email poetry

Apparently I am a good target for email poetry. Recently I got this from Chris:
[Re:] on moving to the cabin:

radio – by Charles Bukowski

strange eyes in my head
I’m the coward the the fool and the clown
and I listen to a man telling me that I can get a
restaurant guide and an expanding cultural events calendar
I’m just not here today
I don’t want restaurants and expanding cultural events
I want and old shack in the hills
rent free
with enough to eat and drink until I die
strange eyes in my head
strange ways
no chance


From Matt:
[Re:] Rumi for a desert new year:

In the driest whitest stretch
Of pain’s infinite desert
I lost my sanity
And found this rose.


And a few years ago Jessica sent me this:

[Re:] September… im Herbst:

‘You say, I will find another city, a better one than this.
But this city will follow you. You will walk the same streets,
you will grow old in the same neighborhoods.

[she said] I’ll give you five bucks if you can figure out who said this.’

And I did find out who it was, that day, harnessing the power of the internet, and this is the whole depressing poem:

The City – Constantine P. Cavafy (1910)

You said, “I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found, better than this.
Every effort of mine is condemned by fate;
and my heart is — like a corpse — buried.
How long in this wasteland will my mind remain.
Wherever I turn my eyes, wherever I may look
I see the black ruins of my life here,
where I spent so many years, and ruined and wasted.”

New lands you will not find, you will not find other seas.
The city will follow you. You will roam the same
streets. And you will age in the same neighborhoods;
in these same houses you will grow gray.
Always you will arrive in this city. To another land — do not hope —
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you have ruined your life here
in this little corner, you have destroyed it in the whole world.


Make of this what you will. I am back in Virginia for a couple of days visiting family. When I return to “The City” there will be time to contemplate what these three poems are doing in my inbox, and the why.