Le paradis n'est pas artificiel …

A New Legend, by Robert Adamson

posted February 10, 2014

In a friendless time the mind swims
out from its body: you become
all the lives you have ever lived.
In this clearing there have
been camp fires, though the ashes
are stone cold now. And the mist
just above the earth is
undisturbed. A brown kestrel flits

between the sun and the ancient
dwellings, its shadow a moth
wandering below the mist's surface.
Everything has been like this
for centuries. Sunlight struggles
through into the petrified
branches of charcoal; as I walk
I create a new legend here ó

my voice moves over the rock carvings,
my hands net for the moth's
faint dancing shadow, my eyes
vanish into the back of my head
and a small creature stops running.
The water lies still in granite
waiting for the chance to sing anew;
under the mist I become

a thousand echoes, sounding for
the time being. Wherever life emanates
it's born from my careful presence
here, treading: mushrooms bloom
in my footsteps among the ashes.
The mind moves ahead of my
body now, feeling the new wings,
wondering if they existed before.

Its thoughts lift me above the ground.
I look down at my body, a feeble
creature moving through its own silence.
Moss clings to my thighs, the kestrel
dives into the clearing hooking
up the creature I taught not to fear.

Mulberry Leaves: New and Selected Poems 1970-2001.

posted February 4, 2014

No plan's a plan; No
dream's a dream. Closed cases fill:
nothing's what it seems.

posted January 31, 2014

Old song reddens my
lips' new voice; the cabbie says,
"Volar y orar."

Peeling Peaches

posted January 29, 2014

On Monday I ventured into Manhattan for The Poet in New York, a new weekly reading of featured poets, impromptu piano, and open mic slots for ďNew, New York PoetryĒ. There was a gorgeous variety of poetry and people; I'd like to tell you about what I heard, with further thought. I myself read new poems, one of which was selected as the audience favourite. I feel honoured, as everyone was very good, and the piece is a new voice for me.

Go to their magazine to read my poem, Peeling Peaches. It will also be published in a year-end anthology from Bowery Books.

And get all up in New New York poetry by following @poetinnewyork.


posted January 29, 2014

Your tall blonde model
mother, standing in
slantwise alpen light
at the kitchen sink.
Your tall dark Indian
father, far out hunting
or elsewhere driven
to drink and rebellion.
You had it all from both
of them; I did it all for you,
wearing your fatherís hair
and shadows, your motherís
bones and hunger. We ran
all their sepearate grievings,
made deepest forest paths
weaving their private ways.
We knew, only we children
knew them both; I think
even sensed their ultimate
demise as a couple, knowing
what was missing in each of
their eyes. One night we hid
in a dark doorway and watched
when your dad thrust a knife
into my familyís kitchen table.
You were umable not to look
like him to me after that.
I loved your muted milky glow
through coffee skin, lowered
gaze and lips held like your
motherís: like outdated maps
to an unreachable past kiss.

posted January 26, 2014

The wind whips, the brown
stone shifts; the singing city
night a hungry cat.

posted January 21, 2014

Thick snow melting down
my neck burrowing between
purring vestibules.


posted January 15, 2014

You show me images of myself
and I can't tell you how they make me feel
even more remote. They make me unfeel:
stretched so far between then and now
I am more translucent than thin silk,
and just as wrap-able 'round things:
a sunburnt pennant, a lost scarf tossed
by walkers across the nearest too-high
limb of a tree many years ago, needled
by a decade of pine rosin and dead twig.
I feel that tattered and gone in images
of myself, it's all I can do to offer the
mildest retort, rather than shout loud
my gut response, Get away from me!
By that I mean, save yourself, be free
of me, that I should not even be there
in your photographs, but somewhere
closer to the un-navigated territories
of myself, somewhere in the wild,
beyond image and indistinguishable.

There is a Man

posted January 7, 2014

There is a man beside me.
I do not know what anyone
looks like and imagine I must
draw them for myself, and wonder
if blind people do this, too,
putting smoking jackets onto dry
voiced civil servants, wool onto
itchy-voiced youths? But I pride
myself on suiting strangers by
intuition into something more
deep and truth, extrapolated in this
case entirely by his arm: draped
cooly across a cafe chair nowhere
near his domain, a gable-seat by
a dim alley-way window, the reason†I took
my spot beside his extra-occupational
chair: the view onto nowhere sustains
all visions, any dream. So it seems I am
sitting next to a kind of quiet Oscar,
a wild but docile, murmur-smiling beast
more civilized than merely human.
He is in tweed grey as March snow,
he is sallow-toned and sniffles, pleased
with the sound of it, and in that I'm sure
I can hear him smile. His other hand falls
again and again against his comfortably
outstretched trousered leg: again the fabric
implies richness of spirit, if not wealth.
And the man is watching me type, so
I must be here and appear a certain way
that fascinates the kind of man who sits
in two spots at a busy cafe, in the dim
corner of the room haunted by strange
un-self-aware women like me, in bright
coloured clothing, old hats and reluctant
visage. The man clears his throat softly
and I feel we are speaking now, in our
mutually shared and read body language:
we are definitely both watchers of people
from corners of eyes. We must also be
optimists because I can imagine, in spite
of everything, that he has kind eyes, narrowed
against the light and for accuracy of dream-sight,
rather than out of cunning or critique.
The man beside me is my own, myself
his; we are wrapped around each others'
hopes, and thirsty for everything we won't
ever say to each other, each time we take a sip.

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posted November 30, 2013

Friend, surrounded now by the black coats
and no longer in as much of a crisis, I get
your paralysis. I see you felt you had to jump
from one perfect stepping stone to the next,
to be each yourself. Perfection, you named it,
your downfall. My downfall was my rising,
and we crossed paths in transformation.
We each saw each in greater clarity for both:
you falling for perfection, ending;
I rising from downfall, perfected.


posted November 26, 2013

My love, you are free.
Stay away from your own
funeral; sing no dirge
but for those unlike you,
for you still are, you.
I cannot even contain
you in one person,
that's how free you are:
I see you in my sister,
the eyes of our mother,
beholding my lover
as one she once knew,
or never did but saw
in her own mother's eyes.
Yes, there are ghosts,
and we can be cursed
or blessed seeing them
in each other. That's how
free you are, and I am:
we can dance between
bodies effortlessly now.
I know you feel this too
for I feel you feeling me
feeling you feeling me so
certainly there's more
than just the two of us
now; no, you were not
so simple when we met
for I was, we both knew
then, so many more than
just one of us. As you are
to me, too. All of my love
for freedom, intertwined
and impossibly scattered.

posted November 15, 2013

We travelled; he took
me for his breath when it was
the wind that drew me.


posted November 15, 2013

Iíve been here writing like this before and will again, but will never know it. There is only approaching and retreating from it, as a process, as breathing or making love. To be a writer is to constanly flux: always to be beginning to write, then writing, ending writing; to be stopping for a horrible killed moment againÖ but always be writing is no more writing than just not, I think, or no more than to always be about to. All this pendulate motion is what compels my senses, and nothing like it can be completed in stasis. So this is one of the dimensions of myself ó to always move in knowing to inscribe knowledge in movement. There I am in the gerund again; yes, Iíve written all this before. So another aspect or dimension of my life (and perhaps more significant in exlicit terms than the cerebral momentum alone) is my movement or placement in physical space: where I sit taking it all in, or being taken by place. This now today I am thinking of or arranging (writing, I suppose, which shows the primacy of mind to me as I am myself) across an entire landscape of concepts ó a map of connotation, so overwritten and with each attribute of rising or falling significance, subsiding or spiking: cafes I sit in, beds where I sleep, conversations ongoing, electric or failing echoes as the final significances of last words fade out of any meaning; hurts, definitely: wounds feature immensely as spiky highs hardly worn by time. Signal tower points. Then maybe the fear, lower down: the terror-criticís voice isnít there, but there is a low current that carries on down. I think of the settling of a vast sheet that falls into place over all, after this so complete relocation of myself (mind, body, world, occupation, emotion) so everything has changed, or Iíve changed everything. Yes, Iíve found an entirely new place to be, but it is the same surface over all.