Archive for the ‘poems’ Category

NaPoMo (n+4): an occasional satire

First Night in Toronto

 

In the Royal York’s Library Bar next table

the retired scholar with wife and two old friends

from New York discussing Trump quotes Yeats

What rough beast… In our hotel room

the front page of the complimentary copy

of The National Post features a full-page, colour ad

for Mizrahi Developments’ luxury condo tower project,

a column by Lord Conrad Black The inability to lead

on pipelines will be the Prime Minister’s ruin…

We will find out soon enough if climate is changing…

In another Rex Murphy sings back up with thesaurus.

 

NaPoMo (n+3): a clarification

The two or three poems inspired yesterday by a Guardian interview with social scientist Mayer Hillman (see the two previous posts), also prompted one reader to comment on the poems, two of which use Mayer’s own words expressing the sentiment that, given civilization is doomed, we’d be better to attend other, more pleasant matters, such as music, love, education, and happiness.

The comment inadvertently touched on the issue of the truth of poetry and the poet’s relation to the thoughts expressed by the words of the poem, that yesterday’s three, impromptu poems might suggest some agreement with Hillman’s gloom and prescriptions.

Five years back mulling over the same matter I composed an ironic indictment, which, Luitspelende jonge manafter some little fiddling this morning, turned out, spontaneously, to be the fourteen-line poem that follows. Whether it provides any clarification as to my own stance on the issue, I leave to the reader.

 

Chance Sonnet: 

“BE IT RESOLVED…”

 

BE IT RESOLVED that

whereas public officials

who deny the reality

 

of Anthropogenic Climate Change

and hinder efforts to mitigate

its destructive effects present

 

a clear and present danger

to themselves and others,

said public officials should be

 

removed from office forthwith

and placed under a physician’s care

until such time as their suicidal

 

and/or homocidal and/or ecocidal

tendencies cease to present.

NaPoMo (n+2): Two for Mayer Hillman

Two for Mayer Hillman

 

1.

So much depends

upon

 

fossil fuels except

music,

 

love, education, and

happiness.

 

Focus on these

things.

 

 

2.

Asked what he would do were the world to end

next day, Luther replied, “Plant an apple tree.”

NaPoMo (n): a serendipitous poem

Combing through with no small pleasure the Seculum trilogy of Peter Dale Scott, HP Lego yarn twister 01preparing a talk I’m to give at a humanities conference at the end of May, I wound up at the same time in a short Facebook thread back and forth with a teaching colleague, which inspires the improvised poem, dedicated to him, below:

 

So many aspects of life

For Shawn Bell, composer

 

We read the same Guardian article

this morning, though you chose to share it.

 

Mayer Hillman, 86: We’re doomed

…making a case for [re?]cycling…

 

is almost irrelevant. We’ve got to stop

burning fossil fuels. I commented

 

you’d forgotten his most important words:

Standing in the way is capitalism

 

Your reply in its current form

and though I am not unacquainted

 

with Isaiah’s singing the lion shall lie down

with the lamb and I’m the first

 

to remark the confusion of first

and second nature in Adorno’s

 

If the lion had a consciousness

his rage at the antelope he wants

 

to eat would be ideology

I answered The dream of postwar

 

social democracy that capitalism

could be tamed by the rule of law

 

is as realistic as thinking

a lion can be trained to be vegan

 

And though we continued twisting into

that thread strands of current models


of socio-economic organization

in particular capitalism and socialism

 

big data and AI

The Communist Hypothesis

 

and the Enlightenment’s faith

in its overcoming its own

 

fateful dialectic Hillman’s words

free of the snarl

 

of our disagreement

need here be repeated

 

So many aspects of life

depend on fossil fuels

 

except for music

and love and education

 

and happiness. These things

we must focus on.

 

 

 

 

 

NoPoMo 2018 (4): something cheeky

tofu-sichuanais-1160x650-BS005624-pub-67290-01

she was coming for supper

 

he sliced two fresh avocado

egg yolk lemon wedge squeeze dribble

& dill then olive oil drizzled in & whisked

sauced over slices fanned out

over one side of the plate the other

halved boiled little new pink potatoes

tossed in chopped purple onion

grape seed oil red wine vinegar

 & a tsp Dijon

 

the main dish cubed pears

eggplant Szechwan  marinated firm tofu

chopped celery & ground ginger

sautéed in olive oil with a drop of sesame

dripped in for a hint of the Orient

a big bottle of Uncle Ben’s

Sweet Soy Sauce dumped on

all served on Shanghai noodles

 

he wore his nicest apron

but no pants having plucked

each fine wiry glossy black hair

from around his anus washed

oiled & perfumed so its folds

and puckers glistened in the candlelight

 

From March End Prill (Book*hug, 2011)

NoPoMo 2018 (3): A Post-secular poem avant le lettre

Lift the flame

Luciferous hissing

blue out the lighter

Light the incens

uous resins

crackle in the bowl

Father

Son &

Holy Ghost

Each cardinal direction

dawn morning sun

in branches

orientation

sinister

Southern Cross

Antepod

Abendland

Ol’ Rope-a

accidental occident

all that’s left’s

True North

“I believe”

Lichen yellows

Shady bark

 

From  (Book*hug, 2011)

NaPoMo 2018 (2)

A poem from Ladonian Magnitudes, one of the favourites of its most inspired reviewer, 15069538677_a64d3603e0_bMatthew J. Trafford.

 

I HATE POETRY

I hate poetry readings polite in bookstores or schools or café bar open mics

every year’s unreadable thousands of slim volumes of verse inane formulaic inoffensive backcover blurbs filed filling booksupermarket-bookshelf ghettoes

poetry journals quarterlies annuals reviews anthologies handymuseums artcrypts a magazine (sb. 5. b.) should be a magazine (sb. Mil.)

I hate Spoken Word Slam poetry uniform monotonous Pop music spectacle theatrics

old faux Boho poetry yeasty anecdotes Al Purdy dumping a mug of beer on Margaret Atwood’s head for being too academic

antiAcademic Poetry poet poetry professors

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets sniggering at mainstream poets other L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets over their own writing “innovative” as Industry dumping a number of a local periodical with a bad review in San Francisco Bay

I hate Work Street Regional Peoples New Formalist National Minority poetry

I hate creative writing program workshop voice polish

poetry in complete correctly grammatical punctuated sentences

lines and stanzas typographically regular miming lyric epic voice strophes

poetry preciously le mot juste metaphoric gridding universals of human experience

personae all the poet’s voice nothing anybody’d think or say

 

Hear a live performance:  from States of the Arts Conference, Saarbrücken, Germany, 23 October 2008.

 

 

 

NaPoMo 2018

“Rupi is the new Rumi”

The mind is struck dumb

April is the cruellest month

 

Back to the Skunkworks!

Just last week, a friend recently publicized a chapbook of mine composed and published airship2over twenty years ago, and the response, livelier than any to any of my work in recent memory, encourages me to return to the work that chapbook began.

I shouldn’t be surprised, in a way. This poem was the center-piece of the performances I gave during a tour of Germany in 1996, and then, too, the response was gratifying:  one audience member excitedly came up to me to say he would buy everything I would publish, and a friend I made during that tour, the German novelist Georg Oswald, approved with pleasure the approach I took to the material. And a few years later this sequence was well-received by Terry Matheson, a professor of English who has applied narratology to alien abduction reports and who was kind enough to even teach the poem below in one of his classes.

arnold_ufoSo, for interested parties, I append one of the first poems from this project, the last poem of my first trade edition, Grand Gnostic Central and other poems. and return to  back-engineering this “modern myth of things seen in the sky”.

 

Flying Saucers

 

Tuesday three in the afternoon 24 June 1947

Kenneth Arnold of Boise, rescue pilot, businessman, deputy sheriff and federal marshal, U.S. Forest Serviceman

At 9,000 feet crystal-clear conditions

Alone in his Callair between Chehalis and Yakima

An hour’s detour searching for a lost transport

Out of the blue a flash like just before a midair crash

Made him look left north of Mount Rainier

To see at ninety degrees

Nine seeming jet planes in a V pointed south

 

The echelon vaguely bobbing and weaving

Flashing reflections

Twenty-four miles off

Against Rainier’s snows, tailless—

Flying nearly forty miles

Between Mounts Rainier and Adams

Three times the speed of sound

The first crossed the ridge bridging the mountains

As the last came over its north crest five miles back

 

Nine crescents needing to be

Half a mile long to be seen

Flying that fast that far away

So smooth mirroring sunlight

Like speedboats on rough water

Wavering in formation

Like the tail of a Chinese kite

Wings tipping flashing blue white

Each like a saucer skipped over water

 

For the Record: “Reading Dudek’s The Caged Tiger”

One of the ironic aspects of the digitization of cultural artefacts and the blissfully ignorant acceptance if not celebration of this process is, apart from those documents excluded from the process in the first place, the inevitable decay of links and websites and the consequent disappearance of the works they hosted. Such was the case with the poem below.

When Louis Dudek’s penultimate volume of poetry The Caged Tiger was published, I read img20171218_14235601it with some irritation and sought a way to express it other than in a review. The compositional answer was to write poems that intervened in the original, engaging in a kind of dialogue; the relation of the new poem to the original is underlined in [28], below. The words in bold are Dudek’s; the numbers in [] are the page numbers of his original book.

The novelty or singularity of this formal maneuver to contemporaneous and subsequent compositional practice I leave to the determination of the learning of the reader; the poem was written the year of the publication of Dudek’s volume, 1997.

 

Reading Dudek’s The Caged Tiger

 

[10]

 

The transcendental then is merely the unknown

—No: how what’s known is—

inside out:  no silhouette

no eidos no idea:

The transcendental’s how you know

you’re facing the mirror

 

 

Aside from yourself

the world

things

How it all happened

to come

together

‘s beyond you

 

 

Neither this nor any mystery’s gnawed

The mystic’s “the tight-lipped”

Tongue’s quiver locked up

 

[3]

 

Art is a dead god’s tongue

whose words

we still like the sound of

“the music of the spheres”

night’s white noise

the whole spectrum

of electromagnetic radiation

visible and audible

only to the radio-telescopes’

timpani tipped to listen

idle humming

“I-am-I”’s sound poem

 

[8]

 

Time’s transcendental

A watch

 

[15]

 

As one of those

in downy feathers

mouth open

happened on

spring mornings

 

[39]

 

in the cage too tight to lie in

a small pot nobody empties

wire mesh hardly a reach up

nights icy rain

days the sun throbs

the face in the cool mud

 

[28]

 

The bass beat faster than a raver’s heart at daybreak

shudders the whole body in the spot and strobelit dark

College boys and girls in their personal fashion statements

each writhe alone in cigarette smoke fog and pheremones

 

[99]

 

The old are removed

to their graves

and the young come up

to fill their places

i.e., as a “[f]ine bod”y

closed in a dipping casket

Old Heracleitus

renewed every sun