Richibi’s Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Category: finding poems

“Head Shot” – C. Wade Bentley‏

cover-720x932

                                       Spring, 2016” – The Maynard
 
                                                          Link Nicoll
 
                                                    ________________   
 
 
The Maynard is a collection of poems, 
Canadian, I think, culled from a flurry 
of submissions, then published 
quarterly, I think
 
on the strength of this last issue, plus
the previous one, I’ve gleaned only this 
much for having been more interested
in the poems themselves than in their 
provenance
 
I’ve long gone into museums and taken 
out one work, my favourite, as a way of
focusing my attention, the work I choose 
must be considered, by definition, against
the other, often comparable, works which
compel me, I come out having seen them 
all
 
this quarter, Spring, 2016“, is the one 
I take home, where I’m already finding 
a special place for it in my mind
 
   
      My friend who is Hindu refuses 
      to take a shower, in deference  
      to the millions of bacteria 
      he would dislodge, or to move 
      from the couch to the carpet 
      where he might crush unknown 
      numbers of pyroglyphids. I say 

      he’s a lazy son of a bitch.

      Speaking of which, I hear my ex-    
wife now teaches Goddess
      classes. On our last vacation together
      she was reading the complete
      The Secret series as we sat in our beach
      chairs, me using Corona bottles
      to fry sand flies while noticing out
      the corner of my eye how
      she seemed to be intently wishing

      something in my direction.

      I meet my therapist weekly
at the gun club and he tells me
      not to dismiss so easily the ways
      others choose to find meaning,
      and also to breathe out through
      my nose, to picture the smoke
      of the Marlboro reds he made me
      quit smoking curling from my
      nostrils, hanging in the air
      along with the anxieties that had also
      lodged deeply in my chest,
      to squeeze the trigger only
      as the last one leaves, to let
      the 9-millimeter projectile fly where
      it is meant to fly, obliterating
      whichever part of the cardboard
      human target currently hosts
      my deepest dysphoria—the meaning
      and etiology of which, so he says,
      can only then be made clear.
 
                                C. Wade Bentley
 
Richard


Advertisements

“So You Want To Be A Writer” – Charles Bukowski‏

Charles-Bukowski-quotes

                                                                      ___________
 
 
reading this poem for me was like 
looking into a mirror
 
 

 
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

                   Charles Bukowski

Beethoven – piano sonata no.31, op.110 (3rd movement)‏

woman-reading-in-a-garden-1903.jpg!Large

Woman Reading in a Garden (1902-03)
 
 

         _______


perhaps my best teacher ever was
my father, others never questioned
the orthodoxy, spewing out the
curriculum like it was sacred, dead,
untouchable, depriving it of its very
worth

my father was a philosopher, God 
was a question, not an answer, I,
at the time, needed an answer
 
we were sent to a Catholic school,
my sister and I, where God was in 
everything, everywhere, omnipotent,
omniscient, and, like a father then, 
autocratic, industrious, demanding,
not unopposed to punishment
 
sins against the Father could be 
summarized, at that age, briefly,
do not kill, do not lie, do not 
disobey your parents, do not 
cheat on your husband, wife, 
and follow all the rituals of the 
Church, the Ten Christian 
Commandments, brought to 
you universally then by Charlton 
“Moses” Heston, under the aegis 
 
none of these graded offences  
applied to me, really, then, but 
lying, and disobeying one’s 
parents, the others were all so 
remote as to be inconsequential, 
though the Church kept up on 
our family’s abrogations of 
religious rites – non-attendance 
at Sunday mass, eating meat 
on Fridays, worse – while 
nevertheless tending dutifully
to our wayward souls, they told 
us, holding out for a final repentant 
confession
 
we never lied at home, I’d lied about 
something once, and was so daunted
when my father probed, I sweated,
must’ve turned purple, not just red,
of embarrassment, I knew I couldn’t 
use that tactic again, I’d inexorably 
blush, flush
 
who put the Brylcreem on the dog,
he’d queried
 
not me, I trembled
 
my sister stood beside me, might 
not have even known anything 
about it, I can’t remember, though 
I recall her dismay, I think, at having 
been so blithely thrown under the 
bus, or maybe that’s just me 
extrapolating 
 
my dad turned back to what he’d 
been doing, having, I’d understood, 
got his answer, proving himself to 
be to me thereby omniscient, I’d 
have no chance, I gathered, against 
something like that, this turned me 
into a good, an at least conscientious, 
person
 
my teachers, paradoxically, only 
ever took marks off for technical 
stuff, Math, History, French, they 
never taught me lessons   
 
a teacher, once, had asked me to
stand at the head of the class and 
read a passage from Shakespeare,
be Romeo, Mark Antony, Lear, I
can’t remember which
 
“O, pardon me, thou bleeding 
piece of earth, / That I am meek 
and gentle with these butchers!”,
I uttered, fraught with emotion,
“Thou art the ruins of the noblest 
man / That ever lived in the tide 
of times”
 
in my mind and in my body I was 
Mark Antony there, shot through 
with the weight of his friend’s 
brutal death, his own irretrievable 
loss 
 
my teacher laughed
 
what, I asked
 
you’re right into it, aren’t you, he 
replied, and shut me up right there 
to any public display of expression 
 
 
I didn’t stop reading Shakespeare 
though, but by myself
 
later I read Homer, Ovid, Proust,
others, did the same with music 
and art, made countless lifelong 
friends thereby, people I’ve always 
been able to turn to, even just in 
ruminative thought as their stories 
still pervaded me, diligently leading   
still the way, like guardian angels,  
maybe
 
 
 
Richard

“upon considering large radishes”- me‏

Photo on 2015-11-26 at 6.28 PM

outsized radishes (November 26, 2015)

_____________

upon considering large radishes

I wrote a letter to my love
and marketwards I dropped it,
a little urchin must’ve picked it up
and put it in hir pocket

red peppers there, potatoes, pears,
parsleys, persimmons, parsnips,
cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, celery,
broccoli, rosemary, thyme, and turnips

but the radishes

what big radishes you’ve got, I thought,
the better, I deemed, to adorn my salads,
some red, some pink, some cream, some white,
all primed for my discriminating palate

presented gingerly in leafy green,
sold in inorganic, incongruous thus, individual blue elastics,
a brand name, the merchant’s label,
a small but indestructible, and glaring, plastic

something, of course, outrageous a pound,
or gram, at the indifferent check-out counter,
which, however dogmatic, I invariably pay,
to avoid any indecorous, unpleasant encounter

whatever is under my belt, no one can take away,
I’ve preached, propounded, promoted, pronounced,
before every filet mignon I’ve enjoyed
which another might’ve dutifully renounced

later, slicing these rarities, positively Swiftian,
I thought, verily Brobdingnagian, enormous,
pinwheels on my variety of vivid vegetables,
golf balls on my artfully distributed lettuce

what are they doing, though, to our planet,
momentarily I wondered, however impotently, I’ll admit,
having long ago succumbed to proliferating produce misfits,
with the advent of broccolini and, gosh, multicoloured carrots

my salad, with roasted prawns, and an
oil and vinegar vinaigrette, was to die, incidentally,
though not a word from the urchin,
nor from my love, not, I suppose, unnaturally, neither unexpectedly

may all your vegetables be ever so amazing

Richard

 

October, 2015‏

 "October" - Efim Volkov

October (1883)

Efim Volkov

_____

it’s the 3rd of October already, we’ve
slipped nearly imperceptibly, I’ve found,
into this new month, the days here are
crisp, if not cold, the leaves, not yet
fallen, are nevertheless bristling bright
orange, red, and gold, mustard, crimson,
and deep purple actually, in spotty
patches among the still prevalent greens
holding on determinedly to their extra
share of summer

nothing much more from me about this
otherwise unexceptional month, apart
from the introspection inherent in the
painting above
, offered for your
contemplation

and this wonderful piece from Tchaikovsky’s
The Seasons, its October: Autumn Song,
including this epigraph of Tolstoy from its
first Russian edition

“Autumn, our poor garden is falling down,
the yellowed leaves are flying on the wind.”

for your rapture

listen

Richard

psst:

today our building manager left a
chocolate on each of our doors

 

“King Lear” – William Shakespeare

 "Study for King Lear" - Joshua Reynolds

Study for King Lear (1760)

Joshua Reynolds

________

though it has its weaknesses, I have
never seen a better version of “King
Lear”
than this one, also, to my mind,
Shakespeare’s best play

watch

Lear has always been a difficult
character to portray, a King becomes a
vagrant, a Jesus figure, “a man / more
sinned against than sinning”,
and the
most difficult part an actor must render,
I’ve found, is that of social status

and here we have both extremes, a not
easy transition, nor have I seen but once
a Lear I could believe in

James Earl Jones in New York’s Central
Park
is Lear from the word go, but the
rest of the cast betrays him, they all
mostly merely phone in their roles

in this alternate production, the reverse
is true, Lear, though in many moments
mighty, is never really a King, nor truly,
I think, a Jesus, though his final breaths
are nothing short of holy

Cordelia speaks her lines well, but
doesn’t breathe them

every other performer is magnificent,
with a special mention for the truly
human Fool, not merely a caricature
here, but a wise man

also Kent, the vitriolic sisters, Edgar
and his ignominious brother Edmund,
even the several messengers, all of
whom intently and forcefully to a one
live out their roles

the direction is thrillingly manifest in
the solid and detailed work of the cast,
note, for instance, Regan’s laugh, an
inspired directorial touch, when Lear
declares his intention to bequeath
his land according to which of the
daughter’s “doth love Us most”,
relaying in an instant, and at the very
start, her fundamental, and thereafter,
of course, unswerving, unfilial scorn

I’ve never seen that note played
elsewhere so incisively

mostly, however, it’s the poetry of
Shakespeare, which bristles throughout,
like buds in spring in a garden, which ‘ll
especially delight, and have you marvel

watch

Richard

 

‏‏String Quartet no 2 in D major – Alexander Borodin‏


 "Russian Music" - James Ensor

Russian Music (1881)

James Ensor

_______

Alexander Borodin’s ravishing String
Quartet no 2 in D major
, from 1881,
was written only a few years after
Smetana’s 1876 From My Life“, and
sounds surprisingly similar, the same
number of movements all in the same
order, fast, a dance step, polka or
waltz, then slow, then fast

their second movements are notably
united by their common use of long
bowing of paired notes from the
violins, to establish, irresistibly,
the rhythm of their individual dances

their eccentric, even strident notes,
stretching towards atonality but
remaining this side of the divide,
thus surprisingly welcome, even
captivating

the change of tempo right in the
middle of every movement to
separate and sharpen contrast
between the exposition and the
development, then the whole
thing all over again, all quirks
of the evolution of the
nevertheless stalwart string
quartet structure, as unassailable,
it would appear, as that of the,
also inveterate, sonnet

I could go on

the difference is in the intention,
the appropriation of the Viennese
model to express more culturally
expanded varietals of the original
mode, in these two cases, Czech
and Russian, it’s all in each their
homegrown cadence

and that’s how music speaks if
you lend an ear

think of the European Pinot Noir,
for instance, taking root in other,
foreign soil not being necessarily
any longer inferior, sometimes
even superior, downright even
celebrated, you’ll get, essentially,
the big picture

Alexander Borodin’s ravishing
String Quartet no 2 in D major,
note, is such a prize, an utterly
intoxicating wine you wouldn’t
want to eschew, miss

Gesundheit

Richard

 

“Julius Caesar”, a foretaste

"The Dead Caesar" -  Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Dead Caesar (c.1859)

Jean-Léon Gérôme

__________

a friend and I are undertaking our
umpteenth reading of a Shakespeare
play, “Julius Caesar” this time, which
I hadn’t read in an age

in this version, still unparalleled,
Brutus, James Mason, presents his
argument for the assassination of
Caesar
, “Hear me for my cause, and
be silent that you may hear…not that
I loved Caesar less but that I loved
Rome more”,
he proclaims

Mark Antony, in the incarnation of
Marlon Brando, responds, for the
ages

and therein lies the glory, incidentally,
of Shakespeare

just saying

Richard

“Schubert at dinner” – me‏

"Schubert at the Piano, ll" -  Gustav Klimt

“Schubert at the Piano, ll” – Klimt (1899)

Gustav Klimt

_______

June has been too hot for words
here, therefore my hiatus, along
with other physical and emotional
tribulations

but someone sent me something
today that made me think I should
return to my literary preoccupations

I’ve been fussing about my kitchen
rather, making soups, biscuits,
muffins, learning about basic, and
trying out unusual, taste
considerations

coconut rice with lime, for instance,
perfect for seafood and summer
presentations

pan-roasted pork tenderloin in a
whisky, mustard preparation, for
one’s incontrovertible delectation

you need to sear the tenderloin in
oil first, salt and pepper of course,
turning to brown all indentations

then smear with a whipped up
mustard and butter blend, lower
heat, cover, listen to this Schubert,
meanwhile, revelation

one of several transcendental
sonatas he wrote before he died,
a too early death, considering his
sublime cultural donations

he was 30, too young to die, to
produce what would’ve surely
been otherworldly musical
creations

when the meat’s cooked, set it
aside, keep warm, loosely
covered, increase heat, add
diced shallots, soften for
several fragrant inhalations

add as much whisky as you
want, though too much, I
found, will defeat your taste
expectations, though not, of
course, your degree of
inebriation

bring to a boil, reduce to a glaze,
lower heat, add cream to the
mustard, butter, shallot, whisky
agglomeration

gently cook sauce till it clings
to a spoon, I add the pork then
to the pan to return it to my own
doneness specifications

with coconut rice, you’ll serve
an unadulterated celebration

with Schubert’s D894, whether
cooking or dining with it, an
utterly existential affirmation

have fun

Richard

psst: serve with wine

June, 2015‏


 "Fields in the Month of June" - Charles-François Daubigny

Fields in the Month of June (1874)

Charles-François Daubigny

___________

there were no poems not tawdry
about the month of June when I
looked, I read of the moon a lot,
of blossoms everywhere blooming,
troubadours crooning, couples
spooning, ubiquitously and
indiscriminately, none enough to
warrant my further attention

but this lyric, serendipitously,
finally, touched on what I thought
June might bring up

June, it said, is busting out all
over
, to corroborate, just click

incidentally, Monet, a year earlier,
1873, had painted his Wild
Poppies, near Argenteuil
, the
month of June in his conception
being addressed here perhaps
merely peripherally

but it seems Daubigny and Monet
must’ve known each other

again just click

Richard