A Bunion Says Goodbye 1995

          A Bunion Says Goodbye

Poor, maimed bunion,

Like an onion

Chopped and cut;

Poor, sad bunion; painful butt

Of carping censure by the foot

To which it was so long attached;

Like a thief, some scamp or knave

Was forced to leave

By some cruel podphile with cleaver.

(Necrophile, if you ask me).


“How could Susie have been so

Unkind as to slice half away the bump?

It wasn’t measles or a mump.

And still she made the bunion go.

“I was so used to you – your toes.

God knows, I loved you like a friend.

I loved you to the very end.

I’ll never see that foot again,

Have no chance to share in its pain.

I, martyred self, I saw my duty:

I gave Susie back her beauty!”


(Poet’s comment:)

Someone had to take his side,

Give the corpse a little pride;

Send him off to burn in hell

Or bunion heaven; wish him well,

Adieu, farewell, goodbye old chum.

As for Susie, may her comely

Foot enjoy designer shoes until such day

As both those feet have passed away

To tread on higher grounds.


A Bunion Says Goodbye 95.7.20A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Special People Special Occasions;  Arlene Corwin








Anything Done Any Which Way 1995 1997

     Anything Done Any Which Way

It’s all got potential.

You’re sitting on the bathroom floor

Watching water pour

And fill…

And while you wait, your restless bits,

The active parts still spry and vain,

Look ‘round for ways to slow the gain,

Hold on to shape that needn’t feign –

So you do sit-ups.

Room so cramped you squeeze in torso,

Then the compressed legs, and more so,

Hold the sink and use the biceps, triceps:

All gets worked.

The pails filled, the buckets jerked

Into the air and carried, ferried

To their watering place outside,

Prepared to feed the peas,

The lettuce, broccoli; buried

Thirsty, roots that hide.

At piano voice is rusty.

There’s no hurry, only trust

In sitting there,

Letting something come from nowhere.

Fingers fall, the patterns fresh.

From that nothing patterns mesh.

The voice still rusty, but the art –

Ah, the art, it’s fresh and smart!

In the kitchen flour is low.

But there’s meusli, nuts and figs,

Cooked polenta, even sprigs

Of lemon mint to make a dough

Which sits and rises as I write.

Sweet and wholesome bread tonight?

I quite expect so, in this Zen

Of daily doings which-way-when.

©Anything Done In Any Which Way 7.20.1997 (see All At The Same Time10.31.1995)

Circling Round Woman; A Sense Of The Ridiculous;

The Processes; Creative, Thinking, Meditative;

Arlene Corwin


All Beginnings Have An End 1995 2005

               All Beginnings Have An EndHaydn wrote his last, lived on for six more years.

‘Papa’ Hayd-, prolific Hayd-, productive Haydn

Never stopped;

A last quartet, then he was through.

Maybe Papa Haydn popped,

Cropped his life and turned into

A gardener!

Had he lost his ‘papa’ clout?

It seems he opted out.

Had he broken through illusion?

Found his still point? Lost his will?

More to the point,

When gift’s become full-blown,

More feels like less and crown noblesse

Invites a pause and settling down –

Ambition’s push a wish expired.

Time comes, if you’ve given all,

Inventiveness may pall,

The old exciting games a faulty

Use of time. You’re tired!

Endless twists, flicks of the wrist;

Never tamed and open framed raw energy

All have an end.

Pretending otherwise is madness.


All Beginnings Have An End 95.3.9/05.4.28The Processes; Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Vaguely About Music; Arlene Corwin



The Rare Event 1995 2003 2007#1,2

      The Rare Event
The lake was limpid, vitreous.
All the locals said it was
A rare event. Oh yes, I should
Have mentioned, it was frozen ‘good’ –
Frozen in its pulchritude:
Frozen and transparent!
Through the ice, glass smooth, glass-clear,
You saw the grass
That grows three feet below. But now,
The lake had risen high
To take the shore unto itself, and glorify
The skaters scooting in a line;
In and out of birch and pine
Nestled in a see-through ice
That could have passed for paradise.
Tufts that stand up winter round,
Wheat bleached strands at birch’s base –
Stood out because the coin-capped sprouts,
Unnaturally clear clean through
Like magnified and frozen dew,
Clung to the stem like frozen glue.
And from the ground and ice,
The lake grew small, exquisite ice-lace trees:
Tiny crystal palaces. Euphoric.
Long as frozen lake could stay
A mystic sweetness froze the play.
Glass-glossy lakes last just a day.
They are a rare event.
©The Rare Event 95.3.2/03.8.5/07.1.23 Circling Round Nature; Arlene Corwin

               A Rare Event #1

The lake was limpid, vitreous.

All the locals said it was:

A rare event.

And it was frozen –
Frozen and transparent.
Through the glass-smooth,
Glass-clear ice you saw the grass
That grows when lake is low.
Now the lake had risen high –
High enough to take the land into itself.
Skaters scooted in and out of birch and pine.
Tufts that stand the winter round –
Wheat colored strands at birch’s base –
Stood out, the coin shaped crystal sprouts
Unnaturally clear, clean through:
Magnified and frozen dew
That clung to stem like frozen glue.
And from the ice, piled branch on branch,
Minute ice trees,
Or tiny crystal palaces. –
Dependent upon how one sees:
Euphoric moments freeze,
Image playing on cornea for the day
That glass-gloss crystal stayed –
Becoming soon opaque.A Rare Event 95.3.2 Circling Round Nature; Swedish Book; Arlene Corwin 











I Don’t Really Want To Forget This 1995/1996

                I Don’t Really Want To Forget This

A head of state shot, murdered by one of his own.

Hatred clad as righteous cause in hatred’s clothes.
Hundreds drowned – five hundred now – in a typhoon.
The worst, most violent flaying storm that seemed to loathe
The Philippines, its young, its old who, clinging, squatting,
Wading nowhere, eating what? What will they eat?
One week in autumn.
Near at home:
A storm, enormous in proportion;
Boat gone, traceless; loaded down
With rocks, (good God!) with rocks
That shifted. May Day! May Day!
DrownThey go!
Down, the silence.
Frothing waters, the subsidence.
Here at home storm takes two firs;
Uprooted slowly, certainly.
We watch as wind like saboteur –
That scream and yell and whirr –
Lift up an undulating wall,
The ancient wall condemned to falling,
Crushed to craggy, splintered spall.
Twenty degrees, thirty, forty –
Plop! Is nature being sporty?
Five trees down. Huge roots,
Which never saw a grass blade growing,
Facing heaven – tan, nude, mute.
Raining, snowing, flooding, blowing,
Shooting, drowning, mourning with a u.
There are no words, no name to name
This single week in autumn.
Meekly, here I am
©I Don’t Really Want To Forget This 95.11.3/96.2.28Our Times, Our Culture; Birth, Death & In Between; Arlene Corwin 





Creative Process 1995

      Creative Process

We sit around; cup after cup

Discuss and grope,

Grope and discuss:

Is it God or is it us,

Nature’s biogenesis the mystery of cycles,

Wrench of will the magic drop?

In any case,

The thing we face we can’t control:

Grace – where the body plays key role.

What is creation?

Is it always something new?

Is there ever repetition?

Is ‘new’ spontaneity – there on Monday, not on Tuesday?

Schumann’s mad, and still he writes.

Beethoven fights filled with curses.

Can’t rehearse – yet he rehearses.

Schubert writes, his flat half-frozen.

Can he help that he is ‘chosen’?

Genius forms despite itself;

Keeps the paper on the shelf,

Pencil present, fingers ready.

Even blind, with nerves unsteady

Strapping paintbrush to the wrist,

Memorizing palette sequence,

Using power’s dispensary

In mists of expectation.

Write, dance, paint, sing – what you will,

They don’t keep still, except inside,

For in the cyclone spiral-eye

Creation starts its spiral ride

From vacuum to a world outside.

Using worry, debt, depression,

Fused to their inverted states.

Writing, playing, painting is the ruse

To bring about those states.

Lying to shake off the cold;

Aspirin, coffee – anything’s allowed

That gets a hold on energy and focus.

Just to be there is a way to “Open Sesame!”

And though it is passivity,

At least passivity is presence.

Creativity needs presence, presence creativity.

Pardon the tautology,

But letting thinking flow

Is equal to what mankind knows,

What ancients knew eons ago.

 Trite goes to trite, deep goes to deep,

Wise like the wise, the sleepy sleep:

Like goes to like

.We all have influence somewhere

On circles scarcely sensed.

You never know who’ll be the one.

The real law gets all things done.

Read, look, touch, smell, feel, listen:

Let in every oscillation.

You don’t know what word, what hush,

Which syllable will start the gush

Of art-filled spontaneity.

Everything is beauty

And a specimen of truth.

Secret is to see and use it,

Take it from the arcane sooth

To modern idiom and youth.

Inner order is the feature

Folding vision into creature;

Hidden secrets always there:

Rhythms not always transparent –

Inner order has its rhythm.

Skill belongs to those

Who, like the clogged up hose,

Wait for that drop to flow

Then flood, forcing new veins.

Tainted motives last awhile,

Purity runs the whole mile.

There’s a bank, the past before you –

Take that store to use and store.

We all start out a little fake, take

And work and wind up ‘true’. Work and wait.

Cyclic, shifting time is fate.

There is a product in the end

That says ‘I am’. And

Since you never step into

The same effluvial direction twice,

The product is as artist was:

A slice of now-ness,

Spliced with interweaving strands

Of overlapping chunks of texture,

Form and color: language wands

Of elegant expressiveness,


And universal.

©Creative Process 95.4.21The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative; Definitely Didactic; Coffee Book;Arlene Corwin














All At The Same Time 1995

     All At The Same Time

I like to start the day with coffee:

Half black power, half au lait,

Turn on the Beeb, begin a poem.

Taking down a favorite tome-

A little read – I clean the bedroom,

Roam downstairs and get involved.

The menu solved, I wipe the floor

Then jump-rump to piano where

I sit, playing a tune or four.

Go back and start a bread. Then yoga

In a toga or a sweat suit,

Standing on one foot I eat a fruit

Then fetch the radio and go outside

To clip a hedge

And while in motion find I dredge

A title, line, a word or two

From deep within the conscious. Whew!

I saunter back because I’m haunted

By the drive to write it up,

So then, undaunted, drink another cup

(I know it’s bad) of caffeined brew.

(It’s such a pleasant thing to do).

Then turning art toward starting lunch,

Poetic hunch aside, I stretch –

A bit more yoga. Oh, the post:

Walk up the road –four hundred meters.

Smell the air. What could be sweeter?

Well, that’s taken care of most.

It’s flame October, mushrooms wanting to be picked.

I’ve time to rove o’er hill and ditch, bog and moss.

I’ve no success.

Through trudge and brook and mushroom book

I know no longer where to look

And bear my bucket home again, no worse for wear,

Free from care, lungs filled with air.

Resuming chores, my song, my rhyme,

My coffee, yoga – ah, it’s time

To greet my husband, feed the cat,

Giving all my warmth to that.

Feeding husband, cat and me – triple-sided chat for three –

I fall from grace and watch TV

Awhile, then go to bed and read –

Perchance to sleep, to dream – or maybe

Stand ten minutes on my head,

Tell God I want to do His will,

And then at twelve, lie quite, quite still.

©All At The Same Time 95.10.31

Circling Round Nature; Circling Round Woman; Our Times, Our Culture; Coffee Book;

Arlene Corwin


My Am Is Mother 1960 1995 2004

    My Am Is Mother

My am is the link, the mother unfolding.

Into my womb forms from infinity cling

Until ready to re-enter fresh,

Their shield flesh.

Force that brings nature to man.

Yet nature I – creation my husband.

My am is mother. I am the womb man;

I hold in enfoldment all parts of the whole.

I start, impart, I render fresh

Heart-new, re-entering flesh;

New choices, martyrdoms,

Chances to reach from sensual crumbs

To final fulfillment.

I am the merger, love, the converger;

The ohm, the shoal: energy’s soul.

My am is the face of the force.

As mate of creation, death too.

My am is mother.

I am the womb man betrothed to enigma.

Ensconced within, en route to some class,

First slapped on the ass but graced with grace.

They’re born re-faced.

My am is love waiting on the above.

Counted, numbered,

Named and de-slumbered:

And fixed to know or not know,

Because it is so –

I am the fixer, the mixer,

The mother, the womb man.

Death too.

©My Am Is Mother 9.1960/1995/2004

Circling Round Woman; Circling Round Nature;

Birth, Death & In Between; To The Child Mystic; Mother Book;

Arlene Corwin

The Only Lady Bass Player I Know 1995

     The Only Jazz Bass Playing Lady I Know

Why would a lady start playing the bass?

Take on an instrument weighing a ton?

It can’t be much fun to transport;

Schlep a four-stringéd buddy

And bow for good measure?

What pleasure from plucking four beats,

The occasional solo and jazz waltz for treats?

Feminine creature,

Petite and demure,

Training, her muscles, sustaining technique– not leery

Of playing for bleary-eyed, tone-deaf, demandingly dreary

Old guys and young punks.

If I were that lady I’d play something else:

The flute or the conch or the singing chipmunks.

(I remember them well.)

Yet let’s toast the bass,

The chalice of callus,

The lady who carries the bass loaded case,

Who has broken the caste of the plucking male race.

©The Only Lady Jazz Bass Playing Lady I Know 95.1.8

A Sense Of The Ridiculous; Circling Round Woman; Vaguely About Music;

Arlene Corwin






Making A Record 1995

  Making A Record

I think when one meditates,

One makes a groove as one creates

And mines a space; a peaceful place

Which fills itself with silent presence:

Clarity with no resistance.

Deeper grooves with each recording;

Nothing sensible. Rewarding.

Synthesizing new and old.

One hopes, one prays the record’s made –

And made, has lives to play, be played

Upon a thin, thin plate of gold.


aking A Record 95.12.9

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