Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gracklespeak




Gracklespeak



I crackled out
making a grackle noise
after eons in the indigo egg,
floating on purple seas, domed and
floored in blueblack fablica of
my own desires; discovered I had
to work for a loving,
 a living.

The shock was severe;

quite a meal
of hulls and dust till you
threw me the apple.



September 2011



Posted for   Friday Flash 55   at the G-Man's


 Note to said G-man: I made up the word 'fablica' (as in 'fable')-- so sue me.


Incubus II



Incubus II


Tonight the incubus is in
a vile mood.
His pouts are puffs of sulphur
huffed on my walls,
leaving a yellow palled
skin of ill will;
his tail jerks and lashes.
He’ll do none of his tricks
with it, not even the one
with my feet.
He only wants to glare at me
until my eyes melt into runny gold
eggyolks, and carve his
black tattoo again 
upon my back
before he leaves me
to bring a sweeter torment
to another and teach her
one more word than I
in the 
vocabulary of ecstasy.




September 2011





Companion piece to Incubus



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Griffin King

Beatrice Addressing Dante (by William Blake)


The Griffin King


No lion walks here
on the cold plains savanna
under a tame pale moon whose soft
cloud paws never knew the scorch,
stepping high above the empty grasses.
Only the memory of a lion
under the buffalo’s skin
keeps it restless in the dark.

Once the tawny sisters pneuma'd these
low hills, scanning dry miles with
yellow slit eyes, split suns, millenniums
of grass restless around their heads.
The herds were only stones of flesh that
displaced the winding grass river
with their bulking meat but no more; now
paper bags and coyotes own the night.

Full moon brings the shadows,
beige and boneless, in charade of
the wild hunt lifedance that ends in
something’s death, where the ochraeous 
griffin king of the lost lion imperium shakes
a ghost’s mane in coy command of his aparrat.
All the wetwork still is theirs, coursing silent
with their moon-glabrous snouts aloft.

Meanwhile the griffin rolls sensuously in 
the dust of bones or trots the perimeter with deep
gravitas, throwing his insubstantial scat.
God by force even here, powered by
his massy paw, foul hellbreath, throatless
cinematic roar, his skeletal belly
always hollow, emptied by that
staring yellow river flowing out.

So they rise and hunt
in the black menagerie, an
agency of endless night,
and fall under him when
their turns come
to bear the pierce of his desire,
but know him
they will not.


September 2011 






Posted for   OpenLinkNight  at dVerse Poets Pub



Top Image: Beatrice Addressing Dante, (Purgatorio, Canto XXX, 60-146 ) by William Blake
William Blake [Public domain], via wikimedia commons.

Calavera

Sad skull thinking

Calavera
una ofrenda

Last night I dreamed I threw away a stone.
I saw your face as it once was, mi corazón.
I  cleaned my eyes with tears and looked again.
A jack o lantern skull without a scar,
dia de los muertos tatooed with a sugar pen
on una calavera de azúcar.

A bite of memory’s all,
sweet but very small

You talked como en tiempos pasados.
Ever lively wagged that old chewed string
you had for tongue, risueño.
What else to do but sing
una canción recordada?
Raul, mi amor perdido,
desaparecido.

A verse with no retort,
sweet but very short.

I left you there, el jefe, top of the stack
boss of the clay colored catacomb,
talking to the rifled coffins on the floor
muy cómodo in your new home
that goes forever back and back
to somewhere no one lives anymore.

To throw a stone to another world,
not bad for a white girl,
after all.


September 2011 


Quick and Dirty Process Notes/Translation:

"The word calavera, Spanish for "skull", can refer to a number of cultural phenomena associated with the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead[Dia de los Muertos] and the Roman Catholic holiday All Souls Day.
  • calaveras de azúcar ("sugar skulls") are used to adorn altars and can be eaten.
  • calaveras are poems, written for the Day of the Dead but intended to humorously criticize the living.
  • calavera can refer to any artistic representations of skulls, such as the lithographs of José Guadalupe Posada." ~wikipedia
una ofrenda: offering left for the dead 
como los tiempos passados: like old times una canción recordada: a remembered song
perdido: lost   desaparecido: vanished    risueño:smiling, sunny
el jefe: boss   muy cómodo: quite comfortable

My command of Spanish is middling and informal so please correct me if you believe I've misused that most beautiful of languages anywhere here. 

For those interested, here is the canción recordada the narrator sings in the catacomb:



Image: Sad Skull Thinking(Calavera triste, pensando) 
 

 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Green Sword



Green Sword


Beneath your lids the brown
walking earth waits to be displayed
the witchfire light it sheds and steals
blots out the darkness with a thicker shade
white, white hot shine the orbs within
like Armageddon’s heart of fire
where all things are to be consumed
entire

why does this sight unroll me in  accord
as  the swelled seed unrolls her green sword?




October 1984




A hectic weekend with no time to write, but an old journal scribble from a planet distant in space and time is offered up, for whatever it is, or isn't. The only revision done was to shorten the ending couplet by a few extraneous words.




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Exercise in Repetition~Two Poems


For Poetics at dVersePoets Pub this week, which I have the fun of guest-hosting for Brian Miller (who is off celebrating his wife's birthday) the prompt is repetition. Here are two short poems, one in free verse and the other in form (a villanelle) which use repetition to structure and drive the piece.


A Simple Chimney Song



When the moon comes over the chimney
calling calling
bits of stars come tumbling
falling falling
the wind blows diamond voices
singing singing
and the bell of night’s brass bright
ringing

a lover’s lullaby
moonshine in your eye;
come sit beside me love,
let grief pass by.

When the dark comes over the chimney
breaking breaking
bits of heart come tumbling
aching aching
the wind blows diamond razors
raining raining
and the racer in the night is
gaining

lovers say goodbye
moonsmoke in the eye;
the house is empty love,
and time to cry.
 
September 2011





Blood and Sand
A villanelle

Blood in the sand where no waters run;
words  grow tall where crops all fail.
God hides behind a burning sun.

Robbers go and robbers come,
centuries turn in the hot wind’s tail;
blood in the sand where no waters run.

The desert eats what the heart’s begun.
Blood is drawn like oil from shale.
God hides behind a burning sun.

The crow will pick when the jackal’s done
and leave the bones to mark the trail;
blood in the sand where no waters run.

Prayers come from the end of a gun.
The dervish whirls and  women wail.
God hides behind a burning sun.

It ends and then it’s just begun.
The crop of words will never fail.
Blood in the sand where no waters run;
God hides behind a burning sun.

April 2011

(originally posted for One Shoot Sunday at One Stop Poetry, 
Photo by Rosa Frei  
Used with permission, courtesy of OSP)





Posted for   Poetics  at dVerse Poets Pub
 
Come share a new or older poem that showcases repetition with us. 
Link in is live til midnight 9/25/11




Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Flash 55 ~ Plastic Mystery



photos © Herb Ritts



Plastic Fabtastic Mystery



It’s a mystery.
Our species selects
only for beauty:
girls with big boobs,
tight asses,
non-bald men with hair
on their chests
and a rocky jawline;
do they have better babies?
Do they give better sex,
or do they just better display
all the plastic treasures
I saw in the rhinestones
of your eyes?

September 2011





Posted for    Friday Flash 55    better late than never at the G-Man's







Image: courtesy the daily beast




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Musical Interlude~The Dead

This is what's in my head today as a black man is executed in Georgia despite a lack of any real evidence he committed a crime, the stock market plummets again, and we move toward yet another government shutdown showdown, this time to deny funding for aid to the victims of Irene and all the other natural disasters various people are facing all over the country--pretty obvious the rent is in arrears and the dog has not been fed in years and that paint by number sky is looking phonier every morning.

...here's Garcia in his last days, playing it all for laughs, cynical, pessimistic, and oddly comforting in just not giving a rat's ass anymore:



Dead Factoid: The apocryphal story of how the band got it's name:

Notable rock band The Grateful Dead purportedly were reading over a translation of parts of the [Egyptian]Book of the Dead when they came across the phrases, "We now return our souls to the creator, as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness. Let our chant fill the void in order that others may know. In the land of the night the ship of the sun is drawn by the grateful dead." 
I see you've got your list out
Say your piece and get out
Yes I get the gist of it
but it's all right
Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining's got a
Touch of grey

we will get by
we will survive

The Burned House

Cosmos 'Sonata White'





The Burned House
A Sestina


When I wasn’t looking, the house burned down,
the one standing on the cliff’s edge that just sucked in the smoke
and died. It was tall and full of mirrored rooms, that house
I used to own, each one a tank in which some dreamfish swam in fire,
where liquid light flickered on scales of gold and copper, now white
lumps of half-burned bone, refleshed with sudden coats of ash.

How were these soul aquaria so full of life transformed to ash?
to flecks crisped from scorched love letters blown down
the drive, black ink bleeding on blue paper burned feathery white?
Your words to me, mine to you, became a script of smoke
ribboning envelopes all set alight to fuel this chemical fire
that when my head was turned burned down the house.

Blackened beams are everywhere, obscene stumps of house       
frame arching possibilities negated. Nothing made of ash
can be reused. I turn over scant remains uneaten by the fire
that swallowed up the core and spit out shingles, flying down
in flaps of flame, exhaling heat while carcinogenic smoke      
billowed from gapped window mouths in plumes of restless white.

When it happened I was working a new bed for the Sonata White
cosmos, but purity failed; fire’s finger drew a circle round the house
of C. sulphureus instead, yellow petals aster bright, tangerine smoke
drifted against the lintel wild alive, drawing all being from that ash
rich compost of dreamfish dying in char as the building came down;
now where the white rebelled I fill my hand with redgold fire.

So I come to the doorway drawn by the long gone glow of fire       
to rake through the dulled nails and teeth of white
half-melted yesterdays, look for the last inhabitants down
beneath the rotten timbers where the dead house
trembles, gives up its bones and sleeps in ash.
I pick and fuss at the ruins, filling my bag with smoke:

photographs once kodachrome stained to sepia,  smoke
colored faces turned to relics, eyeholes eaten black by fire
unreal as the fingerbone of a non-existent saint, grey as ash
and as unlikely to reignite; trinkets charred to white
misshapen in the reflux of the firehose, lockets that house
a tarnished twist of burnt hair muddied by walls long fallen down.


My insurance covers none of this lost substance, now white ash,
a total loss except for cosmos smoke, gold-warm as any fire,
banked embers over the open house of the wild that can’t burn down.



~September 2011








Posted for   FormForAll   at dVerse Poets Pub




Cosmos is a perennial or half-hardy annual in the aster family, native to Mexico, Arizona, Florida and the southern U.S. down into Central and South America. It grows in both wild and cultivated form. It is heat and drought tolerant and reseeds itself so freely some forms, including C. sulphureus, are considered a weed in some places. Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sonata White" is a pure white hybrid form, bred for the cut flower trade.


Photo: Cosmos bipinnatus "Sonata White" by Julie Anne Workman, Forde Abbey, Somerset, UK
courtesy wikipedia Par Julie Anne Workman (Travail personnel) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Five Parts Of The Soul

Goddess nut



The Five Parts of the Soul


Ib
In the salty womb, from one drop
of mother’s blood, comes the heart
whole, master and servant
will and conception,
thought’s matrix.

Sheut
From the feet falls the shadow
from which we never part
dark essence of our selves light
dances with always
across the skin of the world.


Ren
We are given a name
and in taking it start,
by naming reveal and conceal
destroy, endure,
possess and make.


Ba
Within, the bird of the soul
makes herself with art
ever singing, ever flying;
song and destination
all we are


Ka
From the potter’s wheel
our shell is spun, molded, mark
given form, then spark,
spirit’s voice for the quickening
within

Goddess Nut 2

So living true we amalgamate and form
these parts a whole, building from the heart,
knowing the shadow, named and naming,
flying  with soul and flame of life
to walk with the Sun under Sky
fight through black and
lightless Underworld
and out, remade, a million
times a million journeys, ever new.


September 2011









Once again I do a magpie raid on mythology, this time picking up some of the shiny concepts of the soul and the afterlife as conceived by the ancient Egyptians. They are loosely and imaginatively rendered here, not literally.



Images of Nut, the Eqyptian Sky Goddess, protecting Ra, the Sun disk, and dividing order from chaos

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Moonwitch






The Moonwitch


How many years have I played this flute
under the green autumn moon, 
a cry so plangent
so forlorn the stars
birthed the winter wind to
freeze their tears?

How many times have the
paralyzed trees watched my snakes
uncurl, branch of their branches, my
wicked unwinding scarlet spells,
my blistered pentagram of bones?
How often has the black demon 
come to do my bidding and
left it all still undone
tho we both know 
I paid?

Vous doux, 
you, the sweet
the center safe 
between the lines
edges wild and ripped,
Voodoo I can’t put down,
swaying chant, burning blood
sharp sharpest black flint knife at
hope’s white throat
bleeding.


September 2011 


Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

also

Posted for    Magpie Tales #83 



( If you've already read this one, I also have a new one up here. )


Image: The Snake Charmer, by Henri Rousseau, 1907
courtesy Magpie Tales
This work is in the public domain.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Off the Shelf Archive ~September

In preparation for changing out selections for the Archive, I was browsing poetry sites a bit earlier today and saw that there is a Wallace Stevens Award for Poetry, given by The Academy of American Poets. I was immensely saddened to find out I'd never heard of it, (or hardly any of the poets who've received it since it was established in 1994, except for W.S. Merwin and Adrienne Rich.)

Naturally, with my Wallace Stevens issues, I had to check it out, and found the 2011 recipient is contemporary poet Yusef Komunyakaa, born in 1947 in Bogalusa, LA, whose work is totally new to me, though he's been around and published for quite awhile. Since I hardly ever pick living poets, and rarely ones I haven't read extensively, I thought I'd make this next Off The Shelf page his poem:
  

Here's his biography for those who'd like to know more about him:



 ************                     *****************               *************

And to make room for this new piece, we have below the last selection , moved here to the Archive, an excerpt from Four Quartets 1:Burnt Norton, by T.S. Eliot. Feel free to comment on either poem here as comments are disabled off the main page.





Four Quartets 1: Burnt Norton
(excerpt)

I

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.


II

Garlic and sapphires in the mud
Clot the bedded axle-tree.
The trilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
Appeasing long forgotten wars.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars
Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance....

by T.S. Eliot


You can read the remainder of the poem here.



Photo:  'Pat Austin' English Rose, by joy ann jones