Jack Foley

jack_foleyBIO
Jack Foley (born 1940) has published 13 books of poetry, 5 books of criticism, and Visions and Affiliations, a “chronoencyclopedia” of California poetry from 1940 to 2005. His radio show, Cover to Cover, is heard on Berkeley station KPFA every Wednesday at 3; his column, “Foley’s Books,” appears in the online magazine, The Alsop Review. With poet Clara Hsu, Foley is co-publisher of Poetry Hotel Press. In 2010 Foley was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Berkeley Poetry Festival, and June 5, 2010 was proclaimed “Jack Foley Day” in Berkeley. The Fall 2012, vol. 5, no. 1 issue of the online Tower Journal is a Festschrift for Foley: www.towerjournal.com, go to Archive. EYES, Foley’s Selected Poems, has appeared from Poetry Hotel Press, and a chapbook, LIFE, has appeared from Word Palace Press. Christopher Bernard has called Foley “a many-tongued master…one of American poetry’s essential thinkers and practitioners.” Michael McClure has called him “our firebrand experimentalist”: “he holds his torch high so the reader can have more light.” With his wife Adelle, Foley performs his work (often “multivoiced” pieces) frequently in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their performances can be found on YouTube.

 

 

Catherine Pozzi Paraphrased: NYX
for Louise [Labé], also from Lyon and Italy

 

O you, my nights, O long-awaited black-

ness, O proud country, O obstinate sec-

rets, O long looks, O thundering clouds

O flight beyond skies—closed—

 

O great desire, O scattered surprise

O beautiful journey of th’ enchanted sprite

O worst evil, O grace that flies

O open door where we enter night

 

I do not know why I die today

Before th’ eternal rest above.

I do not know for whom I’m prey

I do not know for whom I’m love.

 

1934, written shortly before her death

 

 

Longing

“Play the melody”

—Les Paul to Miles Davis

 

is there a place

is there a place

                                      (a rose is sighing)

where I can tell you

where I can tell you

                                      (a rose is wishing)

is there a spot

is there a spot

                                      (to be in the hands)

a corridor

a corridor

                                      (of a true lover)

where I can

where I can

                                      (a lover who will give it)

or must I

or must I

                                      (with a sigh and a wish)

be silent

be silent

                                      (to his maiden fair)     

is there a door

is there a door

                                      (the rose has trouble)

behind which

behind which

                                      (these days in finding)

I can whisper

I can whisper

(a proper lover)          

is there an opening

is there an opening

                                      (there are lovers who are all paper)

from my heart to yours

              from my heart to yours

                                      (lovers who are all perfume)

where my love can come

where my love can come

                                      (lovers who vanish the moment)

through

(love comes through)

as clearly

as clearly

                                      (but the deep lover)

as the melody

as the melody

                                      (offers nothing less)

in a Les

in a Les

                                      (than his own heart’s)

Paul

Paul

                                      (wilding)

solo?

solo?

                                      (blood)

 

 

 I can take pictures but I think

 

I cannot capture

I can capture

The light that pours from you

The night that moves

As you move

In my spirit house

Through the house

In the bone that reaches

As you move through

In the fingers that touch

My consciousness as you make

In the organ that rises

A light sound that devours

At the moment of my thinking

As you move in the unforgiving

In the rich sickness

Hours I cannot capture

I explore through

Love that pours through me like a redolent river

Nothing but language

Like a sound like an odor cataphoresis

In the spore

Of spirit as it enters redolent

In the sphere

Of heart

 

*****

 

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