all the available light
a pair of Canada geese
silhouetted against the bulge of cloud high above
the stink of someone burning trash
in their fireplace
how could have
the shapeless rain made square holes in the roadway

        for Brian Howlett

There is art and there is art
I do both

motor starts stops starts
the sun is a dying star
act like there’s no tomorrow
everything must be done now
mow lawn trim hedge whack weeds
blow leaves not a moment idle
driven by predestination’s curse
let no moment go unoccupied

while I slice the olives
washing machine agitating
speaks of the past
and the future
Afrique Afrique Afrique
it says to me in French

the thumb all along
destined for greater things
beyond its mere grasping ambitions

“I have written a truly marvelous poem
which this page is too narrow to contain”  
signed Son of Fermat

space suit
clothed by circumstance

I can be the center of the universe
or an imaginary particle
to go quietly mad or madly quiet

neck deep in river
ducks swim up like guests at a cocktail party
my head on a platter of sun splotched liquid

no one needs to know what I know


“roll over Berrigan,
 tell O’Hara the news”

dear ted
your history
is my history
even so I
hear you sing
“come-on-a my house
my house a-come-on”
which I will do
I still have
your directions
“at heaven’s gate
turn left”


I feel sad
I read Ted’s
poems again
Ted had to die
he did
but before
he did
he taught that
to be a poet
you must take
yourself seriously
take yourself apart
bit by bit
word by word
until there is
nothing left of you
a vast emptiness
where the last of
any of you was
even joined and
you are scattered
all over the rug
like cracker crumbs
blindfolded you must
reassemble yourself
no instruction manual
only a collected poems
holding the door ajar
letting the light in
for Mike Tuggle

In touch with the universe
there’s always a message on my machine
I tread the patched gray asphalt
the gravity of my pace felt to the end of time
the sun’s position in the firmament
the speed of light all relative matter
every cell delights in absorption
gossamer flicker at my periphery
the curl of cloud wave-like in the southern sky
participate in my particular singularity
practicing the magic of the ancients
amigo, what about you
get deep into the ash
it’s the only way you’ll understand
your carbon nature
dance as a ghost cultured
by the earth invisible among people
footprint as bent grass before the rain

        for Keith Kumasen Abbott

After a brief shower
sunset leaves its signature
    on standing water

rain attends the flanks of firs
time to drain the bank account

autumn evening
questions posed answered perhaps
    weighty old memories

I turn to heat my back
humming to myself alone

    the old wicker gate
held up by its latch
      the winter moon  
            (after Kikaku)

every star in its place
too cold to linger and count

dish towel draped
over my shoulder long after
    the dishes have been done

swatting a fly the price
I’ll pay in eternity

on the street below
cat pauses listening maybe
he heard me thinking

cash receipt marks a page
in the book I return

not much different
from a single electron
    that stubborn recluse

with so much wretchedness
guilt at my moment of joy

I couldn’t hear
the wind blew the words away
the shape of her mouth

up until now nothing but
nonsense the moon tonight

kept inside by the storm
kids in their rain-gear
impatient for showers

when the car finally pulls up
I can find worry free sleep

pounding head
crick in neck    
    I blame the cherry blossoms
(after Buson)

I don’t need the bright lights
dew strung on gossamer just fine

I can no longer hear
the high pitched whine
of evening’s hunters

in charge of its destiny
the last melon on the vine

in a ragged coat
stop to view a majestic presence
    mist in the tree tops

“I should stop by but it’s been
so long what could I say”

fast asleep
the taste of blowfish repeating
may be a mantra
(after Basho)

satisfied in a dream
I can put those desires to bed

impatient blue sky
at the edge of a cloud burst
    wetter than winter

raking petals into a pile
the bare earth’s turn

if I returned as
a moth I would sadly expect
    the same treatment

“I know all that” hollow
words fly back in my face

a chill comes with
the rain easing up
immaculate moon

has this dust always
covered everything

    wild chamomiles anemic
along the cracked sidewalk
about to keel over  
            (after Shiki)

“who I am today more than
yesterday less than tomorrow”

    it must be very cold
the actors speak their lines
with visible breath

even in the shadows
snow remains snow

    after random cherry
blossom beauty order
    imposed by the broom

the young bamboo races up
to its supple green height

< Prev   Next >