Begging The Breath Of The Dead

January 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm | Posted in writing | 10 Comments
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Dedicated to the discovery of elegant constructions, sentences, mostly in the pluperfect since they were written before being read, which often refer to themselves in the mischievous third person.

Grammar is an aid to comprehension, an evolved codification of thought pauses, useful only as a convenience.

The days of begging the breath of the dead have come to end, my friends.

shooting his cuffs,

December 31, 2007 at 3:10 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 6 Comments
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the Amber looks up, “the moon is playing peekaboo with the stars,” she says he says to her i heard you say says the old man wearily removing his grey fedora,
so glad to be home, we are,
he reaches for his stripey night cap
complete with bell and whistle
but picks up the empty half
watermelon sugar pink moon instead
he says and plops it in on her head,

meanwhile, in dark corners,
failure to misunderstand persists,
where intent is obvious
and is met with equal certainty,

they’ve all gone and left me
tapping the empty screen again,
amuirin he says
with a grin,

twirly bit, misdirect,
to recap that, plop, hinge,
bunch of flowers in the
brim of his hat,

Amber Doesn’t Blog

November 9, 2007 at 5:51 pm | Posted in writing | 2 Comments
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She doesn’t have time, what with the kids and the jobs.
Many people write as mere selfexpression therapy
and they are required to demonstrate their craft openly,
displaying their skills with a little ostentation
to justify your attention but Amber doesn’t blog.

She walks, shoulders slightly hunched,
eyes on pavement not crafting poems
about walking, but walking and poetising
and part of Amber is remembering, that part
remembered with its own rhythm and delight
or perhaps tripped halfstep over broken glass
a shard of memory mirror distort by some other

and when Amber is sad
I am sad
the world is sad
I realise I am not a banker
nor doctor nor nurse
I am a poor soul if Amber is sad,
so I must put away my craft
my lickedysplit entertainments,
no more talk of hinges
and pivots and miracles,
synchronicities and odd reflections,
joy in common being,
no connecticons,
no secret heartbeats,
no (hugs) ?

There is a permanence of Amber
beyond craft, beyond words,
Amber does not blog
she merely
and settles
her legs tickling your finger
with an infolding of golden wings,
and there is a permanence
of Amber,

Both to and from

November 6, 2007 at 5:48 pm | Posted in writing | 1 Comment
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My Dear Mr Ronaldhino,
Thankyou so much for your application to the college. It is with great pleasure that we invite you to visit your nearest lodge (would it be Umbada Exu perhaps?) to receive a very warm welcome and much celebration at your arrival.
Having viewed the footage you so thoughtfully included (and with much appreciation of the cleverness of your particular selection from the hundreds of hours available), we have no doubt that anyone who is capable of literally creating time and space without apparent effort, instinctively and joyous, and then having done so celebrates not with the pride of attainment but with a childlike explosion of outrageous humble smiles sharing the moment of immaculate spontaneous generation, casting the miraculous ginga into the whelming crowd, a gift both to and from,
Well, obviously, sir, I could go on (and on) but all I really wanted to do is acknowledge, the immortal Taoist Magician, Ronaldhino,


October 14, 2007 at 10:28 am | Posted in writing | 2 Comments
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The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him? ~Chuang Tzu

Notes on craft (2) (motive force)

October 6, 2007 at 5:47 pm | Posted in writing | 2 Comments
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“Let us first acknowledge that freedom’s just another word
for nothing left to lose. (No, I do not acknowledge my quotes,
footnotes are for those who delight in esoteric reference and telling you what you should already know, Billy McGee, while you’re stomping that reed and the driver smells of cheap bourbon and has his hand on my knee.)

nothing left to lose cos I lost it all to you,

poetry is pointless cleverness
(the thing itself, the kiss, the swish
of sword in dead of night is always

unless it has the power to transform thought,
(otherwise only poets will ever read poetry),

If you do not desire revolution you are not a poet,
Buddhist monks are being beaten,
right now, at the end of time,
the future of your society if you do nothing.
Who among you can say, no, we have no
wife-beaters here, no child-thieves sneaking
from closets and t.v.s,
Buddhist monks being beaten to death
in public view by people who know only which way
a gun is pointing, the future of your society,

read Whitman, it is possible for a man to be a poet,
read George Gordon, Lord Byron, dissent is not madness,
read Wilde for a tale beneath manners and art
about the courage required for honesty,
you cannot be a poet and not be a revolutionary,”
F. said and drained his glass,
“Now how about playing a song we all know?”

I looked down at the piano,
and all I could see was Janis Joplin,

Notes on craft. (1)

October 4, 2007 at 6:05 pm | Posted in writing | 6 Comments
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Endings depend on the point of release in the cycle. Flat, rising on the upswing or falling just before the last (unheard) beat.

Pivots are words or phrases which contain an open thematic link. My favourite pivots consist of just one word with alternate shades of meaning, like ‘down’ which can be a direction or a feather. I call a single word pivot a hinge because the alternate meanings open outward to reveal a confluence of thought at some level behind the language.

The placement of the hinge partially determines the structure (and effect) of the poem. Hinges at the beginning are very subtle because the reader will most probably not consciously appreciate the duality (the hinge may still work but the craft will be hidden.) Hinges in the middle create an harmonic balance. You can open the poem with one meaning and close it on the other, pivoting on the hinge. Hinges at the end create silence, open the mind to the motive (often nonverbal) idea.

If you are an experienced poet you may know all this instinctively. If poetry is like a mental martial art a Zen-like forgetting may be required. Learn, know, practice, forget, then act.

So the two poems below share the same melody in the same key but the endings differ. One is taken from a moving car, blurs and trails out of frame. The other is a very high resolution black and white still photograph taken in a studio.

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