Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leaves in a Drained Swimming Pool by Dean Young


Leaves in a Drained Swimming Pool
by Dean Young

Poetry is an art of beginnings and ends. You want middles, read novels. You want happy endings, read cookbooks. Not closure, word filtched from self-help fuzzing the argument. Endsville. Kaput. Form is the shape of the selecting intelligence because time is running out. Form enacts fatality. To pretend otherwise is obfuscation, philosophical hub-bub of the worst sort. A lie. We die. We go to art to learn the unlearnable, experience the unexperiencable. Art reports back. Form is the connect, primal haunt, carbon chain end-stopped. You can tell it’s late because we prefer the songs of Orpheus after he’s torn apart. Pattern as much a deficiency as a realization. No one gets to count forever. Irreverence is irrelevant’s revenge. When you slice yourself open, you don’t find a construct. Bloom rhyming with doom pretty much took care of Keats. Wire in the monkey’s diencephalon prints out a wave most beautiful. Open form prone to mouse-droppings just as closed to suffocation. The river swims in the fish. The giraffe goes knock-kneed to drink. The girl ties back her hair in a universal gesture. Theories about art aren’t art any more than a description of an aphid is an aphid. A menu isn’t a meal. We’re trying to build birds, not birdhouses. Put your trust in the inexhaustible nature of the murmur, Breton said that and know when to shut up, I’m saying that. We’re not equations with hats. Nothing appears without an edge. There’s nothing worse than a poem that doesn’t stop. No one lives in a box. The heart isn’t grown on a grid. The ship has sailed and the trail is shiny in the dew. Door slam, howling in the wood, rumble strips before the toll booth. Enter: Fortinbras. Ovipositor. Snow. Bam bam bam, let’s get out of here. What I know about form couldn’t fill a thimble. What form knows about me will be my end.

===============================

"The effects of radioative particles on the human body, so topical in 1959, are nothing new to old poetry-lovers.  Used with moderation, a first-class verse is an excellent and usually fast-working form of heat therapy.  Once, in the Army, when I had what might be termed ambulatory pleurisy for something over three months, my first real relief came only when I had placed a perfectly innocent-looking Blake lyric in my shirt pocket and worn it like a poultice for a day or so.  Extremes, though, are always risky and ordinarily downright baneful, and the dangers of prolonged contact with any poetry that seems to exceed what we most familiarly know of the first-class are formidable..."  ~J. D. Salinger, New Yorker article

==============================

I purchased an old white, long-sleeved man's shirt in a thrift store recently.  I am slowly filling it with black sharpie-written poetry.  I will wear it for weeks as pain medication and get back to you on Salinger's prescription. 

~Marion

Monday, June 27, 2011

In Praise of Lucille Clifton


To My Last Period
Lucille Clifton

well girl, goodbye,
after thirty-eight years.
thirty-eight years and you
never arrived
splendid in your red dress
without trouble for me
somewhere, somehow.
now it is done,
and i feel just like
the grandmothers who,
after the hussy has gone,
sit holding her photograph
and sighing, wasn't she
beautiful? wasn't she beautiful?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Praise Song
By Lucille Clifton

to my aunt blanche
who rolled from grass to driveway
into the street one sunday morning.
i was ten. i had never seen
a human woman hurl her basketball
of a body into the traffic of the world.
Praise to the drivers who stopped in time.
Praise to the faith with which she rose
after some moments then slowly walked
sighing back to her family.
Praise to the arms which understood
little or nothing of what it meant
but welcomed her in without judgment,
accepting it all like children might,
like God.

=============================

Today is Lucille Clifton's birthdate.  Sadly, she died last February.  She's one of my favorite poets and these poems are my favorite of hers.

Celebrate poetry every day,
~Marion~

**********************************

"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it." ~Ernest Hemingway, interview in Paris Review, Spring 1958

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Patience of Ordinary Things by Pat Schneider

In my kitchen window...


The Patience of Ordinary Things
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

from 'Another River: New and Selected Poems'

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sacred Datura - I Paint the Earth and Sky With Flowers


My very first Sacred Datura flower EVER just beginning to open Wednesday evening on the full moon.  I planted this from a teeny seed in March and I was so excited that it chose to bloom on June's full moon.  I grabbed my camera, stood on a lawn chair and snapped this picture from above.   It's enchanting and otherworldly, well worth the TLC I gave it. 

I was at a local art gallery this week and my husband (who paints) was talking to the two owner/artists.  They turned to me and asked me what my medium was.  I replied, "Words, earth and sky.  I write poetry and plant flowers that paint the earth and the sky." Much to my delight, I left them both speechless. 

The white, trumpet-shaped bloom of the Sacred Datura provides a fairyland of delicate beauty, moths, butterflies, long-tongued bees, hummingbirds and mystical, moonlit nights. It gives rise to some of the plant’s other names: Angel’s Trumpet, Moon Lily, Moonflower or Belladonna (beautiful lady).




The fully open flower smells heavenly, but only lasts from evening till morning.  I have a passion for night-blooming flowers.  A friend/neighbor of my mother had this flower growing on a bush and she gave me a large green seed pod that had dozens of tiny seeds on it.  I saved it in a jar all winter and planted the seeds in March.  Now I have 3 bushes loaded with blooms just waiting to open up.  This flower is not the same as my vining Moonflowers which are of the Morning Glory family.

"Entranced by the garden's beauty, my soul was stolen from me, and I suddenly found myself standing in a world of flowers.  The blossoming flowers were all expanding to fill the air, the water and the earth.  Perhaps it was then, as I leaned over the petals,  that I realized I was touching something. . . something that wasn't the flowers."  ~Ohno Kazuo, describing the dance, 'Water Lilies'.



This is a long shot of the bush.  I have it growing in a pot, but it grows well in the ground.  Those finger-looking light green growths are future flowers.  The leaves are huge, soft and velvety to the touch.

"People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us." ~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

"The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers." ~Basho

Many people tell me that they have no green thumb.  Well, that's pure dee bullshit.  I've killed as many flowers as I've grown.  Like most things in life, it's all about perseverance. It seems there are certain flowers meant for certain people, is all.  I tell anyone who wants to grow flowers to buy a 10 cent package of Zinnia seeds at any dollar store, sprinkle them on any kind of dirt in a flower pot or the ground, water them and in no time at all you'll have dozens of blooming flowers in all colors.  I call Zinnias the crayolas of the flower world.  Also, they come back every year.




I leave you with one of my Zinnias.  It's brothers and sisters were pink, white, orange and yellow, some shaped like daisies, others like this one...all from the same package.

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning."  ~Lydia M. Child

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~



WHAT I BEEN UP TO
By Marion

I been star-gazing, moon bathing
Growing moonflowers large as plates
Drinking books and eating lies
Reading apples and breaking ties.

Cuttin’ my hair and shavin’ my legs
Paintin’ on lips that make men beg
Talkin' to dragonflies, cussin’ my cat
Washin' dishes and fightin' fat.

Found 5 pounds and lost it again
Spend a whole weekend listening to the wind
Did a little study on Kate Chopin
Analyzed the myths, then turned and ran.

Saved some money, (got me a tan)
Spent it all on books, started over again.
Kissed the earth, then painted the sky
With awesome wild flowers that made me cry

Wiped my tears from off my face
Then headed right back to the old rat race.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kafka and Tom Robbins. Why Not??

This is a gorgeous stray cat I was photographing in my back yard in early Spring. I seem to have this effect on male felines. They see me, fall down and roll in ecstasy. Tee-Hee.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^



The above photos relate to my very favorite Kafka quote:

"You don't need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Don't even listen, simply wait.
Don't even wait.
Be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
To be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ectasy at your feet." ~Franz Kafka

********************************

CREOLE DEBUTANTE
By Tom Robbins

She went to the School of
Miss Crocodile,
learned to walk backwards,
skin a black cat with her teeth.

Soon, she could dance with
dead pirates,
cook perfect gumbo,
telephone the moon collect.

But it took 23 doctors to
fix her
after she kissed that snake.

From: "Wild Ducks Flying Backward",

*********************************


I leave you with a photo of my Moonflowers and the elusive Sphinx Moth. Or this might be the Tobacco Moth. Either way, they're beautiful. I hope the pictures show up this time!! xoxo

Love & Blessings,
Marion

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Light Years by James Salter


My friend Erin recommended this book to me by saying, "You do NOT want to read this book!" Well, of course I had to read it!! It's now in my top 10 favorite books. I love discovering an author I've never read before. Mr. Salter is a master of the craft of fiction. His writing defines the word 'luminous'. I seldom meet characters in fiction that affect me as profoundly and deeply as the ones in this book did. The characters are burned into my brain like a distant memory of old friends...

It is the story of the marriage and lives of Nedra and Viri, set in New York in 1958. The writing is profound, prosaic, sparse and poetic. This book is not for those who are looking for light reading, but if you are fearless and like to read a story that both shatters and wounds you, then you need to read this book. I have probably 80% of the book underlined and highlighted, it's that good.

I leave you with a few of my favorite quotes to whet your appetite for more. Enjoy!

***********************

A description of Nedra:

"She is twenty-eight. Her dreams still cling to her, adorn her; she is confident, composed, she is related to long-necked creatures, ruminants, abandoned saints...Her life is concealed." page 8

"It's not only that he knows wines, he knows the poetry of them." page 11

"The bottles of wine were finished. The color of their emptiness was the color in cathedral naves." page 12

"There are really two kinds of life. There is, as Viri says, the one people believe you are living, and there is the other. It is this other which causes the trouble, this other we long to see." page 24

"He suffered and loved like a woman; he remembered the weather and the menu in restaurants, hours that were like a broken necklace in a drawer." page 78

"In a single year she had abandoned her youth..." page 130

"The ending of days was too long, the darkness came and crushed her, she could not move...'Do we really only have one season? One Summer,' she said, 'and it's over?'" page 140

"The power to change one's life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers...The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?" page 161

"No one knew Nedra as well as Viri. They were the owners of a vast, disordered merchandise; together they had faced it all. When he undressed at night, he was like a diplomat or judge. A white body, gentler and powerless, emerged from his clothes, his position in the world lay tumbled on the floor, fallen from his ankles; he was clement, he was froglike, a touch of melancholia in his smile." page 178

"He was reaching that age, he was at the edge of it, when the world becomes suddenly more beautiful, when it reveals itself in a special way, in every detail, roof and wall, in the leaves of trees fluttering faintly before a rain. The world was opening itself, as if to allow, now that life was shortening, one long, passionate look, and all that had been withheld would finally be given." page 201

"He was fifty, with a large torso and a face coming apart from age like wet paper...His hands were paws. He was the last of the bears, or so it seemed. Wine, stories, friends; he was a man lying fully clothed in the stream of days." page 206

"She prepared her eyes in the mirror. She examined herself, turning her head slowly from side to side. She did not want to grow old. She was reading Madame de Stael. The courage to live when the best days were past. Yes, it was there, but still she could not think of it without confusion." page 208

"There are hours when one literally drinks life." page 227

---------------------------------

I'll stop here. Those are just a few of my favorite quotes.

Have you recently read a book that profoundly affected you? Tell me about it! I'm always looking for MORE to read!!! xoxo

Love & Blessings,
Marion

************************

"When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before". ~Clifton Fadiman

************************

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Whack Report by Kim Addonizio



Whack Report
By Kim Addonizio

A woman at the gym today said to her friend, Most people are whack.
Whack meaning crazy, displeasing, undesirable, stupid, of poor quality,
appalling, masturbatory, laid off, weird, or dead.
Most poets, as it turns out, are generally pretty whack
as in mentally ill. Anne Sexton, for example. Robert Lowell, also quite whack.
I myself am whack about sixty-seven percent of the time,
not counting nights and weekends, when it's more like eighty-two percent.
But let us focus on the beautiful wine glass, eighteen percent full
of sane, delightful, and intelligent fruit and acid. A whiff of rose petals.
Black cherry, pomegranate, cassis, devil's food cake. And limestone. Drink me
and taste my ooids, my hot buttered toast. For we must be ceaselessly whack
as in deranged said another whack poet who became a whack gun runner.
Guns are whack. Much of the world population experiences the whack factor
ninety-nine percent of the time, which can cause excessive thirst, diarrhea, death
and other side-effects. After a while, if you keep saying a word, it kind of loses
its meaning. Whack. Whack. Here come the weed whackers, beheading the grass.

-------------------------------

Thanks, Kelly, for sending me this poem link. I have to admit that I, myself, march to the beat of a different drummer. There is no such thing as normal, IMO, and I'm happy to be whacked to the Nth degree.

Let your Freak Flag Fly proudly!!!

xoxoxo,
Marion :-)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Today I felt pass over me
A breath of wind from the wings of madness.
~Charles Baudelaire

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." ~Robin Williams

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Might we not say to the confused voices which sometimes arise from the depths of our being: 'Ladies, be so kind as to speak only four at a time?'" ~Madame Swetchine

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
~Emily Dickinson

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained". ~Mark Twain

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Palindrome by Lisel Mueller


"Sweet Summer" by John Waterhouse. He's one of my favorite artists.

Well, I'm back up and running. My Operating System was fried due to a series of power surges (cheap surge protector). Lucky for me, the Geek Squad at Best Buy were able to save my hard drive and now I have a new tower with not one, but TWO hard drives. Ah, the JOY of lots of room! Oh, and yes, I am now backing up everything. I was shaking with fear when I got there, wondering if I'd lost thousands of photos and much of my poetry. People, back up your work! Live and learn, right?

It is SO beyond HOT here already...already up to 100 humid degrees and it's only the first of June, which, by the way, is the first day of Hurricane Season (I capitalize it out of respect, having lived through 3 Hurricanes). I pray it's a mild one, and not like the weather horrors so many people experienced in May.

My husband and I limp, walk and bitch 3 times around our country block five days a week. Due to the heat, we now have to roll right out of bed and into our sneakers to walk before dawn and even before coffee (hence the bitching). By the third time around, we're drenched in sweat. The joys of Summer are upon us and Summer is officially still 20 days away. OY!

I've been perusing "Alive Together" by Lisel Mueller and fell in love with her amazing poem, 'Palindrome'. I hope you enjoy it!! xoxo

Palindrome - A word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward.

Palindrome
By Lisel Mueller

There is less difficulty—indeed, no logical difficulty at all—in
imagining two portions of the universe, say two galaxies, in which
time goes one way in one galaxy and the opposite way in the
other. . . . Intelligent beings in each galaxy would regard their own
time as “forward” and time in the other galaxy as “backward.”
—Martin Gardner, in 'Scientific American' 

Somewhere now she takes off the dress I am
putting on. It is evening in the antiworld
where she lives. She is forty-five years away
from her death, the hole which spit her out
into pain, impossible at first, later easing,
going, gone. She has unlearned much by now.
Her skin is firming, her memory sharpens,
her hair has grown glossy. She sees without glasses,
she falls in love easily. Her husband has lost his
shuffle, they laugh together. Their money shrinks,
but their ardor increases. Soon her second child
will be young enough to fight its way into her
body and change its life to monkey to frog to
tadpole to cluster of cells to tiny island to
nothing. She is making a list:

Things I will need in the past
lipstick
shampoo
transistor radio
Sergeant Pepper
acne cream
five-year diary with a lock

She is eager, having heard about adolescent love
and the freedom of children. She wants to read
Crime and Punishment and ride on a roller coaster
without getting sick. I think of her as she will
be at fifteen, awkward, too serious. In the
mirror I see she uses her left hand to write,
her other to open a jar. By now our lives should
have crossed. Somewhere sometime we must have
passed one another like going and coming trains,
with both of us looking the other way.

From: "Alive Together: New and Selected Poems"