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Haiku Corner

"No Day Without Revision" [by David Shapiro]

David Shapiro with two portraitsDate: Sep 15, 2007 9:44 PM

No Day Without Revision

 for DCLehman

How fast do you write
as if that means anything
haiku, slowly crawl

if Zeno's correct
we will never reach Fuji
high views of New York

Braudel said: There's holes
in the heart of this New York
will it heal – Never!

I told Phillip, friend
they have murdered New York now
to make it Lausanne

Phillip said, David
New York is not an old cow
to be tipped over!

He left Manhattan.
My friends moved away--
nostalgic for land--

New York's not Lausanne
thank god but rents leapt, artists
disappeared like smoke

But why speak estates
Well, for a few years artists
spoke of real estate--

***

Meyer Schapiro said:
Art and money are systems
utterly at odds

He hated Berenson
because wealth was secret
plumbing in his life

****

I took a tea hour
if you permit the bubbling
syllable – bitter!

yuck! froth! green gloop! tea!
But the ceremony charmed
me relaxed me Divine

I like one flower
one ritual one sweet note
Internal God – Tea!

the way of flowers
they say the great movie man
went back to flowers

Woman in the Dunes!
but he went back to father's
flowers arranging!

Think of the double!
A man makes a great movie
then.....chrysanthemums!

***

Everything speaks
to me; it bursts my brain when
blossoms speak to me

Her thigh speaks to me
Christ's thigh spoke to Angelo
Cressid's foot has speech

What are we doing
writing haiku in dark age
belated lateness

The critics tone-deaf
the art critics color-blind
all we have's madness

Negative Keats goes
emptied out of moral self
he becomes a....gnat!

and gathering haiku
cluster in the sky pink clouds
Clouds my master loved

Clouds that Kenneth loved
he told me: don't be afraid
of planes – look! torn clouds!

Kenneth said: afraid
of planes! but you'll never see
anything this good!

On earth as it is
I say thanks for not killing
the first-born – myself!

My father's warmest
tones – Judaism attracts
We don't kill first-born

And of my son, said:
There's only one problem – he's
only one – make more!

***

So it turned out you
haiku-lovers that father
did not kill me, died

I say if friends die
I can do it too who's scared
well, apprehensive

If my dear friends die
I can even take coffins
"I die and smile"

****

This chain of haiku
which could be three syllables
is a bit unclear

Am I just mumbling
abstract phobias or does
insight burst wild geese!

In school my son knew
Hamlet’s soliloquies and
school was mad at me!

Inappropriate
my little boy 3 loved Latin
"Good for Jewish pope"

said Kenneth or priest
or cardinal I thought But
Ovid's your favorite!

squooshing syllables
I remember Catullus
hating to love love

I hated loving
I'm so glad to love less, less
then not at all, all

let haiku echo
KO or a season on earth
earthwards where Frost fell

and Crane dived down deep
and raised his hand up to scream
Help, hello. goodbye

He swam strongly then
just as Ray Johnson swam out
Some never think that

Padgett said Never
have I thought of suicide
funny his friends did

Ted killed himself fast
Allen killed himself slowly
fire, ice, speed, coke

I have twenty books
like twenty snowy mountains
still to write Oh snail!

write slowly always
then throw the paint like blossoms
then dry. now, revise

Oh deliberate
sex inside a haiku – yes
fucking is OK

it’s called wild wisdom
Americans so regressed
we can learn bodies

Internal bodies --
are the way to understand
Cezanne, Picasso!

the body felt from
inside not like driving cars
We don't know bodies

Too abstractly haiku
lie down like sodden hosts, guests
all drunk on ideas

I like old haiku
the bee emerging all drunk
from inside the rose

I throw bread, old pond
don't be scared of many sins
Blame it on bodiers

Blame it on clouds, late
in the afternoon of life
almost evening, friend

– David Shapiro


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Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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