Monday, September 26, 2016


Is It




the stars

or stars


over the



4-foot wing span

Opens above me

Calls nothing

Flies over the river

Almost hides itself

Into a dead elm tree

And I stand in place watching

Solitary, the books say —

In 200 yards I’m standing

Across from the bird

And it hates it —

Quick screech calls

Fly backwards

200 yards

Lands where it began

A Tree Full of Birds

                                          for Janine Pommy Vega

That’s what I heard one morning

In a no-nothing town between

Phoenix and Tucson, where it

Appeared desolate and desperate

With a mall and motel and a big

Highway running through it all

And even the motel desk didn’t

Know the name of the route number

Of the highway when I asked the

Next morning with a desire to go

To the mountains north — as if no

One went to the mountains from here —

But I did, and before I left, hours

Before I asked any questions, birds

By the hundreds came to the trees and

Bushes of this motel square, dipping

Even into the swimming pool, and whether

It was sunrise that lit each bird yellow

Or if in fact they were yellow and each

Singing magnificently in the coolness of

Daybreak when I was awakened gladly

And stepped out my door and onto a long

Balcony to see and hear and feel the most

                                           Beautiful day in the world begin


B O B     A R N O L D
Once In Vermont

Sunday, September 25, 2016



  When the World Stands Still

It happens very rarely. The earth's axis screeches and comes to

a stop. Everything stands still then: storms, ships and clouds

grazing in the valleys. Everything. Even horses in a meadow

become immobile as if in as unfinished game of chess.

    And after a while the world moves on. The ocean swallows

and regurgitates, valleys send off steam and the horses pass

from the black field into the white field. There is also heard

the resounding clash of air against air.


Zbigniew Herbert
Selected Poems
Carcanet 1985
translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott



The cops holler

“Drop the Gun!”

When there is no gun!


Bob Arnold

24 sept 16

see the fine Australian film ANIMAL KINGDOM (2010) for a fictionalized dramatization
of the police calling out, "He has a gun!" It's now the new buzz words since the cameras
are always rolling.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


One evening, when nothing was planned — often the best way to spend a late summer
evening — and Susan was down with a bug & fever, so I read awhile up in the bedroom with
her, by the large windows looking to the river, reading by the tail end of the daylight until
there was no light and Susan had fallen asleep and I kept on reading this large and beautiful 
book, heavy on the lap, with its deep showcase of the New York School of Poets, both
generations, meaning Ashbury, O'Hara and Koch to Berrigan and them all, and while reading
I just happened to type in wanting to find on the Internet Aram Saroyan's two early books
of poems from Random House via a put-down newsman reading the poems on a major network at the time and although I couldn't find the reading I found Aram Saroyan, in bad lighting, and all the
more interesting because of his intriguing storytelling of the same time I was reading about
in this large art book and I recommend everyone listening to Aram talking, reading his poems,
laughing softly and recalling and actually hearing him read his own one word gems and later
fielding questions from a friendly room.

[ BA ]

Friday, September 23, 2016


L I V E S      M A T T E R
                                              to Emmett Till

Laquan McDonald (black)
what a fine and dignified name

isn’t even 18 years old
and dead

murdered by
Jason Van Dyke (white)

a policeman
on a busy Chicago street

in plain view

millions have died
a natural death

since Laquan McDonald
was born

but he isn’t
one of them


Bob Arnold
28 aug 2016


A U T U M N      E Q U I N O X

One time I was almost ready to be born

before I had begun to remember

the palms of my hands had not yet unfurled

on the one tree of the whole of darkness

the tree before waiting the hearing tree

the left hand had not yet told the right hand

This is our time our season is now

the only time and you must wake and begin

to remember and to know who you are

you will come to remember but forgetting

comes on its own and you will try to tell what cannot be

told and you will have only

the old words and will try to use them

for the first time but the beginning

has gone from the words and there is no way

now to bring it back to them again

the right hand learns but the left hand is the prophet

Pain was waiting that time with her one key

long before the first daylight had appeared


W S     M E R W I N

Garden Time
Copper Canyon 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


House With Garden (1917)

I wanted to have a home in the country

with a very large garden — not so much

for the flowers, the trees, and the greenery

(certainly there will be that, too; it's so lovely)

but for me to have animals. Ah to have animals!

Seven cats at least — two completely black,

and, for contrast, two as white as snow.

A parrot, quite substantial, so I can listen to him

saying things with emphasis and conviction.

As for dogs, I do believe that three will be enough.

I should like two horses, too (ponies are nice).

And absolutely three or four of those remarkable,

those genial animals, donkeys,

to sit around lazily, to rejoice in their well-being.


C.P Cavafy
translated from the Greek by Daniel Mendelsohn
Knopf, 2009