Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts


Poetic bullshit paraphrased

I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky,
– Sylvia Plath (from Collected Poems; “Black Rook in Rainy Weather”)

So what’s the goddamn sky supposed to do about the dim-witted desires of a pretentious poet?


Three American* sentences

I. None of it has been haphazard – nothing ever is in this universe.

II. It’s all being memorized in some superordinate universal poetry bank.

III. Goodbye Three Word Wednesday – you’ve been good.

– Iself (© 2017)

Written as the goodbye contribution to 3WW, which stopped at week no. 538. A long run by any Internet standard! The  last three words were goodbye, memorize and haphazard.

*The form was called American Sentence by Allen Ginsberg, its inventor. However, neither am I American nor does the form itself strike me as being necessarily and restrictively American.


Sammy’s less than perfect reputation

Avoid that lad named Sammy –
you've felt his hands – they're clammy.

Staying away from him makes triple sense
because he is also brutal and dense.

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2016)

Rhymed around clammy, brutal and dense from 3WW.


City poems


Hotels talk!
Noise, noise & life.
Ah, love!


Never fight a keed.
Exhaustion, work & love.


Where is the wiry building?
No shit – decay!
Noise, life & anger.
Zoos eat like old buildings.

– Iself (© 2014)

This is a poem that had been sitting in this blog as a draft for many months. I don't remember when I wrote it and how I wrote it. It's possible that I had some help from some poem generator. Looked at, polished a little and finally allowed to see the light of the blogging world on this 10th of November, 2014.


The advantages of being a writer


You write
a house
and it’s there

You make it high
and square,
you place it
in Detroit

No, you move it
to Brooklyn

Realizing that
you have no
business there,
you move it
to Italy,
where you
currently are

You place
yourself in it,
you zoom in
one of it its

you are,

the creator
at work


You add
a desk, a screen,
a keyboard,

a computer,
a lamp,
the whirr of a
computer fan,
a rainy day

and the spike
of an event –
the slamming
of a door


The final act
is to erase
it all again

you are,

the destroyer
at work


You check
the spelling

– Johannes Beilharz (© 2013)

Originally published in The Best of Mad Swirl : 06.22.13

The photo shows part of the location the poem focuses on.


I strive for words ...

I strive for poetry and produce only words.
—  William Taylor Jr. 
What can I say? It happens to the best ... poets and others.

And who's to say what are just words and what is poetry?
When do words turn into poetry?

Here's a 1-word poem addressed to the word and poetry:


And its German translation:



A pedestrian poem

It’s a pedestrian poem,
it walks on its feet,
someone in a shoe store
called them flat
but it keeps walking
and covering poetic
distances in
the dusty sun
of literary no man’s land.

It is what it is
and does what it does,
and if you listen
carefully, you will hear
the clop clop of its
broad-shoed feet
in the dry sunny dust
of literary no man’s land.

– Iself (© 2013)

More about pedestrian or clod-stuck poetry:
Clod-stuck poem invigorated
American Life in Poetry


Trendy poetry

Main characteristic:
strict observance of idiotic
comma before, and rule.

– Iself (© 2013)


Thomas Bernhard / Psalm


What I do is poorly done,
what I sing is badly sung,
therefore you have a right
to my hands
and to my voice.
I will work with all my strength.
The harvest shall be yours.
I will sing the song of peoples long gone.
I will sing my people.
I will love.
Even criminals!
Together with the criminals and the unprotected
I will found a new homeland –
Despite all this, what I do is poorly done,
what I sing is badly sung.
Therefore you have a right
to my hands
and to my voice.

Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989)

English Translation by Johannes Beilharz (© 2012)

Original found in Deutsche Lyrik / Gedichte seit 1945, edited by Horst Bingel, sonderreihe dtv, 1963. At the time this anthology was published, Thomas Bernhard had published three books and was not very well-known.


A God that is Yours

Created with the help of The Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator.

Love is a dark truck ...

Love is a dark truck.
Why does the hood work?

– Iself

Created with the help of the Poem Generator. I clicked on the Make Poem button about 6 times before anything vaguely useful popped out of the machine.

Yes, that is a serious question – why does the hood work? Or does it?


Animal witticism

So I say to my dog "sit!"
and he won't do it
but yawns

And I tell him
"So you think you've got wit?
But really

the only part of it
that you've got
is the nit."

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2012)

A much belated entry to Sunday Scribblings for wit.


Ode to the owner of an inkpot

Thank you, my love,
I forgive you not –
you gave me ink
in that old pot.
But on a cold day like this
it won’t make me hot.

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2011)

A demonstratively silly ditty upon instigation by One Single Impression.


An autumn poem by Max Dauthendey

The ravens scream their wounded cry;
of night and need they prophecy.
Frost has surrounded every door;
hunger’s dog barks out there for more.
We hold each other ever more tightly;
for sake of kissing we’ve spoken only lightly.
The larks have sung themselves to death,
and clouds have shooed summer with their breath.
Your head, cradled here in my arm,
no longer knows this earth ... without alarm.

– Max Dauthendey (1867-1918)

Translated from German by Johannes Beilharz.
English translation © by Johannes Beilharz 2011.
The German original of 1905 is here.


Medical portrait

Now there's doctor L. the anthroposoph, (in)sincere and mature,
who'll ask what you are willing to suffer for cure.
And if you say 'not much'
he'll presribe allopathic stuff with a proven sledge hammer touch.
Whereas, if you're willing to endure,
he'll give you aurum or cuprum for good enure.

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2011)

Written upon inspiration by 'endure' from One Single Impression.


9 a.m., Universe

It’s a crowded place and lots of stuff’s been happening
– Badger T. Bones

Australia kills 17 sex row riots
Bolivian microphones start up for couple
Colombia landmines title race court over arrest
Damage freed lawyer in well-wishers crowd pledge
Egyptian fuel drives bride in ferry
First glimpse of the Aston Martin tragedy
Germany charged herbal medicine regulations truce
Hot wedding auction treatment
India balcony kisses pick wedding
Jakarta streets still alive
Kult evening dress raid leader guilty
London loves Kate and William
Mexico cartel boss arrests
Nuevo Leon restaurant says welcome
Obama shocked by Chinese human rights
Rafah border clash to permanently seal to open European tornado fighters
Sai Baba cadets extradited
Tripoli witness dying for first kiss as husband and rebels wife
Uganda breaks al-Qaeda suspects
Vile crowd edge up Thai-Cambodia palace
Warsaw show time foundations
Xavier my French red headed OC is ftw
Yukon Territory, Canada error reported
Zealand's Sarah Palin is back

A cocktail from various Internet sources including BBC and Twitter tweets. Confounded, mixed, stylized, rearranged, censored, enhanced, expanded, invented in typical press fashion for day 30 of NaPoWriMo.

Today's task would have been “to write a poem based on a headline – it doesn’t have to be big news – it can be any news at all, from the girl in your town who won a contest for growing a potato that looks like Queen Victoria to the tabloid offering definitive proof that aliens are designing celebrity Oscar gowns.”

Didn't go for the cutesy news stuff so much as for more or less normal random picks from the news chaos in this universe.


Translated from the Hittite

A baby girl was born to Hulsa and Amani
The third year after the barley dearth
A baby girl was born to Hulsa and Amani
And she was preferred by the birds

Amani was so proud of her baby girl
But Hulsa wanted a boy and begrudged her food
Amani gave the baby girl to a sage
And she was still preferred by the birds

A baby boy was born to Hulsa and Amani
The fifth year after the barley dearth
The birds circled above and the liver
Told of things ominous in the future

Hattalippi the sage took good care
Of the girl and taught her many things
How to read the birds’ flight
How to make balms and vanishing creme

The boy fell ill in his eleventh year
The girl knew it from the birds’ flight
The sage sent her off to her family
And she cured her brother with a balm

But then the Assyrians came one year
And no-one in the village was spared
Except the girl and her brother
Because they’d applied her vanishing creme

And the girl and her brother lived alone
In the village for many many years
And they were known all over Hatti lands
For their balms and vanishing creme

Reconstituted and translated from an anonymous Hittite fragment and rendered by L. Blumfeld in condensed form in modern English.

Posted for NaPoWriMo day 29. Today’s task would have been “an act of homophonic translation. In other words, ‘translate’ a poem from a language you don’t know into English, based on how the words look or sound.” This post is different, of course, in that it is not a homophonic but a more or less accurate (i.e. semantically based) translation. However, Hittite is definitely a language I don’t know.

– Iself


Oh Jack! Oh Colleen!

Rhenew yr mazn poewr quickly,
theyz wrogte, &
Leet us to improvze u ultimate poewr & hardinegs.

Finagl bonzuses is uh fine bragain
toh buyy outstanding pharzm
at uh thje glowest pirce.

No zmore prescripzhion ise needved
tojh mke shozging fovr amazn poewr withe gus.

(Rearranged and beautified by Iself from original spam)

Posted for day 27 of NaPoWriMo. U quessed it – thje tusk was to yuse spwam & turnh hit inta pwoeteri.

May the amazn poewr be withe all of gus.


I’m white

I’m bulky
and white
and up in a tree

I’m half-open,
but should
be closed

I’m not as cool
as I used to be

I normally
need juice
to keep my
motor running,
but up here
there’s none

I’ve been
to failure

– Felix Morgenstern (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 26. The task was to do a “riddle poem – one in which you write from the point of view of an object or person (or about an object and person), and the poem itself forms a giant riddle.” Well, giant it’s not exactly, but a riddle it is. Let’s see if anyone can guess what I’m impersonating here.

As the end of NaPoWriMo is drawing nearer, I’m getting close to feeling poetically exhausted. It’s not that easy to produce poetry on demand. And the demands (the prompts) are often different from what I would normally write on my own. For example, I would not normally write riddles. I might write cryptic or eclectic or enigmatic stuff, but not riddles. Oh well, it’s really my very own decision to take on a prompt or do something else. And some of the prompts have been a lot of fun, and it’s actually been good to venture out and do something I would normally not do.

One thing’s for sure, though: April is definitely not the cruellest month (happy to contradict you, T.S., as always). In fact, it’s one of the cooellest months. Period and amen.


In myself

As usual, I enter the apartment at night. Everything is sepia, as in old sepia photographs, with that old-fashioned, dusty feel. Things are dusty and old-fashioned in the apartment, from the whiskey glass with the dry residue at the bottom to the face-down paperback mystery next to it, the floor lamp with its thin bronze stalk and faded cylindrical shade, the small framed photos on the wall. Who is that? Looks a bit like Hedy Lamarr. And the man with her, smirk on face, hat at rakish angle and cigarette elegantly held in gloved hand? Is that me in a different incarnation?

I find that there’s nothing to do here, nothing that can be done in the short time I have for this apartment. Cleaning it up would take days, so let’s not even get started. I could go on reading the mystery. It’s The Root of his Evil by James M. Cain, and I’m on page sixty apparently. Or is it open to that page only because the spine is broken there? I have no recollection of what the book is about, none whatsoever.

Now’s the time something would happen in a book by Cain or Chandler or Hammett. A car would drive up outside, the phone would ring, or I would discover a set of toes underneath a floor-length curtain, something blunt would hit the back of my head and I’d pass out.

Nothing of the sort. I will remember the visit when I wake up. I will remember having gone back there repeatedly. I will remember that I’ll have to return there. I will remember the apartment with some feeling of guilt, as something I neglect, something I tend to forget, even though I shouldn’t. Only to remember and have to go back, with nothing ever changing in this dusty brown apartment.

– Iself (© 2011)

Written for NaPoWriMo day 25. The task was to “write an autobiographical poem.” I would call the above an autobiographical prose poem. Autobiographical because it is about a recurrent dream I used to have. A poem because it's more poetic than prose usually is.
I haven't returned to that apartment in a long time. I’ve turned it into reality – I’ve rented a space in a place downtown, nominally to work there, but I’m hardly ever there.

James M. Cain, The Root of his Evil, first published in 1951.