Hlavní Nádraží Station, Prague 1:00 a.m.

November 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

I leave you and walk toward
the last exit. I see the
marble tables like
backgammon pieces,
but no one is playing.
I jump empty chairs except
for where two junkies
sleep with their
heavy heads rested in their
folded arms, using their
elbows for pillows
and drool catchers.
A junky
lifts his head mumbles to me.
His mouth barely opened,
a soft grey hue, like
crusted milk around his lips.
He’s falling from his seat.
I stumble backward to
exit doors, and escape.
On to the open street.

Torn Between Needing

July 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

She had a strange evening.
It began hungover, yet relaxed,
because the pills she took last night,
20 to be exact,
didn’t work—

She knew they wouldn’t,
it was a false suicide attempt,
but even playing the role is bad,
and she knows this.

She is not always the confident
woman
she appears to be,
and she doesn’t want to let
everybody know
she is becoming comfortable
with the self-loathing,
so-much-so
it seems to be going
away.

She is tired.

“I’m glad those pills didn’t work.
Those pills.” She said.
She told herself this
because today was beautiful,
in every way-
today she talked to God.
She felt God.

Sleep, need,

she is torn between needing.

Thoughts on a Reading

June 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve reposted, I Am Not Your Syliva, once again with a few modifications that came from preparing for my reading. I wrote this poem about four or five years ago, and I feel like I can say with as much humility as possible, I think this poem kicks ass. I really like it. I like it as if someone else wrote it because most of the time I don’t feel like I wrote it.  I think it stands separately from me. I don’t know if that makes any sense, yet even with it being separate from me I am fiercely prideful of the work, and I think if someone doesn’t like it then they can just go to hell. I wish I felt that way about everything I wrote.

I performed this piece and two other works at a fundraiser that I organized for myself. I am working to raise money for a Masters of Writing program. The program is almost $3,000.00 for a year. This is amazing for a Master Writing program, but it might as well be $10,000.00 for the amount of money I make on a daily basis. It is not accredited and is a certificate program so there are no government loans, but I don’t want a loan, I want to pay for it myself so I had a fundraiser. So far I have raised $1,040.00 and I will make my first payment ahead of time. But the fundraiser isn’t what I am writing about here, I am writing about what it was like to read this poem out loud for the first time to an audience. It was probably my most powerful piece and my most uncomfortable. It is the right kind of uncomfortable. I know I didn’t read it the way it was written, not how it is meant to be read, how it originally tore onto my paper. It tore onto my  paper, I was pissed off.

I had three comments: One was from an acquaintance who thinks he knows me, but doesn’t know me at all, “I liked your angry one the most,” he said, “I like the dark stuff.”

He only caught the surface stuff.

Two: A stranger

“I appreciate how willing you were to show yourself up there how honest you were.”

The poem is not really me completely anymore, a lot changes in five years, in fact the poem has, but that is performance. It is difficult to separate the author/actor from the words.

Lastly: My friend’s mother who has only met me one time before, she is probably about 63. “I wanted to let you know that your first poem really resonated with me.” She stopped and looked at me for a second then said, “My first husband was a writer, that is how he made me feel, he forgot I was an artist too.”

That was the comment that struck me, she understood the poem.

It is funny in an age when it seems that people have cameras attached to their bodies, I never get any recording or footage of any work I do. I was lucky that someone brought a still camera. I am technology toy impoverished. Maybe the next time.

I hope to get a chance to read it again and I hope the next time I read it with the defiance and fierce confidence it requires and demands.

Syliva
Sylvia Plath.
I am nothing like her,
except the blonde hair.

The men, the pain, the education
All different…

“Crazy girl, crazy is the muse,” You said.

I was supposed to be honored that you wrote me in a poem.
Your words painted me
an exquisite portrait.
A masterpiece! A museum.

Muses are like children, silent till spoken to.

“The woman sits on the edge of the poet’s bed
she is putting on her bra as he teases.”
You sang,
strumming
strings
against your guitar.

You were the poet. I am the woman.

You wrote this late,
hiking solitary mountains,
pen in hand,
whiskey in thought,
writing of our last evening together:

My warm legs wrapped about your body, my flesh pressed to your (notion of lovemaking).

Pressed.
Come to me,
come
to me…”

Words.
Scribbled in pencil.

(I’m thinking about sex,
the way it drives everything. The way it controls—
everything gets complicated
once you get naked.)
Naked— nude— fuck…

You said:
We can’t do this anymore, you said
because I become too attached.
Attached? To my body?

Yes, my body that held a part of your body.

A moment.
Perfect material for the next prose.
(I kept expecting something more,
some incredible release.
An inner body experience
my flesh folding in, on, and over you.) You wrote me in a poem

immortalizing my white bra,
and my bare ass
on your cotton sheets.

I left,

and this was poignant.

With each fresh letter you loved me more.
Yet, the taste you imagined to be mine
was something else rising out of the pulp,
like wet paper.

I felt a pulling, a taut thin string— no shit.

When we are rolling around tied in a knot of skin
and liquid am I the only one in the room?
Why is it that I feel like I am in this game alone?

(It is not as romantic as all that)
listen…

I told you once—
I was drawn to Tomas, Kundera’s character,
his dark eyes and face
his desire to be with every woman he met.
He wanted to know their secret,
their secret smell.

I felt so heavy.
I wanted to know what it was to be light
even if it was unbearable.

I told you this once—
Across the table with coffee and later beer.
You locked the door
trapped me inside with language and lies.
You said you were like Tomas,
My Tomas.
It was how you identified yourself,
you said
You were light and I was unbearable.

Listen

When we were new I wanted to peel your skin back,
slit you open, step inside and wear you—Wrong thing to say,
you said,
too intense,
too serious,
too afraid that I wanted to steal your soul like a succubus.
Or would I be an incubus?

Listen!
And where were you, poet, when I crashed?
When I was drunk,
hallucinating, hearing voices?
Calling me a train wreck I suppose.
Writing about me in your bed,
Running an imaginary finger down my translucent spine
loving my memory?
Holding your pen tight,

Ready—for the muse?

Here I am!
I’m the one who punched the glass and walked over wet train tracks gripping a piece of two-by-four wanting to smash your face, my rage like an engine:
“I think I can,
I think I can—
make it to the other side of this mountain.
Alone.”

Listen—

For a second I fell in love with a bi-polar boy,
he suffered from psychotic episodes.
I wanted to ride his nightmare. (Such a pretty horse to those of us watching outside the fence.)
I didn’t want to fix him I liked him broken.
Like all the sick romantics, but I knew the danger.
I let him go.
But here is the clincher in this jugular confession:
I was hoping to take a little bit of his madness
and make an excuse for my own.

I am not your Syliva, not your muse.
But, I am something like her.
I too look into mirrors and carry stones in my pocket.
Where are the tape and rope? The gas? The children?
Not this time,
I’m taking myself back,
Poet,
stripping the canvas,
smearing your paint,
and leaving my hand prints.

Girl

April 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

1973

I let my girl out-
She rose like a lion
From behind a great rock-
Mad as hell
At the adult in me.

She pulled down her knickers,
“I ain’t afraid of no snakes.”
Made ribbons in her hair
Of grass and flowers.
Tore her Gingham dress,
Fine shreds of printed fabric
Dropping from her shoulders,
Like water on a ducks back,
Till she was thin bare.

Naked she climbed
The blue oak
and swung out from sturdy
branches
Yipping and yeehawing
Till she plopped into the
Lake.

Climbing out
Of green mud,
Tendrils of clumped
flowers and grass,
mashed dreaded locks,
like a rasta child.
Her teeth glared white
Laughing,
Belly flop,
Into the dark
Pool of water.

She was an animal.
A Beast-
To the very core,

And I wept
For forgetting her.

The Sestina Project: Part One

December 28, 2009 § Leave a comment

The Sestina is a bit complicated, as it has 39 lines in six stanzas of six lines each, it is then followed by a final stanza of three lines.

I have no idea how a person writes a poem. I do know it can start with an idea, an inspiration, a vision, a dream… but if you want to move beyond the initial contact, what then? I don’t know. When the egg of an idea first hatches, sometimes, that is as good as it gets or it conveys the idea, the message, so perfectly, touches the reader just so, that there is no need to push beyond the shell. But, what if you want too? This has always been my stopping point. Maybe I’m too lazy to explore the possibilities or too impatient to experience the process, but regardless, some dreams need and want to grow and fly.

The practice of form has its restrictions, and that is exactly why I am practicing in this manner. I have always been free to write hurley burly across a page, but to have form is to have discipline. Is discipline better than free writing? Of course not, but it is good to try new experiences in art, form, and expression. There is no order to how to do this, this is just how I am doing it: The first thing I did was to pull out six words that I thought would be the most flexible in creating the rotation of sound, and also would allow the poem to speak. I know this sounds clinical and not very artistic, but go with me here:

  • love
  • heartbreak
  • literi
  • friendship
  • writing
  • poetry

I had picked other words such as ivory tower and demographics, but I felt it would be difficult to continue repeating those words without having the poem sound contrived. At this stage the poem does sound contrived because I am attempting to shove a down blanket into a clutch purse. To visualize the form, I numbered five of the six stanzas, and placed the end words how they would rotate:

I

  1. Friend
  2. writing
  3. poetry
  4. love
  5. heartbreak
  6. literati

II

  1. literati
  2. friend
  3. writing
  4. poetry
  5. love
  6. heartbreak

III

  1. heartbreak
  2. literati
  3. friend
  4. writing
  5. poetry
  6. love

And so on for the following two stanzas. Once I completed this I began plugging in the sentences. This is where I really began to get antsy. One thing my brain begins to fixate on is how I will lose the meaning and power I had originally felt when I first wrote the words down. It is true that I have a personal connection to the words, and even my body memory reacts to such thoughts and emotions by literally feeling sadness or anger or joy, whatever it is that I am originally pulling from returns to the surface, and for me, there is a power in that energy. Unfortunately, (only speaking for myself) this power is often lost in my clunky language and introspective dialogue. I get all the hidden meanings because I lived them, but how does the reader? It’s like I’m telling an inside joke, but only I am on the inside. I haven’t followed through with many of my writings, meaning re-wrote, and re-wrote, but in my small experience, I found that, although, when dissected the work would lose some of its steam, but, once put back together, it never lost its birth power, and in fact, it was stronger, richer, and accessible to outside readers, plus, it began a life all on its own that had nothing to do with my personal connections, and was the reader’s secret. This is a fascinating thing about art and writing.

Where the poem is now is in a vivisected state, splayed and unattractive, and my internal voice is complaining for me to stop because it is a mess, but “for posterity’s sake”, I’ve decided to keep working:

Do you ever think of me friend?
When you look from your ivory tower of writing,
West beyond the purple badlands, the sequoia’s quiet poetry
The redwoods? The Rockies? The Cascades. Old love,
Do you ever think of me? Does your heartbreak
In memory when you walk the marble steps of the literati?

Do you drink tea in a lounge and sip whiskey with the literati,
purging words of devotion and criticism over the classics; our friends,
Dissecting the flesh, peeling the skin from the limbs of Dante’s writing?
Do you think of me in your company? Oh, but I was never much of a poet.
A low vocabulary, I lack syntax, my language is an ignorant love.
Word placements are post-humorous and butchered: It was heartbreaking.

I neglected Dante and Ulysses, I was slow, my heart, my mind broke
Mrs. Dalloway was not enough to appease the group the literati.
I tore your inscription in a rage and cried that you were not a friend.
Sometimes, I imagine you, rarely, but enough, writing,
with your wife, your son, Septimus, the scene is poetic
candles light the room. The scent; jasmine and myrrh, and literary love…

To be continued…

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