selections from BARGE

by Vincent Katz




Living a life
Getting on
Up to a line


A cigarette
An ashtray
A city hand    


A glass incised cup
Dark coffee
In its bottom
Taps wooden table  


Manufactured something
Many-faceted, many-
Faced, the way of
The General  


That dead feeling
Before noon
A shooting  


An old acquaintance
And this shooting


Through August
Let me sniff
Between your thighs
Let me sniff your ass  


Like a dog
I get sensation
It can't be that pure
There's nothing wrong with that


The dog goes frantic, barking
And the song goes


On eyes


Capital of jism  


It's snowing in New Hampshire
Snowing in Tompkins Square
And the kids
Are going out  


To smelly clubs to hear
Loud bad rock music
And that's good  



There is a reason to lose our senses as we get to be old
And that is not to feel that the final end is so terrible
If we are, so to speak, infantilized, then what we encounter
May be merely a kind of odd discomfort, a pain
As from infancy we are accustomed to suffering, and cry
Out our lungs when we are unable to verbalize what we feel  

And I feel that looking toward others will bring an easing
Of that anxiousness I have so often felt, that music
Can help a little, but more it is the ability to look
To others, to see that one is just a small part of the picture
So time goes by, others into others, and we are here
And the thing that holds me still is to be by my children  

To see them happy, the telephone rings, champagne
It is a new year again, we are by the beach again
And we are able to say that we are not unhappy
Everyone is feeling good as they shoot into the sky
But we all know the harrowing lives nearby that are
Bitter and poor, in the sense of not having enough  

Poetry can't mean that much, everyone asleep
Another year, another weight of looking and thinking
About everyone, and then there is just music
And people walking by the shore, their humble
Bodies, their self-desires, their anguish, I see
I am a poet, I step on the same sand as Homer  



And again the tug of street
mad push to see it again
perverted and revered
magic in incessant rain  

new feeling of leaving again
all submissions towed
people distant and near
falling away diminishing  

as wormwood fatigue
grating rain excelsior
today airplane children
okay fifth January we  

go again having seen
the friends the words
dinners prepared eaten
talkings everything done    


You have to become a legend
Before people will notice you
Then it's a race to death

All countries are carved
Out of human flesh none
Is logical or reasonable

I think now Israel should be
Dissolved and turned back
Into Europe

But that won't end the killing
And suicide murders
Won't end America's long arm

We call on the world
To take quick stands
To stop the Israeli aggression  


Israeli airplanes struck again
And when Israel doesn't respond
Our steadfastness grows  

A low-intensity civil war
The sober assessment of
A cabal drunk on power  

Descending into chaos passing
The graves of generations
Killed in past battles


 Nobody has time any more —
Not because we're older and busier —
It has to do with the political environment
Which is based on preventing people
From having time to think  

But we're not going too fast —
We're in a good mood
It's important to keep the mood

Look, if the barge will take us over
All I care for now is poetry
And the picking, scratching, at your side
There's got to be something more to it      


I'm marked by history now
When I read the date "1938"
Or the name "France" or "Italy"
Certain images come into my mind  

There's a man on this road I've known
All my life, a simple man with a dog
I know who follows me when I run
Who followed me into the pond
Swam with me, in front of me
As far as I would go  

I adore that dog, am sure
His owner adores him too
But Cheney does not adore
This simple man on simple road
With BUSH CHENEY 2004 poster
Decaying and stubbornly yellowing      


My old "Old Pal" tackle box
From Lititz, Penna. USA
Black and silver good 30 yrs
Holed up in the cabin by the pond
The beluga swims in stain frame
Millie with the Airedale
Battle of Manila Bay recorded
Wood's Fleur de Lis Tea
        (Formosa Flavor)
Red Seal Peanut Butter yellow tin
Bokar Coffee Supreme  

1938 came from Appleton
On the old farm and gift
The Comprehensive Standard
Funk and Wagnalls Company
Miss Susie Hanson, Searsmont, Maine
Presented by her Mother
December 25th, 1914
Book of ways into worlds
Complete with etched pictures
One's first view of Roman
Temple of Saturn in the Foreground
The classic Essex Sow    


But what I mean most of all
Is stop —  

Morning sun through poplars
Later, dead lily stalks catch
  Perfect strokes
Small frog floats in pond grass
All in the end is being there
For that one now needs it  

To be always in the present
Even when that present is dying  

People die in ponds —
  Boats turn over
A solid blue, green-edged, hovers
Silken marsh grass waves
At day's end light in pine tops        


Notes to the poem:  

"Barge" was written from January, 2004, to August, 2006, in New York, São Paulo, Praia Brava, Berlin, Solebury, Frenchtown, and Lincolnville.

Part XI: "We call on the world/To take quick stands/To stop the Israeli aggression" Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq, The New York Times, July 20, 2006. The United Nations' top human rights official, Louise Arbour, the high commissioner for human rights, said, "The scale of killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control." "Attacks Qualify As War Crimes, Officials Say," The New York Times, July 20, 2006.  

W. Regional Weather Summary

(Regional Weather Summary, 4:45 a.m., 7/21/06)

A cold front approaching Pennsylvania from the northwest will help to fire up showers and thunderstorms over the Commonwealth today. The humid air in place over the state will lead to very heavy rainfall from the storms that do fire up today.  Some local flooding problems are possible.  Highs today will get near 90 in the far southeast but hold in the upper 70s in the northwest mountains. The cold front will stall out as it gets into central Pennsylvania later today and remain draped over the region through most of the weekend.   Lows tonight will dip to the upper 50s in the northern mountains and lower 70s in the cities of the southeast. A chance for showers will linger through the night but more showers will be around before midnight. A rather unusual storm system for mid-July will then ride up the front from the southwest on Saturday reaching the Commonwealth in the afternoon and evening hours on Saturday. Severe thunderstorms are possible in the southeast Saturday afternoon but more noteworthy will be the widespread moderate to heavy rain it will produce.  The storm will produce a widespread 1 to 2 inches of rain Saturday afternoon into Saturday night with higher amounts possible concentrated most in the central mountains.  This rain could result in flooding. Highs on Saturday will be held in the lower 70s in the northern mountains but get to more seasonable mid 80s in the southeast. Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency