Archive for May, 2008


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 24, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

The Remains (a poem by Mark Strand)

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.



Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

For the Dead (a poem by Adrienne Rich)

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the left-over
energy, the way water goes rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting long after midnight


Posted in Prose with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Education (an excerpt from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M. Pirsig)

[His] argument for the abolition of the degree and grading system produced a nonplussed or negative reaction in all but a few students at first, since it seemed, on first judgment, to destroy the whole University system. One student laid it wide open when she said with complete candor, “Of course you can’t eliminate the degree and grading system. After all, that’s what we’re here for.”

She spoke the complete truth. The idea that the majority of students attend a university for an education independent of the degree and grades is a little hypocrisy everyone is happier not to expose. Occasionally some students do arrive for an education but rote and the mechanical nature of the institution soon converts them to a less idealistic attitude.


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Untitled (a poem by Emily Dickinson)

To die–takes just a little while–
They say it doesn’t hurt–
It’s only fainter–by degrees–
And then–it’s out of sight–

A darker Ribbon–for a Day–
A Crape upon the Hat–
And then the pretty sunshine comes–
And helps us to forget–

The absent–mystic–creature–
That but for love of us–
Had gone to sleep–that soundest time–
Without the weariness–


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on May 21, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Get Drunk (a poem by Charles Baudelaire, translated from the original French)

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time’s horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness
of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
“Time to get drunk!
Don’t be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!”


Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Big Love (a poem by Vince Bauters)

If you hate yourself you can do anything.

Maybe not talk to me for days. A real
accomplishment. Like mountain climbing or something like

locking your keys in the car.

It’s the right feeling. I know this.

Already we’re trying to soothe each other.
Swallow and dream. Like a baby dropped in water.

Or maybe a bag of garbage. Maybe just
an open window. The smell of July and lemons.

We’re real by contrast.

Green wine bottles
and crystal glasses. Your body

yellow like iced tea left out in the sun.

It’s like a long list of things that are supposed to go together.

Not just our wedding gifts. Not just the way you go
to sleep barefoot. It’s just necessary.

Our bodies ruined by someone else.


Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on May 16, 2008 by Ryan Sanford Smith

Golgotha Tenement Blues (lyrics to the song by Machines of Loving Grace)

I am city
I am the park
I am glow in the mother fucking dark
I am shocked and I seethe
I don’t want to believe no more
No more
No more
Golgotha tenement
city of sores
Give me your tired and your wicked
Give me your dollar whores
Down on the boulevard children are sold
To pave the way
For your streets of gold
Streets of gold