Grown in the dark

Grown in the dark

 

There is a way to make

this entirely physical,

the body’s fault

to crave. There is a way

to talk, verbal penance,

until punishment

becomes commonplace.

 

Till driving by

at night, the object

illuminates in spotlight.

The man, there, functions

as priest, at ease

with hackneyed miracle

or spiritual possession.

 

What is there to say

that is enough change

to show in neon light,

and why must indulgence

be costly, complete?

 

This talk is supposed

to stay small, anonymous,

as mundane as murder.

 

 

Patios

Patios

The plastic table cloth, the one they used since the 50’s because it still worked; cartoon figures saying things we don’t say, like “hot dog!” to mean “cool”. The home-welded barbecue, together we circled ’round flags stuck in bottle necks, there to decorate and anchor; matchbooks’ cinder, the thermometer, in a right-here-right-now temperature, and the fly swatter’s unpredicted swat.

I once knew patios by pools, but they were not mine. There was just the one known well, that dawned on the house grandfather built with a mind for not exactly this, nondescript rectangle of cement, with too many risky chairs to sit except for the great grandmother, while she was still there. The old people we can’t bear to watch eat, and patient, pass the pickles when she asks.

We must have pickles, omnivorous, German hand-me-down desire for pickles we had, making them out of anything we grew, on the hodge-podge of chairs to sit for a minute, for hours, or a lifetime with the cigar and the furniture that didn’t fit in the house only made it thus far. But daughter-sister, you know it troubles everyone to question the order of things, despite it’s true.

When you’re there, it all makes sense, to hope the strong breeze comes up and moves us, to clip the tablecloth corners and hunker down, before the breeze that moves stagnant air away from the house, away to move freely, the further out we make it, picked up on the breeze that expands the garden flags, the edges of this patio only lightly attached, attached enough, to qualify as our corner of the world.

Having this time together

Having this time together

Among the clothes we wear, a thought takes shape around the living being shaped of molecules laughing, when she asks for my ID a second time, so sure I had changed that much in a minute! Just between you and me: chopsticks, table, plate, cloth, window, haze, your eyes, hands’ gesture, habitual like everything we do.

What of the greens? 58 shades of green we named, with stages of each from birth to death to remains, shadows in the world we walk through. We know asparagus, avocado greens, but the rifle green, the office green, the Russian green. And oh, the celadon.

We have so much to learn! we have lived so long to forget, having roots in grass and grow, and in it, the treason of naming, as to hold you named is to own, to fathom.

Sister

Sister

 

one may say “entrenched”—as one

may say “free”, and security—

there are sisters

fiercely entrenched and free,

bloody handed and alive,

despite the stone and literal

control of her hours as sisters

can be alive, serious

as a blade of grass

in the family; in slight

movement, slight

cause, but dawned

on her own

story

where every plate,

every cup, every bag

of refuse is the last

rising sun

in the green, lit

with entrenchment—

soft dawn

of the complex—

to dawn with embellished

which in that complexity, she

dug into the trash

for an offering,

offered reclamation

of complex dawning

 

 

(c) aboldtcreativesoul 2016

 

 

Had there been signs

Had there been signs–

 

the stink of a city on the decline

 

even if the sign says come on

in, telegraphic murmurs say

 

into the sky as if someone

were there among proliferate

 

plastic, the material

angel and the quasi

bookstores, the place

for head coverings

 

and the old people who recall

interiors of shops

that came before,

 

before the super

doppler, before panic

attack, back when

we didn’t know

 

how to call it, but

we were happy,

before the trends said–

 

she said I should have known

I was ejected from my own home,

 

like a figurine declined, a homeless

wish, wanderer in the streets

that seemed like freedom, at the time

 

 

(c) aboldtcreativesoul 2016

Ekphrasis

Twentieth-Century Poetry and the Visual Arts

by Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux, (c) 2008; Cambridge University Press

One of the topics of this blog will be to contemplate readings that have provided me an opportunity to see life in general in a different light, that I hope will serve as a starting point for others to pursue intellectual challenges and, I assume, insights.

While reading the introduction to this textbook, and frankly, wondering why I am someone who reads textbooks for fun . . . I realized I had previously only a basic understanding of “ekphrasis”, which typically means a written response to visual art. Many years reading and writing poetry, and then the completion of a degree in Poetry, does not mean “one” (me) thoroughly understands a subject. Recently, for a variety of reasons which I will touch on in other posts, the insights are a-flowin’.

Loizeaux makes a point that:

” . . . out of the ekphrastic situation, the simple, ‘blameless fun’ of looking at pictures, balloon big issues of life and art. The ekphastic poet . . .comes to the painting seeking friendship, fun, a little flirtation: in short, connection to others in a world that seems warmer and more certain than his own, only to find it indifferent to him. ‘That simple world from which we’ve been evicted,’ is how Sassoon similarly described the scene in an English landscape.” (8)

Loizeaux refers to the “cry of nostalgic modernity” and the longing for an (idealized) time in the past, while discussing poet Richard Wilbur’s poem “A Dutch Courtyard” (1947) in response to Pieter De Hooch’s painting, A Dutch Courtyard (1658/1660).

Loizeaux’s text “called to light” the relationship between poet, painter, and the public; raised the question, what exactly do we do when we write about art? Why write creatively, in response to art? So many benign exercises in poetry workshops later, as students are encouraged to write poems in response to art, there is much more depth to explore to really understand this relationship.

Any of us who engage in ekphrasis, participate in this dialectical situation where we simultaneously crave to enter the painting or work of art, or experience it more deeply, while knowing the indifference of the painting or art work towards us even as we long for this engagement.

The question of the role of poetry in our current time, is a question for future posts . . . the concept and experience of “nostalgia” is also worth exploring. What is nostalgia? Why do we experience it? Is it a natural condition of being human?

If you haven’t explored Ekphrasis (or have no idea what it is), I encourage you to read the following poems for a start:

“Landscape with Fall of Icarus” by William Carlos Williams

“A Dutch Courtyard” by Richard Wilbur

“Mathilde in Normandy” by Adrienne Rich

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Overheard in the desert

Overheard in the desert

 

So we spoke,

with one hand on the gun–

 

oblique–

from the point of hearing,

 

not knowing

an end,

 

we spoke of unsent

letters in sealed drawers

 

and thus hinted

at inevitable

pain,

 

how the animals

change bones’

shape at will

 

how the stone you hold

is precious, depending

on light it withholds,

 

which may be

a story known

only in these parts

 

 

 

(c) aboldtcreativesoul 2016
A Mind

Jack Bennett

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Wolfgang Paalen

Painter, Surrealist and Philosopher of Contingency