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POETRY

poems of the month

fish

vagabondage

measuring my face

ostracism

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

leda and the swan

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit: poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir: an ironic mystic

imagepoem

 

TRANSLATIONS

 

BETWEEN POETRY AND PROSE

good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper

disgusting

art, truth and bafflement

 

SHORT STORIES

godpieces

the three bears

three albanian tales

odorous underwear

a little creation story

 

ESSAYS & MEMOIRS

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars

happiness

londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian

genocide

a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

shoplifting
in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

 


Nuadú, God of War

 

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

french megaliths

 

a small town in france

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 



ULTIMATE LEAVES

poems by

Steve Kirchhoff
former Mayor of Bozeman, Montana, USA

 

 

THE HAPPY WISDOM

Just this - just this freedom
Of things in their being,
Which is not them
But their grace.
The sound of water is not liquid
But happiness happening, because, because...

The wind is not force, but
Happiness moving, the branches
Hipping and bucking, swept by
Happiness, leaves mounting, the
Rusty piles of needles and dirt
Compounding, massing, making
Forms and consequences of joy
Irremediable.

Do not, but just this,
The sound of water skimming
Over things, a tuning of
The vital instrument, unmade
Except in being, in just this tingling.

Neither provenance nor coming
Nor going, just movement that
Is not, either, but
That it is felt, is close,
Is here and not, a flash,
A stone, a sense of clouds.

 

 

NIGHT WATCHMAN

A tower rises from the black
Like an eternal reference
For a world eternally dark.

Below, in an illusion of disorder,
Rose blossoms tangle
Like whispery voices of night.

He is sitting not far off
In a chair, with the only walls
Those he creates from air.

The air is really his feelings
Made external; the tower
Is a god in deathly aspect.

Do not ask about the ground.
Enough that he should sit
Upon it, in a chair.

The only walls are those which he creates from air.

 

 

FALLING LINES

Everyone dead in a living frame;
Everyone a poem of yellow leaves.

The humming of the whole, the report from
Largeness behind the yellow scene.

Not living, yet informing, nor loving
Nor dying, but in all parts moving just the same.

No poem in the yellow tree,
Yet a color that is like belief.

 

 

JEB FACES THE APOCALYPSE

I had a problem with America
But it got solved. Used to be
When I wanted her, she'd run
To filth, a miracle for my frustration.

But now I get it. She's too great
For puny folks to 'preciate.
That's why we've went to the dogs -
Cuz nobody can make us heel,
And a dog's no good unless it knows its place.

I say a man's not so great
As his desires and spending make him seem,
And he slits the throat of his own dream
From spite about God-knows-what.
Cuz there's too much wonder
I believe. We pile up crap,
Say profanity with God -

Cuz too much wonder.
A mountain of arsenic
And septic ground - who needs it ?
Nuthin tastes like food.
Ain't no river don't smell
Like turpentine.

- Cuz ain't nobody bigger sayin'
That it's wrong. Nobody bigger's
To blame; no-one to look in
The eye and say The problem's
In your machine - it don't work.

America's a wonder, and man
Wants wonder for free. I know that's
Syrup-talk - but you tell me better!
Wonder pulls the evil from our sleeve.

Someday we won't be able to live -
Not after what we're bound to do.
Ruin makes ruin, and death gets death.
You'll prob'ly say the recknin's just
The wreck in us, come out all the way.

Some credit evil to scheming people -
But I tell you: America's a wonder
Not a dog. I know you ain't amused.
Wonder is just hearts gussed up is what
Your eyes say - or I'm confused.

Hell with it! I'm too old...the young folks
Is gonna have to face up, when time
Comes. I've had a part, I don't deny it,
But at least I come round to bein'
Humble. It took a whole life, but
It was worth it. God bless what's comin'.

Steve Kirchhoff

 

RECIPE FOR RECONSTITUTED SUNLIGHT

Take, of faithful dog - an ear;
Of crow - indifference

Capture rattle of wind
And bluntness of boot

Combine gushing heart and
Dry-leaf obsession

Cover in a vase;
Put to flame.

Cry.

Distill bile of cow
And melody of window dust

Divide by holy ghost
And stations of the cross

Mix and discard all.

OR, MORE TRADITIONALLY:
Beg the holy sublime world energy emanating
From placeless transcendence
for temporary deferment of inner darkness

POSTMODERN OPTION #1:
Consider silence dwelling between grief spasms, the functional
Center within this dysfunctional
passionate, mutable, etc. etc. … world
Do not throw up.

POSTMODERN OPTION #2:
Throw up but don't say you did.

 

 

TO FIND THE CENTER OF AN ONION

Walk far out, into yourself;
The horizon is flat and quiet.

Behind you, your house is burning.
Your children have all died.

Walk onto the universe, formed
Out of silver, oblivion's breath.

You rehearsed this moment, your sad excellence,
You know you did

This art you can't get around,
This place where finesse ends, in a heap

Of burned candles, a personal sun
Wasted from its fire.

Walk far out, into your silver God;
God understands, God controls your way,

He hears your step on stage
Before you hear it

His entrance, which is into yourself.
Walk far out there. The air is silver,

Your breath is a soundless cloud
Inside three walls. You are alone there,

Alone with God.
Measureless, fearless, and still.


 

ULTIMATE LEAVES

Among the percepts of reality
Is that every reality can see.

First rule of realistic seeing:
To see a leaf is not to see a leaf.

Corollary: When a leaf appears
Real seeing ends.

And the wind blows always
And yet - always - the wind.

Leaves like saffron-colored daggers
Slash the pavement.

Leaves creep like scorpions
And sting the eyes that they descry.

A hail of spirit,
A waft of unfathomable atoms - these are leaves.

Do not seek the leaves -
They have found you out already.

 

 

DISSOLUTION

The sun stoops, sits and bares its wits;
Tall trees convert dark light, dark light.
Things dissolve, though the mass increase:
Toward difference things move, don't cease.
Singleness, sole sovereign of night,
Stoops, sits, considers - then forgets.

 

Steve Kirchhoff

 

ETHEREAL INTERSTATE

Come in, the violet-velvet fist...
Come in, the blood-lusty, marching madness...
Come in, the monsters of profoundest murk...

Your silence is really music;
The hardest bricks are softest dreams.
It's all music of things with space between,
And space within—all the same, at the end,
Which no one sees, where he sits beneath a willow,
Solid in a sixth sense, sniffing an idea of Earth,
Touching the dialogue of leaves that sweep and sigh,
That lick the tock of time—sibilant, surly, loving leaves.

Something is always growing out of nothing,
As if the air opened a window on itself
And beheld itself and embraced
A sense by growing into shape
Which we feel, which we perceive, and are.

Our orphan tears laugh like fire
That only more tears drown—
We are room of infinite tears, and more;
A fish never finds the end of the sea,
A bird never thuds at the edge of sky.

There is room for everything.
The white motes buzzing in spring air
Only wash it clean of everything, but themselves—
And you, love. Before you ever lived, you lived long enough,
Absorbed in eyes that call you, seeing and seen at once,
Wandering eyes like willow branches
That uphold the very air—air's own arms
And leaves your hair, in this, arboreal form.
Everything leads back here from there,
Permanently here at the bottom of the bottomless well,
Where you reach out and shake your hand.

 

 

OH SOFT, SWEET CALAMITY

Summer can never be as graceful
As the graceful sense that summer inspires—
The interloping starlings and stealing voices
Of weighted blooms, the pregnant sun smiling…

Every effort brings us forth, and brings
Some essence of an absent mind
--Which we find, by thinking into being
The white clover heads that bob

On backyard kelp beds;
--Which we engender, by realizing the sea-sky
Underneath our beds, support of air,
Our myth of oxygenous origin:

How a brown cow belched
In a ruminant dream,
And Dad appeared, mystery-faced,
And Dad appeared, full of grace.

Everything is on the move over watery sky,
All things are moving as one.
It doesn't matter which of many things
Is true, in the multitudinous hubbub,

The common dream, common day,
Because the realized forms are swarming around
As prodigal magic, as rose-colored women,
Imagined or real, as pauses of puffed-up air,

As passion pushing through the velvet envelope.
And all of us are midwives to our births,
All bodiless, pools of shadows, imagined love
Growing eyes of leafy stars of perpetual summer day...

 



SURRENDERING SKY, INDESTRUCTIBLE

1.

What more than sky, a pinioned soul
On the rack of eternity, sweet alien mother?
I hear Walt Whitman—
I believe my face and the sky's are his,
And every part of everything effuses the whole
Of a poetic force that is-it is!
The scud and lace and jag of him,
The white wake and churning heat—his compressing hand—
The gentleness nor male nor female;
I touch tips of the white grass
Of his flowing beard—Uncle Walt,
Prophet of serenity, most welcome now as ever.

2.

Delicate, my morning fog, my brown shell curving
From the touch of finger-painted clouds like pink daffodils,
Soon rubbed off the blue grass as if by scruffing dogs,
Replaced by gaps loud as cities, tumultuous blue space
Bawling, caterwauling such that one sees,
One understands, a necessity of magpies.

3.

Great, active world, spilling out its molten life
In innumerable forms, ghostly molds that make us;
Always, a backward glance before the forward step.
The clouds do not speak but to negate themselves.
Perhaps they were artists once but, jilted, lapsed into critique.
Or is their melting final affirmation
Of this quicksand-life, into which
The passion for identity throws a tiny thread of hope?

4.

I love the barren landscapes of my home.
They shiver in a permanent frost of isolation
And let me believe in what is lost.
The wind, transparent sheet, carries strange freight
Across the land, of the after-lives of gods
Who can't stop caring for us, though they know they should.
Matter is victory over boredom, and death
Proves everything's required when we say, I love.
What is brought to life cannot out-live the loving breath
That urged it. And that part which breathes life, then breathes death,
Until a form comes, and it freezes, and speaks
A wordlessness that you, and only you, will understand...

 




 



 

 
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