Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sonnets in English by Fernando Pessoa

III.

When I do think my meanest line shall be
More in Time's use than my creating whole,
That future eyes more clearly shall feel me
In this inked page than in my direct soul;
When I conjecture put to make me seeing
Good readers of me in some aftertime,
Thankful to some idea of my being
That doth not even my with gone true soul rime;
An anger at the essence of the world,
That makes this thus, or thinkable this wise,
Takes my soul by the throat and makes it hurled
In nightly horrors of despaired surmise,
       And I become the mere sense of a rage
       That lacks the very words whose waste might 'suage.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sonnets in English by Fernando Pessoa

II.

If that apparent part of life's delight
Our tingled flesh-sense circumscribes were seen
By aught save reflex and co-carnal sight,
Joy, flesh and life might prove but a gross screen.
Haply Truth's body is no eyable being,
Appearance even as appearance lies,
Haply our close, dark, vague, warm sense of seeing
Is the choked vision of blindfolded eyes.
Wherefrom what comes to thought's sense of life? Nought.
All is either the irrational world we see
Or some aught-else whose being-unknown doth rot
Its use for our thought's use. Whence taketh me
A qualm-like ache of life, a body-deep
Soul-hate of what we seek and what we weep


Monday, September 7, 2015

Sonnets in English by Fernando Pessoa

I - Whether we write or speak or do but look

I
Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill ol thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others' dreams.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

'POETRY IS NOT A LUXURY' BY AUDRE LORDE

January 17, 2013

The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized. This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem, nameless and formless-about to be birthed, but already felt. That distillation of experience from which true poetry springs births thought as dream births concept, as feeling births idea, as knowledge births (precedes) understanding.
As we learn to bear the intimacy of scrutiny, and to flourish within it, as we learn to use the products of that scrutiny for power within our living, those fears which rule our lives and form our silences begin to lose their control over us.
For each of us as women, there is a dark place within where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, "Beautiful and tough as chestnut/stanchions against our nightmare of weakness" and of impotence.
These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep.
When we view living, in the european mode, only as a problem to be solved, we then rely solely upon our ideas to make us free, for these were what the white fathers told us were precious.
But as we become more in touch with our own ancient, black, non-european view of living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with, we learn more and more to cherish our feelings, and to respect those hidden sources of our power from where true knowledge and therefore lasting action comes.
At this point in time, I believe that women carry within ourselves the possibility for fusion of these two approaches as keystone for survival, and we come closest to this combination in our poetry. I speak here of poetry as the revelation or distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean — in order to cover their desperate wish for imagination without insight.
For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action.
Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action. Right now, I could name at least ten ideas I would have once found intolerable or incomprehensible and frightening, except as they came after dreams and poems. This is not idle fantasy, but the true meaning of "it feels right to me." We can train ourselves to respect our feelings, and to discipline (transpose) them into a language that matches those feelings so they can be shared. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it. Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives.
Possibility is neither forever nor instant. It is also not easy to sustain belief in its efficacy. We can sometimes work long and hard to establish one beachhead of real resistance to the deaths we are expected to live, only to have that beachhead assaulted or threatened by canards we have been socialized to fear, or by the withdrawal of those approvals that we have been warned to seek for safety. We see ourselves diminished or softened by the falsely benign accusations of childishness, of non-universality, of self-centeredness, of sensuality. And who asks the question: am I altering your aura, your ideas, your dreams, or am I merely moving you to temporary and reactive action? (Even the latter is no mean task, but one that must be rather seen within the context of a true alteration of the texture of our lives.)
The white fathers told us, I think therefore I am; and the black mothers in each of us-the poet-whispers in our dreams, I feel therefore I can be free. Poetry coins the language to express and charter this revolutionary awareness and demand, the implementation of that freedom. However, experience has taught us that the action in the now is also always necessary. Our children cannot dream unless they live, they cannot live unless they are nourished, and who else will feed them the real food without which their dreams will be no different from ours?
Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideas. The head will save us. The brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas still waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves, along with the renewed courage to try them out. And we must constantly encourage ourselves and each other to attempt the heretical actions our dreams imply and some of our old ideas disparage. In the forefront of our move toward change, there is only our poetry to hint at possibility made real. Our poems formulate the implications of ourselves, what we feel within and dare make real (or bring action into accordance with), our fears, our hopes, our most cherished terrors.
For within structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive. Kept around as unavoidable adjuncts or pleasant pastimes, feelings were meant to kneel to thought as we were meant to kneel to men. But women have survived. As poets. And there are no new pains. We have felt them all already. We have hidden that fact in the same place where we have hidden our power. They lie in our dreams, and it is our dreams that point the way to freedom. They are made realizable through our poems that give us the strength and courage to see, to feel, to speak, and to dare.
If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is a luxury, then we have given up the core-the fountain-of our power, our womanness; we have give up the future of our worlds.
For there are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt, of examining what our ideas really mean (feel like) on Sunday morning at 7 AM, after brunch, during wild love, making war, giving birth; while we suffer the old longings, battle the old warnings and fears of being silent and impotent and alone, while tasting our new possibilities and strengths.
from "Sister Outsider: essays and speeches" page 36. Published by Crossing Press, 1985.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

“He Bought the Sunday New York Times” - Lowell Murphree

He bought the Sunday New York Times
on the day before his 65th birthday.
as an act of self-conscious generosity,

On the day after his birthday
he was still making his way through 
the lead article in the Book Review on Bellow.

“Why was it taking so long?” He wondered.
He could read less than one four-column page 
before the suffocating avalanche of
words rolled him.

It wasn’t that the names being dropped: Hemingway – Heidegger
were scratchings on a stranger’s tombstone. He 
knew these writers, knew being and he knew time, knew 
the “thumb against her nipple” man and the 
the stupefying languor of gulf island heat.

He saw quite clearly the chair, the room, the university town 
where he had met the Nazi at a place arranged by Englishman
John Macquarrie. The not unkind face of

his college roommate appeared to him, throwing a new blue gray, 
soft cover copy of Herzog
on their shared desk in 1969. 
Familiarity was not the problem.

Other titles surfaced (“markings” Hammerskjold 
would have called them) 
Somerset’s Summing Up, thin, gold and brown 
SK’s Point of View for My Work as an Author in block letters on a white cover.

“Failure to assess a life in progress,” he thought,
and sipped his tea.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

NOT ONLY THAT, HE CAN COOK TOO - Laura Lee


No herringbone brick walkways in this dirt garden,
Just hard-packed earth, cool under my feet in the shade
Of the scarlet runner beans climbing their pole.
Vichyssoise served from a silver tureen aboard the Queen Mary
Reaching through the foliage to harvest the glossy aubergines,
Bell peppers still ripening in the hot sun as I pick them,
Mud-splashed tomatoes, broken stems releasing an aroma of high summer,
I fill my apron like Nellie in the paw-paw patch.
American boy slurping soupe de poisson and vin ordinaire
I carry the loot into the ancient kitchen where you're making your bones.
You go to work cutting and chopping,
Your Sabatier performing a scherzo of slicing.
Tromping over wet-black sand along the Bassin d'Arcachon
The table is laid with white linen.
The sun goes down and we dine.
A Gitane glows against the night sky.
Your first oyster, a gift from Monsieur Saint-Jour

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Some poems from the 2013 Archives

#1. Invitation

            “I knew too that through them I knew too that he was though, I knew too that he threw them.  I knew too that they were through, I knew too I knew too, I knew I knew them.” 
            “If you can see why she feel that she kneels if you can see why he knows that he shows what he bestows, if you can see why they share what they share, need we question that there is no doubt that by this time if they had intended to come they would have sent some note of such intention.”
            Many others did go and there was a sacrifice, of what shall we, a sheep, a hen, a cock, a village, a ruin, and all that and then that having been blessed let us bless it.”   - Gertrude Stein, Idem the Same – Let Us Describe
                              
The Queen’s Henchmen
request the pleasure of your company
at a Lynching – to be held 
at 23rd and C Streets NW
on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 –
just past sunset.

Dress: Formal, Masks and Hoods -
the four being lynched
must never know the identities
of their executioners, or what/
whose sin required their sacrifice.

A blood sacrifice –
to divert the hounds,
to appease the gods,
to cleanse our filth and
satisfy our guilty consciences.

Arrive promptly at sunset –
injustice will be swift.
There will be no trial,
no review of evidence,
no due process, and
no accountability.

Dress warmly -
a chilling effect will instantly
envelop Foggy Bottom.

Extrajudicial. Total impunity at the top.
A kangaroo court in a banana republic.

B.Y.O.B.
Refreshments will not be served
because of the continuing resolution.

And the ones being lynched?
Who cares? They are pawns in a game.
Our game. All suckers, all fools,
all knaves who volunteered to serve - us.  
And the truth?  The truth?
What difference at this point does it make?

In case of inclement weather,
or the Queen’s incapacitation,
the Queen's Henchmen will carry out 
this lynching - as ordered, as planned.

March 8, 2013




#2. Monday, April 15, 2013

The wicked witch of the East?
The old, decrepit, ancient East?
She dead.
House fell on her ass during the storm. 
Feet all shriveled up.
That witch ain’t going nowhere!
Ain’t gon bother nobody!

But the wicked witch of the West?
The new, modern, amoral West?
She’s alive and kicking.
Causing all kinds of trouble.
Done signed a deal with the Wizard –
the lying Wizard. 
Dorothy has her hands full with those two.
And the lion ain’t got no courage.



#3. Trapped in a purgatory…

“The top of the pyramid – the organization is composed of Technologists who only pretend to have power, although they are only actors in the theater of mirrors.  When the mirror is broken they die, because the internal drive of their actions vanishes.” – Svetislav Basara, The Cyclist Conspiracy

Trapped in a purgatory
of their own conceit…

The web of lies they weave
gets tighter and tighter
in its deceit
until it bottoms out -
at a very low frequency -
and implodes.

It may be just
a matter of perception –
they can’t undo their wrongs
for fear it’d undermine their
perceived authority –
an authority they think
they require to stay in charge.

Yet all the while,
the more they talk,
the more they lie,
and the deeper down
the hole they go.

There’s nothing I need
to go back to -
nothing to re-litigate -
nothing to defend -
and certainly nothing to prove
to the unworthy.

Just wait…
just wait
and feed them rope.

5/14/2013



#4. August 14, 2013 – Man and the expanding universe: art

moral courage dies
and corruption’s stench prevails –
lies erase the truth

my LinkedIn friends keep endorsing me
for Government.  But me and Uncle Sam

are a shrinking universe.  I’m leaving
the troop that errs, the team that lies,

leaders who destroy lives for sport, as art - 
themselves a crime, a sin, a plague.  Farewell.