Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Untitled

August 12, 2019

Advertisements

Where We are Made

July 22, 2019

Most excellent day, please introduce me to
your spouse.  I have for so long been a fan

Of the way she smiles, the way she folds her lips
against your teeth, so like a tiger, so like

The cages and nests those beasts seem
to need for your coarse and often boring litany.

She holds you back sometimes, doesn’t she?
My, how worship works. I have seen it often

In the folds of silk pajamas, the way everything glides
to the ground, the way a child smiles at death:

It should be so far away, the urine and decay,
the odors of others worse off than you.

But he smiles. Why even his teardrops can look like
the medicine to the bright and golden trajectory.

Where we are made

Every Eve

July 20, 2019

Every Eve was beautiful. She formed
A reflection of a reflection that lots
Of people would think of as a home.
Every Eve knew that love can tie knots
In laughter. She knew that love was like a poem
That must live among the living—and outfox
The dead. She came to settle, she came to roam,
She came to love the lover who allots
Flowers in vases, who forces every Eve
Not to thieve, not to believe, and not to leave.

An Echo, eh?

July 3, 2019

All echolalias can be real–
a cheese, say, a nice smelly Brie—
the smell repeated endlessly
as to a hungry moon
hunger that must be
repeatable and repeated,
sieved and saved,
until the moon makes it true,
not only  echoed once,
but again by two.

One for the Road

June 22, 2019

The mystery of rain: it falls alike
on dirt and grass, on concrete and macadam;
it falls until it stops, for the love of Mike,
and it leaves the soil besotted, Madam.

The Garden Butterfly

June 1, 2019

 

The antenna-edged ants attack first. They attach
a butterfly to a memory deep in our hearts.
They turn to a transparent lie, as they try to match
their skin with ours. That these ants get their smarts
From bells and ringing shells, chords that detach
to ply a misericordia of all the parts
too partisan, is palatial. To patch
the inside of insects while reminding monarchs
that while rhyme may be the porcelain of poetry;
‘to be’ can only be a poet’s mimicry.

The Garden in Winter

May 21, 2019

All the magnolia trees have lost their elfin
charm. The garden is as rough and silent as their
bare branching arms.  They look like ragamuffin
soldiers fighting upside down, their hair
scouring the earth. Winter can be a muguffin
in a garden (see Alfred Hitchcock).  It can scare
the bejesus out of all the garden trolls—
for while they wait for flowers, it snows.

Silent Tsunami

May 6, 2019

Explain this to me. Hamlet has been here
for two months now, shuffling around in
the gloomy recesses of Elsinore—dreaming of
a giant wave in a sea of troubles—and now,
all he wants to do is get the swords out and duel
in the surf. It seems he’s been taking lessons—
The better to smite you with, my dear—
and he will practice with Satan himself
if it will make his mind congenial to ghosts.
He wants to become a force majeure , my silent friend,
the waves of which might blow the sea into an eerie calm,
the gulls of which might fly far overhead in patterns
known only to themselves—flying lonely,
in a chariot of salts, pirouetting night
and day and backwards from day to night.

*

The sea withdraws its breath. The sand becomes
a dry protracted grave. All the living creature
flee back into the mountains—birds and dogs,
butterflies and bees. Those that remain

are lost in a single, silent perception.

 

Wallace Stevens: Adorning the Rock

May 5, 2019

 

This is the longest piece I ever wrote. I published it on extrasimile in four parts. it also appeared (and still appears, though it difficult to find) on00 arduity.com. You will be forgiven if you don’t read it, but it is something of f an Ars Poetica for me.

 

 

 

Donald Hall goes right to the point: I see no reason to spend your life writing poems unless your goal is to write great poems. Steven Spender is equally succinct: I think continually of those who were truly great./ Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history.

Great Poetry is Difficult Poetry, but…

It seems an unimpeachable point. Maybe we could quibble over this ‘soul’s history’ stuff, but who wants to write a mediocre poem? Who, indeed, takes pencil and paper in hand with the intention of writing something merely passable? No one’s forcing you to do this, pal. You can be a commonplace anything. Why write poetry? You’d be better off practicing guitar chords or working on your jump shot.

I won’t get cute here. We all know the evil answer to this question lurks in Hall’s ‘your goal’. We all know there is a great gulf between trying to write a great poem and writing a great poem.

Substitute the word ‘difficult’ for ‘great’ in both Donald Hall’s and Steven Spender’s sentences and you will find an interesting shift in meaning. Let’s face it, if you go through life aspiring to be difficult, all you accomplish is that you’ll stop getting invited to parties. As a goal for your poems, being merely difficult does not seem sufficient-whereas being great does. Still, we do think a great poem is a difficult poem, do we not? Difficulty suggests complexity of vision, insightfulness, a penetration of subject matter, an attempt to wring something from our quotidian lives that makes those lives worth living. A difficult poem attempts to tell us something we don’t want to hear. A difficult poem at least has the potential to be great that an ‘easy’ poem does not. Name one poem that’s great and easy. While they are clearly not identical, if we are going to understand the great poem there is a good chance we are going to have to get there through the door of the difficult poem. Besides, anybody can write a difficult poem.

Why are you doing this to yourself?


Read the rest of this entry »

A Dumb Show

April 3, 2019

Horatio is braggadocio
Personified. It’s hard to believe.
One minute, he’s cool as a mule,
The next it’s like he has invented silence—
But it’s a good silence, a probing silence
A void devoid of what Claudius needs—
A good cheerleader. When All the King’s Men,
Get together again to play the play,
The Murder of Gonzago—a play proforma—
When they come to castle—yes, you could say
It was like a chess move—they find
A king, lost in a world of choices, open to love
Open to time, to history, whatever.
Horatio, don’t brag, this brave new world
Could be a beautiful place if we could
Let it become a dumb show. Let it be
The quest itself. Let it be linked to a certain
detour.  Let it be like a troop of drooping
Crusaders marching back to England
Just in time for a new Crusade. \