If There Were a Heaven, It Would Stink with Life

Blanchot wrote that Nietzsche was the first to teach us that, “if you begin to think, then you can hope for no rest.” [The Writing of the Disaster, p 123] And yet it’s a fact, lucidity cannot be maintained perpetually. It’s also a fact that the human brain cannot conceive its own nonbeing. Continue reading

Posted in Prayers and Curses | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Read, Pig!

Once I saw the title, Think, Pig! I had to have Jean-Michel Rabaté’s book, published last year by Fordham University Press. Continue reading

Posted in book review | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pierced to a Cry

In the darkness we imagine
a brilliant articulation
but we don’t yet know who speaks.
Will it be us?
Agent or reactant,
we pause at the crease.
Or are we the fold itself,
hidden from ourselves that which
is exposed to the world?
We are porous to it,
that much we know. But eyes
aren’t made to see some things
until the body is pierced to a cry.

A voice poem for Brendan

Posted in poem, Prayers and Curses | 8 Comments

Acéphale

 

drawing by Mark Kerstetter after Masson's Kleist

drawing by Mark Kerstetter after Masson’s Kleist

Masson saw skulls spilled in Champagne,
tried to box the damage in canvas.
In a new year pomegranates are lucky, they say.
If one is offered with bowed head
take it—take four, like Persephone.
Antioxidant or IED is not for you to say.
Hold your knife in one hand, heart in the other.
And whatever you do, don’t think.

Posted in drawing, poem, Prayers and Curses | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Age in Agency

The phrase “time bomb”
is as course and indelicate
as a fire-breathing dragon
and shall make no headway here
tho its head
or ass
is already in the door.
Hit it with Webster.
Hit it with Roget.
Hit it with a 10 lb. bottle of aspirin,
with a wagonload of organic produce,
with your best intentions
in your best suit
with your best foot.
And then hit it again with whatever
is left lying on the floor.
One can’t prescribe
the number of rounds.
Only you
can put a Frostian spin
or no
on your strength
or lack thereof.

Posted in poem, Prayers and Curses | 3 Comments

The Day I Met Leroy Jenkins

I am gratified to Jonathan Penton of Unlikely Stories Mark V for welcoming three of my noisier more biting poems. Is It Too Soon? is most recent, written shortly after and in response to our infamous November 8th election. I wondered, in 11 stanzas, if it was too soon to write this poem. But now, just a month later, I wonder if the clock is chiming 12 and that chime is OUTRAGE. Not so much that people are numb but addicted. Addicted to outrage after outrage and Trump serves that purpose. The Birthing is, I feel, one of my best. And A Chaos of Lust, a Pawned Guitar (Remembering Lee Teich) is the most personal poem I’ve published.

I feel that A Chaos of Lust sings on its own, but because the poem is about real people, I’d like to say a bit more about them. Continue reading

Posted in personal essay, Publication News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Poetry and Communication

From a time in my late teens when I couldn’t yet write poetry I’ve salvaged this fragment:

Fathers:
perennial movement
tumescent adolescence
caught by webs of clotheslines
on a ladder of muscle and bone
into the womb.

Mothers:
perfumed shadows
secrets beating tiny fists
from a bloody plunge
to a spring back
up with flowers.

It’s from a confused and very bad poem that stays with me because of its subject: an inability to communicate with those who should be closest to us. It seemed to me then that nothing was more heartbreaking. Today I still can’t think of anything worse. But it takes more than feeling to produce a poem that works. A couple of recent efforts have been published in Watershed Review. I’m glad the two are together because they go back in theme or flavor to my first serious attempts to write poems.

One needn’t look far to see the devastating consequences of communication failure. What does the shock and awe of the U.S. presidential election result signify, above all, but a series of communication failures, not simply in the media or between Republicans and Democrats but, more seriously, within the parties amongst those who purport to have the same ideals? When I was a teenager communication began to break down with my mother who was a fundamentalist Christian. Fundamentalists do not or cannot recognize worldviews other than their own as valid. My mother gave me a book by one of the founders of the Christian Right entitled, How Should We Then Live? Today I like to ask the question: ‘How should we then communicate?’ Sometimes it seems hopeless.

And sometimes it seems to me as if we are all inside a dream, dreaming this life we live as a society. We don’t know, as a group, that we are dreaming. But those who suspect it are trying to create messages within the dream to alert the others. We don’t know if it’s possible to wake up, much less dream another dream. But we have to hope, if logic holds, that it is possible. Meanwhile, neither life nor death wait. As one creature breathes his last all points rush furiously outward.

Posted in poem, Publication News | 2 Comments