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Ten New Lovely Unpublished Poems
by Joanne Kyger

Monday Before The Recall

                               Sun on the hand so deeply spotted
                           Yours for the duration, though

                Little allergy in the inhalation of the moment
                Liturgy of gold crown
                  or is it radio electronico

                     electric hedge trimmers
                       actually the acacia 
                           being clipped

                 In some kind of mantra of Glass 
               which surrounds and penetrates the air

Be deeply reverent as you move towards shore

It's getting pretty loud out here
  What happened between June and September this year
         was way too local to loaf
             just watched the deer change its spots
                and get older,  awww cute!
  Ate all the California poppies too

and if you want to go
                                                    Just Go
October 6, 2003

September Panics

    You got MY vote
         just let me know
            who you are
                Is that a dog howling?

You are very alone
      like everyone else
        You have just finished reading
            September's Vanity Fair

And the bright moonlight is empty

           'I don't want to hear 
            your CRAP anymore!'

            Your angst
            and your country's pain
            are often the same

     So pick up that Manual of Buddhism
             you threw on the floor

            Consider being

  like water running
  reaching the other shore
  and your mind won't be so bumming
  by some suck up oppressor

September 23, 2003

The Psycho Pathic Personality

"I am the commander
I do not need to explain why I do things.
That's the interesting thing about being
  Maybe someone needs to explain to ME
       why they say something, but I don't feel

                                         USA TODAY 11/25/02
                                         DIRECT QUOTE


Hit absolute rock bottom
Are you there rock?  No?

No rock on bottom

Buddhism Without A Book

                                      Well, you had to find it some
                 where     another person passed simplicity
              on to you, the practice of some syllables
             the position of a seated body   and you believe
          a lineage of recognition     of 'mind'

          not perfect, but intimate
          with suffering
          and the futility of maintaining
          those troublesome states
          of fear and hate

          "Try this
       Lift the corners of your mouth slightly
    and take three breaths
this is known as mouth yoga"*           (*Yvonne Rand)

It has nothing to do with smiling
It has nothing to do with happiness

March 7, 2003

Sleeping With The BBC

At least they have a nice accent
   when they talk about the bombs
       and a slight

twist of voice
when they use the word 'Bush'

When we go away
     how much do we need
         to take with us

           To take our beautiful country
              to get the words right

    Okay that's it

           You've written it down

White light
        coming through the water lily petals

              The yellow green glint
                   at the center

May 1, 2003


It's terrible what's happening in this war atmosphere
     when 'your' government lies
           to you and neglects the people

It's bad for your mind when the politics of connection
     show ignorance and preference
          for the stupid junta
              that has slyly preempted the beehive

Time to dive for the Madhyamika school
     the middle way ourselves
          through the course of the oppression to come

I'd prefer not to have to bother
   in this landscape of spring to judge
       whether these apple blossom branches
           are natural or not
               I just want to be ordinary
                   and finish my toast

While Arthur Okamura is on the prowl
   with his notebook and pen
      sketching the dust
           in the wind

May 11-15, 2003

The Distressed Look

        From our 'leaders' -- please be
      as frightened as you can in apartment
   buildings, bridges & airports-- 
                                    But really

                 you're on your own,
                     you rattled and oppressed citizens
                  of the 'free' world --
berserk jackals of the moment are after you!
    Look carefully at those you know --
                                       corporate crooks! have fucked

                    with your energy!

     'Freedom' is dubiously hyped to a world
against which 'our country' seems to be waging a war!
    Yes, a war against The World!   which is full of 
          creepy crawly evil turrrists.

                'You' my government,
                      have made us Totally Unpopular

May 30, 2002


     have individual feelings
     similar to those of humans   
A zillion little butterfly thoughts
      simultaneously flap.

You are the sum
      of all you 'know'
        and the more you forget
          the more ordinary
             you are really nothing
                 special   so why
                    all the anxious push-push
                      just hang

the clothes on the line
   Put the black ones
       in the washer
         Feel the myriad little bits
             of sensation
               that make up emotion

                            As the Sun
                           rises high
                         in the sky
                     so does the arrogance
         I'm still  waiting
           for the 'Buddhist'
              poem to arrive

                 Darn it takes so long
                      for the Dharma
                      Up in arms
                  on the moral high road
              wanting to sum it up
          and END it

April 2002

Look! new moon

           And you
              have been born  
                into the world
                  for the first time    

                                            a mere puppy! 
                                          don't be startled                                             
                                      'life' is made up
                                    of feelings        
                              of being at one
                            with the flea
                          that you are

                              Look! I'm disarmed
                         except for my rotten thoughts -- 

                                The familiar old joke
                             of the self
                                turned on, to the moment

                               "Suddenly, while at the depths
(Zen Master           it struck me like a thunderbolt
   Bankei                 that I HAD NEVER BEEN BORN
1922-1693)           and that my birthlessness
                                could settle every matter"

                      The birthless buddha mind
                           waits for life after capitalism
                               waits for a government
                                   that survives a president
                                       we can't afford anymore

                                                   along with his weird god
                                                       and his good sleep --

                                 -- "I'm a patient man
                                       and your five seconds are up POW!"
                                            And your locker room jock
                                       retires to his 'Turd Blossom'
                                    Karl Rove
                                 to get his brain tweaked
                              for the next round

                             Leaves one with Ridicule
                                as the least expensive
                         weapon around
                      towards a 'commander' in chief'
                   who insists he Must protect us

                         O protect us
                        from this protection
                             of war and coalition's aid
                                unwilling and overpaid

March 4, 2002


Joanne KygerJoanne Kyger's work reveals her as one of the major experimenters, hybridizers, and visionaries of poetry. Kyger is very much a poet of place, with a truly strong voice -- delicate, graceful, and never wasteful; her poems explore themese of friendship, love, community, and morality, and draw on Native American myth as well as Asian religion and philosophy. Kyger's love for poetry manifests itself in a grander scheme of consiousness-expansion and lesson, but always in the realm of every day.

After finishing school at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Joanne Kyger came north to San Francisco in 1957 where she informally studied with Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer and participated in the San Francisco Renaissance of writers & poets. She also met many of the writers of the newly defined "Beat Generation." She went on to spend four years in Kyoto and India, before returning to California. Further travels took her to Europe and New York City before she settled on the coast north of San Francisco.

She has published over 20 books of poetry. She teaches summers at Naropa University's Writing Program and at New College of San Francisco.

She was a winner of the National Poetry Series in 1983 for her book Going On. Her most recent book is As Ever: Selected Poems from Penguin Putnam 2002.

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