Friday, January 24, 2014

Poem of the Week: Anne Waldman


excerpt from Manatee/Humanity 

the aquarium deserted now,
this is the song at dusk I write in the notebook:
strange skin
not quite seal
not quite dolphin
texture like
something you forget
something you didn't even see
the first time
old shoe
sentient being with others in watery caves
lights off
with motive & mind up a ladder
mouth moving
quixotic mind
quick flick
who are me
who haunt me
please haunt me
summoned by the dream
the kusha grass instructs
you might say a kind of ceremony
gather up these nightmares
this in a public space
where many minds meet
& pass around the objects of this dream
a blindfold, a crystal, a card with a bodhisattva upon it
gather them up & making an offering
all the bikkus going down on their knees for this
in this world marked out by the augur
interstices between living & dead
an initiation on the nature of time
& of continuity in a dark time

mean world: humanity
dream world: manatee
secret world: om mani padme manatee hum
om mani humanity padme hum

the center of reference becomes movement in this ritual

-Anne Waldman

Used by permission.
From Manatee/Humanity (Penguin Books, 2009)

Anne Waldman is the author of more than 40 books of poetry and poetics, and an active member of the Outrider experimental poetry movement, a culture she has helped create and nurture for over four decades as writer, editor, teacher, performer, magpie scholar, infra-structure curator, and cultural/political activist. Her poetry is recognized in the lineage of Whitman and Ginsberg, and in the Beat, New York School, and Black Mountain trajectories of the New American Poetry. Her publications include Fast Speaking Woman (1975), Marriage: A Sentence (2000), and the multi-volume Iovis project (1992, 1993, 1997). Waldman is a recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship and the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award and has recently been appointed a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She was one of the founders and directors of The Poetry Project at St. Marks's Church and she co-founded with Allen Ginsberg the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, where she is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics. She was active in Occupy Art, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street in NYC, and has recently been involved in projects around the theme of Symbiosis, which studies the interaction between two or more different biological species.

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