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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pup's old, illustrated by Jeannine Chappell

By Jeannine Chappell
see also: This Has Happened.
 

Pup’s old     


It’s unbelievable how Bella sleeps,
the same bursting free girl who chased for years
sticks, balls, frizzlebees—foaming meadow greens
until her muscles cramped, and her peaked ears
rounded, and her tongue pierced and pierced the breeze,

which always roves in when the sun covers
itself under hills. In the aftermath,
a walk home, a deposit scooped, suppers
all around, and everyone gets a bath.
For some, that’s a chance to earn a few treats.

The eternal puppy exhales dog breath.
She mouths her stuffy and shares tugging games,
but no longer levitates off the earth,
snapping for a toy or a bite of lamb.
The cold weather affects the Bootsky’s knees.

Shall I warble “Sunrise, Sunset”? I am,
thanks to her, never going to be the same.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fortune's Castle, illustrated by Mirabai Rose Ari





I’ve so many
good wishes from
fortune cookies
saved in my home,
you’d think to see

diamonds and plums
in Chihuly
bowls in each room.
Reality?
Bowls by Ari

fill with pennies
and small apples
from our own tree.
Fortune’s simple
sugary crumbs

fill my temple.
My luck’s ample.


***
Hey! If you have a moment - I'd still love to get input on which Henrik Drescher piece you like best. Read on :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I beseech your input on which Henrik Drescher image to use

Hello and welcome and thanks for coming. I have a favor to ask.

So: I'm working on a book of poems in which each one will be illustrated by a different artist.
Many awesome artists are participating, and one of my favorites is Henrik Drescher.
He's done bunches of kids books and even more adult books of strange and gutsy art, drawings, and collage.
Lauren and I have an original piece of his in our bedroom, a gift to each other for our 10th anniversary.
Drescher is very cool.

And he has said YES--I can use one of his illustrations in my book!
After sifting through many choices and matching them up with poems,
I have narrowed the field to these four.

READERS, POETS, PEOPLE:
Please look at his illustrations below and read my accompanying poems, and in the comments section, let me know which ones stand out for you most. I need help making the final selection, and I value your input highly.

Thank you!

And now, the works:




Before During After


Isn’t all this just what I deserve? The exultant voice sang until
after the indulgence. Then it came clear: it wasn’t a good voice,
but some impersonator hijacker impulse chemical.
Embezzlers’ arcs run breakneck fast, fly above consequence,
and end with hasty tidying, the food stains of guilt.

To the accused, the trial is familiar noise,
echoes of big-font headlines viewed in hindsight.
Buzz. Cluck. Hiss. Look at the time and rejoice:
the money’s gone, so let’s say goodnight.
The press will write we all looked ill.

Indeed, I’m too beat to fight.
A cell is heaven sent.
To appear contrite
is to repent
and repays

each cent
spent.




The Book of Confabulation


Necessity begat Invention,
as we know. Innovation begat,
begat, and begat Generations;
until dawned an era of A Lot.
In time, Satiety and Option

bore Dissatisfaction, a rude tot
who holding things in one hand could see
possibilities of alternates
in the other, items less paltry,
more suited to a child of Station.

Dissatisfaction conjoined Seeking,
distant descendant of The Great Hunt.
They begat Distraction and Ennui.
In that time of Felt Entitlement,
A sordid, mongrel brood was begot:

Advertorial, Shoppertainment,
Infomercial, Interactisement.



"Now You Know"


Do porcupines masturbate? Answer: Yes.
I guess naturalists must have seen it,
but I learned it from Trivial Pursuits.
“What’s trivial,” asks the spiny rodent,
“about pursuing pleasure?” I’ll say this:

when I think how everyone masturbates,
I picture Ronald and Nancy Reagan
around the start of the 1980s.
They weren’t attractive, but I was thirteen,
with certain chemistries coalescing.

“That’s hilarious,” laughs the porcupine,
“if I’m to judge. Say, do you have something
salty to eat?” To be clear, the Reagans
are not objects of my fantasizing.
I just think of them as masturbators,

standing for all humans as such. “I think
playing is why we live,” it says, chewing.



How I met your father

Goddess Mother knows I don’t go to the hot springs
to hook up with anyone, least of all a guy.
He sat on the edge of the cold pool, gesturing
without a conversation. I got tingly thighs.
His lips whispered; his gaze flitted. A queer longing

came to blow out that clogged funnel of a man. Why?
He seemed naked—he was naked—but in a shell,
a veil of views painted on his personal sky.
Anyway, I’m sure all of it comes down to smell.
I got close enough to stop his eyes from spinning,

and coaxed his story, which came in surges and swells.
When he coaxed mine, I closed my smile and sang, “If you
could read my mind, love, what a tale my thoughts would tell.”
Light-hearted, Lightfooted, we watched the empty blue
catch stars. I understood he wished for empty eyes.

It’s what a healer doesn’t hesitate to do:
hone the attention, turn the clogged funnel and blow.




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I believe when I relent, Carole Ambauen, illustrator





By Carole Ambauen
Like many graphic designers, Carole's work is often digital and often unsigned.
It's really lovely to have a piece of her work here that's hand drawn and credited.
More about her, her process and this poem, below.










































 
I topple to rise up then I tower to fall.
I’ve an upstart yen and an urge to surrender.
At whose bidding do I cross and re-cross the hall?
"I push backwards…I go forwards." —Larry Eigner.
"Nothing is true that isn't paradoxical."

Kathy Altman says it. I hear waves in my gyre.
We are standing bubbles of wind, water and sand.
Since the floor is dancing, it’s the perfect partner.
Head on the ground, feet researching the air firsthand,
what's down pushes up my fire, bruises my apple.

"In a field / I am the absence / of field." —Mark Strand.
My abstruse motions read nakedly on my face.
What I wear becomes my name—call me "Blue Shirt Man."
Maybe my words are thick, and maybe rephrase.
We're called by sounds, spirits, ourselves, and each other,

and in peripatetic growth, we find a place.
Though prone to paroxysms, hail Us, full of grace.
 

***
Process notes and help in "getting it."

Carole and I share a love of 5Rhythms dance, a practice based 
on five distinct movement styles that the body naturally
moves through during dance. There is a spiritual, ritual,
"deep" component of this practice, available for those who
seek it. Carole and I were both at a class taught by Kathy Altman
wherein she said, "Nothing is true that isn't also paradoxical."
That was the core of the poem. For me, her wise noticing
sparked lines from the poets Larry Eigner, who wrote much
of his work from a wheelchair, and Mark Strand. 

More things: Carole rendered her drawings with eyes closed
relating to lines in the poem, then digitally overlaid them.
I really like how her process captures the idea of surrender,
central to this poem.

My process in making this queron was different from the norm.
Usually, I write the poem, beginning to end, finding the rhymes
and rhythm as I go. This time, I actually wrote each line separately,
which is why almost every line is a seprate, end-stopped sentence
or thought. Usually, you'll find my lines enjambed--that is, sentences
running off the end of one line and continuing on the next, even
across stanza breaks. No, this time, I wrote four sets of five rhyming
lines, then flower-arranged them into this poem (by necessity,
dropping three of the lines for the requisite 17.) I actually wrote
in Excel instead of Word because it was easier to move lines
around. 

All this, Carole's process and mine, relates to the ineffable paradox
that one gets at truth through surrender to not knowing, to admitting
that one is subject to randomness and forces far beyond one's ken,
let alone control. That is the reality in which we dance, surrender,
find joy, survive grief, and finally pass on.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Queron, David Fleischmann, illustrator

Within the one everything everything is,
i have felt pressed against a dividing skin,
a curtain that both separates and marries
each real something with its counterpart non-thing.
On the other side of the invisible

schism, bardo and its shadow denizens
spiral and split, folding and complicating.
The exact opposite parallel reason
counterbalances both sides of everything.
The divide, like Carroll’s Caterpillar, says:

“Who are you—unifying and zeroing—
a clay body pressed into a clay background?
Do you invent names so that you needn’t sing?
Are you in the courtroom or on the playground?
How do you come to enjoy taking my quiz?

The dimensionless alchemy between sound
and silence underpins them both, I have found.”
By the formidable David Fleischmann, my brother.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The pale man Illus. Eric Lindsey

I am a chef. I have seen nearly three
centuries because I have learned to cook
cuisine of formidable sorcery.
My orchard yields only weeds. You can look.
I fetch a pailful to the scullery,

warp creeping jenny, pokeweed and hemlock
into aromatic strawberry crepes.
It takes me weeks of precise handiwork,
metamorphosing moss to muscat grapes—
and all the while I am madly hungry.

Springtime to springtime. That’s the time it takes
to set the banquet, set the trap, then rest
my eyes, side by side, on the pewter plate.
There’s nothing then but to wait, unconscious,
until, at last, some door admits a crook.

More than anything, I love having guests.
I count the skulls, the times I’ve been so blessed.

.
Eric Lindsey


If you'd like to watch the Pale Man clip
from the movie "Pan's Labyrinth,"
brace yourself for some serious creepy.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My great American novel in a brown pea shell, Illus. Jay Musler


I prayed that the friction of spinning wheels
would suffice to ignite the inferno—
prayed until bike tires turned to radials
skidding disharmony to radio
rock ‘n’ roll—until parked, cliff-edged, the squeals

of mutual private boiling wet windows—
saw spark touch gas. The world began—at last—
to burn. Vesuvius blew. Phoenix rose.
Summer chased off spring into fragrant grass
and wove garlands from immortal impulse—

so soon cries of fruition—came so fast—
a tiny apple, an ember burning
to emerge, new fuel grown from the ashes—
searing to flourish, flush with the yearning…
Now she dances and pops while my fire slows.

Shared concentration of heat returning,
this sustaining smolder of my learning.

Jay Musler is well known as a glass artist,
so it is particularly thrilling to me that he has

contributed an illustration for the book.