22 April 1943—14 January 2012

From psalm: 18: You take care of yourself now, I yell back, You too.
From the poet: Ribcage whistles for the wind to play.
               —Jody Aliesan

She had that poem, please post,
and I loved to post it.
I took her side. Some of what I carry.
The Tao, always, preceding thought.

Alden Nowlan writes from Canada:
I used to broadcast
at night alone in a radio station/
but I was never any good at it.

But Jody, in please post:
Choose rather to be wrong than false.
And further up in her poem:
So how about you
Such good Jody, Here:
What everyone knows but no one speaks
The Kiriwini of New Guinea call ‘mokita’
Short memories preserve good consciences

St. Joan. Jesus. Jean Burden. Leonard Cohen.
Her ja signing off on emails. Raven and the Raven Chronicles.
Rocks and stars. Gold dust and the Vishnu Schist.
Leave Me Be and Burn the Bridges. Her songs.

The poem and the poet. The abyss.
The listing of frauds. Her list. An education.
The psychopath.
Epigraphs and footnotes, reporting.

Bicameral men did not imagine. They experienced.
So says Julian Jaynes as we read in one great synchronicity.
The king dead is a living god.
Auditory hallucinations instead of pheromones.

To hear was to obey. The bicameral mind.
So many things. As Jean Burden says in our conversation,
Behind every poem must be felt the abyss.
Depth below depth. What keeps the reader

From falling, is a thin, taut, protecting wire.
Without the wire and the abyss
There is no poetry that matters.
Jody. True North/Nord Vrai. Speaking from notes.

Jim Bodeen
13 October 2012


During my teenage years in Lake City in north Seattle, I would go golfing with Mike Bliss and Gary Couch at Sand Point Golf Club. Mike and Gary had golf clubs and I used my hockey stick that we brought out from North Dakota. What made me mad was that neither of the boys would let me try their clubs. This one man used to watch us playing and arguing. He was golfing with his son. One day he came up to me and asked me a few questions. I almost freaked out. I thought he was laughing at my jeans that came from the old Spiegel catalog that looked like they were made for shoveling coal. Like the ones my Grandpa Charlie wore. But that wasn’t it. I mean, he was interested in the boy golfing with the hockey stick. One day he asked me if we had a golf course up there in North Dakota near the Canadian border. Sure , I said, but it was different. I told him how the circle where they put the hole was made of gravel, and that it wasn’t green. And I told him that the golf course was also the landing strip for airplanes. He thought that was pretty cool. One time he asked me if he could show me how to swing with that hockey stick. I thought it was pretty cool. My friends never understood why he made such a big deal out of me. Somewhere during that time I learned that the boy was Freddy Couples, who would go on to become the greatest golfer from Seattle. For me, it was always about Freddy Couples’ dad, who showed me pointers on how to golf with that hockey stick. I always remember how he did that.

Jim Bodeen  / April 2012--April 2013

Old dog and allergies. All the allergies. Food and pollen. Black lab. Sister Sadie Sadie. Eats salmon every day. We have options, our vet says. Hers and mine. Cortisone. Vet’s on her side. Cortisone Shampoos. Plural. Cortisone. Take away that itch. I think of the writers. All my friends. Our allergies. My old dog. They’re expensive, she says, but they work. I know  something about cortisone. Seventy five bucks for the two of them, the vet says. Can’t get these at Walmart. Boy does it lather. Sister Sadie Sadie on the front lawn lathered all up with cortisone. She’s not scratching now. On her back. Good dog. Good,  good dog. Sadie in a trance on the lawn. From her belly out. Vulva, anus, legs to the paws. Between paws. Lathering with that cortisone. Leave it on. Work it in. Ten minutes. Then rinse. Shake it out, Sadie.  Repeat. Boy does it lather this time. Puts her back in that sleep. Then the second one. Leave-It-On Cortisone. All the tender spots. Red spots, from scratching. Lathered and soothed. Layered and lathered in Cortisone. My friend calls. The poet. He has allergies. Some of them from this world. Like me. Like my allergies. Old dogs. Mid 60s. I‘ve still got the cortisone out, I say. Two cortisone shampoos. My wife looks up at me, listening, now. Yes, I say, my wife, too. September sun. Front lawn, on your backs. All that cortisone. No more allergies for any of us. Good old dogs all. Shampooed and lathered on the lawn. Cortisoned.

 Jim Bodeen
8 September 2012      


“For us poets, in relating to what we’re about (and perhaps what the all is about), the scale of our saying relates to the measure of the line we intuitively hear as we write.” Philip Booth

    “…toward a theologically marginal grace…” Philip Booth

“…until I can feel how my first line sounds, I have no idea how the rest of the poem may breathe or hold its breath…” Philip Booth

Against all pressures
to be present,
including your own,
grandfather surging,
back out of the now.
A country boy
who lived in town,
from all place
but the poem
Your pressure
on language
sprung spilling

Afraid of all that sea
in your poems
I stayed away
from wood
cut & stacked
in that boat house
on water

you built it

Saying the thing
Your great room
clear before me
breaking      ambiguous
going both ways
approaching you
in the desert

Some letters to poets no one could write.
The thought of it all the way through,
beginning to end, the writer so far away from the writer.
At the far age of the age you wrote from, I write you.
These are the white birds on the foam of the sea,
and Yeats sits with us,
your neck of the country, with parents.
The children—well, grandfather—this is what
grandfathers are for—holding the unspeakable.
An Irish group, Waterboys, singing Yeats,
singing children to Heaven,
White birds on the foam of the sea.
Your nothing, your each other, over and over.

Lifted words
        from random Lifelines
fallen as they fell
        not as you made them
as you made them

harbor quick luck
Ax splashing sinks
remembers shape
reshaping eddy flooding star,
Thoreau, nothing
Letter to Lowell
Daily wed word
man light mindful
flower steeped-sun
Orchard deer-women
Pocket heart walking
eyebrows report bobbled
native nickel hillside 
Half-teacher in blow-sdown
before each day’s courage.
Nothing to match this
Nothing, nothing
Displacement and nothing

Not the letter
I sat down to write
Not the poem
I thought I’d intended
The poem having its own way
Like you showed us

Jim Bodeen
10 April 2013

She gave me to the poem
and even as I was given
to the dreaming world
it came with the knowledge
that she wouldn’t be pleased.

It’s her birthday
and she’s waiting
for my response.
Christ, for many,
does not rise

in their lifetimes.
Whatever happens
in this life with no guarantees,
it is my work
to stand with these
who suffer
without being lifted up.

Jim Bodeen
9 April 2013


No comments:

Post a Comment