10.31.2013

Dark Matter

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In what guise would we be found
That may deliver us, flesh and bone
At the crossroads, dust and stone
From that motion, slipping down
Peel off the skins of beasts and men
And even sinew and structure then
The weight of glory of what we are
Now pulls, in that sinking haze
Does the soul meet its own gaze --
a black hole, or a brilliant star?

10.30.2013

Vintage

it is addressed thusly:
A thought.
it reads:
We are poured out like wine
Deep red and rich every drop
Made airborne with a flick
A sudden stop, a turnabout
We pass with the spin of a glass
From earth to air and back
Almost black, but red the same
And of that birth, quite fair
Of vine from water and ground
And air - and indestructible fire
And they tire, tire of draught
We are drunk for better or worse
Imbibed and oblated and sunk
Until satiated or else the cask
Drowned in atmosphere
And laughed clear as summer noon
Runs down, and where now
Is the vinedresser and gardener
They aver - but for our lack
Who would know they were gone
Drunk too, with the fruit of the sea
Poured out like wine
But the glass is empty --
This time.

10.26.2013

The Lock

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The lock is for certain a curious toy
It has somewhere a hidden key
Though the wit and will to cloy
Does it keep safe what men can see?
A hidden thing is not secure
They have told us roundly, smartly so
To protect aright you must abjure
Observe, repel and touch & go;
But one more curiosity creeps
Of what we have and are and know
Tumblers; obscure, these things it keeps
But for a time & all else will show.

10.25.2013

Night Eyes

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
It may be easier to arise
In morning than do now
What must for now be done.

The body is forgetting
And the soul is slow learning
And the will is midnight snack.

Leaning on our left foot
And rubbing our chin
Is short-waiting and long doing.

So when at last we call
And sleep no longer answers
We see night with night eyes.

10.23.2013

Morning Prayer

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Single, the eye of the lamp that does not sleep
And we in the morning before the morning dark
Stand in quietness, in voice, in that holy ark
Still in stillness did we our silence keep
Was among the images there a tear yet wept
For grief, for joy, while the whole world slept?

10.20.2013

The Orator Exhorts The Opposition

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Do you know. when they speak ill of you
With your name the capers of a fool
Regard you far too Quixotic to be 'cool'
Every motive and intent to misconstrue
A far truth, to reach it from this place
From the gibbering crowd's noisome sound
From hands that struck many to the ground
From each seen and unseen face --
They forget, of course, being but polite
That good comes rarely quite clean shaved
It is likewise quite often ill-behaved
Of the rule that believes it is aught but might.
Having never thus seen the fury of God
And that in that day, none can gainsay him
Go on, and do not even pity pay them
For good reason this is all but odd;
For if the Spirit did not thus breathe
And make real by might the real law
By which the worlds ages saw
In their fables you might still believe;
To oppose evil has no truer man
For the mind flutters, but the heart is fast
And behold when he is done his task--
-- speak against him if you can.
a postscript is here written:
a pass-word:
reservations about technology brown scare unqualified

10.17.2013

The Parents

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
When the sore, tired hours stretch into days
The rains come and go, and the grasses grow
The memories transform, and so we know
The truth sinks to the heart, and there it stays.

10.16.2013

Lampada

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
In the dark beneath the swaying lamp
Whose lighting must needs set adrift
Tracing patterns with brightened air
Sated with the evening damp, sated with the evening damp
When above the reddish tint we lift
The fire in our eyes not just a flare
And the drying oil not just a stamp.

10.15.2013

The Witness

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
In the tractless morning before the dawn
I awoke with a start, in our darkened room
Dozing for a moment, at bedside did loom
An unknown face, and then was gone.

The Song On The Old Brick Mural

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
The sound of tires on gravel, and I am in the city again
If I could be but lukewarm, but either hot or cold I am
And even the open spaces are cramped and cluttered
They must needs smaller cars, who has not uttered
These words when forced to park in such a place
Other than the people, hardly but a human face
Is to be greeted among the countless eyes
And the boxes and poles which in the plaza lies

I think it is a garden of Le Corbusier
And endless construction makes the dusty air
Probably smudge the windows with dunny grit
And all of this is not quite the half of it
This plaza was paid for by someone of note
But for the use of plazas it has not my vote
Nowhere to sit, and to walk is to turn
The location of occluded paths one must learn

It makes me wonder who would love such a place
If we would consider it to have such a face
As these would love? To consider her eyes
Knowing a relation of well stationed lies
Fidelity is a position there just most politic
If we could guess just how she would tick
And him who would love her, shabby or fair
In his office, a fine photo of her there

But withdrawing I find the roads but a clog
Though certainly I see yet no trace of smog
And passing with verve from her outer ring
Of ruins and towers and hotels I swing
My head to the left and am assured of his spouse
For with alack they construct a gambling house
And endless they toil on progress' wheel
Unsmitten, from under its axis I steal.

10.11.2013

End of Cycle II, Gold Smoke and Blue Fire

INTERMEZZO

From time to time, I temporarily stop writing poetry - or writing it down anyway - which creates lulls in the postings on this blog. Some time ago Gagdad Bob of One Cosmos described his blogging, which is done somewhat like poetry: on the spur of the moment, with little structure but what is intuited, and based on what he has been reading and listening to, as having cycles.

When one looks at the poetry of a man such as W.B. Yeats, it is clear that his work had phases or cycles to it, gradually moving from being mythological and symbolic to being political and lyrical. This didn't happen gradually (though in some sense it did) but in distinct steps, usually corresponding with each of his books.

Usually these cycles are not at all independent from one's ordinary circumstances; in fact, they are often determined by sudden and particular changes in such. I will not belabor you with an extraordinary length of words on this subject.

I myself have just recently come to very much such a circumstance.

It is altogether clear that the birth of my first child marked - or nearly so - the end of my first cycle, which was largely experimental and exploratory. This cycle was aptly named 'The Earth is Flat and the Heavens a Dome' and I have a collection of poems from it that will one day be properly edited and published. The naming is intended to be provocative, but given that I am not a flat-earther, as the Sunday aposticha* says,

"Thou hast made the round world so sure, that it shall not be moved."

it is not an attempt to defend what is a seriously boring and insipid conspiracy theory. Instead, it intends to point out that the earth's flatness and the sky's semi-circularity are the truth of the human world, or of human experience, if you will. The original poem I wrote to defend this thesis was clumsy and over-didactic, and though it remains in the copy I sent to several people, I have replaced it with a more tacit, elegant and evocative poem:

From the level ground
Grow the roots of the mountains
Foothills stand and kneel
Stretching forth as a young cedar
Opens her hands in morning
Breathing with sight
And without sound singing
To the dome of deep heaven.

The use of 'her', as always, in my poetry and writing is specific and intentional since I hold to the old lexical tradition of humans being called simply 'men', and defaulting the pronoun to 'he', in the same sense that 'brethren' does not men a group of males, but a group of 'brothers and sisters'. In this poem however, I have used the female pronoun; this is because humanity, in relation to God, is typologically feminine.

---

The second cycle has now ended with the lurching forth of both country and person into a new and stormy time. Having been informed of my being laid off from my job at the same moment we're told that, for the first time in seventeen years, our government will shut down its non-critical services, created a sudden disruption in the rhythm which produced my poems. Intuition has led me to believe that this time it is different.

Appropriately, this cycle is/will be called "Gold Smoke and Blue Fire" and whereas the stations of the first were Waking/Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter/Song/Dreaming, a set of recognizable symbols for the human experience, this will likely be divided in to War/Peace/Fast/Feast. Four is the number of the world, and these poems are somewhat more worldly. On the other hand, there is a paradox here - the poems are not so much more of the world, but in the world. If there were a pithy way to express why this is, two words would suffice: "Because family."

These poems are more rhythmic and I have a few more structural patterns that I have developed to try to frame and channel the voice.

This closing of the cycle, one of the turns of the great wheel of my life which must one day cease, should not be cause for dismay, nor will I stop posting poems here. I'm almost recollected of myself and will begin again anew.

I will reprint below the poem which is somewhat didactic, called "Gold Smoke and Blue Fire."

Breath, with intoning of each word
Of resonating air in song
No pitch, mere syllable is heard
This music's echo to prolong;

The clay itself is humming, ringing
It shows its perfect instrument
In its ready silence, singing
I am here, I shall be sent;

A wisp of heavy smoke begins
To roil and make effluvium
In rose-laden odor ascends
Strand by golden stand unspun;

And the cool and dancing light
As the Zeon upon the Cup
Smoke by day and fire by night
Now blue-bright is rising up.

Then in a flash we both return
And we are standing somewhere else --
Then repair, O rise and turn
With voice of iron, the call of bells.
Thank you for reading!

*Aposticha are short hymns in the latter part of the service of lamplighting, Vespers. They proceed outwards and end with the Nunc Dimittis, "Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace", which is the Canticle or Song of St. Symeon the Elder that he exclaims when holding the infant Christ; that he may finally die in peace.

10.05.2013

Shutdown

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
A man went down from Jerusalem
That path which is wide and low
With many a crag and bend
To travel to Jericho;

Were the walls still standing there
Or did but a lone house remain
Was there a sound on the air
Or silence, just the same?

What did he expect to find
The shouts of some ancient war
A way to see for the blind
Something worth dying for?

But empty is this city-place
And our traveler turns to go
But figures now fill the space
A story that we all know.

10.03.2013

Exit Ramp

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
Withal, the wind was inviting warm
So we turned off the climate control
And let it blow brisk as we roll
Into the eye of the coming storm.

10.02.2013

Return of the Post-Post-Moderns

it is addressed thusly:
An ode.
it reads:
Let us repair to our haunts of yore
A fine excuse for running down
A book forgotten all the more
And for curiosity, a frown
A stool for feet still sore.

Marry good fellows, a toast it is
Make glass ring out the hours
And pour it out, and shake the fist
Even bring out the sours
No libation would go amiss.

Let us have a song then, who can sing
Even he cannot recall the words
Let not this shame here cause a sting
Nor offense be drawn to swords
For we are all just remembering.

10.01.2013

Meditations on a Theme (Haiku III): Reading

it reads:
The silhouette leans
And turns, black I see the words
In a window, white.

What the Gatekeeper Asks

it is addressed thusly:
A vision.
it reads:
The endless arrows come at us now
Now more targets than are we men?
Save your grief for where and for when
Silence and peace would grief allow.