Friday, May 25, 2007

Poem: Swim; How I Really Look; Harry "The Robber" Reid

As soon as I put up my website, I go to check a couple of links and find that the venerable e-zine, niederngasse, no longer appears on a search and its domain name seems up for grabs. Can anyone clue me in on this?

The web is such a living thing; I must have upwards of twenty poems in their archives over the years, and now, suddenly, my link is no good? Eek. On the Net everything is so five seconds ago, soon to be nanoseconds.

Today I will post a poem I think the reader will enjoy, whether poetically experienced or not, the kind of poem I wish I could write more often. It's my favorite kind, where subject-object dualism is overcome, though not without a protracted struggle. And that's just in the content of the poem. But what I'm really referring to is the design of the poem; if possible, I like to write a poem where the reader just drops in, like those old Hertz commercials where the driver drops into the car from the air. Suddenly he is driving. Suddenly you find yourself in a poem. Fun to do if you can pull it off. The reader will judge.

And for the record, although it won't upload for my profile picture very well, this is pretty much how I really look:


This Democrat-approved funding bill for Iraq makes me want to throw up from deep inside my colon. Weenies? Not strong enough. Shit-sucking maggots? "We have to be politically realistic," (Reid and Pelosi). "We have sent the President a message."

The message? "We bend over for you, King George. Please send us some pork barrel knee pads."

Oh I'm sure I don't know the half of it, all the political reasons, what Republicans have sworn to vote with the Dems on the next funding bill, yada, yada, but judging from appearances--a bad idea in life and politics--doesn't it seem the Dems blinked? Or could I be wrong? We will see with the next funding vote. Myself, I'd vote against this bill on principle no matter what the liberal leadership told me. Since Pelosi married money, I guess it's easy for her to give away, in the same way Senator Reid gives it to his sons with our taxes, generous man that he is.

Don't you think most elected representatives give in to the temptation of entitlement? "I've worked all these years in Congress and I get paid nothing like a CEO and I have a zillion constituents and I'm always raising millions I can only spend on my campaign and not myself and isn't it time I did a little something for myself and my family? It may smell but as long as it's legal, by God they'll forgive me. Besides, the voters only know what television tells them."


If I don't paste in my poem soon, no one will read it, so I'll save my political griping for another day. Have a lovely Memorial Day Weekend, and try to forget that it's these Bozos in Washington that our troops laid down their lives for. You may say "the people," but in our system, they are "the people." That's how a representative democracy works. How I lament that America does not have the superior parliamentary system. Prime Minister Reid? It would never happen, though in the analogy it would more likely be Pelosi.

Here's my damn poem, a tad long, though not as long as the swim, posted on the heels of my brief discussion of exercise from the last post. BTW, I did break a zero yesterday, weighing it at a svelte 259!


I hope to enter the Zen
of unconscious body mechanics
and escape my radio head
always tuned to KFUCK.
Scanning the pool’s bottom
I note the aging plaster
in brown patterns like pee stains.
Once at a YMCA
I saw a turd on the bottom
slowly dispersing.
Though I love children.
I canceled my membership.

Ropes held up by donut floats
divide the lanes whose centers
are marked by a royal blue
stripes on the bottom, six tiles wide.

Should I count the strokes each lap requires?
Strangely, the number changes.
Arithmetic is not forgetting
though it prunes language down.
To force uniformity of propulsion
you risk losing the rhythm
required of motion, not worth it.

I’m in bubble land, look!
Pearls of exhalation
dribble from my mouth!
While swimming it always seems
there is much more air
to exhale than inhale,
only that moment
to turn your head and gulp.

Tired of local geography
KFUCK now turns to poetry,
how Jane Hirschfield’s three years
at a Zen monastery
might help silence the mind
in the rhythm of the sickle of the harvest,
in the traditional planting of the rice shoots,
calf deep in muddy water--
in the employment of the definite article
or even in making tea:
heat water add tea let steep
pour ten spondees
(in porcelain cups).

Thoughts come in words
written in lipstick on the mirror
where peace once was.
I want being without thought,
only the water sliding by
(look—she swims well
in the next lane, nice ass!)
See? I verbalize
even my distractions.
Words speak only
of what’s already past,
can't catch the next stroke,
useless as bus exhaust.
Is there a radio channel for the deaf?
How I hate KFUCK!

I wonder if consciousness
is only material,
I think of brain-injured patients
who cannot speak or think in words--
then whence epistemology?
From a fucking stone?

Some part of me keeps track
of every lap: lap 31, chant 31
and how my daughter’s doing
single mother and all
while my brain amazingly directs my limbs
in spite of all the multitasking,
three strokes, three strokes
swoosh swoosh swoosh
gulp air, breathe out
in sibilant bubbles,
arms heavy as pewter
(because lead is cliché).

Fuck KFUCK, all
that Sisyphean gossip, all
that Herculean chatter and
object association nonsense,
plums and women’s asses,
leg irons and horseshoes
beaten bright red on anvils
like lava expanding
Hawaii getting bigger
I ate limpets there
from the rocks
saw three moray eels
need new swimming trunks
don’t deserve them
still too fat
what salad to have
Jacuzzi or not?

Perhaps a hemisphereectomy
is the answer:
remove half my brain
and it won’t talk to itself so much:
one mind one action
one thought one bliss
one mind one action
one thought one bliss.

Finally it came to me,
how to turn it off,
though perhaps you must first
reach a certain level
of physical exhaustion.
But here it is, old as Lao Tsu:
Pretend you’re asleep.
You dream of a body--
it’s not your body.
Someone else is swimming,
someone else is breathing,
someone else is thinking in words
while you float in a wordless sleep.
If you begin to wake, say only
not my body, not my body.
Last lap.

At 1 Kilobunny (too sore to do much today),



  1. Anonymous9:36 PM PDT

    Raw material of an excellent poem here. Send the hard copy to your editor.

  2. Eat me! I rule! Rawness is all! What century are you from? Ever get laid?


  3. I take it back, Dr. Carbone. You were so right. Thanks for the help.


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