October Recap

In October TOpoet.ca  had many days with over 60 hits. India tops the list with Canada at the top of the hit list, 2nd place is USA, with India regaining 3rd. Increases seen from Mauritius & Kenya coming on strong. The blog now has 359 followers (up from 298 at the start of the year). 246 Tumblr followers. Steady increase is best. Finally down to the end of Coal Dusters one more short chapter to wrap things up in November 🙂 It’ll come in at just under 138,000 words.

My Twitter account was suspended without warning or explanation other than I had broken their rules but they refused to tell me which ones: hate speech? spamming? using copyright materials? When I pressed for an answer I was told not to bother them & that they would not reply again to my requests for explanations. So my twitter following is down to 0. It was a time waster & did nothing to enhance my productivity.

The only event, so far, in November is the Hot Damn! show on November 7 at Buddies in Bad Times. Season 5 winner Wes Ryan will be the feature. I’m giving NaNoWriMo a rest this year. Though I managed good work last year it had become a chore rather than a challenge. I may focus on organizing Picture Perfect which I hope to start blogging in 2020. Not sure what Tuesdays will bring – maybe another photo blog similar to Sunday’s.

Other blog days will remain the same. Pictures may become even more random than they are now 🙂 Friday will see lps covers & such that I’ve come across on my walks. People throw away the oddest things :-). Taking pictures is more practical, for me, than taking objects. 

TV pleasures include American Horror Story; 1984 – so far one of the best arcs of the series. Past seasons have felt stretched out by plot tangents. This one has been tight, taught & bloody good fun. The new season of Castle Rock has started & the Misery/Salem’s Lot mash up is off to a good start. Hopefully Space won’t screw up the running times as badly as they did last season. I also hope they broadcast it same time same day, instead of moving it around without notice.

Currently I’m reading: I Am Providence – a biography of HP Lovecraft by S. T. Joshi – fascinating not only for  his life but for the literary context of the time – letters-to-the-editor often became like twitter wars – with strangers taking potshots at each via the anonymity of these letters. Also a critical study by David Kalat of Toho’s Godzilla movies putting them into a cultural context. As well as the final piece in the Works of John Addington Symonds – his biography of Michelangelo.

Rant In A Tea Cup

the weather report isn’t good

no matter how nice 

the meteorologist says it is

it’s a lie 

a spin

to keep me from worrying 

about how bad it really is

no matter how perfect the days looks

it is bad

getting worse

each day less air to breath

more burning rays to avoid

 

the spin doesn’t fool me

more days when 

you can’t let seniors out till after dark

can’t let children play in the park

 

the prognoses isn’t promising

umbrellas aren‘t enough 

parkas aren’t enough

there is no protecting ourselves 

from this air we breath

from the constant crumble of the real world

 

the weather isn’t good

no matter what

America’s next top politician says

there is no roll back for the ecology

next top politician is like 

America’s next top model

they are only spokespersons

to give that hopeful spin

that change is going to come

sure it will 

but it isn’t going to a change for the better

not a change for the ordinary folk

unless that change

means big bucks for someone

the climate doesn’t have 

the right corporate sponsor

it needs a better spokesperson

 

the sunny day is a fraud

a taste of emptiness fills my mouth

when I breath what remains of our air

wondering which microscopic mote

is the one that gives me cancer

as it turns my skin to lumpy melanoma 

drooping sagging leather

rain snow sunshine highs lows

with chill uv factors

smog alerts

economic forecast grim

auto sectors need a bail out 

oil is raking in billions of profits

why not let oil bail out auto

not the highs and lows we want to see

 

so many clouds 

in the fog wrapping

around our brains 

our willingness stifled 

by the powerlessness imposed 

by powerless people in control of

spokesmodels

for hidden puppeteers

who we never will know 

because everyone is on someone 

else’s weather radar map

no one is free

no one can leave the house

without first checking 

to see what the weather is like 

the sky isn’t telling us the truth

no one is 

so take your umbrella

because a smile

isn’t enough protection any more 

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Caught Hard 1971 /76

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂 This is the last resurrected poem for this Easter.

Caught Hard 1971 

1

dull dark day dawns

disparately clinging to the night clouds

little mists of mares

floating up from the budding honeysuckle

 

I am fighting so hard

for an empty room

for this trophy of glass

it can’t last

it mustn’t last

this fighting alone

on the dew wet grass

so close to home

by the freshly born

morning in some other

question box corner standing

sunrise boxing ring

 

so you’ve come to see the fight

by being here

you are the fight

another shadow boxing affair

reflecting from my bottles

reflecting on my walls

fighting for every word you speak

 

I am dying softly

the everyday death we each die

wandering from payday to payday

paying enough for the right

to live when I die

 

paying to keep fighting

in only the perfect surroundings

soundings & singers

paying & dying & fighting

fighting off the laughter

that I feel exploding

each inner pondering like a sledge hammer

smashing each unhappy stone

 

restoring sensation of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close & coming to an end

 

caught hard up in the air

without a handful go much

just loose strings of stings

& other nasty things

to keep me from giving in

to consuming everything in one last bite

2

I’ve heard the hangman many times today

if I’m not a icicle

why do I feel so cold

swinging in the summer sun

swinging to the hangman’s hot jest

 

he’s trying hard to melt me down

so I can be sold in bits & pieces

3

many times

screaming inside my skull

he cannot bear to see me moving

to any other taunt but his

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

just the hangman

filling his pockets with meltings

 

I am free to fall

I am free to get up

I am free

but feel so lost

 

if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old

if I am not a fetus

why do I feel so unborn

 

tiny & afraid

waiting in the summer sun

for someone to touch

 

if I am not wise

why do I feel so foolish

in these words

I am found by so few

yet still lost to so many

I am the end of time

drizzled with smiling sunlight

in some early morning suddenness

 

if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like exploding

every time I think of you

 

the sun can’t seem to melt into the middle

yet I feel myself slipping away

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

before we can start winter again

4

the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out to cut my rope and end

this dangling all day in the sun

 

no confession

no confessor for me

I cannot make sense of either

though both are bursting to

functions all around

me like falling rain

as I near the end of the rope

 

postitive negative postitive negative

polarized into neither

loving nor hating 

wanting nor having

afraid of saying

so many confessional hidden sins

that everyone realizes about me

but care too much to punish me for

This is one of few pieces that went from the above rough draft to a more ‘polished’ version that was included in my book Distant Music. All those ‘d’s at the start are a bit much 🙂 I do love the overt masculinity of the piece as I box to prove my maleness as a poet. Poetry being considered un-masculine despite the fact that the poetry we studied in high school was 99% written by men.

I was buttoning it up to somehow contain my sexuality as well. Queers don’t talk about boxing but movie stars. ‘reflecting from my bottles’ a clear reference to my growing alcoholism – another of the way I was dealing with sexuality – drown it.

A gay acquaintance at the time hung himself which may have lead to the hangman imagery. Working to pay the rent was like a noose too, the strangle hold of fear.

The version that made it into print is equally as meandering but is also more focused. The alliteration remains 🙂 The revised version does have a sense of ending though. Today there is no rope, or bottle, needed to to keep me standing.

Caught Hard 1976 

1

dull dark day 

disparately dawns

clinging coldly

to the night clouds

little mists of mares

floating doggedly

over murky dreams

 

I am fighting hard

fighting so hard

for an empty room

a glass trophy

it can’t last

it mustn’t last

this fighting alone

on the dew-wet grass

so close to home

with the freshly born

morning sunrise

 

just by being here

to see the fight

you become the fight

another shadow-boxing affair

reflected from bottles

reflecting cross walls

fighting for every word you speak

 

I am dying

that everyday death 

we each die

 

fighting in only 

the best of surroundings

soundings & singers

all dying in fighting

fighting off the laughter

I feel exploding

each inner pondering 

like a sledge hammer

smashing each happy stone

 

returning sensations 

of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close 

while coming to an end

 

caught hard 

up in the air

without a sandful of much

just loose strings of stings

of other satisfied things

to keep me from giving in

to consuming everything 

in one final bite

2

I’ve heard the hangman 

many times today

if I’m not a icicle

why do I feel so cold

a-sway in the summer sun

swinging peacefully

to the hangman’s hot breath

 

he’s trying to melt me down

so I can be sold in 

bits & pieces

3

many times

screaming inside

he cannot bear 

to have me sway

to any breath

but his

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

except for the hangman

filling pockets 

with meltings

 

I am free to fall

I am free to get up

I am free

but feel so lost

 

if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old

if I am not reincarnated

why do I feel so unborn

 

tiny & afraid

waiting in the summer sun

for someone to touch

 

if I am not wise

why do I feel so foolish

out of these words

am I the end of time

drizzled with smiling sun

in your early morning suddenness

 

if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like fighting

every time I think of you

 

the sun cannot melt 

through to the middle

yet I feel myself slipping away

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

so we can start winter

4

the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out & cut the rope 

to end my all-day dangling

 

if I am not a hanged man

why do my feet

never seem to touch the ground

 

if there is no rope

around my neck

what holds me in place

keeping me from falling down


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Kent State – The View From Here 1970

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Kent State – The View From Here 1970

I never knew them

but still I cried

I never will know them

now that they have died

 

but even if I could have

I doubt if I would have

for with apathy it’s easier to sigh

than get up & try

which is what they did

no longer content to be hid

by things yet to be said

now they are four dead

 

they never knew me

but still I cried

they never will know

now that they’ve died

hopeless dwarf desperation

overcomes giant hesitation

as I feel it’s my time

to move to the front line

to replace those that fall

or can’t relate to the call

then I wonder if I’ll see the end

alone or with a friend

 

I never knew them

but still I cried

I never will know them

now that they have died

now that they have died

‘Four dead in Ohio’ another Neil Young inspiration while he was part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The shooting in May 1970 stunned me & my friends. Many were musicians & angry protest songs were part of their repertoire. I was more flower-child than rabble-rouser. The found the hippy movement too heterocentric & unwashed for my sensibility. 

This is one of the few, perhaps the only, pieces I wrote then that reflected life outside my own muddling through life. There were student protests everywhere it seemed while I was started in my Cape Breton Ghost Town reading about it in Rolling Stone or seeing it on TV. What music filtered to the east coast was about as counterculture I got. Let’s face it even the  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were millionaires.

At the time I felt a sense of loss though. Loss & futility because the shooting made it clear the entrenched would always be with us & always in control. I see it today around the world. People calling kids who survived a mass school shooting ‘cry babies’ for wanting gun control. 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Cutthroat Circus 1970

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Cutthroat Circus 1970

Tickets

bleeding

needing

someone to laugh

in this empty garden

somebody to shut the windows to the night

somebody to open the box of toys

hidden so long

 

topaz shatterproof whispering thief

finding his way into the locked room

tiptoes then dynamites the hanging

fearing to find escape outside of

becoming another fugitive figure

flung fatally into one of the frames

 

mixed relaxations

reactions

interactions

of sitting & rocking

the childminder asleep

like a tighter thought leaping

across the room at my throat

 

Ringmaster’s Intro Speech

 

realized confinement

time & tomorrow waiting

with a box full of everyone

wishes for their giving to

secret plans & dangling

free frozen in the act

of trying to be a lover

or another testy fake

 

beneath satin sliding silk

sticking sucking slender

silent

waiting then leaping

at your throat

knife sharp

cutting

steel swift

shining sinking into

flinching flesh

bursting bleeding

bravely saving sighs for songs

as duty demands this sudden

stealthy

dubious death

 

The Show

 

cautiously

carefully

itemized perfections

petrified pain

aware merry-go-round

 

circus

charmer looking for Mesmer

trying for the bigtop jackpot

scarcely leaning jagged seat-edged

watching amazed as

the trapeze swings

empty

as

the trapeze swings

full

oriental curving through

a thousand falling feet

to the thudding ground

netted protected below

unaware

timid almost

blushing

shy for once

pleased & proud

confused aloud

almost sure these

hands reached for

across the crowd

might prove to be gone

plunging again

but knowing full well

it’s merely a trick of the band

 

the trombone

tension getting device

as the drums beat faster

& the trapeze bar mirrored silver

fogs with perspiration 

slipping hands

feeling thousand hands hounding

grabbing you out of mid-flight

& dragging you

gracefully arching

to the aching 

safety of home

 

gaunt & tall

removed & aloof

the savage tamer

of the tigers in the room

the charming knife thrower

electric pulsating neon

through pink spotlight

cage bar shadow rippled face

loses no time

in hurling rockets of steel

flashing through sawdust air

to trembling spangled buxom target

coyly smiling as she walk

from the spinning hazard into

your eager spread-legged dream

of night & thrill

in the trailers

in the tents

in the bandwagon

in the centre ring

the major attraction of all time

together

you might & majestic

while she

so calm & serene

& able to walk way

alive after having been burst upon

by your crimson dagger

 

simple acts of contrition

rings one & two

no bells are heard

but the leper’s bell

as the choir bursts forth

with discord after harmony 

 

chime

chime

chime

the centre attraction 

is cutting himself to shreds

the knife thrower stands small in the wings

the centre attraction

is taming himself with whip & chair

s c r e a m i n g

dan

g

l

i

n

g in the air

swings by his teeth

twisting & turning in erotic agony

as the bareback lady rides her

mount so heavily over

the sweating

distressed

finish line

 

clowns in fire engine

save the crying child

the crowd roars wild

 

the choir finds a fatal note

rapture

applause

laughter

spotlights flash aimlessly

uncontrolled

over

the

tent top

sky

as beyond

fireworks

filled

as the final fugitive elephant

is prodded back into chains

is lured back into his corner of the circus

 

fleeting & everlasting

steaming rows of

honking seals

screaming rows of terrified children

as the tigers leap

thrashing

at the cage bars

trying for freedom

foreheads bleeding & dripping

clowns playing

in frenzy to hide the

deep inside mastery of the circus

 

circus tickets

laughing futile 

flight through time

again the choir

singing some

faithless mass

the organist trashing his peddles

the guest soprano

leading through

new augmented chords

all united as all

lions leaping through flaming hoops

horses dancing the arias

cadenza

pianist handless

rhythms 

pumping faster

the fire engines futile whine

 

while in the centre ring

I lead them all in

one final chorus of

laughter

At the time wrote this I felt it was a magnum opus. This is one piece were the enjambments were a carnival in & of themselves. ‘dan g l i n g’ stretched across the page, as well as down the page, with each turn of the typewriter roller dropping the letters down one line after the other.

‘topaz shatterproof whispering thief’ wtf? It clearly shows the influence of surrealism and Dylan Thomas. It creates, to me, an image that almost makes sense while being mystifying meaningless. ‘fugitive figure/flung fatally into one of the frames’ what the ‘f’ is going on 🙂 I do love ‘bigtop jackpot’ for the sonics.

The trapeze symbolized my sense of trying swing through life while keeping from being unbalanced by my expectations & sexuality ‘alive after having been burst upon/by your crimson dagger.’ The pumelling images almost reflect some of the melodramatic turmoil I was struggling with trying to get a sense of my own future.


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Try to Shine 1971

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Try to Shine 1971

father of lights

father of lights

we try to shine as lights in the world

but what good can we do

with your every greater light

outshining us as every dawn

must we wait till your dusk

before we can shine at all

& if we wait what will we do

as it gets nearer the dawn

nearer the dawn

 

the fever shook the country

sometime in December I think

or seem to recall

things were pretty hectic

my back against the wall

the fever took quite a few

I felt it too

it ripped up & down my spine

tore my life to pieces

but for some reason

didn’t take me with the rest

I’m still here

keeping the record of the dead

of the fever followers

who will never return

perhaps the next fever will be mine

 

spring comes in promises

silver nuggets here & there

in first forest clover

but well

it seems so distant anyway

xmas & all

a few little glances

a smile & a call

never getting further than before

never getting nearer than the dawn

 

words of warning or warming

written for a few you’s

who stayed till dawn

nearer than before

in other summer days

we’ve lied & tried

& yet no dawn comes

to reflect the snow snuggled ground

 

it seems so strange at times

to be relating to a voice as a mouth

on the other end of the telephone

rather than the whole of you

it seems so strange at times

to be relating to thoughts as eyes

at the receiving end of a letter

rather than the whole of you

 

it’s not the empty morning that I’m afraid of

I can sleep

or read fortunes with oil on water

swirling sticks & liquorice

I’m afraid of loving

only to find trick of time

did remove me

into some other ticking type of clock

that chimes in disharmony

though perhaps there is another way

for me to wind up

 

I was hoping to meet

in the street by chance

meet you & free myself

of the longing to remember who you were

when I met you last

meet you & free myself 

of longing to meet you once again

in the street

only in the street

for in the street we both have room to escape

& no need to really be there

for longer than a smile & light

& maybe plan for some later meeting

which if happens will

make us even further apart than ever

 

nights after nights

& days after days of words

wandering on & on

not looking really

just wandering

fitting a few & losing a few

wandering closer & further from

hoping & despairing 

the eventuality of time

when I will have to stop

& say which is which

for both can only exist if I intend to

wander on & on forever alone

forever alone

 

father of lights

tell me a fantasy

tell me a meaning

let’s plan a meeting someday soon

each time it becomes harder to find

reasons why

but easier to find ways how

soon perhaps

it can happen

with no reasons at all

 

another start

where the same endings

never seem in sight

Bob Dylan’s New Morning ended with the song Father of Night. In the song he repeated ‘Father of   ….’ with variations of what the father was father of. The religious reference was toyed with ins ouch way that it lead me to write this piece. Direct religious references in my writing are rare but there are subtle ones that pop up frequently.

There’s a bit of story in this piece. ‘the fever’ refers  to the decisions of ‘you’s’ friends of mine to get out of the ghost town & move on with education, employment & even relationships. I felt stranded in Sydney writing letters & making long-distant calls – which reduced us to voices & eyes. 

One of closest string friends was un university & sometimes visited his parents or his girlfriend unexpectedly but didn’t always get in touch with me when he did. It drove me crazy. Such is closeted life.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Ghost Town 1972

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Ghost Town 1972

1

I wanted to catch that feeling

of stars tossed by the wind

a fistful clutched of glass

twinkling sparkling stars

suddenly flashing so fast

through the blackest night sky

that wind

feeling its caress

its warmth

scurrying flurries of fragment silver

across an evergreen tree 

 

take that wind

moan it through a saxophone daydream

through empty shuddered grey-wooded saloons

stables jails & whorehouses

through the dry dust bowl of a ghost town

 

I wanted to taste that surge

of power released by the sun

a mouthful savoured of laughing

bubbling flooding power

suddenly bursting so loud

through the brightest sunrise

that taste

feeling its lingering

its invitation

escaping teasing lure of memory

in a black oaken cask

 

take that sun

moan it through a clarinet daydream

through empty shuddered grey-wooden saloons

stables jails & whorehouses

through the dry dust bowl of a ghost town

 

catch that wind & sun

then let them drift away

softly into your treasure trove

gently into your everyday

take them before they return

to the ghost town

2

calico bonnets & wooden sidewalks

a street turns to mud in the rain

some youngold prospector with gold in his socks

& a boy who talks of cotton & grain

a good old town

small getting big

caught by the sudden boom

discovered down by the lake

or in them were hills

the word flashed around

thousands to dig

so little to take

stomachs aching with greedy ills

 

calico bonnets my mother wore

jars of candy in the everything store

gone all gone never even mine

just an image I found just in time

of a bustling deal come to shore

landing firmly in this ghost town

 

a shoot out at noon

cattle drive by night

smokey kitchens baked beans

hand clappin’ revival

& other church picnic scenes

grabbed up for survival

for some pleasure of mine

movie over too soon

leaving traces of flight

across the rocket ripped room

 

slinging gun so low

red Indian moonshine glow

buffalos moved to make room

with little babies waiting for birth

coming across tv screen dreams

hazy & grainy & end of the show

turn it down

who wants any sound

in this dust windy ghost town

3

flies buzzing into windows

stumbling through the street

horse drawn wagons & stages to meet

widows starving on

childless fathers drinking on

shadows flickering into the night

hoping for the sheriff or the cavalry

to save them from the Indian fight

 

speak softly now

lights down so low

nowhere better to be

no need to go

linger & long

in this dust windy ghost town

About this time I was collecting the Time-Life series on the Old West. The set had wonderfully embossed covers & I’d get a new volume every other month. Wonderfully illustrated & unexpectedly detailed they fuelled me with a sense of the real West, as opposed to the TV & movie version. I was a fan of the books, not of the movies.

Though such of the imagery here comes from tv & movies, with that dash of surrealism i.e. ‘saxophone daydream.’ The ‘I’ speaks from being there, of having experienced this place using the accumulated details to sound more authentic. Then the reveal ‘just an image I found’ – so the piece is about imagination as an escape. Imagining one ghost town to escape from another ghost town. Sydney, my home town, being the real ghost town.

Going though this now I enjoy the images, even the use of alliteration isn’t as heavy handed as it got is some pieces – ‘scurrying flurries of fragment silver’ has a nice flow. 

I have been back to Sydney, & will be there again this summer. It has pretty much become a ghost town – most of business exists for the many cruise ships & liners that stop there for the ‘quaint’ factor. “Ooo look beer fudge.” I look forward to visiting my old haunts.
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Sea Story – July 1971

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Sea Story – July 1971

1

it’s been a rough passage

lies & all the lightening skies

I keep wondering when the southbound breeze

will kick me in the head & knock me to my knees

it tries & tries

so hard to please

dangling sweet smelling smiling hope before my eyes

but I must maintain my mainsail

avoid the sacrilege

of sacrifice

bear up proud & strong

to keep sailing toward no end in sight

the trunks have been abandoned long ago on the wharf

all are empty now

looted of their costumes

I must sail with sails my disguise

I must ride the blizzard inside & out

finally realizing that time has come

to hunt down the criminal vagabond

who attacked my fine silks with spilt wine

dirtied my sparkling mirror with

the expression of his eyes

all ravaged & hopelessly left loose

lying on the edge of time

while I so calmly remained removed & longed

to keep sailing toward no end in sight.

2

sultry slow children playing

back & forth

running from the tents

to the trees

unaware of their warm ease

as the sky pans by

a million fathoms empty of stars & moon

but full of powdered blue aside

no outside

clouded sprightly &

moving the grass

whispered at last

that windows could be opened

for this sailor to peer outside for awhile

there are no mistakes to plead correction for

only moments of flight

to long reflying for

only knots to wish retying for

only by gone crying & laughing

to languish in with pianos playing

over & under every longing & wish

we feel to return to dry land

violin strings sea storm

harp winds wailing

forever & ever warm wind sailing

towards the new ending

towards the maybe loving making in some Singapore shanty

that cannot open its doors

till we arrive with no more longing

to keep sailing toward no end in sight

flashing flashing fitfully warning

with sudden outbursts of lighthouse lunacy

trying so hard to cut the night in two

hoping for some sounding to come rebounding

to warn of hidden dangers murky depth

& silent glowing slithering by happiness

luring the wary into nets of stars

flying them off at a thousand miles per minute

toward the fatal swiftness of the sun

3

we played at being hopelessly lost one dusty morning

snow like dust on the decks

spinning down from eternity

we played at being hopelessly lost

our prow pushing forward into thick air

seemed to be leading nowhere

foreward foreward

the icy wind pushed us

the sails frozen such that we couldn’t take them down

foreward foreward

steering deeper deeper into

the equator’s sunshine blizzard

foreward foreward

following the smiling nude sea

into some deathless canyon ribboned on all sides

with impenetrable sheets of snow & rain

& laughing surprise packages as we each

opened our eyes to another fine morning

here in my little room

so far from the sea

so free from the sea

so removed in anguish from the diadems

of speech that somehow I manage

to keep sailing toward no end in sight

One of the drawbacks in transcribing these pieces has been the loss of enjambments 😦 Even if I duplicate them here – they disappear when I cut & paste a version into another program – Word Press strips everything away except italics. With the old typewriters I would only have to turn the roller one line down & start without having to go back to the beginning edge.

I have to admit I was probably a bit made with enjambments anyway but I loved the way they look don the page, I loved how you drop a word down on the next line, or phrase, for emphasis so it was like an aside to what was just read, as opposed the the start of a whole new stanza.

In looking back at Sea Story I see it influences by Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker’s lyrics. There’s no denying ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ plays into this piece – it was a poem I studied in high school.    It’s hard to miss all the alliteration ‘sweet smelling smiling hope’ plus some sonic wordplay -‘the sacrilege of sacrifice.’ I lived by the ocean but rarely wrote about the sea.


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Lady of Sand 1968

In going through a box of papers I came a cross a pile of old old poems written in late 60’s, early 70’s. So having no shame I’m resurrecting them with minimal editing. I was using a cheaper, yellow copy for many of these – the paper hasn’t yellowed with age. Enjoy 🙂

Lady of Sand 1968

awkward eventuality descends

the stairway nude & she depends

on the shock of flesh so bare

to make all her lovers care

about the little emotion she’s feeling

we only laugh & send her reeling

 

completely devoid of original thinking

perhaps her ideas have been drowned by drinking

to make her body look white & pale

so she can sell it at some discount sale

along with the little emotion she’s dealing

only no one buys & this sends her reeling

 

abstracted tomorrow’s frustration

drained her heart as we stood in the station

with her young body full but unsure

because she knows I’m not pure

taking all the little emotion she’s feeling

so I don’t wave goodbye which sends her reeling

 

so now I come back to you my Lady of Sand

to tell you that I finally understand

the warmth of your body the touch of your mind

you were the truest love I could ever find

& I see how much emotion you’re feeling

she turns her head & sends me reeling

Here I am playing with structure – six line verses, rhyming couplets, with each verse ending with a similar couplet with variations. The final couple being a twist on all that went before a supposed to a summation of all that went before.

I’ve never been that fond of forced structure or of rhyme or even meter. I’m too undisciplined for that kind of composition. If it happens it does without my trying. At times I have even edited accidental  rhymes out of piece.

Part of the inspiration of this piece was Marcel Duchamp’s – Nude Descending A Staircase. Lines like ‘completely devoid of original thinking/perhaps her ideas have been drowned by drinking’ are a reflection of my own drinking though 🙂 ‘abstracted tomorrow’s frustration’ is fine purple poetics as I use words for effect rather than meaning 🙂


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet