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August 1995

August Kleinzahler, 20 June 1996

... Under the floorboards Shadow and Smoke bark through these windy summer nights, always at queer intervals. Something’s got up their noses or call and response with a distant yard. All summer long awakened from dreams by barks, remembering each of them through, shabby kinescopes. The guys upstairs come fetch them in the morning and disappear till night, always leaving the light on in the storeroom, to make it more cheerful, I suppose ...

September, with Travellers

August Kleinzahler, 26 November 1998

... Coolness at evening, a delicate astringent It seems only last week those sunsets, like gardens of sky in all their extravagance, kept on without end, the lightest of breezes, trembling sage. Now, the curtains drawn earlier each evening, the dinner wine left half-finished. One guest after another passing through. A few quiet hours here, a long, difficult journey from town, before heading on ...

52 Pick-Up

August Kleinzahler, 16 October 1997

... Luminoso e dolce Suzerainty Impetigo Colourless green ideas sleep furiously Titrate Spinners&darners Farallons Dag Frottage Slow loris Gating A bit of the other Cuisse-de-nymphe Chamfer Amber, civet and musk cods Wahoo McDaniel Chlamydia Mortised-and-tenoned Huitzilopochtli A bit of rough Chalumeaux Dingleberry Esculent Wing-nut Sforzato Ten dwarve ...

How Many Times

August Kleinzahler, 11 June 2009

... Master claps of thunder, Wrath of God thunder – Sitting on the porch at night and waiting For the rain to fall in Texas; Or at the Cantina Grill Express In Denver airport, between flights, Watching as you dab at some hot sauce On your chin: How many times, how many places, Have I said ‘I love you’? How many _____ does it take To change a light bulb? Watching smoke from the sugar beet plant Drift east to Minnesota From the hotel window in Fargo – How many times ‘you are beautiful’? The swami, After an extended meditation In his hut, in the pine forest, Many kilometres distant From the nearest village And at an altitude From which one can see Not only that village, but the next And the next, Takes out a cigarette, Lights it, And inhales deeply ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 17 March 2005

... Goddess Well now, it really is you, and after how many months? I had ceased keeping track. No, not given up, never that. I should die if that were true. But still – was it some affront? You’ve never been this cruel. Distracted? To be sure; even you can’t begrudge me this: a father, friend, another friend. Death’s visits threatened never to end ...

Sports Wrap

August Kleinzahler, 30 June 2011

... Who would have credited their late August collapse? They flourish like jumpweed over these punishing summers, or did do, adversaries going faint here alongside the river. Eighteen-wheelers bust across the interstates, devouring horizon, tuned to the one same station, signal fluttering as this distressing tale unfolds, inning by inning, game by game ...

Tanka-Toys: A Memoir

August Kleinzahler, 28 November 1996

... The planet may have tilted, if only a hint when the shelf of cloud burnt angrily before dusk           jack-o’-lantern stuff her hair the colour of her coat, fallwear       ******* The wet stain her bathing-suit left on the bench           the shape of Bolivia, drying, drying into atolls Ursa Minor, a thumbprint      ...

September: Lake Wannsee, Berlin

August Kleinzahler, 19 October 2000

... I would rather have been Dufy with these sails and darkening clouds – well, not Dufy, and this is not Le Sud: better, say, Cranach, had he been given to painting sails against the day’s last light. Perhaps there is a kind of sail in Mary’s eyes, poor thing. The Baltic night is moving in, dragging its sombre quilt behind like a filthy bridal train ...

The Bus Barn at Night

August Kleinzahler, 7 August 2003

... Motion is not a condition but a desire to be outside of one’s self and all desire must be swept away so saith fatso Gautama bus-like under the shade of some shrub in the Deer Park in some grove some municipal greensward chewing a leaf that has left him stoned as a stone stone-like mouthing this sententious drivel some errand-boy some rich man’s son dutifully sets down on a dusty tablet ignoring the insects and snakes After midnight under the arc-lights like a giant sound stage the abandoned set of an action spectacular Mrs Kiniski’s team goes bus to bus hoovering candy-wrappers crumbs and then with their scrapers attending to the grease and impacted filth and gum as Rudolfo sluices away in the south-east corner and the boss, with a sigh comes to the end of Hermann Hesse’s Siddartha Phalanx upon phalanx of impassive Buddha-wagons silver hulls and red trim Fleet of the Three Jewels the Attainment & Perfection City Transit Corp ...

Hollyhocks in the Fog

August Kleinzahler, 4 December 2008

... Every evening smoke blows in from the sea, sea smoke, ghost vapour of lost frigates, sunken destroyers. It hangs over the eucalyptus grove, cancels the hills, curls around garbage sacks outside the lesbian bar. And every evening the black bus arrives, the black Information bus from down the Peninsula, unloading the workers at the foot of the block. They wander off, this way and that, into the fog ...

Late Autumn Afternoons

August Kleinzahler, 17 July 1997

... Red pear leaves take the light at four, and a patch of brick on the south, rear wall stripped of wisteria: the two reds embering a little while then dying back into the shadows. A corner of the afternoon is all, maybe half an hour, not much more – October, November ... the beech tree bare now. Sunday’s blow would have done it. And always the Interstate out there, like surf, running up to Boston or south to New York ...

Secondary Sexual Characteristics

August Kleinzahler, 13 December 2007

... I Spindrift of grunion spume in moonlight Granular, sorrel-coloured, ammoniac Upon the tide’s retreat A meniscus of foam hissing in sand The milt bores deep II His presence was more than unwelcome The change room strictly off-limits Except for the dancers Relish of wild duck cooked with olives The slight scent of prussic acid A faint whiff of ov ...

Two Poems

August Kleinzahler, 25 September 2014

... Snow Approaching on the Hudson Passenger ferries emerge from the mist       river and sky, seamless, as one –             watered ink on silk then disappear again, crossing back over       to the other shore, the World of Forms –             as-if-there-were, as-if-there-were-not The buildings on the far shore ghostly       afloat, cinched by cloud about their waists –             rendered in the boneless manner Cloud need not resemble water       water need not resemble cloud –             breath on glass The giant HD plasma screen atop Chelsea Piers       flashing red and green –             stamped seal in a Sesshu broken ink scroll A tug pushes the garbage scow, left to right, toward the sea       passing in and out of the Void –             vaporising grey, temporal to timeless Clouds wait, brooding for snow       and hang heavily over the earth –             Ch’ien Wei-Yen Bustle of traffic in the sky, here, as well, on the shore below       obliterated –             empty silk The wind invisible       spume blown horizontal in the ferry’s wake –             wind atmosphere, river silk Heat The blue-bellied fence lizards have died back into stone or the walls they attach themselves to, drinking in mineral and sun, proliferating almost before one’s eyes, a slow-motion saurian mitosis threatening to blanket every surface, a reticulated vine with eyes and split tongues ...


August Kleinzahler, 3 August 2006

... The long-beleaguered home team, black hats and orange piping, is eliminated on a cool night, the very end of September, with the phlox zerspalten by rain, as Benn wrote, and giving forth a strange animal smell, seltsamen Wildgeruchs. While the neighbouring team from across the Bay, the ones with green leggings, younger and more brazen, were finished earlier still, after the clamour attending their mid-summer surge ...

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