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the Tonys‏

the Tony Award Medallion

the Tony Award Medallion

______________

this is why I love the Tonys

this is why I love Broadway

this is why I love New York

just click

Richard

“Nude Descending a Staircase” – Duchamp / Kennedy‏

Marcel Duchamp "Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2" (1912)

Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912)

Marcel Duchamp

________

Nude Descending a Staircase

Toe upon toe, a snowing flesh,
A gold of lemon, root and rind,
She sifts in sunlight down the stairs
With nothing on. Nor on her mind.

We spy beneath the banister
A constant thresh of thigh on thigh—
Her lips imprint the swinging air
That parts to let her parts go by.

One woman waterfall, she wears
Her slow descent like a long cape
And pausing, on the final stair,
Collects her motions into shape.

X.J. Kennedy

_________

in my class on Modern Poetry on the
Internet they complained that both
Duchamp and Kennedy were
objectifying women

maybe I too am

read my response

“I thought the poem was hot, and I’m not even a heterosexual, it renders voluptuous the female body, as the female body should be rendered, and, again, I’m not even a heterosexual, how can a heterosexual man not tremble at the “snowing flesh, / a gold of lemon, root and rind,”, the “constant thresh of thigh on thigh”, the very “swinging air / that parts to let her parts go by.”, by the time she gets to the “final stair” you’re jelly

women have their own pornography, have you seen The Bridges of Madison County

I also love Duchamp’s painting, all shimmering gold and glittering, all panels of incandescent light, his “Nude” could descend my staircase any day, despite my counterintuitive position, for which information you can again read above

cheers, Richard”

cheers, Richard

psst: poets are supposed to defy conventions,
watch me, poets know we’ve got nothing
to lose

a gift from Brain

Leonora Carrington - "The Burning of Giordano Bruno" (1964)

“The Burning of Giordano Bruno (1964)

Leonora Carrington

_______

the last entry at The Other Side of the Brain
was the following poem, which delivers such
thunder that I couldn’t help appropriating it
for my own purposes

forgive me, Brain, but with this one you’ve
been too much of an inspiration

thanks

________________

What He Thought

for Fabbio Doplicher

We were supposed to do a job in Italy
and, full of our feeling for
ourselves (our sense of being
Poets from America) we went
from Rome to Fano, met
the mayor, mulled
a couple matters over (what’s
a cheap date, they asked us; what’s
flat drink). Among Italian literati
we could recognize our counterparts:
the academic, the apologist,
the arrogant, the amorous,
the brazen and the glib—and there was one
administrator (the conservative), in suit
of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide
with measured pace and uninflected tone narrated
sights and histories the hired van hauled us past.
Of all, he was the most politic and least poetic,
so it seemed. Our last few days in Rome
(when all but three of the New World Bards had flown)
I found a book of poems this
unprepossessing one had written: it was there
in the pensione room (a room he’d recommended)
where it must have been abandoned by
the German visitor (was there a bus of them?)
to whom he had inscribed and dated it a month before.
I couldn’t read Italian, either, so I put the book
back into the wardrobe’s dark. We last Americans
were due to leave tomorrow. For our parting evening then
our host chose something in a family restaurant, and there
we sat and chatted, sat and chewed,
till, sensible it was our last
big chance to be poetic, make
our mark, one of us asked
“What’s poetry?
Is it the fruits and vegetables and
marketplace of Campo dei Fiori, or
the statue there?” Because I was
the glib one, I identified the answer
instantly, I didn’t have to think— “The truth
is both, it’s both!”, I blurted out. But that
was easy. That was easiest to say. What followed
taught me something about difficulty,
for our underestimated host spoke out,
all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said:
The statue represents Giordano Bruno,
brought to be burned in the public square
because of his offense against
authority, which is to say
the Church. His crime was his belief
the universe does not revolve around
the human being: God is no
fixed point or central government, but rather is
poured in waves through all things. All things
move. “If God is not the soul itself, He is
the soul of the soul of the world.” Such was
his heresy. The day they brought him
forth to die, they feared he might
incite the crowd (the man was famous
for his eloquence). And so his captors
placed upon his face
an iron mask, in which
he could not speak. That’s
how they burned him. That is how
he died: without a word, in front
of everyone.
And poetry—
(we’d all
put down our forks by now, to listen to
the man in gray; he went on
softly)—
poetry is what

he thought, but did not say.

Heather McHugh

______________

this made me think that God is an
adjective not a noun, an attribute,
not a commandment, “God is no
fixed point or central government,
but rather is poured in waves
through all things”

cheers, Richard

psst: I’ve made the choice to leave out
the poem’s purported paragraphs
for their being indiscriminate in
every Internet reproduction

“A Repentance” – richibi‏

Titian "Danaë" (1554)

Danaë (1554)

Titian

________

nor can I not report a poem that I offered
as an apology for an affront I’d caused,
utterly unwittingly, to one of my course’s
gracious participants

she had objected to slights against the
very perception of sex crimes, which I’d
egregiously equated, she said, with
soul-destroying profanities

_________

A Repentance

(wherein I “bite my thumb”
at the Petrarchan sonnet, I think)

Stand certain, Anonymous, that
I am completely in your corner,
No even passing account of sexual
Crimes against women should

Ever overlook their horror,
Regardless of the context,
Erudite or otherwise, therefore
Let me here sincerely apologize

Your reprimand is not lightly
Stamped upon my conscience,
Only understand that for me a

Rape of the soul is also a
Repulsive matter, greatly also deplorable
Yours truly, Richard

____________

you’ll note the acrostic interpolation,
“SINCERELY SORRY”, at the head of
each verse of my text, meant to
counter the mode of the offending
matter, John Peale Bishop’s vicious
A Recollection

Richard

psst: the painting above is the subject
of Bishop’s, completely
objectionable, stunt

inscrutability‏

John Cage "R/5"

R/5

John Cage

_____

so far among the questions and answers,
opinions and replies my several courses
have engendered, this is my favourite,
just click

Richard

Jackson Pollock / Tristan Tzara

 Jackson Pollock -  "Blue Poles (Number 11)"

Blue Poles (Number 11) (1952)

Jackson Pollock

_____

How to Make a Dadaist Poem

To make a Dadaist poem:

Take a newspaper.
Take a pair of scissors.
Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Then cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag.
Shake it gently.
Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag.
Copy conscientiously.
The poem will be like you.
And here are you a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.

Tristan Tzara

_________________

though the idea at first seems fanciful,
outrageous, think of Jackson Pollock,
and his “action paintings”, great art
produced by the instinctual wisdom of
musculature, its preconscious impulses

Tristan Tzara, 1896 – 1963, was one of
the originators of Dada, an influential
art movement of the early Twentieth
Century that rejected all traditional
forms of art for having led to the
havoc of World War l

Richard

Pablo Picasso/Gertrude Stein

Pablo Picasso - "Untitled" (1923)

Untitled (1923)

Pablo Picasso

________

Gertrude Stein was a friend of Pablo Picasso,
you can see it in her prose, a disordering of
traditional practices, perspectives and
proportions

in loving repeating she writes

As I was saying loving repeating being is in a way earthly being. In some it is repeating that gives to them always a solid feeling of being. In some children there is more feeling and in repeating eating and playing, in some in story-telling and their feeling. More and more in living as growing young men and women and grown men and women and men and women in their middle living, more and more there comes to be in them differences in loving repeating in different kinds of men and women, there comes to be in some more and in some less loving repeating. Loving repeating in some is a going on always in them of earthly being, in some it is the way to completed understanding. Loving repeating then in some is their natural way of complete being. This is now some description of one.

Gertrude Stein

_________________

in my poetry course the Modernists keep on
coming, quite a few I’ve found impenetrable
and obtuse, I can see their points, but find
them pedantic and trivial

similar sentiments greeted the Impressionists
when they came out, so I’m watching myself

it’s easy to digest Picasso‘s painting now,
but even when I was a boy he was
controversial, now everyone admires him

Gertrude Stein not so much, writing is not
painting

they are both, I believe, returning to the
language of innocence, putting together
their world as children do, getting their
information in overlapping concepts,
trying to make their way through the
muddle

a five-year-old would talk like that, a
five-year-old would paint like that,
both are sorting out their new world,
the world that had been so profoundly
disturbed, disjointed

they were returning to the disarray,
and consequent irregular grammar,
of children, making their own kind
of common sense, trying to get their
bearings, after all, even God had
died, see Nietzsche on that

and, for better or worse, finally,
they’ll leave you behind, the children,
whose world, then, is it worth attending

Richard

psst: as a boy I asked my dad, while
interminably, I thought, fishing,
how long it would take the
minnow to grow into the
required fish, how’s that for
not illogical observation

Bill and Flossie Williams

Arshile Gorky - "Hitler invades Poland" (1939)

Hitler Invades Poland (1939)

Arshile Gorky

________

it must be understood that World War l
changed everything, the old order,
orders, had been discredited, new
states were formed, territories allotted,
-isms proliferated, the arts had to, of
course, reflect that, and did, as many
-isms were hatched in the art world
as in the political world, indeed,
many more

which is why much of it at first
seems questionable, practitioners
were learning anew how to talk, paint,
make music, they were creating a new
conceptual universe to replace the one
that had been roundly discredited, the
one that had been around in the West
for the last two thousand years

therefore Schoenberg, therefore
Picasso, and therefore Finnegan’s
Wake
“,
for instance

we’ve been studying American
Modernists in the classes on the
Internet I’m taking
, none of whom
I find interesting, and I’m, contrary
to all expectations, losing even my
early enthusiasm for the much too
thorny, I think, Emily Dickinson

but here’s another abstruse poet
that I like in this poem

though I much prefer his wife
Flossie’s sardonic reply
, which
follows

________________

This Is Just To Say (1934)

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams

________________

Flossie’s Reply (1934)

Dear Bill: I’ve made a
couple of sandwiches for you.
In the ice-box you’ll find
blue-berries–a cup of grapefruit
a glass of cold coffee.

On the stove is the tea-pot
with enough tea leaves
for you to make tea if you
prefer–Just light the gas–
boil the water and put it in the tea

Plenty of bread in the bread-box
and butter and eggs–
I didn’t know just what to
make for you. Several people
called up about office hours–

See you later. Love. Floss.

Please switch off the telephone.

Florence Williams

____________

go Florence, I say, but you can
see, of course, why I’d say that

Richard

the Argentinian tango‏

Jane and John

Jane and John

______

through the magic of the Internet, new
old friendships abound, with the click
of a connection I found the key to
erstwhile friends, who, it turns out,
are now ballroom dancers, pictured
above

can you dig it

she suggested an Argentinian tango I
might like

I am countering with another

meanwhile watch also what they’re
doing on Avenida Florida in Buenos
Aires
, where miracles, trust me,
happen
, just click

Richard

psst: do try all of this at home

Ezra Pound “on the language of form and colour”‏

Wassily Kandinsky - "304"

304 (1910)

Wassily Kandinsky

______

in trying to explain the genesis of his poem,
In a Station of the Metro“, Ezra Pound
says

And so, when I came to read Kandinsky’s chapter on the language of form and colour, I found little that was new to me. I only felt that someone else understood what I understood, and had written it out very clearly. It seems quite natural to me that an artist should have just as much pleasure in an arrangement of planes or in a pattern of figures, as in painting portraits of fine ladies, or in portraying the Mother of God as the symbolists bid us.”

Pound is saying that playing at painting is
no different from playing an instrument or
playing a part in a play, art is about playing,
the artist has reached enough skill at his or
her craft, that he or she, however seriously,
is now playing

therefore Kandinsky, for instance

there remains, however, communication,
how much will one want to play, join in,
when the artist’s aim should be, I would
think, communication, have the
refinements become so inscrutable as to
become alienating, and contrary to art,
if not outright rubbish under an effete,
affected, gaze

what do you think

Richard

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