Category Archives: Ted Berrigan

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10/21/2013 · 8:37 am

Sonnet XXXI

I’m getting tired and blind           .
I have no sense of touch at times
I have fits of laughing and crying and I can’t

tell what’s serious and what isn’t much
more immediate, much more local           .           This morning
passed as usual                   .

It was such a great gift to wake
and drink too much
coffee and smoke too many cigarettes
and love you so much
              Here

 I’ll be singing
till the earth and sun
recognize your kiss
and the meadows in your eyes

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Sonnet XVIII

Hard for me to understand                         the body
and language,            war and maps.
A process of connecting signs
of the universe.         You
yourself a sign,                an element
along the margins    even when

 

I dream you             unraveling
early     morning
it becomes     something different             . Quiet
people are crazy in bed        she said

 

Today she’s in “love”           I dream
in future tense
I can see the past
I can feel the repetition

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Sonnet XVII

Hello, dear

it’s John. It’s November 7, 2011. 6:52 p.m.

Fall’s here. I feel about average      In Paris

when I needed help, I got propaganda.

 

I’ve been trying to find a new mouth

to say something significant

in the space of a comma    to focus on your body—

porous and woven—as a site

 

of wonder and impossibility.

You are as strange to me as a name.

I’m jealous of the syllables that leap off your tongue

 

all stretched out and lovely

O I’d love you as an apple loves teeth      Already

leaves are falling, music begins.

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Sonnet XVI

I dream in future tense,       I can see
the past,         I can feel
the repetition
in every moment where everything happens
in the space of a comma,
along the margins
outside, outside myself
There’s a world.          It’s 2 a.m.
The world’s all red wine and empty
I can see the whole room…
and there’s nobody in it! A phone rings.
Hello. This is the voice I speak to myself in.
I know what I sound like,
teach me how to sing

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Sonnet XIII

All quiet on the southern front.
The Weather Report: Sunny, a warm afternoon
shockingly orange, invitingly
meandering, immensely imposing                Watch out
for falling stars!        In Paris, piety and purity
when I needed help,             I got propaganda
—luxury taxis   toxic dispatches  and noisy
death machines        Gleaming city rising from ruins.
Can’t hide scars of war. Cold and white.
The vampire look just won’t die! Plaids notwithstanding,
A creative surprise   No room to waste    Home,
all the things he is and isn’t
Today—just the highlights, please I have
No room to waste

 

 

*Composed from rearranging titles of articles from The New York Times October 6, 2011 edition.

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Sonnet XII

Hello darling. It’s John.
You are filling up the air,
these poems  Everything
is in the poems         The weather is

the weather I brought with me.
A rain’s falling. It’s 2. a.m. October 19, 2011.
The world’s all red
wine and empty

I will bring  you yesterday and
place myself in your palm,
in your mouth.

I love you
but it’s difficult to
stop     writing

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Sonnet XI

XI

 

I’ve been trying to find a new mouth.
“I am currently suspicious
“of everyone    Outside
outside myself             There’s a world—

The world’s you.
“You are bright           tremendous    wow.
You are filling up the air,
these poems
I feel
you in each moment  where everything   happens.
Bring me spring and I’ll bring
you bluebells and sunned cherry trees
I will go as far as the happy mountains and bring
you rustic flowers of kisses

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Sonnet X

X

 

I want to become myself
among a multiplicity of memory
I’ve been trying to find a new mouth
“I’m interested in discovery
I refuse to get excited            We have Disney World
and the atom bomb    What else do we need?
Let terror twist the world!
“I’m not interested in staying nor going
“I hear the dim iron dawn yawning   Out there
in the dark      with a certain strangeness
“Everything is in the poems    Oh forgive me
“I am currently suspicious of everyone
“all beauty       resonance        integrity
“and regard nothing very highly

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Sonnet VII

Dear darling. It’s John.
I’ve been paying attention to the sky again.
A rain’s falling. I have the sea opening in my hands
Sometimes through lost evenings
my soul disentangles itself to cross the sea,
like those heavy vessels,
to anchor itself in your kisses
of gold and turquoise and celestial stones.
Hello. I dreamed you were laughing,
tormenting the structure of my silence.
I am every inch in the margins,
in the space of a comma      I know it must
be written to know it exists             Teach me
how to sing something          lovely

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