Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Compression



Janis Rozentals - The Princess and the Monkey
Compression



It was a little monkey
with a red hat.
I knew I couldn’t have it.

The cage was much too small
for both of us
even though the monkey
was no bigger than a drop
of black blood

it made the keepers very
angry that I even
asked.

'How can we ever
let you out,' said the one
who pretended to be kind
'when you want monkeys?'
As if.

The other, never a great
pretender, made that insect clicking
in his beard. 'Tcha,' he said

or perhaps 'Tsttst!'
I said, 'I thought I heard
the Rapture passing through
and it left parson's widow
but took Loup Garou.'

Heads began to shake
in a dominating palsy.
'I can see,' 

said Insect Beard 
though his eyes were eaten
years ago, 'she’s had
too much room
too much space to think,

two big ears
to hear the devil whisper 
in the window.

'We must make it 
much much tighter 
in here, so not even a hair
from a monkey’s tail, or the
itch of a wolf's flea will fit.'

Then I learned to be
small as a dropped
tear, 

smaller than a
particled prion that pulls
its sad viral sponge into 
cow's brain, erasing,
or the smallest enzyme 

in the storm boiled lachrymal lake
for there is no sailing allowed in here
or drowning.

Only somewhere a monkey
wandering
lost in a little red hat.



November 2011


Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub




Janis Rozentals [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

51 comments:

  1. "for there is no sailing allowed in here
    or drowning."
    Wow!
    I felt shrink wrapped reading this :) The sense of oppression is tangible. Brilliant!

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  2. This one hurt me in my bones, excellent work. Prion is a surprise and much appreciated.
    'Then I learned to be
    small as a dropped
    tear,'
    a true tragedy that no one should endure.

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  3. oy, felt i was inside the inferno a bit hedge...monkeys and men with insect beards and no eyes...and loup garu...and learning to be small...my shoulders got all tense...as i felt the walls closing in....

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  4. very sad - a child that seemed to want so little and those today seem to get more than enough and yet, can be just as sad.

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  5. As there is a Devil's Dictionary, and "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," so there must be a Bizarro Grimm's, the fairy tale writ upside down and backwards in this style, where the wolf is there to save us from Grandma's oatmeal cookies... I read this as kin and kind to yesterday's "Flat," taking a cue from the dreamscape to aright the wrongs of makers of children's books. In every child's psyche I think is this big/small paradox, where there's no way to stand up to the devil so we wish to shrink between his toes. You compressed and sharpened this on the strop til it slices easily to the bone ... Now my day is populated with walking red hats, loup garous and eyeless crickets. Eek. - Brendan

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  6. Thanks all, for enduring my therapy sessions.

    @B: Nothing can save you from grandma's oatmeal cookies, dude. When you meet the devil, you can run, you can hide, or you can shake his hand--I like to think the former choices beat the latter. May the hats, wolfen and crickets be gentle with you. Thanks for reading.

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  7. Imaginative pain . . . I think it helps to get away from it to configure it this way. Brilliant. I hope freedom comes, and soon.

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  8. Really cool poem, kind of surrealist with a medieval flair. It may be that one can only be free in one's mind, but compressed to the size of a nut or smaller and one is in danger of being chased about in there by crazed red monkeys.

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  9. @Mark: Exactly. Or chasing them yourself.

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  10. Wow hedge this has the same music as one of my reoccurring nightmares.

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  11. "I thought I heard
    the Rapture passing through"

    One of those lines that you wish you wrote because it is a perfect line. I am jealous while I applaud you.

    Cheers,

    Mark Butkus

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  12. This is SO good, reading is absolutely fun! And just how small is 'small'? WOW! If you looking for that minute monkey, the is one on my back--used to weigh a ton. Went on a diet, hardly anything left excpet that little (small?--grin!) red hat.

    Thank you for hosting, it is MY pleasure to be here.

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  13. Great Poem and Fun, Fun read ...love the whole fairy tale feeling fell right into it...bkm

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  14. There's that dread of the other who is too nearly like us, whether monkey or werewolf, plus, in the distortions of insect-beards, a sense of the kind of nightmare horror that C.S. Lewis reaches toward in That Hideous Strength or that Gorey hits upon. Creepy-good!

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  15. Reminds me a bit of Dean Koontz novels. Everything is normal... nearly but not quite.
    You had me from the monkey in the red hat. I always wanted one of those small squirrel monkeys as a pet.
    Fabulous imagery of both struggle and strife.

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  16. In my mind this whole episode takes place in some muddy market in the 1500's. "Then I learned to be
    small as a dropped tear" love it

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  17. Hey you...I have claustrophobia!

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  18. dang hedge...not sure if i get this right but for me this speaks all about holding people small...not allowing them to dream..like: what they still have this silly dreams...? give them more work, make their space small, choke them so they adapt to the smallness and never ever think about flying again...oh god...maybe it's just me...but this gave me shivers..excellent

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  19. an intriguing piece.
    I enter in media res to a three-way fantastical conversation. Inquisition-like atmosphere.
    she's being compressed! bizarre. yet she's pleasantly coherent, which adds to the weirdness.

    wow. good...very good piece. very interesting.

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  20. Small as a dropped tear.... This is awesome, moving and sad. A brilliant poem.

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  21. This has your signature dazzling lines, and to have imagined this poem at all is something impressive. I like it.

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  22. Dangerous to think too much when insect beard is watching. Make yourself small so he won't notice? This is a great poem. Dark and poignant images.

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  23. "Then I learned to be
    small as a dropped
    tear,"

    I feel the climax line of your piece... very thoughtful today... a lesson learned

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  24. Smart allegorical poem, hedge. And I ask myself, why did I let them put me in this cage in the first place?!

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  25. Powerful and vivid... I especially like the last four stanzas.

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  26. Exceptional piece. I love the narrative, really has a mythic flavor to it, wonderful storytelling as usual. There is an ever-presence sad, suffocation feel, I like the shrinkwrapped comment someone made earlier, very fitting indeed. Love your work, Thanks

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  27. As I read, I thought of all those people who ever tried to hold me back in my life, those who tried to stifle my motion or force silence. That's how the cage feels to me. Excellent as always. If I see the monkey, I'll toss him a treat when no one is looking. We all deserve a pleasure or two.

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  28. "though his eyes were eaten
    years ago"

    Damn, that's brilliant.

    The matter of fact tone of this makes it twice as terrifying.

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  29. I'm often struck by the fact that such dips in the well of darkness are written by someone whose name is Joy. The natural balance to that fact is as perfect as this piece of surreal (or too-real) verse. The matter-of-factness of tone amid the horror put me in mind of McCarthy's "Blood Meridian."

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  30. or perhaps 'Tsttst!'
    I said, 'I thought I heard
    the Rapture passing through
    and it left parson's widow
    but took Loup Garou.'
    ^^^^^love that

    Another brilliant write...the flow within the story is fabulous. As I read, I couldn't help but conjure images of Alice's Wonderland; but, there was a sadness, too, as I recall trying to make myself when I was small...most interesting. Thank you, you got me to think 'larger' tonight ~
    (PS love the pic of your writing space!)

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  31. Surreal tale. Every time you think of something or try to fly in a new direction, there's a block. One would not be caged but what happens when one is already in a cage, how does one get out. Rather frightening and nightmarish this image of being squashed.

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  32. The way the world has become, to me is a perfectly illustrated in your poem. Day by day they take a little away from you, until we all find ourselves in a cage and the dreams of having fun/ the monkey with the red hat/ seem almost impossible! The ugly truth! That of course might be the wrong idea of how I read your poem, but either way, it was your talent with words that made the journey here pleasant!

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  33. ..this one drips with horrors.. such unemotional description of being cramped and confined, chained and imprisoned... strong nightmare images..very much like your approach to this.. but I feel the dread I felt as a child...

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  34. Well, I have no new insight but I definitely enjoyed reading this. I do love your creativity and I appreciate you reminding me how it feels when we allow ourselves to feel smaller than we are (decidedly not fun). The challenge is to stop playing small and to use our newfound big-ness to do something good...

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  35. Dear Hedge...

    Its surrealistic... that small drop of blood... from the begining I was seeing the images like the salvador dali or now Vladimir Kush paintings...

    You have captured the image and the essence of our being in the world well...

    thanks for sharing..
    Shashi
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/11/whispers-where-you-will-go.html

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  36. oy. there's a lot to this. mad cow & monkeys & loup garou... and it all comes together in such exquisite painfulness. brava.

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  37. Oh the squeeze of being judged as taking up too much space and forced to edit ourselves down, to what? Nothingness, in service to our moralistic tormentors. As if. This is brilliant in a cuts to the bone way.

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  38. Many thanks all. I appreciate you all coming by and taking the time to comment. If I haven't visited you yet, I will as the day goes on.

    @Angela--glad you liked the poem, and the computer cave. It's where I live, mostly.

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  39. "small as a dropped tear", a fabulous line, emblematic of such a sad deprivation here. The confining mood, having to hold onto so much while becoming so little, really resonates.
    Gene

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  40. WOW! SPECTACULAR writing. Dazzling and deep.

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  41. I do believe I have issues. I see myself in almost everything I read today. I really like this--characters, imagery ... the title alone pulled me into the poem. This feels so familiar, too familiar. Mmmmm, savoring it with all my masochist's sensibilities.

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  42. Suffocating yet so welll captured,you ,queen of verse

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  43. This "feels" poetic throughout...no lapses, woven with great lines. And the formal dynamic keeps each verse moving one to the next--at least the way I perceive the rhythms. Great imagination here and a very refined poem.

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  44. Hey Hedge

    This swallowed me whole and thats that....bloody awesome

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  45. Late to the party, I'm afraid. I read some of your many commments. I didn't read it as they. For me, this is ALL about poetry. The monkey (on the back) is the poem, and it's all about squeezing out all the air, compressing everything, distilling everything, till all that's left is the monkey and the sounds! As Stevens says it doesn't have to be in the mind of the writer to be valid. This is validity for me! Excellent, always!

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  46. Then I learned to be
    small as a dropped
    tear,

    Beautiful.

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  47. Something makes me feel like this poem comes from taking a magnifying glass and enlarging a scene from one of Hieronymus Bosch's fantastical, allegorical paintings. There's nothing better than art - whether painting, sculpture, or poetry - that stops you in your tracks, hits your heart, and then makes you think. This did it to me.

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  48. Original and very accomplished. You have an authentic, and now recognisable poetic voice, which I love.

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg