Archive for November, 2009

Pre-Socratics

November 21, 2009

Surely mankind’s greatest invention is the sentence.

—John Banville

Since Aristophanes and Socrates

Are talking poetry—with the gods’ blessing—

With a whisper about a parchment—call

It a ‘sur-fact’, a secret, or maybe

A surface—just a simple white canvas,

Really, a talented tabula rasa,

A prime mover—prima facie—the desert.

Say poetry is like that too, just before—

Before the spacial silence like

—like, it’s like the desert—

And then when rain begins—a kind of Brain

Rain—it draws the oil up, surfaces it,

So it’s slick, the mind is, his daemon. Still…

*

The lamps are lit, so Socrates can see

That Aristophanes is pouring his

Particular oil into open ears,

Into everyone’s evening ears and eyes.

And Aristophanes goes for the joke too.

He farts. Real funny. He farts and pretends

It’s a hiccup out the wrong end. Stand on

Your head, why don’t you, Aristophanes?

…For its Aristophanes

Who is about to give an encomium

To Eros. Too sophisticated

To offer praise for a dead god, he

Will spin a tale of sun and earth and moon,

Of round bodies and moieties in search

Of themselves—this same Aristophanes

Is stinking up the stage right now…

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Descant in Song

November 2, 2009

1.

Say frost kills flowers, kills

The roots, freezes the stem, stamen, stills all

The heliotropic dancing that a stop

Action camera might show, and so much more,

So that you can trace each petal,

As if it were an everyday flower,

As common as sunflowers are, ancient

As sunlight surely must be in descant

And song—frozen in flowers hence, hence the

Solemnity—the sun’s solemnity.

And hence our first thesis: that man is, as

It were, clapped into jail by his consciousness.

Essays, The first series. Self Reliance.

Waldo Emerson, who further notes—

The eye was placed where one ray should fall,

That it might testify of that particular ray.

Indeed. That piercing light, en passant,

Is parsed to model consciousness. You know,

The spectrum focused in the glass, the light

Starts to disperse, grows dim, exits,

Continues to exist… Ho hum… gets old.

Our reading is mendicant and sycophantic

And there is no excuse. Photosynthesis

Be damned as tiny blades take snips of sun

—That piercing light!—

Before the night comes back, as it always does,

To freeze the planet’s plants, its flowering.

Prisoners then to light the conscious mind.

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