Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gliding Over All - Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass - Breaking Bad

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.

271. Gliding Over All

GLIDING o’er all, through all, 
Through Nature, Time, and Space, 
As a ship on the waters advancing, 
The voyage of the soul—not life alone, 
Death, many deaths I’ll sing.

A fond, sad farewell to "Breaking Bad". 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Necessity for Irony by Eavan Boland

Painting by Toulouse Lautrec.


The Necessity for Irony
By Eavan Boland

On Sundays,
when the rain held off,
after lunch or later,
I would go with my twelve year old
daughter into town,
and put down the time
at junk sales, antique fairs.

There I would
lean over tables,
absorbed by
lace, wooden frames,
glass. My daughter stood
at the other end of the room,
her flame-colored hair
obvious whenever—
which was not often—

I turned around.
I turned around.
She was gone.
Grown. No longer ready
to come with me, whenever
a dry Sunday
held out its promises
of small histories. Endings.

When I was young
I studied styles: their use
and origin. Which age
was known for which
ornament: and was always drawn
to a lyric speech, a civil tone.
But never thought
I would have the need,
as I do now, for a darker one:

Spirit of irony,
my caustic author
of the past, of memory,—

and of its pain, which returns
hurts, stings—reproach me now,
remind me
that I was in those rooms,
with my child,
with my back turned to her,
searching—oh irony!—
for beautiful things.

"The Necessity for Irony" by Eavan Boland, from The Lost Land.
I highly recommend Ms. Boland's anthology, "New Collected Poems" which is where I read this perfect poem just last week.  Her poetry is spectacular.  Ironically, I heard it read on the "Writer's Almanac" segment on NPR this morning, too, so I assumed it wanted to be here.  Synchronicity for a rainy morning. 
I awoke after dreaming that I had died and my body was being cremated (as I so wish) and letters, words, sentences, stories were wafting up into the sky (instead of smoke) from my body.  It was a spectacular dream, with no fear or sadness.  Every book, poem, word that I had read was floating into the sky and my spirit with them.  :-)  I love that dream supremely.  It made me very happy.  xo
"Let life be as beautiful as summer flowers
And death as beautiful as autumn leaves."
~Rabindranath Tagore
I love you all,
Books I'm reading this week:
"Offshore" by Penelope Fitzgerald
"The Shining" by Stephen King (a re-read before starting the sequel, "Doctor Sleep").
"New Collected Poems" by  Eavan Boland
"The Weight of Small Things" by Sherri Wood Emmons

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Delicious Autumn - Welcome!

Woke up to our first cool, stoned, humidless morning.  It's magically, deliciously delightful.  The heat of summer 2013 put me in a coma-like, zombie-state.  Time to awake now and begin again.  xo


At Burt Lake
By Tom Andrews

To disappear into the right words
and to be their meanings. . .

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens. . .

 Now night falls, its hair
caught in the lake's eye.

 Such clarity of things. Already
I've said too much. . .


language must happen to you
the way this black pane of water,
chipped and blistered with stars,
happens to me.

From:  "The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle" by Tom Andrews, page 13.  (Winner of  'The Iowa Poetry Prize')


Mistaking Opiates for the Clear Light
By Suzanne Paola

There's always been this confusion with white things---
hospitals, cold, moonlight.
They seemed to embody the will
paralyzed into peaceful acceptance.
Blank paper consecrate
to the end of words:  I love that,
secretly, more than this.
Quaaludes in my palm, rowers, eucharistic form.
Clear bag of heroin.
Stuff, we called it.  Too foundational to define.


In a clear bowl, a pear & a pomegranate wizen
into color.  Almost
alive, skins rucking
in on themselves.  Cheeks
sunk, russet
& carmine, seeming
almost to care about this...
Each a countenance
too private for a face, collapsing
in the hard gravity of color.

I was their opposite, pale girl, not living
or dying.  They were
what I feared.


I trust in the bardo wisdom:  how the gods,
with their soft white light, draw us in, convince us
their stuporous world is all there is.

I've seen them, slumping
forward, burning themselves with cigarettes.

How grand they were for a while:  their leathers, their etched
            bodies, a stalled
writhing eagle on each arm.
And their nectars, their secret foods, that gave
an easy kind of sensate order.

Though a god's world finally
suffers itself away from him, braille of the tracks
of a thousand needles, transgressions of red
under the skin---

From:  "Bardo" by Suzanne Paola, pages 6, 7 (Winner of "The Brittingham Prize in Poetry")


Bardo (from Wikipedia):  "Used loosely, the term "bardo" refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskillful actions.

For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth."