A Longhouse Reader summer 2008


Pir Zia Inayat-Khan & Peter Lamborn Wilson, Walter Franceschi, Bob Arnold

Elena Medel / Forrest Gander, Hoa Nguyen, Mark Terrill, Nicolas Born, Dale Smith, Anne Waldman

Han Shan / JP Seaton, Simon Pettet, Cid Corman


~ sharing a sample of our booklets published so far this year ~






Pir Zia Inayat-Khan &
Peter Lamborn Wilson




Surely not every lovely face has been revealed
               in tulip or rose. There must
be at least a few still sealed
                  in dust.





The Daughters of Atlas modestly veil themselves all day
               their nakedness hid by light:
so whence this lewd display
                  by night?





If I approach her door, then how could I retort
               to the insults she'll unleash? -
my prayers all spent on the porter
                  as bakhsheesh!


Walter Franceschi


Little Satori



I have just been in China
for a space of time as long
as it has taken two Chinese
girls to walk past me.






is a sudden




on a damp sidewalk
in the process of drying

          a Great-Britain-shaped spot

Bob Arnold

Dream Come True



Just the way your loose
Hair sweeps your cheek
Loosens me





Doesn't it feel like it is
There for you when you
Sit in the room with it




He's the town crazy
And we've been in town only five seconds
And he's found us




Three Spanish Poets
Marcos Canteli Carlos Pardo Elena Medel
Translated by Forrest Gander


Elena Medel ~ from Tara


The Kids Who Die


The kids who die
can choose between jumping during the day on lovely
                    concrete beds or eating the sheets really slowly
                    with their eyes closed, blissful.
The privilege of flannel. Two hundredth parts of fear
                    for letting go of their hand: along the avenue they clutch
for the tips of my fingers, nipping at me, Mama.
Already my legs are shot and I sing in an undertone, looking for
                    a place near my father, so they fall together with me
                    before entering the house.
What a blast in the vestibule: I'm so mellow, I couldn't die.
I have friends without dreams or pajamas. They smell the coming
festival and convert their thermometers
into a good night song, and they've died and nevertheless,
they put equal faith in January and in the windows, in the voice
                    of snow.
Life's like that for kids who die. Cushy. Pretty
                    sweet. Such a pleasure, extinguishing childhood

Hoa Nguyen

What Have You




The problem with the lights and the
smell of apples          rotting sliced apples
I put into the lights
cleaning them out
in order to see better          not a good spot
for apples

I talked to the invasive tree
how to replace China Berry          Poison ivy
Running bamboo          humans          Literally
knocking it over          crack the big limb
how to restore          as in the children's book
looking for the ordinary snortle pig       
plants          animals and homes equally numbered

Peed in the backyard           long black skirt
to mark this mine
I talked to the tree          pee smell
for raccoons and possum natives

Death is the return to the mother
return to the wet place

Our local creek: Boggy
my fear of it          stagnant smell          trash
and rats          nesting lesser herons           rocks and
bottle tops

Water sample August 4, 2006       
North Boggy Creek at Airport Blvd.
Nitrate 2.08                    BAD
Phosphate .07                     POOR

Sinking           reading of massive phyto-plankton
& algae bloom
Hypoxic zone          Gulf of Mexico dead zone
Sized larger than New Jersey

August Perseids seen
from the stoop


Mark Terrill





Along about the time
became a product
              and war
the currency with which
that product could
              be purchased
the gypsies
packed up their things
              and hit the road
and the dust
kicked up by their horses
              slowly settled
on the tables outside
the Café des Despotes
where this poem
              was found
scrawled on a
wine-stained tablecloth
in the crepuscular evening
of one of the last days
              on earth.

 Nicolas Born

The Bill for Room 11

Translated from the German by Mark Terrill


Landscape with Large Car


With such a large car we have to get through
             dead                 or alive
in back of the neck music
                                       which never stops
sweet air of Montana bitter air of Missouri
             our coats flap as though we were on the run
we tank up
             dogcatchers roam about
us in the side glances of the cowboys
us in the generous shadow of an airplane
us outside the line of fire in Chicago
             we shake William Fulbright's hand
                          we ghost through Arkansas
we visit the grave of a poet during our lifetime
green all around with just a tinge of yellow
the demonstration runs in the flames of Phoenix
we are a point which moves itself westwards
we are not Americans
             but belong to them
a sheriff forces us to stop
no we haven't picked up any black hitchhiker
we are not horse thieves albeit Germans
our politeness is the politeness of foreigners
                                       we're moving faster
we mean we're roaring
                                       wrapped up in sweet air
and in a music that never stops
                                       we get old very slowly
many thanks Pentagon
for this statistical delay-effect


Dale Smith


Wild Chickens


 Such a Blue


Branches break the sky with pagan stillness.
                    Sap moves. The wood's
                    nodes will spread
                                        into summer mulberry.
There are so many things
                    alive right now
                    in the ancient sunlight.
Listen to grackles.
Listen to song birds
                    and their sudden shifts
of attention.
                    Such a blue goes far
                    beyond their limbs.

Anne Waldman



the tree is the repository
its aspen leaves turn yellow
the tray is the mesa





civilization is laceration
the hurricane is relentless
the masters are exposed





the light is your discourse
the globe will be ablaze
the horizon travels

Han Shan ~ My Home's A Hole


Translations by J. P. Seaton



My father and mother were thrifty, hard workers.
The grain fields, the vegetable plots they left me,
are good as any man's.
My wife keeps the loom click-clacking,
My boy can goo-goo with the best.
I can clap the time for the flowers to dance to,
or just sit and listen to the birds when they sing.
And who should come by from time to time
to sigh their admiration?
The woodcutters do!


~ This poem gets a little extra buzz from the fact that the woodcutter was a heroic legendary figure among Taoists and other romantic folks seeking the joys of rural retirement, maybe because he is free, self employed as a provider of a renewable resource that everyone always needs (for cooking, heating, tool making and building). The new farmer Han Shan proudly claims a place in their company here. Pretty soon we'll watch Han Shan the Romantic back to the earther discover that farming involves a lot of hard work and a whole lot more good luck than woodcutting. Maybe the farmer Han Shan knew all this, and his persona here is meant to set us up to suffer the inevitable hard times that will soon come hangin' 'round his cabin door.


 Simon Pettet




A Spectre

for Brenda Coultas

My dear,
It's lovely to linger near
the scenes of the earth,

to be near,
to hear
what you have to say,

what pours forth ceaselessly
from your garrulous mouth(s)

in these latter days
(which we won't call these latter days!),

to scrutinize and survey
your glossolalia,

to see you
to see what you do

I'm here.


Cid Corman




Do your damnedest
you aint done nothin' yet.






Poet - let
the words you have lived
give life to others

and you will have lived
beyond all other






Fools and sages
learn to put up
with each other
best silently.

 More booklets through 2008 ~ Lars Amund Vaage, Hanne Bramness, Whit Griffin, Bob Arnold, Thomas A Clark, Gerald Hausman, Michael Mauri


stay tuned!

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This page was updated July 9, 2008
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