Thursday, 13 October 2016

A NEW TAKE ON THE BURNING MAN





















At first glance, I think—
performance art —an actual
albeit, huge man
standing there
It's hard to understand why
Then, the scent of candle-wax
wafts towards me; I realize
finally,  the man's head
is melting

I walk towards the sculpture
and read the description
One artist is paying homage
to another
Has sculpted a larger-than-life-
size, absolutely realistic
replica of an idol
Then put, what one writer has
referred to as,' a candle that
burns at glacial rate'
within the head and neck

At some point, the whole
thing will, presumably,
collapse in a waxy puddle
I find it odd, but interesting
Less so when I find out
the fellow being idolized
is still living

As I observe the crumpled
cranium, the already long,
grey hair, frazzled and dripping
down the back
I wonder how the living
replica feels about this guy.

Seen in the Whitney Museum in NYC, August 2016 - Urs Fischer's sculpture dedicated to writer-director Julian Schnabel.











Tuesday, 27 September 2016

OUTLINE ECLIPSED















Doppelganger you,
never far from me
My damn, constant
companion, you
never let me be

You're no spectre no
spirit, too solid by far
My alter ego menace
my double, super nova
 - spirit-star

Oh shadow self, silhouette
let me see you whole
Step out from the gloom
come over here in
to the light, my mole

I wonder what it is you fear
Why darkness is your friend
Come forward, shady one
I'll protect you, keep your
ghost-trace from the sun.



Saturday, 24 September 2016

Monday, 18 July 2016

BASTILLE DAY, NICE 2010 and 2016















Bastille Day, six years ago, in the photo, she stands on the beach at Nice
Remembers feeling blessed to scrunch her toes in the sand where the very rich
and the artistic both loved to frolic - the playground frequented by Picasso, Matisse,
Monet - and the writers - Stein, Hemingway, Gatsby and others, too many to mention
The words idyllic and privileged occurred to her more than once but she didn't mind.

Fast forward to the present: annual celebrations underway for France's biggest revelry
as dark inks the night, and fireworks are readied to be-jewel the sky. Abruptly, chaos
reigns - a thunderous cacophony, and some flares - did the fireworks begin early?
All too soon it becomes apparent something much less celebratory is happening ...
An out-of-control truck is careening at high speed down the main boulevard; the place

is chock-a-block with people of all ages and no other vehicles. There is no escaping
the death-mobile. The night air saturates: shooting, screaming, blood, and dying.
Dying. Before police are able to kill the driver, dozens of dead line the street
with dozens more seriously injured.  A terrorist attack takes place in Nice on Bastille Day.
The woman stares at her photograph through stinging tears; first it was Paris, now
Nice; she carves out room to house more hurt in her heart. It's all she can think to do.

Monday, 27 June 2016

BECOMING UNSANE


















When I wake and find myself mad with missing you,
is that a form of craving?
I picture your infant self - you were so beautiful; everyone
said so; strangers would stop me at the mall, on the street,
everywhere - and it was always the same,
"Oh my, what a beauty - a girl, I guess, eh?"

Even though I'm all about gender-neutrality,
you were very fair, bald almost, and I got tired
of confirming that, yes, you were a lovely girl
Hence the bows, the pink outfits ...

Sometimes, my arms ache to hold you - often actually -
to not even hear your voice is almost beyond my ken
And the rest of it - this shunning thing you're doing -
I guess that too is beyond me.
At times I think I'm going unsane, that I'll never
get over this surreal period in my life.

It comes to me that it's your life also.
Do you feel the loss as keenly? Ever?


Friday, 8 April 2016

THE BROTHER WITHOUT A NAME ... OR NOT















A Daughter Wonders

Their conversation was casual
at dusk, in the bedroom
and she cannot remember
how they got onto the topic
again
It's not like they talked about
it often, but it did come up
the matter of her brother's
adoption
The night he arrived
Was this the first time she'd
learned this detail
That he'd arrived un-named?

Too Late, a Daughter Wonders

I wish that she was still here
so that I could ask her if she
really told me this
Why would she lie to me about
this? What was the point?
It's not like I didn't already
ache for him in so many ways
But to tell me he arrived at
their house without even a
name ... why would she tell
me that, if it wasn't true?

Betrayed and Angry, a
Sister  Wonders

Going through her things
was mostly routine; she was
so organized, just as she was
when alive. But papers are
papers and each one needed
to be examined - then filed
or shredded.
Finding our adoption papers
was a bit jolting but I didn't
expect any surprises - wrong.
I found your real name.
You had one! After she'd told
me you came to them without
any moniker, it turns out
they had just completely
changed the one you were
given ... what the hell?

Bereft and Unquestioning

The night she told me you were
not only delivered in the dark
of night, convulsing and screaming
the house down, but, worst of all -
"poor little babe - he had no name"
I remember having to strain to hear
her, lean in close, right near her
mouth; and I made her repeat it.
"What?" my voice sounded ultra-
loud in the quiet of her bedroom
"What did you say ..."
She was crying then, but spoke
a little louder, "He had no name,"
she whispered, "When the Children's
Aid women were leaving, we asked
them - what should we call him?"
And they told us, "...whatever you
want ... nobody's named him yet..."
Then we both wept, hugging.
Is it possible she never saw your
birth certificate herself? I want
to believe this, I do.

Things I Knew, But Didn't Share

In common knowledge realms,
it's said that our memories don't
reach back to babyhood, but I
remember the night I was dropped
at my adoptive parents. I do. And
clearly. Maybe it's because the
story has been told so often, I
just think I remember it, but I
don't think so. There are too
many sensory details that are
beyond the scope of anyone else's
memory, that I can recall ...
Like how the dark felt wet even
though it wasn't raining.
How hot my skin was - I could
feel the heat through the skimpy
blanket I was wrapped in.
(I didn't find out 'til later, I was
running  a high fever - an
almost fatally high fever.)
The business about my name?
I remember that too - being
called something at the foster
home - it had two syllables
and they weren't "hey you".

A Mother's Regrets

She's going now. I hear her locking my door, so careful.
I wish I could let her know how much I love her; I know
she never believes me, I can see it on her face, in the way
she so gingerly hugs me and then pulls away.

What did I do tonight that was so upsetting? It's so hard
for me to remember what I did, or said, from one minute
to the next. This getting old is such a tiresome event.
I am wracking my brain trying to think what we talked about.

Somehow, we always reminisce about things. I guess that's
natural, to be expected, at my age, and even at hers. Oh,
oh, I remember! We were talking about her brother, my son;
since he died, she's been thirsty for information about him.

Oh yes, now I recall. I told her about his unlucky naming or
non-naming, I guess is closer to the truth of it. I thought I'd
told her this ages ago, but I could tell by the shock on her face,
she either had no recollection or had not heard it before.

It is awful, if you think of it, having a baby over a year - and
never naming the child! Never? I remember his father and I
just staring at each other, saying in sync - we'll call him
"William, John" as if we'd decided it before hand

We hadn't, but it seemed so important and just felt right
Of course, William was a pretty large handle for such a wee
boy (he was big for his age, but still) and we all started calling
him Billy and Bill right then, that night, and from there on.

The prompt was supplied by Harold Abramowitz and is described below, as is more about this interesting poet.

Write something you cannot remember: a memory of something – a story, an anecdote, a song, another poem, a recipe, an episode of a television program, anything, that you only partially or imperfectly remember. Write multiple versions, at least 6, of this memory.

I did do six versions of this maybe memory, and they are from these points of view ... (even thought four versions are from my point of view - one in the third person - they're all from different times.)

#1 - third person, mine,  #2 - first person, mine   #3 - first person, mine     #4 - first person, mine
#5 - first person, my brother      #6 - first person, my mother

More from Harold Abramovitz
Much of my work focuses on trauma.  In my work, I attempt to use innovative narrative and poetic techniques and forms to work around the felt experience of trauma.  For example, my book Dear Dearly Beloved consists of a series of love letters in which the narrator tries, and fails, and tries again, to make sense of an incredible loss. In my novella Not Blessed, an unmentioned public trauma—war—disintegrates a shifting narrator, as he idealizes an idyllic childhood memory that cannot possibly be true.  My hope is that my work will challenge the reader to rethink—both emotionally and intellectually—our relationships to what we believe we know.


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

THE FRAGILITY OF HORSES


The appaloosa takes the jump effortlessly
How did they know to bring a cup of tears?
There is no need to tip-toe about quietly
I will tell you when to shut up - have no fears
 - oh - not another fracture; they're absurd -
The appaloosa running at dusk is barely seen
Shall I go out now and round up the herd?
- it might cripple more the horses who've been  -
I don't think I can bear to take down the jump
The tears must have been included in the RSVP
Now it's imperative there be no noise, kill the pump
- another fracture might cripple horses that will be...
No - not if I don't go out there and round them up.


Monday, 4 April 2016

PEACE



                        
                                                  APPEASE 
  
ACCORD                                               CARE
                             
                                AMICABLE                                            ESCAPE          CALM

                                 P E A C E                                                         EASE

           PLACID           AMNESTY               PACT                                     
PACIFIC                     
                                                  CIVIL
                                            
                            CONCILIATE              

      

    
                                 
















Sunday, 3 April 2016

RARE DAYS AND GRACE



Speak to me of rare days filled with grace
and phrases rich. Endless words for poems
you'll weave with threads sensual,
but rooted in the real, in all there is to witness.
Write no empty lines, none that you will not
wish to lay claim to - even if only briefly.
In the end, remember the sensuous and erotic
do not necessarily feed the same hunger.
Speak to me of all of these,  rare days, and grace.

BASHAD

BASHAD

old, little-known;art-l trap
nes eeled lined appled
bo ewn hen ton, oder
best serve ovower
sage red signer
stoned


Found Poetry Review’s Day 3: Nico Vassilakis wrestles letters to free them of their word scrum. Stare at a word until the letters start to discorporate. You will find that letter cohesion, the letter glue that keeps letters stuck inside a word, is disrupted and dissolves. Fragments of letters will dislodge too. You are then free to visually interpret or document the life of letters outside their word existence as loosely or succinctly as possible.






(I was having trouble with this prompt and visited Vassilakis' blog site to see what else he'd done with this type of constraint (or "freeing") - I loved the idea of staring so long that letters began to fall off places and used one of my photos from last year's FPR project, and the poem beneath it for the "staring" part of the prompt. My result is bizarre, but I quite like it.)

Sunday, 13 March 2016

DON'T YOU JUST








Don't you just
love days
that flower
full of song
and lack regret?
The ones where
you awaken,
as if
still dreaming,
inexplicably
delighted?
You stay
still,
hold your
breath,
listen
hard before
you ease
like Sol into
the shining sky.

No words
can portray
days like these,
none adequately
explain
the gift
of them,
a present you
construe
ephemeral.

Wonder
how to
transform
into something
permanent.
Know
the folly of
trying to
objectify
or water
flowers unreal;
the wilting
of dreams
other
than lovely.



Friday, 11 March 2016

WEATHERED UNDER












(in memory of Farley, the wolf - died 2015)

How difficult to say the truth
You know the way it is
Your beloved pet - a soul-mate who
shared your life for decades:
more than two
Became ill, weary of living, had to
be put to sleep yesterday

But when someone asks you how
you're doing, how you are ...
You say - oh, not too bad
Or - I've been better -or, covering
your pain with a pseudo-ailment
I'm a bit under-the-weather today

Nothing serious, your friend hopes
and you reply, you're sure not
Probably just the twenty-four hour
flu - not to worry - and you hurry off
Just making it back to your car
to hunch over the steering wheel
as you let grief pour from your eyes.

Monday, 29 February 2016

UNDER THREAT OF DREAMS














Under threat of dreams destroyed
or another run of terrible times
I am going back through my memories,
skipping over the ones that are hard
to think about now
Letting them dissolve in mists of scarlet
Trying instead to touch those that mean
the most, the ones that jump forward,
chiming clear as a church bell
on a Sunday morning
It's not enough to try and remember
the kiss of a child crossed with the tears
of yesteryear
Group it all together and maybe, just maybe
I'll have more left than expected.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

THE WEIGHT OF THE WRONG SADNESSES

In memory of KJN (Jan. 1968 - Jan.2016)
 
The sky is matted with unshed tears
and the air thick with winter writhing
A friend buries one of his children
as the planet spins gravely out-of-control
She feels selfish wishing for anything
when so much loss shrouds so many
Instead makes her mind as blank
and empty as a death-row convict's stare.