Saturday, August 4, 2012

Barry Spacks

Signature Clothing
                   Those who cherished you
         will be moved by your last poem,
     its whispers of Kindness. Right Choices. Flow.
                   But moved most
          not by any wisdom in its saying, no,
   but by the feather in its cap, the natty
                 look of its signature clothing. 
           For we're fed by lilts and ambles, frets
     and struts -- our Beloved's tilt of a finger,
              the precious sense that her very soul
     comes singing forth through her timbre'd voice;
           that we would risk (the riskers among us)
                 death in the service of little things,
                          all the killer little things,
       while the World lurches on with its horror and woe.
      What was it like, the simple gaze
   on Laura's face, age 12, as Petrarch
           declared aloud that he'd remain
                     obsessed with her forever?
                      Tell me this
                          isn't what truly
                                   interests us!
                   Or Dido! Go figure. Guy sez Babe
        I gotta take off, found Rome, the Gods
                        expect me to build that ultimate city,
                 man's work, forgive. "Enjoy, enjoy"
      (I hear her say) "leave me, go
                    where you must, do what you must, I'll just
                                  set myself on fire."
       A life's line-of-action flares through the years
                      from nothing more than one bright glance.
    Meanwhile each particular flake
       in the beautiful congregation of snow
           were it human in falling surely would cry
                                "Why me?"
      This body we carry, these words, our tweaks
          of thought: small reason they'd each be honored
                    and yet what else will endlessly         
                                    motivate our days?
          Narrow the gap
                    between Wish & Silence
              the ocean storms like an idiot captain
                               taste the salt
       chip down the forests, unboil volcanoes,
          empty the Great Lakes with a spoon.
            My school friend, on converting to Rome:
                "Somehow it seemed so ordinary."
    What? said the priest, you thought you'd transcend
           like Siegfried?
                                   A quiet church ceremony,
                    family and liturgy,
                       swift sprinkling: he entered
                                    the usual way.
          But the Ego always comes round for its bow,
                    will not accept exile, much less divestment,
                 maintains its claims to brags, counts
                           its grief-rights, grief its sustenance
                   along with grandeurs, possessions, achievements.
                     What if we named the Ego "Load
                                         of Dung"? --
                           dung that blocks the path.
                 I think there's no way onward but through.
                      What if instead of Ego we called it
                            Will You be pacified?
              I love you, boiling Self.  Now,
                                                 will you sleep?
 A Thick Book

                     for Carol DeCanio
The way you talk about books: chapter heads,
covers, colophons --  taken-care!
And the smell of a book, the feel of its paper,
the heft of the thing...and of course the fonts
(plus the note in the back about the fonts)
and the plot, metaphors — all those words!
I tell you it beats praising nightingales,
it’s almost as fine as cheering mail
to hear the way you go on about
“a thick book -- with pages in it!”

 Two of the Many Ways
                       practice #1
Abandon your laden train of camels,
abandon the world, the animal body,
Male, Female, slim for passage,
journey of sand through the hourglass.
Stride out naked through ultimate sunshine,
labels striped clean: Whiner, Lover, 
accept the challenge, slip through the red-hot
needle's eye at soul-speed -- now!
                          practice #2
Or try it this way (the "vastness way"):
squint as you view through the needle's-eye
the pure blue sky...pause, then -- QUICK --
remove the needle!


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