Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Starfall


Starfall




At the end of shared hours
when Orion comes down
different, half-human
dancing on stick legs
shaking that starry ass
wrapped in tigerbones rattling
and his buskins on fire,

when dust wind strips the juniper and
 ice roofs her sloe-eyed collection,
 when teeth tease at cardboard,
when giants below
once contained stir and wake,
pound the fragile ceiling
till dry-sucked stones shake,

then I step out with you here
in the chaos men make, where
our dance is illegal, semi-ruined as Orion
our possibilities too tight
our red shoes on fire,
while the plague ship sinks last
while the rough beast drinks chance.

In the deep doubt of sleep
it's dance, drop or cry
and we
are too young to die
too old to weep.


~February 2014







posted for     real toads
Challenge: Get Listed
Kenia Cris has chosen a science fiction focus for her word list prompt, and has used words from the Philip K Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (loosely reincarnated in the movie Bladerunner,) which portrays a bleak, dystopian future that seems more likely and less sci-fi with every passing year. I have borrowed thirteen or so of these words here; for the full list see the Toads link above.


Process note: The Eastern Red Cedar(Juniperus virginiana) has berries that are blue-black in winter, like the berries of the blackthorn known as sloe. On stanza two: We have had drought, extreme cold, and ice storms here this winter, and  100-plus earthquakes and tremors in the last few days. Dry-sucked refers to the process of fracking.







Top Image: Untitled,1978,  by Zdislav Beksinksi via wikipaintings.org
May be protected by copyright. Posted here under fair use guidelines.
Footer: Study for the Spanish Dance, 1879, by John Singer Sargent
Public Domain, via wikipaintings.org









31 comments:

  1. this is a blissful overload for me: frying my motherboard, well, ok refrying my already frazzled interface. Blade Runner, Dick, your chilling pictures and the holy PO of sci-fi shivers. The sense of isolation is palpable but the writing is so alive with it:

    then I step out with you here
    in the chaos men make, where
    our dance is illegal, semi-ruined as Orion
    our possibilities too tight
    our red shoes on fire

    and the tragedy is hope
    in the ending.

    Our island is sinking and your sate is shaking.
    I here too-late talk of saving but in this mess of our own making,
    divine intervention may be our only salvation and I wont hold my breath
    waiting for a King who, if He is coming, wont be waving, he'll be riding with four friends,
    signifying ends and revelations.

    http://youtu.be/N4d7Wp9kKjA

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    1. "Under the moonlight/the serious mooonlight...' one of my all time faves, Arron. And very apt. Thanks so much for your interpretation--and allusion to those four who seem to be galloping nearer ever day.

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  2. From buskins to red shoes to rough Yeatsian beasts, this poem seems to ooze-dance a red combustion that is disturbing from the start, and impossible to address at the end. The cries of the damned is all that's missing.

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  3. That first stanza is absolutely priceless. My God, what a picture you've painted.

    Surely, you're not suggesting some totally logical connection between fracking and Oklahoma earthquakes? What's next? Climate change? Science? Contain yourself, woman!

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    1. Don't tell, or the pitchforks and torches will be at the door by nightfall.

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  4. Gorgeous! I am always in awe when I visit you~ Back to sticks and stones for me...try, try again! What a journey-an epic

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  5. Too Trippy for me...I prefer Pot!
    Eating Cardboard?

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    1. Not all that much different from Cheetos, really.

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  6. I agree with all above stunning images and use of our language.

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  7. Terrible (but great) close (middle and beginning too). The whole piece is wonderfully integrated-- that is, very whole and coherent-- and there is a wonderful slant rhyme as well as a direct rhyme going on, which may be part of what ties it up so beautifully even as it describes this great unraveling. What a terrible series of events. I am so sorry to hear of the quakes especially--someone in some red state (Utah?) was saying how we could have double the carbon and isn't it a good thing anyway the earth is warming? Crazy. But aside from that--there is a wonderful irony here-- as your dancers are quite honorable, but there is this other dancing going on--the hurrahs! I won't say last hurrahs--and whether they are imitating Orion--my sense is that their gaze is not in fact oriented towards the stars--they are dancing crazily enough. Thanks.k.

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    1. Thanks, k. The rough title for this was dancing with the stars, actually, but I decided against it. Those in denial will never get it, and today the Obama administration guaranteed millions in government loans for the first new nuclear reactor in the US in decades. Very depressing. Appreciate you taking time to read and comment.

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    2. Agh--I had not read about the nuclear reactor! It makes me think about Nixon in China! I think it would have been hard for, let's say, Carter to open it up--for all sorts of reasons, and I guess people will never see conservation as a step forward much less something that doesn't involve major contractors. Terrible.

      I am always more than happy to read! Thanks for the opportunity and the inspiration. I am unfortunately working mainly on memos at the moment, but making some kind of progress nonetheless. k.

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  8. we must live in the world we create...or allow to be created around us...yes, we do draw ever closer to a reality that is very scary...a raping of the land and a techno-police force....dance while we can...the imagery of orion coming down in the beginning is great...i did not know that about the earthquakes...following the link to read up...

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    1. Thanks bri--if you follow the link, you can scroll down the page for miles, just for the record of quakes in the last seven days. there are so many balloons on the google map it looks like a hot air ascension. My husband has looked online for nearby high-pressure injection drilling in the area, but all *those* maps have gone offline and are supposedly 'unavailable at this time.'

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    2. i saw that when i looked last night...wow...
      funny how those maps disappear as well when the shiznit starts hitting the fan...

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    3. Yeah, funny how that works...thanks bri.

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  9. Hey! This is brilliant, I didn't expect any less of you, actually. :)))) Thanks for writing to prompt, this is great, I'm glad you did. I love the photo choice and the final verse, perfect way to close it.

    Kisses. <3

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  10. This is incredible .. the last stanza? I fell in love! Oh my.

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  11. Again, another piece laced with brilliance. The second an ending stanzas really bring it home for me. I don't understand why we would need another nuclear reactor...didn't Chernobyl or what happened in Japan teach us anything? It makes more sense to harness the sun and wind to give us power.

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  12. The dystopian future is the nightmare of the seeds of present wrongs grown to a death-dance through their eventual dark forest. "When" and "then" are thus the proverbial eyes of newt when cast in the pot causes this charm, this riotous rotting rondeau. Maybe it takes the futurism of sci-fi blent with words of the wyrd to fully name this blickered moment, or maybe it takes the balm of the old to calm the bane of the all-too new; I get both approaches in this poem, maybe a draft or two away from resolving the question, still tentative about uneasy results. (The final stanza holds as scripture.) Of course, there's awe in awfulness, and nightmares are sooooo much more deeelightful than cloudy romps in heaven, at least in the saying, in works like this ... I'm reading Chang-Rae Lee's "On Such A Full Sea" and it's an incredible work of dystoporrhea, all too real in its fantastical playing-out of have and have-not in a world ecologically ruined. Finally, I find that in poems like these (and most dystopian writing, as well as jeremiads and those that are witness to war or holocaust) is that nailing all the consequences of our lame-brained wrongs results in little more than pleasurable reading. What then? I keep looking for answers but so far I'm stymied. Keeps us writing, eh?

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    1. Some interesting questions, Brendan. I see writing on these lines as not much more than the simple act of bearing witness--really, words are words, and have some spiritual and even physical mojo, but in the end, words are not actions, as you note. Orwell comes to mind--one of the biggest, most masterly dystopian indictments ever, and a fullscale warning, and now you see snappy sayings on Facebook like '1984 Was Not Supposed To Be An Instruction Manual.' I don't think it's wrong to want or even expect words to do more, to be as powerful as the emotion and raw desire for change and sanity behind them, but sadly, at least in our time, the kind of words that have most effect on people's minds seem to be the simplest and most destructive of propagandas, like FOX News, playing into people's weaknesses instead of asking the hard questions. Still, better to bear witness to a wilderness of stones than to turn a blind eye.
      I agree on the draftish qualities--that is often the case when I write and post on the same day--this felt like one of those "I've already written this poem' situations I mentioned, too. But it's a process, and so we hope for something in the bucket, or if not at least a little more strength in the wrists for the next heave, Thanks for reading, and for your thoughts and impressions, B. Much appreciate the time and interest, as always.

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  13. you 'shook' me up with this one. it lit the cinders that were distancing themselves from flame, and your mention of 'dry-suck', whoa! yep, the pitch fork and torch will be at your door step if not the nsa

    great write mi amiga

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  14. Fantastic. "...too young to die too old to weep..." Every line was a jewel.

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  15. This is too close for comfort. I weep to think of the world our children and grandchildren are inheriting...either horrible or nonexistent. Is a well-built well-maintained nuclear reactor worse than fracking? Why choose one or the other? Have you ever seen the wind farms outside Palm Springs? And solar power is so underused in North America. Some part of me thinks there are other answers, too...some way to harness the power of the oceans without killing any whales.
    Sigh.
    You are such an amazing writer, my friend. You can even make my dry old brain think (not that I ever reach conclusions, or offer answers, but you make me think answers might exist).
    K

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  16. What a breathtaking and terrifying write. A cindered Stonehenge.
    Invoking Yeat’s beast—penned in the aftermath of the war to end all wars—is brilliant. In the context of our imminent self wrought extinction-- Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.

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  17. I feel your poem as monumental creation, like curving the wood, hollowing the sculpture...~ Enjoyed very much. Thanks.

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  18. timelapse earthquakes in Oklahoma

    as they say, no time like the present.

    Staying with sheep, I mentioned this book to Grace some time ago: The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner, said title taken from Milton's poem Lycidas (per wiki):

    The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
    But swollen with wind and the rank mist they draw,
    Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread ...

    Sigh. You gripped the hammer and hit squarely, Joy ~

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  19. It's good for me to have friends like you and Toril - who keep challenging me to think outside the box (and I'm not referring to Fox News :). As much as many like to say, scientists have not proved anything and are not in agreement on climate change. However, whether we are at the end of an ice age and "regulating" or going into a new one, or this is completely man made, doesn't really concern me anymore. If it is all natural, then what can we do? If it is man made, then we need to put pressure on the whole world - as there are countries far worse than "evil" America.

    With all that said, I think it only sane and wise to be good stewards of our earth, get rid of these mega farms and give incentive to local - quite poisoning our earth with chemicals, and if we take water and oil and coal from the earth, it needs to either settle or fill up with something else - it only makes sense. So the earth will sink or it will rumble and collapse … I have always thought this. We need to stop building and living in areas that really don't support it naturally. That isn't climate change - that's negligent stewardship. Half the cities in CA and NV and on each coast shouldn't be there … New Orleans - forget it. (and I hate how everything comes in plastic)… I really do embrace so many (and I hate the word) liberal ideas, although I am a (hate the label) conservative.

    I speak very simply regarding the above heavy topics. I'm reading a dated book right now by Hal Borland and he has a whole chapter on atmosphere and how it creates climate and weather and my mind is literally spinning trying to comprehend it all. So many people are "arguing" about a topic they have very little understanding about (kind of like politics :) Perhaps that is the first step, we need to shut up and listen, educate ourselves, observe.

    This poem paints a vivid image of a time I hope never comes - the photo is rather intriguing as some of the fires are out… With the heaviness of the topic, the ending gave me a ray of hope. Dancing means one hasn't completely been destroyed - and maybe they can start afresh somehow… OK - enough rambling.

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    1. Thank you Margaret, for reading with an open mind. Thinking is the first step to being your own person. We all identify initially with the 'tribe' we are born into and are familiar with; later we see that there are many tribes and many approaches to the way we can live as humans,and that it is simplistic to limit ourselves with labels--but above all these is what I consider right and wrong, which is where your 'good stewardship' comes in--an old concept that has lost all credence in corporate culture. If you follow the money, Margaret, you will see why there is such a huge lobby against 'climate change' and into preserving the status quo re: fossil fuels. Mega-companies are not concerned with stewardship, or right and wrong or sometimes, it seems, even common sense, only ever-increasing profit in the short term.
      My husband and I were just this minute having a discussion about factory farming. (he is on his way to Tractor Supply to buy a pre-fab hen house to build atm) His people were farmers, and they understood both the ethics and the practical returns of what they did to mean that they were responsible for a decent quality of life for the animals under their care. Nowadays, the only responsibility in business is to the bottom line. Don;t get me wrong--I don;t believe money is evil--money and prosperity are very good things--but the glorification and worship of money is not--and that's where our society sits right now. I'm so glad you enjoyed this poem, and it truly wasn't meant to be political--these beliefs are beyond politics, I think, and go to what our real selves feel about how we should be living and treating our ultimate mother, the Earth.

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  20. Wonderful depth to this poem. It really does seem that we are closer and closer to a sci-fi existence.

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