Gasps
Thursday, August 28, 2003
 
"But What Does Chazal Say About Sadness?"
--after selected excerpts from Malcolm de Chazal's Sens-Plastique


1.
Overnight the sunflowers
released gold

Chazal cherishes how
"All those stamen
in a flower
give it a perpetual
'come on' look"

Dear, I do recognize
the compensation of the gap
perpetual between us.

Painfully wide some days
ocassionally -- breathlessly --
a mere shiver
that allows our scents
to mingle

But always there: infinite
distance
.................even between our eyes

We share the angle
of heads tilted
by gazes perpetually
wondering what oceans
and mountains hide

Chazal shakes his head
over how "the act of love
is a double impasse
between two carnal cities

each body hurtling itself
desperately but in vain
against the walls of
the other. If they could
straddle the walls

they would fall
into the great beyond"

Pollen softens
the image of white
seamless marble counters

The softness is pleasing

But the sunflowers droop
now, utterly spent


2.
Chazal observes
how smelling lacks
harmony. "The more we
repel unwanted smells
the more they insist
oin forcing their way in"

As for Chazal's "skin"
-- "each pore a rung of thrills
on the endless ladder
of sensual pleasure" --

am I not moving
my fingers, one
grazing another
to write this poem?
Are you not reading me?


Tuesday, August 19, 2003
 
INTERRUPTING REGULAR PROGRAMMING TO NOTE: PLEASE SIGN PETITION

Hearing on AMINA LAWAL SET TO BE STONED ON - 27 AUGUST 2003

The Nigerian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Amina Lawal, condemned for the crime of adultery on August 19th 2002, to be buried up to her neck and stoned to death. Her death was postponed so that she could continue to nurse her baby.

Hearing on her Execution is now set for 27 AUGUST 2003. If you haven't following this case, you might like to know that Amina's baby is regarded as the 'evidence' of her adultery.

Amina's case is being handled by the Spanish branch of Amnesty International, which is attempting to put together enough signatures to make the Nigerian government rescind the death sentence.

A similar campaign saved another Nigerian woman, Safiya, condemned in similar circumstances. By March 4th the petition had amassed over 2,600,000 signatures. It will only take you a few seconds to sign Amnesty's online petition.

Please sign the petition now, then copy this message into a new email and send it to everyone in your address book.

Go to the web page http://www.amnesty.org.au/e-card/petition.asp

UPDATE ON AMINA LAWAL

Amina Lawal, a 30 year-old Nigerian woman, sentenced by a Shari'ah court to death by stoning, has once again had her appeal adjourned. Amina's appeal will now be heard on 27 August 2003. According to the registrar of the Shari'ah Court of Appeal of Katsina State, the hearing could not take place because there was an inadequate number of tribunal members to hear the appeal. Two of the judges were reportedly serving on ad-hoc elections tribunals, constituted after general elections in April and May 2003.

Amina confessed to having had a child while divorced. Pregnancy outside of marriage constitutes sufficient evidence for a woman to be convicted of adultery according to the new Shari'ah-based penal code for Muslims, introduced in Katsina state.

The man named as the father of her baby girl reportedly denied having sex with her and his confession was enough for the charges against him to be discontinued. Amina did not have a lawyer during her first trial when the judgement was passed. But she has now filed an appeal against her sentence with the help of a lawyer hired by a pool of Nigerian human rights and women's rights organisations. Amina is awaiting her appeal at home.


Thursday, August 14, 2003
 
THE END THAT MORNING

Intellectual schoolgirls, hugging books,
walking under the high
somber stone spires, singing
out of eternity.
--from In RI by Henry Gould


Lovely poem about schoolgirls, one studying Italian. Feel innocence through sunlight. (Dapples despite absent leaves.) Stones steady beneath fluctuating sheen. My face becoming marble as another poet departs. Stone under silent tears. Water pock-marked by sunlight. Then covered by the shadows in a dim hallway. Where black is a relief. But not, as it never has been, compensation.

Flutter of wings. Beyond window, the mountain's promise to protect. She can feel its inclines steepen, increasing the difficulty for those would climb with fake apologies. While last night's deer hunters descend, empty-handed. Guns still loaded with bullets.


Wednesday, August 13, 2003
 
ALL CAP THOUGHTS

Writing lines in ALL CAPS SEEMS TO GENERATE A HEIGHTENED IN-YOUR-FACE compulsion for me to write a la .... IN YOUR FACE! I don't like the results...



Tuesday, August 12, 2003
 
CIRCLE VS. ELLIPSE: AN ARS POETICA

Bleary eyed all day
BLEARY EYED ALL DAY
coz I stayed up all night
COZ I STAYED UP ALL NIGHT
fucking Poetry
FUCKING POETRY
by avoiding words
BY AVOIDING WORDS

to draw, instead
TO DRAW, INSTEAD
fragmented circles
FRAGMENTED CIRLES
with the ink of wine
WITH THE INK OF WINE
for David Hess broadsides
FOR DAVID HESS BROADSIDES

Dawgs -- I didn't even need
DAWGS -- I DIDN'T EVEN NEED
the effin' moon
THE EFFIN' MOON

But they weren't circles
BUT THEY WEREN'T CIRCLES
so much as ellipses
SO MUCH AS ELLIPSES
-- the difference being
-- THE DIFFERENCE BEING
one is static purity
ONE IS STATIC PURITY
and the other energy
AND THE OTHER ENERGY

(even if the energy

(EVEN IF THE ENERGY
is from departure
IS FROM DEPARTURE)
as symbolized by
AS SYMBOLIZED BY
the slide from left
THE SLIDE FROM LEFT
to right and vice versa)
TO RIGHT AND VICE VERSA)

Of course I opt
OF COURSE I OPT
-ed for the energy
-ED FOR THE ENERGY
even if the rush
EVEN IF THE RUSH
was of the air
WAS OF THE AIR
departing. For
DEPARTING. FOR

energy is the form
ENERGY IS THE FORM
and the content
AND THE CONTENT
and the metaphor for
AND THE METAPHOR FOR

I am still alive
I AM STILL ALIVE
Fuck You, Poetry
FUCK YOU, POETRY
for what you put
FOR WHAT YOU PUT
me through:
ME THROUGH:
I am still alive
I AM STILL ALIVE

AT YOUR SERVICE
BUT I LIVE


Sunday, August 10, 2003
 
PAPER SHREDDER


A $29.99 MACHINE
PLUS TRASH BUCKET

FAILED INTO
SCENT OF BURNING

AFTER ONLY
EIGHT HOURS

LEAVING FILES
THAT MAY LEAK

THEIR WAY
TO POSTERITY

TO THE DETRIMENT
OF VARIOUS POSTERIORS


*****

THOUGHTS: I need a new paper shredder. To know why, check the August 8, 2003 post at Corpsepoetics entitled "OH SHRED ME A RIVER, DUM DA DUM DUM...(AKA, THE POSTERIOR OF POSTERITY)"

Still -- for me, this poem is primarily about beginning to explore a form that had not interested me before: ALL CAP TEXT. Like how ALBERT SAIJO does it....except he does it in prose poem form, too, without offering, therefore, the means for a reader to rest one's eyes through the (pause of the) line break. So, what'll I do with ALL CAPS?

Who knows? I don't. I'm only the poet....




 
A Poet-Father: The Version That Remains


1.
"Ah. So you are she."

She spoke to me in this manner
revealing we are not strangers

Thus, would I learn
my father possessed a life
before he became my father


2.
Why was mother irrelevant?

When I asked my father
he replied with silence

and a poem I would meet
years later through its translation

"Lovers cannot compete
with a child: O radiant child:

who I am without mistakes!"




*****


THOUGHTS: A poet asked me recently how my move from New York to the Bay Area affected my writing. I replied -- to my own surprise -- "I've turned more to narrative." I was surprised as the words just stumbled out without premeditation -- this was the first time I articulated this particular effect. Nor can I explain it (yet).

I've never considered narrative my strong suit -- is that, though, why the Poetry angels have dragged me now onto this huge, sodden field?



Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
They Called Her "Kitten"
(a hay(na)ku)

Wrist
maps four
blue rivers running

 
Translating Russian

Remembering a vow
long after its demise
for the happiness
found only in promises

.....leafing through an old
.....LIFE for
.....a picture : refrigerator
.....a baseball bat --
.....the same thing now

in this Now where
a ready lapel
for a bending face
means more than
what czars have tasted

Here, I write
over a piece
of salmon too thin
to cover both bagels

There a jukebox, loudly:

.....Be my be my baby
.....My one and only baby


O, body refusing
to be tucked away
into cozy sleep

"The Bastard!"

"This stormlike grief"?

O, landscape bereft
of non-fallen priests


Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
It's Like That, Child
(after "The Slide" by Tom Mandel)


You wake up in a stranger's apartment. Bereft. The water does not run. You can hear the doorman make love to a cat through thin walls, but he can't hear you for the intercom is a loose wire. You recall a Connecticut farmer who stained the pages of The New Yorker with an observation of drunkenness. As if what is not visible can be evoked by a stupor. Your eyes snag on the windowsill when the cafe across the street reveals a large, brown nipple. Then the nipple is quashed into a red-faced infant in a striped outfit evoking jail. You drift nearer only to smell gasoline. Retching, you pull down a tattered shade. You wish you can afford those lovely notebooks sold at Barnes & Noble with covers of artificial Michelangelos on hand-made paper. Yesterday, an artist in combat boots etched your name on the belly of a single kernel of rice. Once, you asked a boy to dance and he said, "No, thank you." Once, you ordered a hamburger when an egg-white omelette would have sufficed. You recall, too, visiting the rain in Burgundy and how slate pavements winked at you in the aftermath. All of these auspicious events occur in the span of a blink. But what seeps through like a thief through a fence in the night is the loneliest thought: you will never have a baby cling at your breast as if it's a lifeline. Your mother said, Kasta, anak ko, It's like that, child. She already knew the stone fragment will never be dislodged from your heart.


 
ANTHEM

And now, he-she-it
flails

center holds on to edges

vacuum vacuums itself

?Por que infundes esa impudica sonrisa de placer a la esfringe de trapo que predica en las salas de espera?

if only my witnessing all this provided "rich consolation"

?Por que quitaste a los ciegos su baston con el cual rasgaban la densa felpa de deseo que los acosa y sorprende en las tinieblas?

where did my capitals go
poor, sad letters

all words, when uttered,
contain the speaker's eyes

antiques of "I"s
shivering beneath dust

?Por que impides a la selva entrar en los parques y devorar los caminos de arena transitados por los incestuosos, los rezagados amantes, en las tardes de fiesta?

nor is translation an escape
or transcendence

Ilumina el dormitorio del payaso, !Oh Senor!



*****

THOUGHTS: Sorry -- can't do the reverse question marks and exclamation points, or accents, en espanol here on blog. Spanish phrases are from Alvaro Mutis's poem "Oracion de Maqroll."



 
GASPING OUT THE NEXT PHASE: SIMPLY, GASPS

Jean Gier -- whose Nightjar blog swiftly became beloved -- writes:

And now I'd like to take this moment to thank the Radiant Corpse, aka the Luv Poet, for outing me to all you peeps back in the days of Wine and roses. My life has never been the same since...

Radiant Moi preeeeeens. I do have good taste, don't I? she sighs out the obvious....

....then moues her luscious lips consideringly, before laying the egg of her latest revelation on blogland:

Peeps, it's precisely because I am prescient that I now jumpstart my Poem Blog onto its Third Stage of Evolution. Once "Loves' Last Gasps," then "Love's First Gasps"....this blog now shall simply be

GASPS.

It's address remains the same at http://lovelastgasps.blogspot.com. But it's theme now shall be poems on, about, relating to "gasps." It need not be love gasps, but anything that...uh, gasps.

The next post shall feature this phase's inaugural poem. I know you are waiting with -- bwahahahaha: pun intended -- bated breath.


Saturday, August 02, 2003
 
The Beginning of Complications (Version #3)


Reticence

arrived so quickly

as if we'd already sex-ed


Friday, August 01, 2003
 
The Beginning of Complications (Version #1)


Reticence

arrived so quickly

as if we'd already had sex

==========


The Beginning of Complications (Version #2)


Reticence
arrived so quickly
as if we'd already had sex

when my turtleneck sweater
has yet to release its stranglehold
over hidden ivory


*****

THOUGHTS: I suspect the above forms were inspired partly from spending an hour this afternoon immersed in the poems of Turkish poet Orhan Veli (1914-1950), as translated by Murat Nemet-Nejat -- and published in I, ORHAN VELI (Hanging Loose Press, 1989).




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