Saturday, November 30, 2013

Howitzer, Flowers, Blondie, Alit

I am working on something which could be a book-long situation, rambling and, in the end, when it comes right down to it, should one hold its pulpy feet to a figurative fire, with a point. Here is one page of what I suspect will carry on to 60 or so.

Writing as if we are starting again will not do, nor as if we are ending anything. It being understood we are not correcting or correct. Writing that is writing will not do, that is not writing should have thumb to wrist pulse. Poetries that borrow tableware are fine indeed. I can’t keep track of everything I think or feel. A woman writing who falls for every bloody sunset but will not be dictated to. Whom one cannot dictate to. Who, dictator, will do. Woman like trees and trees unlike women. The word Woman, the mention of trees. Writing as if capitulating or canvassing, catapulting, all these like fresh vegetables for sale, all in a line, in wooden crates that may have served another purpose. The draft animal, the decommissioned howitzer. I like a truck that drives like how cold rivers make me feel inside. Inside here, where poems sprout like hats falling from a shelf.  

There are a couple items here I can discuss for those who like discussion. Though why anyone in this day and age wants to discuss anything, unless they have to, like, for work, is beyond me. We are like the birds of the air except we tweet and chirp in flight, alit, feeding, and a-fuck. Lord. Anyhop, I like the word "poetries" which I think covers a lot and allows to whatever one imagines it covers proper dignity. Did I ever tell you that I was in a Blondie video? Heart of Glass, as a dancer, me and friends and a lot of people. Back to the poem, and certain images or thoughts occur which should not be held to account. Everything here is my fault. No poet advances anything, thought they are marvelous at suggesting or offering up the category of advancement. Liberace had his candlesticks as poets have their advancement. What Percy Shelley said about poets being the unacknowledged legislators of the world is nothing to how he got to that statement. There was a time when people cared how one got to one's statements, and that time was when one was young and in school, not when that same person, let's say, came to teach. No, we can afford to age, but that is not a blanket endorsement.

I am happy to employ the word "howitzer" for the ages. It hardly matters what we say. "What." What does the moon say? If the moon says only I am the fucking moon, you have everything you need to know about either what the moon says or might say. What's the difference? Maybe that you ask. Okay, so you ask. What, you want a medal for asking questions? Let's do that. Let's give everyone who asks questions a medal, just as we water the starving flower.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Form & Mourn - JFK and the Quilted Sonnet

What is the form for mourning? For a loved one, a pet, a president. A dead project. Bad grades. Tornadoes. Murder and suicide. The Mets.

There is no form for mourning. Mourning, likes death, is an ongoing conversation. We put forms in front of our mourning as a means of displaying it. Solace, quilted boxes, a yearly trek w/bouquet. Nothing wrong with that. I have no patience (okay, I have some patience...) with people who criticize the trappings of mourning, as if to pierce the veil and reveal terrible truths. How stupid (maybe not too much patience after all).

Mourning is real, the forms of mourning "more real." That is not hypocrisy, it is art. The quilted lining to the mahogany-style casket is not a waste, but one part of a musical score, the constant music of seeing and making. I for one see no art or "truth" in tossing bodies into a fire like so many ruined gloves (huh?)

To the point, I mourn the death of JFK. That is nothing new. Any time I think about his death I mourn. It can be enough to take me right out of a productive day. I think of JFK then and what we might have said in the ensuing years - and so I think of Bobbie, and Martin - and pretty quickly I am bit of a basket case, at least until tomorrow.

That is to say, I mourn. I do not worry about the mourning or the forms that attend the mourning, mine or others' mourning. I do not debate the flame at the grave. I hope to visit it someday and pray the Rosary for the repose of his soul and Bobbie's. That too is a kind of form, a form one places in front of oneself as a means of being. Being after all is not the thought of being, but the impartial and active participant in history which is being having become. Am I the only one who did the reading?


Anyway, I am happy to mourn. Among other pleasant effects it helps to show that I am alive to loss, which is a great gift after all. I hope never to abandon my appreciation for death, loss, and the forms we use to place our feelings in context, for all to share.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Where a Duck is Placed and Assumes a Species of Significance

Once there was a duck. A duck too sensitive for other ducks. A dancing duck too shy to dance. A useless duck. A useless and anonymous duck, shy and quintessent.

Against the fabric of this portrait of a duck, let's place a gun, a sedan, and music playing. We drove through the night and into the next day; like a surgeon's knife we found the basis of things, a tumor hopelessly spawning.

Life is like a series of columns. Columnar thought, politics, accomplishments. The columns are not infinite but broken off, as if there had once been a roof. The background is a quiet swirl, far off, of steel rain and impenetrable mist. "That is where you will find God" - said the duck - "It is where he found me."

Everything is like a steaming holiday pie. Pies are the short leaves of a sapling we are not quite certain is there yet. Why all this decisioning? Who asked us to make such judgments?

Choice lies before me like a sea of discarded playing cards, their suits revealed as if that matters. But I choose the duck. The duck. The. Duck.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Form in Poems and the Visual New

I am no older than when I was young except in certain details. The details are not certain of themselves, but others are I suppose. Scientists and other writers of fact are bound to be certain of such things.

But I am no older, for I am no different. All the facts have changed, this is true, and I have "aged" in the conventional sense, my dear writers/scientists, but I am no older.

For I am not an I that can age. The I I am is the same I it was when I was twenty years of age.

That takes care of that.

To the purpose of this forum, this blog - which I take to be an immensely ribboning, cascading monument to the human capacity of persistence in the absence of an other indicator; to our purpose, dear reader, my statements of "I" are nothing compared to our constant address of form as we inquire into its nature, as we seek its newer incarnations. As we contrast and compare.

And then, as we expect something. I am forever (or constantly) seeing received prosodic forms in current poems, bastardized of course, and never so unique as the writer might hope, but they are there nonetheless. And this is because the writer has read a lot of sonnets, for one example, and the form emerges from that glomming, or because the form itself is something perfectly inherent.

That is, when we write poems, we tend to write in one of the received forms.

I believe this, of course. It would be foolish of me not to. I am a poet, a fairly well-read and well-educated one, and I am a formalist. Not of received forms per se, but of the block form I work in.

But I am not a scholar, and I do not delight in stating the apparent. I like to believe that a thing means something. And that if the meaning is more or less apparent, that another meaning lurks. And then, because I am not even a clever scholar, I like to go outwards to what you might call a philosophical or metaphysical or even moralist vantage point, and ask Why?

Matching almost precisely my opportunities or experiences of reading new poems are instances of doubt and dismay. That so much effort to interest and inform seems oblivious to the form of display and the effect that has on the overall message.

But. I am also not a critic. In any event, I prefer to view others' work as serving some positive purpose, if only to keep the writer from a life of utter drudgery.

So, in the world of form, I see two camps that I care to recognize (I have no use for anyone who thins writing in received forms is "poetical" in itself. That is pathetic). One the one hand, we have successful accomplished modern writers who to a varying degree understand what they are doing. On the other, we have visual poets, who are taking poetic forms, their representations and presentations, into new territory.

And, so, I turn to the Concrete Formalist Poetry website, which has become a playground for visual poets. Clearly, I am delighted. I have no hope for the written poetic word except as I hope for the best of anything, anywhere, at any time. But the visually-oriented poet is doing something different, I think. Something potentially fresh, with implications for a world that is cascading forward into new tactile realms. And, so, I see my work as a kind of iteration of foundations. Brickwork. Non-acculturated stone.

May it serve its purpose. Whatever anyone conceives that to be. I do not expcet to grow any older in my hope that anything I write goes any further than this: not to write is a crime.