[ Curtain ; Jessica Dessner (2010) ]......................
-- Peter Cole
Saxifrage, arabis, phlox;
lobelia, euphorbia, nasturtium;
coreopsis, guara, flax;
brunnera, salvia, rubrum;
delphinium, snapdragon, alyssum;
bacopa, yarrow, thyme;
viola, cress, chrysanthemum,
convolvulus and clematis that climb
over the flowering fescue,
the prairie mallow, and sage,
with Lucerne sisyrinchium to the rescue
of spirit surveying the cage
of its inching calibrations –
luring us out to stare
into this constellation’s
efflorescence as everywhere.
Is what most people call mysticism an escape from reality or a means of entry into it with greater intensity? Or maybe that should just be — my standard for mysticism is the same as for poetry: does it make life more interesting or less?
Something useful I stumbled on this morning while looking for music that might help me work: Bach’s miraculously microcosmic Inventions, which he titled “honest instruction,” were written for children to teach them how to “discover” the little ideas and starting points that unfold into a piece, and then to move, within exercises in counterpoint, from givenness to song.
An afterthought about the aesthetic of conduction: Pleasure, certain psychoanalysts have noted, is experienced with the greatest intensity in the momentary dissolution of the ego, physically through orgasm and socially and emotionally through a lower-intensity (sublime and sublimated) love-- which is to say, not in isolation from the ego, but in its giving way to something larger, which might also be smaller.
That’s not a bad place to start when it comes to what one needs to know as a writer, or even as a reader or scholar or serious seeker, though of course one comes to such things only long after the start.
Then again, one is always starting.
The perfect state of being human isn't perfection,
it's becoming, the Greek says, ever more real
in nearing but never quite reaching a certain ideal,
like translation. It's deficient. A chronic affection.
Ancient aspirants imagined perfection
as progress up-- to places on high.
For us the question is can one bring
that heightened vision to an eye?
Perfection, the feeling philosopher says,
suggest an openness to endless change--
the self in radical revolution
within a self it soon finds strange.
-- from 'The Perfect State'; Peter Cole
Given free rein, our imagination can get infinite.
Unlike a lot of writers, I don't have any craving to be understood.
I don't know if it was writer's block or if I just didn't have anything I wanted to say.
It's overwhelming when you know Indian history. What fuckin' assholes we were for so long.
All people disappear.
I didn't want to die on the Warner lot.
Has happiness changed with age? Yes, I expect less of everything.
No conclusions on time. Other than the old beginning, middle, and end.
You end up missing your dogs.
What's the meaning of it all? Seems to me nobody's got a clue. Quote Jim Harrison on that: Nobody's got a clue.
Nothing SpecialTo tend daily intrigue,
bartering up from
folds and pages,
I honor simpatico
assembled in the same
closed deal reminder
of what we all have
with the physical.
accepting out back
always is the stalled
of fist appearance,
womb for the ātman ,
so a simillimum
as such for worthy
wrought percentage bet
each morning to wake
our weight on into.
History seems particularly important to you.
As I said, I read a great deal of it. Never in any systematic way but I have read deeply in certain areas: World War II, medieval, lately a lot of nineteenth-century world history and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American history. A persistent theme of mine seems to be man’s inhumanity to woman and man. Lots of examples of that in history and right up until the seconds before I finish typing up this sentence. Lots of metaphorical possibilities to mine there too! I’m just curious: I don’t want to take tests on what I read; I don’t want to argue with history professors about theories. An example of the kind of book I like best would be about the daily life—in as great detail as possible—of a fifteenth-century German pig farmer.
The Drowned River uses a famous saying of William Faulkner’s as an epigraph: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” How important is that idea to your poetry?
Well, I believe Mr. Faulkner was right. I don’t think he meant simply “history repeats itself,” though that’s implicit too. I think he’s saying that humans are pretty much the same as we’ve always been. I think he’s saying that despite all the tremendous advantages the modern world brings us, we carry our past, ourselves, our history, with us always. As a country. As one country among many others. As individuals. I think he’s taking a swipe at our human arrogance, the relentless drive of the human ego.
To Help the Monkey Cross the River
-- Thomas Lux
which he must
cross, by swimming, for fruits and nuts,
to help him
I sit with my rifle on a platform
high in a tree, same side of the river
as the hungry monkey. How does this assist
him? When he swims for it
I look first upriver: predators move faster with
the current than against it.
If a crocodile is aimed from upriver to eat the monkey
and an anaconda from downriver burns
with the same ambition, I do
the math, algebra, angles, rate-of-monkey,
croc- and snake-speed, and if, if
it looks as though the anaconda or the croc
will reach the monkey
before he attains the river’s far bank,
I raise my rifle and fire
one, two, three, even four times into the river
just behind the monkey
to hurry him up a little.
Shoot the snake, the crocodile?
They’re just doing their jobs,
but the monkey, the monkey
has little hands like a child’s,
and the smart ones, in a cage, can be taught to smile.
-- Thomas Lux
Boil it down: feet, skin, gristle,
bones, vertebrae, heart muscle, boil
it down, skim, and boil
again, dreams, history, add them and boil
again, boil and skim
in closed cauldrons, boil your horse, his hooves,
the runned-over dog you loved, the girl
by the pencil sharpener
who looked at you, looked away,
boil that for hours, render it
down, take more from the top as more settles to the bottom,
the heavier, the denser, throw in ache
and sperm, and a bead
of sweat that slid from your armpit to your waist
as you sat stiff-backed before a test, turn up
the fire, boil and skim, boil
some more, add a fever
and the virus that blinded an eye, now’s the time
to add guilt and fear, throw
logs on the fire, coal, gasoline, throw
two goldfish in the pot (their swim bladders
used for “clearing”), boil and boil, render
it down and distill,
that for which there is no
other use at all, boil it down, down,
then stir it with rosewater, that
which is now one dense, fatty, scented red essence
which you smear on your lips
and go forth
to plant as many kisses upon the world
as the world can bear!
Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,
Within whose burning bosom we devise
Our earthly mothers waiting, sleeplessly.
-- from 'Sunday Morning'; Wallace Stevens
How, for one, will we make sense of death if it comes to be viewed as something with no intrinsic meaning, but chiefly as a piece of bad luck, a matter of bad timing—the misfortune, for example, of contracting the disease before the march of inevitable medical progress had caught up with it? Or worse, how can we ever be reconciled to death when it becomes understood as something almost entirely accidental, and largely preventable?
Do we imagine that complete control over our biological fates will necessarily make us happier? Perhaps it will. But one can as easily imagine that there might be little room for uninhibited joy or exuberance in such a world. More likely it will be a tightly wound world, saturated with bitterness and anxiety and mutual suspicion, in which life and health will be guarded with all the ferocity of Ebenezer Scrooge guarding his money. Growing mastery means growing responsibility, and the need to assign blame, since nothing happens by chance. Some of the blame will be directed at the parents, politicians, doctors, and celebrities who make plausible villains, or conspiracy theories that explain why someone else is always at fault. But much of the blame will devolve upon ourselves, since in being set free to choose so much about our lives, we will have no one else to blame when we make a complete mess of things.
No, there is good reason to fear that the more our lives are prolonged and powers extended, and the more death becomes seen as an avoidable evil whose precise moment should be “chosen,” rather than an inherent feature of human life, the more common it will be to encounter people who live imprisoned by their fear of all risk, since the possible consequences of any risk will seem too vast, too horrible, and too fully avoidable, to be contemplated.
That such a world would drain human life of dignity and spiritedness is not hard to imagine.....
For me there is no materiality to apparent materiality. In our bodies, 3 billion cells a minute are dying and being reborn. So our bodies look solid, but they aren't. How many minutes have just gone by and how many cells have died and been reborn? We're like a fountain. A fountain of water looks solid, but you can put your fingers right through it. Our bodies look like things, but there's no thingness to them.
-- Li-Young Lee
|Andrew & Noah Band|
|Brown Rice Family|
|....magic eye art....|
|...magical totem art...|
|Felix Y Los Gatos|
|...main stage foxtrot...|
|Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate|
Ancient Subterranean Fires--Elizabeth Willis
When I crossed the road, I burned with the heat of its traffic. Time as movement, a government of rushes. All those itching satellites, blind among the dreaming guns. A bee in its lace is the author of something. Easy work is out there, just beyond the mines. A cab into heroic legend, the first of its kind. To look back on gasoline as hoof and leaf. A moving eye, scrolling through the weeds. Just another carnivore frozen at the spring. As dirty as heaven, a skeleton key.
Belief in Magic
-- Dean Young
How could I not?
Have seen a man walk up to a piano
and both survive.
Have turned the exterminator away.
Seen lipstick on a wine glass not shatter the wine.
Seen rainbows in puddles.
Been recognized by stray dogs.
I believe reality is approximately 65% if.
All rivers are full of sky.
Waterfalls are in the mind.
We all come from slime.
I believe we’re surrounded by crystals.
Not just Alexander Vvedensky.
Maybe dysentery, maybe a guard’s bullet did him in.
I believe there are many kingdoms left.
The Declaration of Independence was written with a feather.
A single gem has throbbed in my chest my whole life
even though this is my second heart....