Category: Poetry
October™ | Central Park

This past Sunday was that legendary, perfect autumn day, impossibly sublime, crisp air, music in your ears, face full of afternoon light. All of us tried to work our superpowers to slow time, to make the day last but Monday still came, steamrolling that afternoon into memory.

I am back east now after 12 years in Los Angeles. You cannot convey to a creature of Southern California the fleeting magic of a perfect October™ day. The day is a wisp of smoke, soon to be hidden by clouds and rain, eaten by the advancing calendar. You have missed it. You need to wait for the great wheel to keep turning until October™ appears on the horizon again.

Angelenos, it does not matter what day it is, the month, the time of year, if it’s an El Niño season or not. Tomorrow in Southern California is a constant; it will always be in the 70s, no humidity, blazing sun. Put your flip flops on and burrito yourself. No hurry, no rush; it’ll be the same until the end of time.

I will take the cycle of seasons, even with the squalor of February and the thick sweaty terror of August. Only 11½ months until October™.

Central Park, October™ 25, 2009, Nikon D300, 12-24mm Nikon © Doug Kim

Central Park, October™ 25, 2009, Nikon D300, 12-24mm Nikon © Doug Kim

October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if the were all,
Whose elaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost–
For the grapes’ sake along the all.

-Robert Frost


Raymond Carver | Loafing

Loafing

I looked into the room a moment ago,
and this is what I saw—
my chair in its place by the window,
the book turned facedown on the table.
And on the sill, the cigarette
left burning in its ashtray.
Malingerer! my uncle yelled at me
so long ago. He was right.
I’ve set aside time today,
same as every day,
for doing nothing at all.

-Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver in 1984, by Bob Adelman

Raymond Carver in 1984, by Bob Adelman

There are significant moments in everyone’s day that can make literature. You have to be alert to them and pay attention to them.

-Raymond Carver, Conversations with Raymond Carver

It’s been a continual series of starting-overs for me.

-Raymond Carver, Conversations with Raymond Carver


Sharon Olds | The One Girl at the Boys Party
St. Maarten's, Nikon D300, 80-200mm

St. Maarten's, Nikon D300, 80-200mm © Doug Kim

The One Girl at the Boys Party

When I take my girl to the swimming party
I set her down among the boys. They tower and
bristle, she stands there smooth and sleek,
her math scores unfolding in the air around her.
They will strip to their suits, her body hard and
indivisible as a prime number,
they’ll plunge in the deep end, she’ll subtract
her height from ten feet, divide it into
hundreds of gallons of water, the numbers
bouncing in her mind like molecules of chlorine
in the bright blue pool. When they climb out,
her ponytail will hang its pencil lead
down her back, her narrow silk suit
with hamburgers and french fries printed on it
will glisten in the brilliant air, and they will
see her sweet face, solemn and
sealed, a factor of one, and she will
see their eyes, two each,
their legs, two each, and the curves of their sexes,
one each, and in her head she’ll be doing her
sparkle and fall to the power of a thousand from her body.

-Sharon Olds, (1983)

Sharon Olds by David Bartolomi

Sharon Olds by David Bartolomi


The Hamptons | The End of Summer

Labor Day weekend in The Hamptons.

Tim, Amagansett; Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tim, Amagansett; Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

-Sam Keen

Cullen, Amagansett; Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cullen, Amagansett; Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Till Summer folds her miracle-
As Women-do-their Gown-
Or Priests-adjust the Symbols-
When Sacrament-is done-

-Emily Dickinson

Ellie and Aubrey, Amagansett, Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Ella and Aubrey, Amagansett, Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

In summer, the song sings itself.

-William Carlos Williams


Jim Carroll, 1949 – 2009
Patti Smith and Jim Carroll, sometime somewhere by someone

Patti Smith and Jim Carroll, Circa 1970 Photo by Wren D'Antonio

I met him in 1970, and already he was pretty much universally recognized as the best poet of his generation.

-Patti Smith

Nice_to_See_You_photo1
Nice_to_See_You_photo2

You’re growing up. And rain sort of remains on the branches of a tree that will someday rule the Earth. And it’s good that there is rain. It clears the month of your sorry rainbow expressions, and it clears the streets of the silent armies… so we can dance.

-Jim Carroll

Dave Treganna, Dave Parsons, Jim Carroll and Stiv Bators, NYC, 1981, unknown photographer

Dave Treganna, Dave Parsons, Jim Carroll and Stiv Bators, NYC, 1981, unknown photographer

Do not see that piece of shit movie (Okay, I haven not seen it, but it looks like a piece of shit). Go to a bookstore and buy The Basketball Diaries or the album Catholic Boy. I have bought that book four or five times because it is never returned once it has been lent.


Frank O’Hara | Music

Music

If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf’s
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35c, it’s so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It’s like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter’s
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they’re putting up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

Frank O’Hara

Frank O'Hara, 1958 by Harry Reidl

Frank O'Hara, 1958 by Harry Redl

O’Hara remains my favorites of the Beats. His Collected Poems and Lunch Poems are essential additions to any library.

He was known for writing poems in an instinctive and reactive manner, improvising on the spot, not caring anything for traditional form or structure, and for later disregarding or even discarding the final product. Shoving them into his desk drawer to be forgotten was the best that could be hoped for and Garrison Keillor wrote that “Some of his poems only survive because friends copied them down and sent the copies to each other in letters.”

I don’t believe in rhythm, assonance, [any] of that stuff. You just go on your nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star.’

-Frank O’Hara

It may be that poetry makes life’s nebulous events tangible to me and restores their detail; or conversely, that poetry brings forth the intangible quality of incidents which are all too concrete and circumstantial. Or each on specific occasions, or both all the time.

-Frank O’Hara


Cory O’Malley, 1974-2009

So long, Cory. Rest in Peace.

cory11

cory21

Cory, Sophie, Joy © Doug Kim

cory31

The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Omar Khayyam, The Rubiyyat

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