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The L.D. poems


The suite can be found in Chalkboard and Billboard. It belongs to my Bottom City Blues collection. Some have read it. Some few were around for the NaPo month poem-a-day thing back in '09 when, in poetry slam fashion, I cranked out first drafts, sometimes twice a day. I'm carrying the suite over to our crit forum for critical inspection. It's been over 3 years since the poems were made. My internal data bank tells me I have to go back to the two poets, Ausonius and Paulinus, of the 4th Century to find this kind of tale of friendship between two men. I'm decided on the suite's originality.

Tere


“My Dance Is My Body, My God Is My Own”
(to L.D. 1954 – 1990)


A revision of the suite has been posted on 19 Feb '13.

Last edited by Terreson, Feb/19/2013, 7:03 pm
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Re: The L.D. poems


Tere---

first this stuff---

(On the Road)

"the tale of passionate friendship and the search for revelation are timeless. These are as elusive and precious in our time as in Sal's, and will be when our grandchildren celebrate the book's hundredth anniversary…John Leland.


Kerouac/Sal Paradise and Neal Cassady/Dean Moriarty.

The Town and the City Kerouac's starting point;

Bottom City Blues
 
 ---the original text for the posted work.


Enough of that.



Three quick observations.

Close reasoning that sometime seems like force feeding.

3 Maybe inside our one mother's womb, and she
the layer out who takes all men up at death,
maybe there you've heard the report too.

5 Memory is sometimes a death wish.

20 I think of this and I think of your one child's mother.
It is the double pain some women must bear in birth.

21 Sometimes I envy you that you got to die young.
Other times I figure you should have lived longer.
Then you would have taken in what it means to
love and die, love again and die again
in the way all sutured lovers must.

The docent, the voice of the documentarian:

6 I remember as clearly how steeped we were in the Carmina Burana songs telling tales on vagabond scholars, poets, and itinerants working in Goliardic lyric.
  
Ausonius was landed gentry, a Roman patrician who held property in Bordeaux. You never cared about such things but he planted a vineyard still under till. Paulinus got caught up in the new, religious fervor, refused his friends, sold off his property, and finally became a bishop or an abbot or something like that.


And…

he planted a vineyard still under till. Paulinus got caught up in the new, religious fervor, refused his friends, sold off his property, and finally became a bishop or an abbot or something like that.


16 The legal case was circumstantial and unclear. It is likely Cenci murdered one of his sons who stood up to him. It is more likely he raped his beautiful daughter, Beatrice, time and time and time again. It is fact that Beatrice and her other brothers conspired to kill their father. I am guessing their mother knew about the conspiracy, but would plead innocent to the facts at trial, just as she had pled ignorant of her daughter’s rape.



Later, the images and so forth.



bernie



Last edited by Mojave02, Nov/3/2012, 9:02 pm
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Re: The L.D. poems


Terreson,

I read through the end of #7. Wonderful stuff. You are a good writer/poet, my friend. Only small confusion came when the protagonist says you are the only man I've ever kept after. Then there is the conversation of the daughter. All very, very good. Just that small confusion. I will continue as I get time. Did you publish this? Maybe you don't publish. Seems like a lot of good poets don't. Zak
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In Stanza 8 I couldn't help but to think this is the narrator speaking not only to L.D. but to another version of himself. But #9 makes it clear the narrator was one person and L.D. was another. But in poetry we borrow from others so my comment about #8 could still be true somehow. In #10, there is almost a homosexual declaration, but it is superseded, overwhelmed, so to speak, by the focus on love and need, with no real carnal declaration. In this sense, the love, or memory, remains purely spiritual rather than physical (though one senses the physical -- without the sexual). Stanza 11 is very biographical; I love the reference to the Tarot cards, to the absence of the narrator's friend and his daughter. In stanza 12 I am reminded of what a good poet/writer you are. When the narrator says, I can prove it, I can prove it, it really makes it unafraid and authentic. The difference in our writing and that of the classical romantics is that yours is definitely a modern voice. More Later. Zak
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Thank you, Bernie and Zak, for reading and for registering your responses. Fascinating to see two such different approaches to a text.

I get the Kerouac/Cassidy reference. For me at least, however, the point of comparison is slight and slim, in type only. But then I've never thought much of Kerouac's writing: young man writing intended for, attractive to other young men only. Of course, Jack's tale is complicated by a degree of homoeroticism that characterized his friendship with Neil. As such, what?, conflicted. The L.D. poems go after something qualitatively different and from the vantage point of an old man looking back, in a position to see the whole of the trip so to speak. Of course I could be wrong. As for the "force feeding", not sure what to say. In so many ways L. Cohen keeps as my guide.

Thanks to you too, Zak. I get what you mean about the suite's romantic inclination, which inclination, at its root, tends towards the impossible love, the idealized condition of being. A favorite all time book of mine is Stendhal's L'Amore. He says something insightful about romantic love, viewed as a type of love. It is kept alive through what Stendhal called chrystalization: "What I have called chrystallization is a mental process which draws from everything that happens new proofs of the perfection of the loved one." Interesting to think on, n'est pas? Idealized friendship just another expression of romantic love.

Tere
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Something else. A year or two before the L.D. poems I wrote another poem addressing the same theme. I would have included it in the suite except that it more rightly, in tone, belongs to another suite. Maybe I should have left it at that and not bothered with looking to flesh out a history.



The red hour glass and the upturned spider belly,
black and gravid girl
poised in the palm of my hand.

Brother, I miss you in this bayou light.
You were always better than me.
I look for you now like a child
looking for stillness in your soul.

Roads to nowhere I keep to.
And to perfect love turning stone to water.
The gold shaft in you, in your bones,
clears the fields, stabs the levee,
sets you standing out heroic.

You never once questioned your passion.

It is the light that beguiles me,
tosses me down just when I think I see.
Shadows in summer’s afternoon
I figure have meaning too, have the close story.
And they do, my brother, only
your purity of vision saved you.
Impurity in nuance damns me.

It is the heat of the hour
and the uncalled for sighting of your face
that sucks the air out of my lungs.
This was not the plan we made
when we walked Chartres street and you said,
“My dance is my body, my God is my own.”

I swore by the beauty you saw that day!

It is this hour glass spider in my palm.
She rests deliberately, she is warm.
And you the casualty of too much Christ.

Tere

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Re: The L.D. poems


T---

The L.D. poems go after something qualitatively different and from the vantage point of an old man looking back, in a position to see the whole of the trip so to speak. Of course I could be wrong.


How does the poem make this manifest in the verses 1-25?

The narrator tells, but does little showing.

the drama develops slowly and mostly along conventional lines---an act of infidelity, a fistfight; the central elements in The Sun Also Rises. bland story elements, yes? and then, for me, the plodding docent like development.

here is Durrell writing from his physicality
not just statements about his subject---but images that scald the reader.


Alexandria: "the capital of Memory."


Streets that run back from the docks with their tattered rotten supercargo of houses, breathing into each others' mouths, keeling over. Shuttered balconies swarming with rats, and old women whose hair is full of the blood of ticks. Peeling wails leaning drunkenly to east and west of their true centre of gravity. The black ribbon of flies attaching itself to the lips and eyes of the children--the moist beads of summer flies everywhere; the very weight of their bodies snapping off ancient flypapers hanging in the violet doors of booths and cafes.... And then the street noises: shriek and clang of the water-bearing Saidi, dashing his metal cups together as an advertisement, the unheeded shrieks which pierce the hubbub from time to time, as of some small delicately-organized animal being disembowelled.



you insist---

The L.D. poems go after something qualitatively different

if true, i saw nothing exceptional---think of all the great male/male partnerships in literature---

Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Achilles and Patroclus in the Iliad, Of Mice and Men---Lennie who wants to be told about the rabbits; Sancho. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Hamlet.

the latter a boring duo that nevertheless
fueled a hit broadway play.

showing, not telling; pacing, dramatic story development, sharply illustrated characters.

these are elements i look for in any dramatic work---including the 75 million dollar Rothko which I love.


the poem begins with a strong, clear declarative:


I drink too much these days, L.D.
You were long since gone when
self-medication became a good idea.


but this quickly pales---

Chartres Street was different in our day
as was Jackson Square and the Cafe du Monde.
Bourbon Street keeps the same, but then
a town’s sex machine tends to keep the same.


everything was different a few years ago.

i do recognize attempts by the poem to be more visual:

The Ozark cluster of crystal quartz
is still on my altar. Scraping your knuckles
you chiseled it out of the cave’s floor.


but then we slip to this leaden prose:


Maybe we never talked about the friendship. Maybe we didn’t need to talk about friendship. But I remember clearly the day we were together and I found the poetry collection carrying the tale of ancient friendship.

once more, telling the reader what to think and feel.


here is Zola describing cheese:

“Beneath the stall show-table, formed of a slab of red marble veined with grey, baskets of eggs gleamed with a chalky whiteness; while on layers of straw in boxes were Bondons, placed end to end, and Gournays, arranged like medals, forming darker patches tinted with green. But it was upon the table that the cheeses appeared in greatest profusion. Here, by the side of the pound-rolls of butter lying on white-beet leaves, spread a gigantic Cantal cheese, cloven here and there as by an axe; then came a golden-hued Cheshire, and next a Gruyere, resembling a wheel fallen from some barbarian chariot; whilst farther on were some Dutch cheeses, suggesting decapitated heads suffused with dry blood, and having all that hardness of skulls which in France has gained them the name of “death’s heads.” Amidst the heavy exhalations of these, a Parmesan set a spicy aroma. Then there came three Brie cheeses displayed on round platters, and looking like melancholy extinct moons. Two of them, very dry, were at the full; the third, in its second quarter, was melting away in a white cream, which had spread into a pool and flowed over the little wooden barriers with which an attempt had been made to arrest its course….The Roqueforts under their glass covers also had a princely air, their fat faces marbled with blue and yellow, as though they were suffering from some unpleasant malady such as attacks the wealthy gluttons who eat too many truffles. And on a dish by the side of these, the hard grey goats’ milk cheeses, about the size of a child’s fist, resembled the pebbles which the billy-goats send rolling down the stony paths as they clamber along ahead of their flocks. Next came the strong smelling cheeses: the Mont d’Ors, of a bright yellow hue, and exhaling a comparatively mild odor; the Troyes, very thick, and bruised at the edges, and of a far more pungent smell, recalling the dampness of a cellar; the Camemberts, suggestive of high game; the square Neufchatels, Limbourgs, Marolles, and Pont l’Eveques, each adding its own particular sharp scent to the malodorous bouquet, till it became perfectly pestilential; the Livarots, ruddy in hue, and as irritating to the throat as sulphur fumes; and, lastly, stronger than all the others, the Olivets, wrapped in walnut leaves, like the carrion which peasants cover with branches as it lies rotting in the hedgerow under the blazing sun.


i run on here because in this instance cheese seems more memorable than characters who do not convince me to care about them.

i hope my remarks can spark a discussion of writing; the reason i so often quote the well established writers is bcause they are my guide to self-improvement, What do you use for that purpose?




Last edited by 36064, Nov/17/2012, 7:06 pm
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Re: The L.D. poems


I read through the poems in two parts. The first 9 and then, a couple days later, the last 16. And I did it too fast -- knowing it was too fast. Too much to really process like that.

They are love poems, from a friend to another. I have always understood that the term "soul mate" refers to the people we know before we know them, man or woman, old or young, they are "our people" in this lifetime. That is what I see here.

There is something in the rhythm and flow of the poems when read together, and the intimate tone and the fondness and bitterness that trade back and forth, that is very musical and compelling.

Sometimes what is being spoken in these poems is so personal that it is lost on me a little. There is a shorthand -- language and references and memory all so particular to the two men, that I, as reader, am left out of it. Maybe there is not enough of the sensory for me to hold on to in certain cases. So that I feel I am peering in through a window into a scene I cannot entirely understand. Often it does not matter and the poetry works for me regardless. Other times I feel too untethered, and that a poem is lost to me, or on me.

Love for the person, anger that he died, longing for the friendship now gone, admiration for his artistry (as dancer, artist and writer), disbelief, betrayal, wistfulness, a vault of intense memories, intellectual rigor that wants a sparring partner, and more -- it's a lot for a poet to grapple with. That you have done this is pretty incredible.
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Bernie, thank you for revisiting and for the extended critique. I appreciate the time taken. I think what I need to do is read a poem from the series, read what you say, read a next poem, then read what you say and so forth through to the end.

Two items come to mind. Like you I buy into the mantra show don't tell. But all mantras, likely you'll agree, are available to be taken to an extreme. In my view a poem purely built on showing, no telling, can become a garbage bag of images associated, disassociated, personally relevant only. A degree of telling, another word for story making, not always a bad thing.

Second item. Zola's paean to cheese might not have universal value. Certainly not lyrical to someone lactose intolerant, right? Or to any race not pastoral by environment. So what might strike a cheese lover as beautiful might not carry over, say, to an inhabitant of deep arboreal setting.

Thanks again.

Tere
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Tere---

i like the zola example because it is clever writing; it manages a beginnng, middle and end, suspence and drama, color and imagery that leaves the cheese market and speaks to social conditions---unlike the food critic for the NY Times..

visual? i would say very.


...Zola's paean to cheese might not have universal value. Certainly not lyrical to someone lactose intolerant, right? Or to any race not pastoral by environment. So what might strike a cheese lover as beautiful might not carry over, say, to an inhabitant of deep arboreal setting.

yup.


but good writing tends to surmount language, custom, religiosity and self-absobred geo-politics while developing that unique voice of the writer---twain, tolstoy, Proust---graham greene and sherlock, miss marble and john le carre. zane gray and cormac mccarthy.

. “They’d had their hair cut with sheepshears by an esquilador at the ranch and the backs of their necks above their collars were white as scars and they wore their hats cocked forward on their heads and they looked from side to side as they jogged along as if to challenge the countryside or anything it might hold.”...Cormac McCarthy

a verse without a solid image---an appeal to the senses---need not be didactic and a verse with images, as i favor, need not feel cluttered or unfocused.

good writing in either case.

i raise all this because your poem is based largely on the didactic, often veering into the documntary zone---that i call the poem's docent voice.

the backbone of your poem is direct statement, but the poem wants credit for a lyrical voice.

you say the narrator's friend is artistic, [sign in to see URL] where is the evidence, the observed fact illustrating that and so many of the other bald statements?

i've brushed on the plot---infidelity, a fistfight, and what VKP calls a love poem---

They are love poems, from a friend to another...

nothing wrong with any of that---i said before, it is the plot of The Sun also Rises and to a large extent Tender Is the Night.

but the characters must be given their time on the stage, each character brought alive for the reader---think [sign in to see URL].


"...a stoutly-built fellow of about five-and-thirty, in a black velveteen coat, very soiled drab breeches, lace-up half boots, and grey cotton stockings, which inclosed a bulky pair of legs, with large swelling calves; -- the kind of legs, which in such costume, always look in an unfinished and incomplete state without a set of fetters to garnish them. He had a brown hat on his head, and a dirty belcher handkerchief round his neck: with the long frayed ends of which he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke. He disclosed, when he had done so, a broad heavy countenance with a beard of three days' growth, and two scowling eyes; one of which displayed various parti-coloured symptoms of having been recently damaged by a blow."
Bill Spikes--from Oliver Twist, Chapter 13


changing to a new tune...

now, some readers hear rhythm and flow, "an intimate tone, a fondness and bitterness that is both compelling and musical."

i hope so.

as you go through the 25 verses, consider looking closely at the docent passages and half the bland statements of [sign in to see URL].

if you want, i have more to say---but lordy, lordy, i'm beginning to sound like a docent myself. i hope others will express a contrary POV, frankly, letting you know what they liked as VKP has already done. to me, once again, it is all about writing and getting better---looking as much at similarities in style and narrative develpment as at our deeply held preferences.

as i mentioned before, i liked your opening and actually looked forward to settling in for a good [sign in to see URL] of auden's opening:


W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.



bernie

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Re: The L.D. poems


Bernie, I've read your further comments on the L.D. suite. Not sure what to say. Didactic? Can't see where or how the poems are teachy or preachy. Spoken in the voice of a docent? Possibly so I suppose. Or that of a chronicler, which makes more sense to me.

My sense of the suite is that it amounts to a chronicle of a friendship between two young artists who started out together, started in on the life long stuff of tracking down the (poetic) roebuck in the thicket. One of the two dies young. The other finds himself coming back to those early memory-years, which years he fleshes out in recollection.

That's about it. Either I'm completely daft or the likes of such a chronicle cannot be found in the record. Whether or not each poem works, bodies out this particular tale of artistic collaboration, I can't say. But I know of no poet who has made a verse record of two young artists starting out together, working in tandem. It is in this sense I continue to think the work has originality to it.

Tere
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Tere---

My sense of the suite is that it amounts to a chronicle of a friendship between two young artists who started out together,

well, yes. the poem states this fact in several ways, but do you show me in vivid detail?

as you astutely advised Zak about his poem ---


To my mind the poem is begging detail and texture.

details, but not statements:

1. You are the only man I've ever kept after, L.D.
The only man I've thought worth
the time it takes to chase a man down.

2. You are the best poet I've ever known. What I mean
is that you are the most lover of poetry I've ever known.

3. You knew something about the dead and the not yet born

4. You are the only man, before or since, who loved me;
 

5. In the corner of a closet, in an archive box, in
a folder I have the last and second-to-last batch
of poetry you sent. Twenty years sitting in the dark.
I bet you knew the diagnosis was a done deal by then.

6. I want to see you how you were, not how I remember you.


here, you have gold.


a. In those years I started renting rooms let out by old women.
My rent supplemented their income.
My presence offered security.
My motive amounted to a further retreat.


b. and we walked in the moist winters
and we talked through the strong springs
and we worked through every summer, only
to lose again in autumn what we knew.

c. Late night here and Saturday.
Where you are do you time factor anymore?
It is hard to know how exactly to address the dead.
All I have to fall back on is how I take in
a train whistle whining, the sound of it crossing
a river separating me from the mainland
and maybe from the dead.




cut out all historical references, cut the poem by more than half. make the poem about the art that brought these two men together.

Yes/No?


bernie


 

 

Last edited by 36064, Dec/8/2012, 11:42 pm
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Tere---

i ask myself what i would revise if it were my poem; i've been so negative i hope you will forgive one more swipe.


in this shorter form the poem emerged for me.

bernie




1

I drink too much these days, L.D.
You were long since gone when
self-medication became a good idea.

And I got a regular job too, L.D.
You would be disappointed by the news
while my family is finally relieved.

I sometimes see you, morning or night,
in your rooms smelling the smell of man loneliness.
Or we walking the dark streets talking the talk.

You are the only man I've ever kept after, L.D.
The only man I've thought worth
the time it takes to chase a man down.

This was all years ago and you checked out.
Tonight I got here shifts in green breeze.
What do you mean by coming back this way?


What do you want here, dead friend?


2

Sometimes I see you in my daughter's arms
and she is your Madonna, more like your pieta.

All dead young men should get such a reception.
Only, you were her friend too soon to leave.

I think she remembers you, L.D.
I think she sometimes thinks of me.

I didn't know you were in my wife's bed that night.
Man, except to see to my daughter, I would have cleared the scene.

You didn't stick around to explain and I got two losses, every year,
to explain to myself in new green:

You and my daughter.


3

Maybe inside our one mother's womb, and she
the layer out who takes all men up at death,
maybe there you've heard the report too.

So many towns we had entered by then.
So many roads we had travelled
just to realize all roads bring a man
back around to the beginning again.
And there we were at the crossroad where
criminals and poets sport in crucifixion.

Word is we gave each other a beating that night.

The night was moonless and so were we, right?
Maybe all men are moonless in nature.
But I don't think so. I think the moon has sons
like loons on a lake, like you in your body’s beauty.

The way you pushed against me in your salmon leap
I knew you had gone berserker. I knew I had one chance.
Your body built to dance the weight of the world.
My body built to dance the weight of nothings.
One chance. One chance. One chance.

I want to take back my fist slam in your face.
I want to take back that moonless night.

You melted in my arms like a lover does.
I hugged you in your body like a mother does.


4
   
L.D., I got to tell a story on you.
Sunday afternoon here and I am late
for a most important date
with the queen of the Laundromat.

I've never known a man as much in love
with books the way you were.
We met in a bookstore and god damn you loved to hold a book.
I would see you down in the basement and you
taking in the book smell as if it was your oxygen.
Someday I need to tell you about the fire

5
    
I remember our graveyard, late night and city park walks.
I remember all of my questions.

I am left. And I am no Percival.
The body is wearing down, weights get heavier,
women no longer find me pretty the way they once found us.
And I am not even sure what the right questions are anymore.

I envy all of you. I just can't let go
of what we agreed upon.


There is this starkness between you and me.
It is past posture, past stance, past scenery.

You are the only man, before or since, who loved me;
in brilliant sunlight and in black night you loved me.

I failed you, man. I should have been the better friend
than the friend I was in the days of our undoing.

It isn't that you gave of yourself too much, but you did.
It isn't that I asked of you too much, but I did.

It is that you grounded me in the way no man or woman has.
It's why my wives were jealous of you in Solomon fashion.

6

I think you didn’t know how much I needed you.
Men never say to each other how much they need each other.

You are a dead man tonight and I am not sure,
sometimes, what it means to be alive.

This is the truth, L.D. I envy you
every time autumn comes on.

7

In those years I started renting rooms let out by old women.
My rent supplemented their income.
My presence offered security.
My motive amounted to a further retreat.
And you took to New York City streets like
a honeybee takes to tupelo nectar.
I think the city streets in which you found yourself
eased your body and pleased your sense for nonsense.

in the way all sutured lovers must.

The rain beats down
on my window tonight
like the rain
beating down on my door.

8

It is the poetry in you I miss the most.
The way you had for going after things.
There was no censor in your proceedings.
There was only the discovery that counted.

You are the only man I've known to speak to me this way.
    
I am finally getting around to asking you
the question I've meant to ask all these years.
I never thought to ask the question when you were alive,
or, if I did, I think I knew it would do us no good.

9

There are only ten days or so left before
the Janus door between us closes again.
Whoever said the door is a swinging door between
your land and mine is full of ****. The dead
never give more than they take. And the living
never give enough, then waiting to the end to say they’re sorry.

Yes, L.D. There are some things your sweetened soul
would not have abided by. But time is getting short.

I can't remember all the names of the parks and
the halls and the streets and the graveyards and
the apartments and the restaurants we haunted.
I can see these places like I can see my next step.
But I can't remember their names. Maybe you have the record.

This afternoon I was sitting in a car, in the parking lot of a supermarket,
beneath a live oak. I was eating store-cooked chicken.
It occurred to me this is something an old man does.
Then the drab little house sparrows coming in
with every bone tossed out the window, a bit flamboyantly.

And I remembered our young man days
when we ate on park benches to much the same degree.
    
The little drab house sparrows. You get the scene.

10
    
Today, my dead friend, I drove up into a bee yard,
turned off the truck engine, stepped out, and
heard the engine a bee keeper most hates to hear.
It was a swarm of bees looking to leave a colony.

It always starts out in slightly tornadic fashion
with thousands of workers looking to lead the older queen.
Certainly queen cells are back in the boxes
and soon an emergent, virgin girl will chew through, appear.
But these queens are important and so I hate to lose them.
Swarms point to my negligence in spring.

You would love the beauty of a swarm and in
the same way poetry could put a shiver on you.
I know this about you too in my body.

11

Late night here and Saturday.
Where you are do you time factor anymore?
It is hard to know how exactly to address the dead.
All I have to fall back on is how I take in
a train whistle whining, the sound of it crossing
a river separating me from the mainland
and maybe from the dead.

But I figure the way is still slightly open between us.

12

It occurs to me again memories are liars.
Just like poets are supposed to be and Cretans.
I can't remember, man. Had we talked about this stuff?
Or had I already lost your complicity.

All I remember clearly anymore are the days and nights,
the streets, the rooms, the compressed spaces in which
we tensiled truthy things no philosopher can manage.

I want to see you how you were, not how I remember you.

Maybe you remember the last time we sat across
from each other. It was an all night diner up in Providence.
Dirty street, late night blues runners, you and me.

That was the only time you ever lied to me, man.
The lie so deep in your eyes is what broke my heart.


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Thank you, Bernie, for the time taken. Thank you, especially, for giving me cause to go back, question myself, take yet another hard look at the suite. It is always good to question one's premises. With the tinkering and excising you've performed what's clear to me is that what makes the suite is something perfectly unlocalizable. A quality. An emotion.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Dec/11/2012, 4:50 pm
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Hi Tere,

It's hard for me to pinpoint what I think of as the genre within the genre that would best describe this poem. There are elements of what might be called epistolary poetry (although the letters only come from one living correspondent), journal entry poetry (not an adolescent’s dear diary but a writer’s notebook), or a kind of prose poetry in which memory and self-reflection, the N’s voice is paramount. It seems to me a reader will either take to that voice or not.

I remember reading the poems day-to-day as they were being written and thinking that as a reader I was learning more about the N than about LD or anyone/thing else. It may be that the N has lyrical voice but that the poem is not a lyric poem. And, no, I’m not just playing fast and loose with semantics.

I understand what Bernie is saying about the docent voice in the poem, and there were a few places back when the poem was first written that I felt had an “as you know Bob” quality to them. I think you have addressed a number of those, but I would have to reread the suite more carefully to be sure.

So, there is what Bernie calls the docent voice in the poem, and yet his revised version reads much more definitive to me. By that I mean, the N’s observations become more definitive, more certain, less tentative, less reflective, less feeling their way along. IOW, Bernie’s revision by showing rather than telling ends up reading as more telling overall to me, feels in its way more didactic. Now there’s an irony that someone like me, who was raised in the “show, don’t tell” school of poetry writing, is gonna have to chew thoroughly before swallowing. LOL


Last edited by Katlin, Dec/12/2012, 2:38 pm
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Tere---

perfectly unlocalizable. A quality. An emotion.


10 or 12 verses were cut, if the perfectly unlocalizable can not be drawn from that file of edited out material well, where then the waters of Zion?


i imagine that restoring three or four verses to the edited poem would locate a little of the lost emotion that you speak of; willing to take that Pepsi challenge?

bernie



By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion...




Last edited by 36064, Dec/13/2012, 1:29 am
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Just a heads up. I want to thank everyone for the time spent reading critically the suite. Perhaps Bernie especially. Just today I've completed a pretty thorough revision. Eye sharp and cold. Series lighter by 5 poems, plus a number of word and phrase changes, so now 20 poems in all. The original draft, by the way, had amounted to 33 poems. Normally my way is to guage or measure whether or not a poem stands on its own. Does it possess gestalt, operate kinetically, keep together through the tension of its parts. This time, however, and given the nature of the conception, I had to ask myself an additional question: Is the individual poem essential to the story? But for this last, I might have taken out more poems if only for the sake of concision, something with its own virtue. One poem, in fact, I took out and put back in 2, maybe 3 times. But it spoke too thoroughly of the love between the two men, and to their singular devotion to poetry, to let it go.

Kat, I am sensible to what you say, in effect, that the suite is narrator heavy. I get it. But how else do you carry over what I'll characterize as a once in a lifetime love affair between two artists when one of them is dead? I grant that the narrator is, per force, trapped in his own voice. But I think or hope the love both celebrated and mourned, and the extent to which the subject still lives on inside the narrator, justifies the entrapment. Maybe not.

Can't imagine anyone would be interested in reading the revision, so I'll not bring it over. Let me know if I'm wrong.

Thanks again everyone.

Tere
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Please post it.
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Tere---

must ration this, let me go one verse at a time, slowly, verse 1:


The opening lines, verse 1, seem unchanged; good. Declarative and unforced. The sparse imagery works well as the poem begins to build character---

I drink too much..

Self-medication

In your rooms smelling


…(but man loneliness takes me over the top, I see --- smell --- nothing; it was said, that Erik Satie died of cirrhosis ---fecal material on the floor---now, there is impact, there is smell we can all surmise.)

…we walking the dark streets talking…guess it’s that word dark that makes this seem too romantic, familiar.

We paid in cash and took no notice
how the train ran down the line
into the sun against the signal

MacNeice


or maybe....

Smoking endlessly in an all night café,
your cigarette tip stained brown.


 
This was all years ago and you checked out.
Tonight I got here shifts in green breeze.
What do you mean by coming back this way?


What do you want here, dead friend?


These lines are OK with me. Why? They are colloquial, natural, spontaneous, intimate. I like that touch of color, why not a little more of that? In future verses.


 
bernie



---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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To be clear I haven't posted the revision(s) yet.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Feb/19/2013, 6:59 pm
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Verse 2 appears unchanged:

these opening six lines unmotivated and seem to talk over each other, the pieta and the reception. Stretching, why?

A child, save that; this info for the reader, shocking and the smoking gun for now of the murder case.

  

I didn't know you were in my wife’s bed
the next night.



Once again, leave the kid out of it.

Now, if this melodrama, you’ve got a good start, but since you want something much more, then use atmosphere or something, to let the reader know you will not forever hate this man, or do something weird like Story of O and have two men sharing the same woman---

Or, what I like best, the complete turn of the page:

Betjaman (a paraphrase):

it was June and now June again,
has it held, the warm weather?
Pushing up daises colorful
as your Nembutal tablets in a vase.

The full palette of Spring,
our good luck in cafes, streets
and street corners where I saw you.


then leaf back:


Word is we gave each other a beating that night.

The night was moonless and so were we, right?
Maybe all men are moonless in nature.
But I don't think so. I think the moon has sons
like loons on a lake, like you in your body’s beauty.

The way you pushed against me in your salmon leap
I knew you had gone berserker. I knew I had one chance.
Your body built to dance the weight of the world.
My body built to dance the weight of nothings.
One chance. One chance. One chance.

I want to take back my fist slam in your face.
I want to take back that moonless night.

You melted in my arms like a lover does.
I hugged you in your body like a mother does.




bernie


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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“My Dance Is My Body, My God Is My Own”
(to L.D. 1954 – 1990)


1

I drink too much these days, L.D.
You were long since gone when
self-medication became a good idea.

And I got a regular job too, L.D.
You would be disappointed by the news
while my family is finally relieved.

I sometimes see you, morning or night,
in your rooms smelling the smell of man loneliness.
Or we walking the dark streets talking the talk.

You are the only man I've ever kept after, L.D.
The only man I've thought worth
the time it takes to chase a man down.

This was all years ago and you checked out.
Tonight I got here shifts in green breeze.
What do you mean by coming back this way?


Why do you pass through again, dead friend?


 2

Sometimes I see you in my daughter's arms
and she is your Madonna, more like your pieta.

All dead young men should get such a reception.
Only, you were her friend too soon to leave.

I think she remembers you, L.D.
I think she sometimes thinks of me.

I didn't know you were in my wife's bed that night.
Man, except to see to my daughter, I would have cleared the scene.

You didn't stick around to explain and I got two losses, every year,
to explain to myself in new green:

You and my daughter.


3

Maybe inside our one mother's womb, and she
the layer out who takes all men up at death,
maybe there you've heard the report too.

So many towns we had entered by then.
So many roads we had travelled
just to realize all roads bring a man
back around to the beginning again.
And there we were at the crossroad where
criminals and poets sport in crucifixion.

Word is we gave each other a beating that night.

The night was moonless and so were we, right?
Maybe all men are moonless in nature.
But I don't think so. I think the moon has sons
like loons on a lake, like you in your body’s beauty.

The way you pushed against me in your salmon leap
I knew you had gone berserker. I knew I had one chance.
Your body built to dance the weight of the world.
My body built to dance the weight of nothings.
One chance. One chance. One chance.

I want to take back my fist slam in your face.
I want to take back that moonless night.

You melted in my arms like a lover does.
I hugged you in your body like a mother does.


4

The Ozark cluster of crystal quartz
is still on my altar. Scraping your knuckles
you chiseled it out of cave’s floor for me.

Memory is sometimes a death wish.

The music you put to
my songs made you into
a song singing down the hall.

I think you romanced the death wish.

Your guitar was overwhelming
in close space and intimate room.
Medial women answered to you.

Young men too, too much sometimes
seduce the death wish.
As do some medial women.

 


 5

L.D., I can't remember if we had this conversation about two ancient friends working in Latin poetry. I do remember I discovered the stories when you and I were street whores, before your wives and family made you into something immaculate. Seriously. Did we talk about the Roman patrician, Ausonius, and his friend, Paulinus of Nola who Ausonius, a devout man and a Pagan, lost to the subversive love of Christ?

Maybe we never talked about the friendship. Maybe we didn’t need to talk about friendship. But I remember clearly the day we were together and I found the poetry collection carrying the tale of ancient friendship. And of ancient friendship’s loss. It was in Portuguese town, near the docks, in Providence and we were there together in that used book store. I remember as clearly how steeped we were in the Carmina Burana songs telling tales on vagabond scholars, poets, and itinerants working in Goliardic lyric.

Ausonius was landed gentry, a Roman patrician who held property in Bordeaux. You never cared about such things but he planted a vineyard still under till. Paulinus got caught up in the new, religious fervor, refused his friends, sold off his property, and finally became a bishop or an abbot or something like that.

So much holiness in Paulinus' election. But for what? This is my question tonight. For what is holiness worth? And why do I have to carry your Christ love for sacrifice? Why can't you leave me to Ausonius' love of the vineyard, of Bordeaux, and of friendship?


6
 
L.D., I got to tell a story on you.
Sunday afternoon here and I am late
for a most important date
with the queen of the Laundromat.

I've never known a man as much in love
with books the way you were. No joke.
Back then, of course, books were not so expensive.
This was before the Reagan years, before he
started the tax on publishers on their back list inventories.
Maybe you've had reason where you are now
to reflect upon what enemies to civ. Republicans can be.

I damn near coveted the books you bought.
In your rooms, on your tables, there were your books.
And they were essential, sexy, your books.
You were into the great souls and thinkers and into
artists only who turn a moment's vector.

We met in a bookstore and god damn you loved to hold a book.
I would see you down in the basement and you
taking in the book smell as if it was your oxygen.
Someday I need to tell you about the fire
an embarrassed accountant started, down in your basement.
She was !@#$ the manager. The ledgers were kept in the basement too.
Her embarrassment was due to her bad math.

Then up in Providence what do you find but a bookstore job.
A mail order outfit and there you are boxing up books
like some kind of Hermes boxing up communiqués.
And I bet the delivery was tender.

Your last job I know about was in NYC. NYC. NYC.
A burg I've not put foot into since you died.
And your job was with another book dealer.
And why did you love books the way some men love themselves?

L.D., I am to the punch line.
It involves a question I never asked of you,
not wanting to embarrass you.
You never read the books you bought or mailed out tenderly.
You never read more than a few pages or a chapter.
And this has always puzzled me!
I am still trying to figure out the message.

I don't know, man. Maybe Hermes
sees his job differently.
Maybe the delivery is what matters most to him.


7

It is the graveyard talk I remember tonight, if not as late as then.
It is as if we were looking to raise the dead.
And isn't that too what poets are supposed to do:

looking for commerce with the dead and the not yet born?

Thinking of you makes me think of things
both dead and not yet born.

Isn't that why you put Yeats to music?
I think you fell in love with Crazy Jane that year.
And the commerce.
Isn't that why you put Joyce’s poems to music?
Still the transactions.
I think you fell in love with chamber music that year.

What was it we once talked about? How Joyce took Yeats to task
for addressing beauty from the past when he himself
wanted to speak to beauties not yet born.
I think we agreed that night they both were right, yes?
 

You were not like any other graveyard robber I've known.
What in hell or heaven were we looking for among the dead?
You could walk through like a cat parsing his steps.
You could walk through step-still and certain.
You could walk through like a mother black vulture for whom
the dead are baby fresh and darlings to her.

I remember our graveyard, late night and city park walks.
I remember all of my questions.
I remember you never seemed to have any.
I can't remember your answers, unless
the long drag on a cigarette was your answer.

L.D., I can't shake your memory, can't slake
each day and each late night of our scansions.
You knew something about the dead and the not yet born
I didn't and still don't.
 Maybe it had to do with the commerce.


8

Man, this is going to read like a grade "B" movie
whose last scene’s actor lacks talent for delivering his lines.

God damn but we were young Turks then.
You, me, the Virginian and Red.
And C’Ville was our camp town.
And we didn't care who approved us.
And we had the unnamed need in our bellies.

You were the slender one, you in your lyrical soul.
Red was the honest one for whom word
must match to truth or meet the guillotine
(you do remember his love of things French).
The Virginian, always impeccable, slightly patrician, in inflexion,
who we slightly deferred to and who you once said
was the best one among us.
And then me. The sorry assed high school drop out.

There were four of us. And that town
in the Blue Ridge foothills was where we convened
in high feast fashion when grail quest gets presented
in the Fisher King’s chancy spring.

My God but I never thought the friendships would end.
Or that the hankering after poetry could get cancelled out.
I never thought we wouldn't meet again,
year after year at feast time when friends
come back together, give their reports and forward intelligence
on sudden valleys, asphalt, and sacred enclosures.
But it happened.

The Virginian I lost first. It might have had to do
with his wife and it might have had to do with mine.
Either way you were right. He was the best of us.
Mostly I think he got lost to poetry, needing instead a regular life.
Red, the last I heard of Red, he was in a Russian
(Soviet) plane flying out of Africa with his teenage wife.
I miss that small man who had the courage of a century of warriors.
I got his play written in his hand about the Albigensian Crusade
(you do remember his love of things French).
Then you were gone. Your going did collateral damage on us all.
Damn it, L.D. and I am sorry for saying so, but
dying from melanoma at your age amounted to bad taste.

I am left. And I am no Percival.
The body is wearing down, weights get heavier,
women no longer find me pretty the way they once found us.
And I am not even sure what the right questions are anymore.

I envy all of you. I just can't let go
of what we agreed upon.

9

There is this starkness between you and me.
It is past posture, past stance, past scenery.

You are the only man, before or since, who’s loved me;
in brilliant sunlight and in black night you loved me.

I failed you, man. I should have been the better friend
than the friend I was in the days of our undoing.

It isn't that you gave of yourself too much, but you did.
It isn't that I asked of you too much, but I did.

It is that you grounded me in the way no man or woman has.
It's why my wives were jealous of you in Solomon fashion.

I think you didn’t know how much I needed of you.
Men never say how much they need of each other.

You are a dead man tonight and I am not sure,
sometimes, what it means to be alive anymore.

10

An old line from a war movie keeps with me.
It badgers, taints, drills its way through:
'I was born of two fathers,' the line goes.
Sometimes I think my daughter was born of two fathers.

In the corner of a closet, in an archive box, in
a folder I have the last and second-to-last batch
of poetry you sent. Twenty years sitting in the dark.
I bet you knew the diagnosis was a done deal by then.

The second-to-last? Your Tarot poems where you
pull in to, answer through each Trump card
from first born Fool to World encircling Serpent.
Just the mystic’s indigo Way.

When my daughter was born you first threw her cards.

With the last batch? By then you had become a reporter.
The hallucinations, your letter said, radiation induced
you found fascinating and worth a record.
I've never read such a report of brain torsion and epiphany.

The letter that came back was from your mother because
you were gone. I think I don't accept
you and my daughter are gone.
 


11

Tonight, L.D., a friend, so close a reader you would fall in love with her, questions my themes. She means to say my themes reoccur and she is right. Her comments bring me back to you.
 
The themes, my brother, are still the themes you and I tracked down when you were alive. All I've looked to since then is an opening in the scene in which these themes get played out, fleshed out, predicated upon. But isn't this true of all the blues?

I got a picture for you you might remember of two young men. One is the son of fortunate circumstance. The other is a son without circumstance. They meet in a bookstore. They are both devotees of a certain type. One could not be less concerned, less motivated by his good fortune. The other could not be more unaware of his lack of fortune. When they meet the understanding between them is immediate, coming even before the first exchange of words. Their preoccupations have to do with one thing only.

They meet in late August of '73. While it comes across as a cliché it is apt: their paths diverge December of '77. For over four tendering years they walk, walk miles through different towns, work together, walk through so many nights and so many days, talk and argue in so many shabby apartments, push each other, question through so many days, day by day, go off on their adventures and come back comparing notes and edging each other on.

My themes, L.D., come out of those four plus years. And they were your themes too. And I can prove it. And I can prove the plenty of our themes. It is what we were after on the street, in the apartment, in the work place, by dawn and dusk. And what I’ve decided is this. Keeping to it all is what stays the unfinished, thematically driven business.


12

Damn it, man.
Tonight I want to reach you
through your music, and I know I can't.
Music is what poetry wishes
to be and knows it can't.
Not in the fleshed out sense,
not in the sensual ear.

I've made a discovery.
It is a poem I made. It was the year you died.
Only this moment I make the connection.
I called it Sheet Music.

Unsung
a poet's job is
half-done.
In print
lovers are left to
trace lips.

You had a way of strapping
your guitar to you like she was
a big bottomed Venus holding you up.
And you in the hallway or down
in that Newport tavern swinging her
from side to side like she was
the only instrument to get you
through another Rhode Island night.

Fol de rol, Crazy Jane said. And
Love is all
Unsatisfied
That cannot take the whole
Body and soul. Crazy Jane said.
And I understood the beauty of Yeats
and of his Crazy Jane by the music
you put them both to.

When I want to hear your baritone again
I go back to Yeats again. I read
the poems you put to music.
And your voice is inside me.

I can only represent what you taught me.
I cannot flesh out the tonalities of your truth.
And you are right, L.D. In fact, unsung
a poet's job is partially done.

I want your music back in my ears.


13

These things you said and still
in stillness of how dead poets speak
you said in stillnesses of every lover's night
and we walked in the moist winters
and we talked through the strong springs
and we worked through every summer, only
to lose again in autumn what we knew.

This is the truth. Every time
we lost what we knew in dryness leaves.

We never bettered ourselves or our lovers.
Our scansions always lacked a little.
You couldn't figure through your loneliness.
I couldn't figure through my false steps.
And always the year came back, back
around to where you were wanting a girl
in dead leaves and autumn breeze.

This is the truth, L.D. I envy you
every time autumn comes on.



14

Perspective shows nothing of what we see.
Perspective tells only how we see things.

I've got the pen and ink drawings you made thirty years ago.
It was commissioned, work for which you never got paid.
Just now I see how the set contains a portrait.

A portrait of you.

In the back-distance there is a cathedral whose spire
is as stylized as a fairy tale church or as falsely heightened
as a wealthy, Texan, Baptist sanctuary.
Coming forward to the drawing's surface it must be noticed
there is no mid-distance, nothing to accommodate
the vanishing perspective where distance and closeness meet.

Just at drawing's surface there is the dancer.
He is muscular. He is stripped down to his ecstatic soul.
He is poised and balanced on one foot, his other leg bent
in the certain leap whose high step extends his reach.
And his arms, strong, arc above him to make a nimbus over him.
He is taller and nearer than church spire.

I never made the connection before. I never got
this self-portrait of yours in pen and ink.

They say King David shamed a wife when he danced to the Lord.
I say you danced to your body’s holiness as shamelessly.


15

The case is famous. But here again I never knew what you knew about what you could get yourself involved in.

Fransesco Cenci (1549 - 1589) was soaked too thoroughly in his patrician power. Do you remember the Polanski movie, "Chinatown", in which John Houston plays the character of an urban developer so powerful he irrigates a desert, murders a civil servant wise to his development take over, and so makes modern day Los Angeles just by channeling water resources? Do you remember how his character says he is powerful enough he can do anything with no consequence to himself? And then his daughter, played by Faye Dunnoway, who he !@#$ and gets pregnant, and watches her killed in a cop chase scene down in Chinatown while he drives away with her child by him unconsequenced.

Cenci outstripped Houston's character in lack of proportion. In this sense he might have been the first modern man. He wasn't just an opportunist. He was a man for whom will itself was reason enough to make material his will. I submit that modern man takes after Cenci. He being just a prototype, a first trial model for mass production.

The legal case was circumstantial and unclear. It is likely Cenci murdered one of his sons who stood up to him. It is more likely he raped his beautiful daughter, Beatrice, time and time and time again. It is fact that Beatrice and her other brothers conspired to kill their father. I am guessing their mother knew about the conspiracy, but would plead innocent to the facts at trial, just as she had pled ignorant of her daughter’s rape.

There was a Pope involved. It seems like there is always a Pope involved in poor decisions and judgment calls. Pope Clement VIII refused a pardon of Beatrice. And so she got executed in the fashion of the day for having seen to her father's death who likely killed a son of his and who likely raped her again and again and again.

I am getting to you, L.D. Hang with me please.

Shelley might have been the first to take up the story. He made a tragedy of it all. And tragedy it was in his eyes. And tragedy is always the final scene in the contest between prerogative and liberty. Then Artaud who took up the story. The story fitted perfectly his notions about a Theater of Cruelty. And how thin is the gossamer shield between order and disorder. And how through dance and body language the theater must again get symbolic again in action.

Now you up on the stage that night. You the dancer, one of the bravos Beatrice and her brothers hire to commit parricide. You in your body speech playing out the stylized body speak of father-murder. I see you this night the way I saw you then, back in the fall of '75, when you were a dancer and you were a murderer, when you were on the stage stylized. You dressed in black and dancing, appearing once, then twice in the back space like a slowly building suggestion, then a third time, only now, leaning your body into the act of parricide, no longer just a suggestion. You, my sweet friend. You the father killer. And the acts of murder before you and after you that you stylized. In black. In dance movement. In act.

Seriously, man. Did you ever reckon, even once in your sweet life, with all you could get yourself involved in?



16

Days and nights.

You were a masseur that year.
You had taken to healing bodies with your hands.
You got a job at the Edgar Caycee Institute
north of Virginia Beach. Surf pound would have been in your ears.
The Virginian and I drove over from C'Ville.
We picked you up, brought you back for Christmas.
The Virginian wrote one of his best essays
predicated on that day, cold and winter gray day beachside.
And you, all the way back, in the car,
saying your disgust at having to kneed your fingers into
the doughy flesh of the self-indulgent who can afford
tuitions particular to spiritual institutions.

Another day. Actually it was hitting on midnight when
you showed up, walking three miles between our apartments,
with sketch in hand, and you scared and seized and
shivered by what you had in hand.
I've since published what you saw and called her 'Lady by the Pond.'
I think you were shaken by what you saw that night,
drew out in pen and ink essentially;
this naked woman kneeling before a pond, the
tree stripped of leaves behind her, the crescent moon
on her lips and reflected in the pond.
Her belly accented with a single line’s stroke, her breasts defiant,
the way her moon smile has for mediating between
ineluctable moon face and water reflection.
And still that single, leafless tree back behind her.

And a third day. The day you showed up in St. Augustine.
Unannounced.
I was so !@#$ weirded out that year. My mother dying grotesquely,
my other wife beating me in private more frequently,
and you suddenly there, sitting on a park table under the light house,
beneath the squat oak trees, guitar in your arms,
waiting for me to come back to town, certain I would show.
I saw your face in the dusk and I was safe, home.






17

You had slipped out of town.
There was no word of goodbye and I've since imagined
it was a midnight slip, and so done in darkness.
Within a month or so I left Providence too.
But you left town for NYC.
My departure was more a strategic retreat.
I was back in C’ville, back to the
bookstore where we first found friendship.
I've wondered what my wife must have felt that winter:
first her lover and then her husband.
But not to worry. She became a wealthy woman.

In those years I started renting rooms let out by old women.
My rent supplemented their income.
My presence offered security.
My motive amounted to a further retreat.
And you took to New York City streets like
a honeybee takes to tupelo nectar.
I think the city streets in which you found yourself
eased your body and pleased your sense for nonsense.

There is something I've wanted to share with you all these years.
It is a discovery I made.
You may recall how we brought each other discoveries.
There is a reason for this I'll get to presently.

It was the anthology of Chinese poetry Confucius
defined, set for all time, made classic.
The odes, smaller and larger, and the folk songs.
Songs of city life, songs of mountain and river,
songs of love and friendship and exile,
songs you would have taken to, put music to.
Confucius summed up the message of some 300 poems this way:
"Have no twisty thoughts."
This is why I know you could have put those
ancient poems to perfect music.

I’ve never reconciled to losing you to the City.
But here is how I think the City spoke to you.
It is a poem Confucius would have known some
2,500 years ago and called "Town Life."

Sun's in the East
her loveliness
Comes here
To undress.

Twixt door and screen
at moon-rise
I hear
Her departing sighs.

There is a story, my brother, about a valley
and mountains and a river and two warlords whose
armies stand ready, poised to
throw themselves into each other's arms murderously.
Between them sit Confucious and his lyrical friends.
 
Maybe they are in the middle belly of that valley.
And the young man refuses to leave off singing the odes.
And the opposing armies are forced to wait for him,
cool their heels, busy themselves with chit chat.
And Confucius sings the odes, plays his music, knowing
what matters to him. Only then is he ready to go.

I should have sent you the poetry.

18

L.D., I get it and finally why
these poems address you and you damn near
two decades dead. Your mother
wrote a letter that said you tried to keep alive
long enough to see your one son born.
I think of this and I think of your one child's mother.
It is the double pain some women must bear in birth.

We both know how memory is mostly a liar.
We filtered through the range of lies when you were alive.
We both know experience does not tell on a man.
And we both know that behind it all, the
women, the children, the workplace, the title,
when a man comes back to his space, room or wilderness range,
he must measure where he stands in the range of things.

Sometimes I envy you that you got to die young.
Other times I figure you should have lived longer.
Then you would have taken in what it means to
love and die, love again and die again
in the way all sutured lovers must.

The rain beats down
on my window tonight
like the rain
beating down on my door.

It is the poetry in you I miss the most.
The way you had for going after things.
There was no censor in your proceedings.
There was only the discovery that counted.

You are the only man I've known to speak to me this way.
 


19

I am finally getting around to asking you
the question I've meant to ask all these years.
I never thought to ask the question when you were alive,
or, if I did, I think I knew it would do us no good.

A man who trades in ideas like a man trading in
women, the stock market, in futures, or in politics
is an unfinished man. He is a first born fool,
a gallant tarnished at birth, a rube, romancer, a
charlatan, snake oil salesman certain that
the next flim flam he pulls off will complete him.
This is something I know about theorists, intellectuals,
and ideologues, all careening between
one idea or another and the next.
It all keeps unfinished business, and it keeps that way
because such men are born unfinished business,
no matter the sway or the convincing moment.
The same is true of certain women. Only,
they play out the incompleteness in
beautiful dance step beautifully. And in tragedy.

I know this to be true, L.D., since I am such a man.
I have always been unfinished business, one step behind myself.
I was unfinished the first time I saw you and saw
the completeness in the way your feet stood you to the floor,
and I will finish unfinished, a trickster and shape-changer.

But you. You came on the scene complete.
You were like the sibyl's son whose father stays mysterious.
You had instincts of a cat who trusts himself completely.
You had the body-knowing of a bodhisattiva sitting
lotus fashion underneath the bodhi, woman tree.
You never questioned what you desired, and ideas
were play things for you or costumes you put on
in the way a woman puts on a dress just to judge its properties.

Your mother delighted in telling stories about you.
Do you remember the one about when you were five?
You were living in an apartment, some storeys above ground.
You went out on the balcony, climbed up to stand on the railing.
You must have perched perfectly between balcony and air.
Your mother found you, controlled her panic,
and in even tone asked what were you doing.
Your reply: "Mother, the truth of it is and that's the way it is."

This is the sense I make of your life.
Decades later I make no sense of your death.
It is too late now and, anyway, nobody asked.

I would have taken your place, my best brother.
You had no business with Death.
Why didn’t you let me take your place?


20
 
I want to see you, L.D. I want to tape back
together your bones and your flesh and your soul.
I want to see you seeing things again.

Down in C'ville I could find you in that
Greek restaurant. Gus and Sophie owned and
ran the place where we would meet up and
maybe we would talk too much.

But place never defines a man, unless, of course,
he is not his own man. You were your own man.

Your eyes looked through lies while forgiving the liar.
Your body spent itself on truths you had no name for.
You heard rhythms no one else could hear.
Your needs only once or twice betrayed you.

You were always quick to recover.

Maybe you remember the last time we sat across
from each other. It was an all night diner up in Providence.
Dirty street, late night blues runners, you and me.

That was the only time you ever lied to me, man.
The lie so deep in your eyes is what broke my heart.

Feb/19/2013, 7:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: The L.D. poems


Revision up. Not exactly elegantly executed. Wasn't able to replace original post with revision. But here it is.

Tere
Feb/19/2013, 7:05 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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I see no changes in Verse 2---I largely combine with 3:

One womb? All men up at death….has a whiff of Tennyson…brave if tragic death etc…does nothng, this faux philosophy, this clunky phrasing, to generate my respect for the narrator or his story of spiritual brotherhood with a now deceased chum.



Maybe inside our one mother's womb, and she
the layer out who takes all men up at death,
maybe there you've heard the report too.


So many towns we had entered by then.
So many roads we had travelled
just to realize all roads bring a man




these bromides stop the poem cold for me; even, the road less travelled:


all roads bring a man


what about the UPS delivery person? or the postman going like doctors from house to house...Philip Larkin. a guy or gal driving an 18-wheeler, ain't they going town to town?





bernie

Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/19/2013, 9:56 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: The L.D. poems


Verse 4 and 5
    
delete the next four lines:

L.D., I got to tell a story on you.
Sunday afternoon here and I am late
for a most important date
with the queen of the Laundromat.



Being late, not made important to the poem;

I got to tell a story on you….

What’s the story, reading a book in a bookstore basement? Try entertaining the folks on open mic night at the Laugh Factory.



I've never known a man as much in love
with books the way you were.


We met in a bookstore and god damn you loved to hold a book.
I would see you down in the basement and you
taking in the book smell as if it was your oxygen.




Someday I need to tell you about the [sign in to see URL]


The profanity doesn’t add conviction.

Books tumbling from his bed, a foot rest,
black highlights almost overwhelming
the print.






5
     
I remember our graveyard, late night and city park walks.
I remember all of my questions.

I am left. And I am no Percival.
The body is wearing down, weights get heavier,
women no longer find me pretty the way they once found us.
And I am not even sure what the right questions are anymore.

I envy all of you. I just can't let go
of what we agreed upon.


There is this starkness between you and me.
It is past posture, past stance, past scenery.

You are the only man, before or since, who loved me;
in brilliant sunlight and in black night you loved me.

I failed you, man. I should have been the better friend
than the friend I was in the days of our undoing.

It isn't that you gave of yourself too much, but you did.
It isn't that I asked of you too much, but I did.

It is that you grounded me in the way no man or woman has.
It's why my wives were jealous of you in Solomon fashion.



bernie



the poet coming home from work, getting drunk, and waking in the middle of the night to face what he has been averting his gaze from all evening: “unresting death, a whole day nearer now.”

Philip Larkin



Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/20/2013, 6:18 pm


---
Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
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Re: The L.D. poems


1---

like the small change in the final line, otherwise I see no revision.


I drink too much these days, L.D.
You were long since gone when
self-medication became a good idea.

And I got a regular job too, L.D.
You would be disappointed by the news
while my family is finally relieved.

I sometimes see you, morning or night,
in your rooms smelling the smell of man loneliness.
Or we walking the dark streets talking the talk.

You are the only man I've ever kept after, L.D.
The only man I've thought worth
the time it takes to chase a man down.

This was all years ago and you checked out.
Tonight I got here shifts in green breeze.
What do you mean by coming back this way?


What do you want here, dead friend?


2 I see no revision.


Sometimes I see you in my daughter's arms
and she is your Madonna, more like your pieta.

All dead young men should get such a reception.
Only, you were her friend too soon to leave.

I think she remembers you, L.D.
I think she sometimes thinks of me.

I didn't know you were in my wife's bed that night.
Man, except to see to my daughter, I would have cleared the scene.

You didn't stick around to explain and I got two losses, every year,
to explain to myself in new green:

You and my daughter.



I see no changes in Verse 2---I largely combine with 3:

One womb? All men up at death….

has a whiff of Tennyson…brave if tragic death etc…does nothing, this faux philosophy, this clunky phrasing, to generate my respect for the narrator or his story of spiritual brotherhood with a now deceased chum.



Maybe inside our one mother's womb, and she
the layer out who takes all men up at death,
maybe there you've heard the report too.


So many towns we had entered by then.
So many roads we had travelled
just to realize all roads bring a man




these bromides stop the poem cold for me; even, the road less travelled:


all roads bring a man


what about the UPS delivery person? or the postman going like doctors from house to [sign in to see URL] Larkin. a guy or gal driving an 18-wheeler, ain't they going town to town?



Verse 4 and 5
     
delete the next four lines:

L.D., I got to tell a story on you.
Sunday afternoon here and I am late
for a most important date
with the queen of the Laundromat.



Being late, not made important to the poem;


I got to tell a story on you….

What’s the story, reading a book in a bookstore basement? Try entertaining the folks on open mic night at the Laugh Factory with such thin material.



I've never known a man as much in love
with books the way you were.

We met in a bookstore and god damn you loved to hold a book.
I would see you down in the basement and you
taking in the book smell as if it was your oxygen.




Someday I need to tell you about the fire....delete


The profanity doesn’t add conviction.

Books tumbling from his bed, a foot rest,
black highlights almost overwhelming
the print.




4--- revised out, I think.

The Ozark cluster of crystal quartz
is still on my altar. Scraping your knuckles
you chiseled it out of cave’s floor for me.

Memory is sometimes a death wish.

The music you put to
my songs made you into
a song singing down the hall.

I think you romanced the death wish.

Your guitar was overwhelming
in close space and intimate room.
Medial women answered to you.

Young men too, too much sometimes
seduce the death wish.
As do some medial women.



5---

L.D., I can't remember if we had this conversation about two ancient friends working in Latin poetry. I do remember I discovered the stories when you and I were street whores, before your wives and family made you into something immaculate. Seriously. Did we talk about the Roman patrician, Ausonius, and his friend, Paulinus of Nola who Ausonius, a devout man and a Pagan, lost to the subversive love of Christ?

Maybe we never talked about the friendship. Maybe we didn’t need to talk about friendship. But I remember clearly the day we were together and I found the poetry collection carrying the tale of ancient friendship. And of ancient friendship’s loss. It was in Portuguese town, near the docks, in Providence and we were there together in that used book store. I remember as clearly how steeped we were in the Carmina Burana songs telling tales on vagabond scholars, poets, and itinerants working in Goliardic lyric.

Ausonius was landed gentry, a Roman patrician who held property in Bordeaux. You never cared about such things but he planted a vineyard still under till. Paulinus got caught up in the new, religious fervor, refused his friends, sold off his property, and finally became a bishop or an abbot or something like that.

So much holiness in Paulinus' election. But for what? This is my question tonight. For what is holiness worth? And why do I have to carry your Christ love for sacrifice? Why can't you leave me to Ausonius' love of the vineyard, of Bordeaux, and of friendship?



sorry, i don't feel that christ love.

and sorry again,

steeped we were in the Carmina Burana songs telling tales on vagabond scholars, poets, and itinerants working in Goliardic lyric. just don't believe this for a moment, i just hear labels.


Verse 4 and 5
     
delete the next four lines:

L.D., I got to tell a story on you.
Sunday afternoon here and I am late
for a most important date
with the queen of the Laundromat.



Being late, not made important to the poem;

I got to tell a story on you….

What’s the story, reading a book in a bookstore basement? Try entertaining the folks on open mic night at the Laugh Factory with such thin material..



I've never known a man as much in love
with books the way you were.

We met in a bookstore and god damn you loved to hold a book.
I would see you down in the basement and you
taking in the book smell as if it was your oxygen.



Someday I need to tell you about the fire....delete


The profanity doesn’t add conviction.

Books tumbling from his bed, a foot rest,
black highlights almost overwhelming
the print.



Tere, did you ever count how many times the word remember shows up? Wearing a little thin, to me.

do you know the 1950's era radio program,
Mama---subtitled I remember mama....?

[sign in to see URL] Mama-MadameZodiak[/url]

the book and movie---

How Green was my Valley.

i won't even mention Proust.

ton of remembrances...




5
      
I remember our graveyard, late night and city park walks.
I remember all of my questions.

I am left. And I am no Percival.
The body is wearing down, weights get heavier,
women no longer find me pretty the way they once found us.
And I am not even sure what the right questions are anymore.

I envy all of you. I just can't let go
of what we agreed upon.


There is this starkness between you and me.
It is past posture, past stance, past scenery.

You are the only man, before or since, who loved me;
in brilliant sunlight and in black night you loved me.

I failed you, man. I should have been the better friend
than the friend I was in the days of our undoing.

It isn't that you gave of yourself too much, but you did.
It isn't that I asked of you too much, but I did.

It is that you grounded me in the way no man or woman has.
It's why my wives were jealous of you in Solomon fashion.





the poet coming home from work, getting drunk, and waking in the middle of the night to face what he has been averting his gaze from all evening: “unresting death, a whole day nearer now.”

Philip Larkin



6 --- appears unchanged.

Lotta lines to say very little…the core here, I think:


A. I've never known a man as much in love
with books the way you were.

B. A mail order outfit and there you are boxing up books
like some kind of Hermes boxing up communiqués.
And I bet the delivery was tender.


C. I damn near coveted the books you bought.
In your rooms, on your tables, there were your books.
And they were essential, sexy, your books.
You were into the great souls and thinkers and into
artists only who turn

D. Your last job I know about was in NYC. NYC. NYC.
A burg I've not put foot into since you died.
And your job was with another book dealer.
And why did you love books the way some men love themselves?

E. L.D., I am to the punch line.
It involves a question I never asked of you,
not wanting to embarrass you.
You never read the books you bought or mailed out tenderly.

You never read more than a few pages or a chapter.
And this has always puzzled me!
I am still trying to figure out the message.

I don't know, man. Maybe Hermes
sees his job differently.
Maybe the delivery is what matters most to him.



And this footnote to history, important in an essay, perhaps, but not this poem---nothing to do with the theme of great comradeship.


This was before the Reagan years, before he
started the tax on publishers on their back list inventories.
Maybe you've had reason where you are now
to reflect upon what enemies to civ. Republicans can be.


and this awkward phrase...

a moment's vector….groan



drab story----better, the accountant was 83 pounds with a bad stomach. always wore oversize wool sweaters that she knitted herself. here, maybe an opening for food:

we ate in local restaurants
or bought what lunches we could pack
      in a brown sack

with stale, dry bread to toss for ducks
   on the green-scummed lagoons,
crackers for porcupine and fox,
life-savers for the footpad coons
      to scour and rinse,

snatch after in their muddy pail
   and stare into their paws.


from the Snodgrass Pulitzer winning poem,
The Heart's Needle.

When Suibhe would not return to fine garments and good food, to his houses and his people, Loingseachan told him, "Your father is dead." "I'm sorry to hear it," he said. "Your mother is dead," said the lad. "All pity for me has gone out of the world." "Your sister, too, is dead." "The mild sun rests on every ditch," he said; "a sister loves even though not loved." "Suibhne, your daughter is dead." "And an only daughter is the needle of the heart." "And Suibhne, your little boy, who used to call you 'Daddy' he is dead." "Aye," said Suibhne, "that's the drop that brings a man to the ground."
     He fell out of the yew tree; Loingseachan closed his arms around him and placed him in manacles.


—after The Middle-Irish Romance
     The Madness of Suibhne



 

The fire, the embarrassed accountant, just not interesting to your theme---physical description, briefly inserted, becomes a moment and contrast for the poem.


Verse 7

 --- this is a lively verse, we ease drop on the two actors, we get more the taste and feel of what distinguishes them, what they noted.

   

It is the graveyard talk I remember tonight, if not as late as then.
It is as if we were looking to raise the dead.
And isn't that too what poets are supposed to do:

looking for commerce with the dead and the not yet born?

Thinking of you makes me think of things
both dead and not yet born.

Isn't that why you put Yeats to music?
I think you fell in love with Crazy Jane that year.
And the commerce.
Isn't that why you put Joyce’s poems to music?
Still the transactions.
I think you fell in love with chamber music that year.

What was it we once talked about? How Joyce took Yeats to task
for addressing beauty from the past when he himself
wanted to speak to beauties not yet born.
I think we agreed that night they both were right, yes?
  
You were not like any other graveyard robber I've known.
What in hell or heaven were we looking for among the dead?
You could walk through like a cat parsing his steps.
You could walk through step-still and certain.
You could walk through like a mother black vulture for whom
the dead are baby fresh and darlings to her.

I remember our graveyard, late night and city park walks.
I remember all of my questions.
I remember you never seemed to have any.
I can't remember your answers, unless
the long drag on a cigarette was your answer.

L.D., I can't shake your memory, can't slake
each day and each late night of our scansions.
You knew something about the dead and the not yet born
I didn't and still don't.
Maybe it had to do with the commerce.




8

Man, this is going to read like a grade "B" movie
whose last scene’s actor lacks talent for delivering his lines.



(got it, now move on…)

The next lines move quickly, add to the narrative while providing variety, color and breathing room for the reader---a reader who can now visualize at least some of the narrator’s environment---moves us from the hazy I remember to the more declarative.


God damn but we were young Turks then.
You, me, the Virginian and Red.
And C’Ville was our camp town.
And we didn't care who approved us.
And we had the unnamed need in our bellies.

You were the slender one, you in your lyrical soul.
Red was the honest one for whom word
must match to truth or meet the guillotine
(you do remember his love of things French).

The Virginian, always impeccable, slightly patrician, in inflexion,
who we slightly deferred to and who you once said
was the best one among us.
And then me. The sorry assed high school drop out.

There were four of us. And that town
in the Blue Ridge foothills was where we convened


Our high feast.

in high feast fashion when grail quest gets presented
in the Fisher King’s chancy spring.


Huh?

delete...


My God but I never thought the friendships would end.
Or that the hankering after poetry could get cancelled out.
I never thought we wouldn't meet again,
year after year at feast time when friends
come back together, give their reports and forward intelligence
on sudden valleys, asphalt, and sacred enclosures.
But it happened.

you do remember his love of things French).

The Virginian I lost first. It might have had to do
with his wife and it might have had to do with mine.
Either way you were right. He was the best of us.
Mostly I think he got lost to poetry, needing instead a regular life.
Red, the last I heard of Red, he was in a Russian
(Soviet) plane flying out of Africa with his teenage wife.
I miss that small man who had the courage of a century of warriors.
I got his play written in his hand about the Albigensian Crusade





This plays in a natural voice, even the
Albigensian Crusade.

The final lines pitched just right, a coda for the verse, for the narrator’s era:



(you do remember his love of things French).
Then you were gone. Your going did collateral damage on us all.
Damn it, L.D. and I am sorry for saying so, but
dying from melanoma at your age amounted to bad taste.

I am left. And I am no Percival.
The body is wearing down, weights get heavier,
women no longer find me pretty the way they once found us.
And I am not even sure what the right questions are anymore.

I envy all of you. I just can't let go
of what we agreed upon.



9

There is this starkness between you and me.
It is past posture, past stance, past scenery.



Starkenss don’t grab me.


Maybe an image?

A starkness between us, a room with white walls, a bed and chair as the only furniture.


The essence:



You are the only man, before or since, who’s loved me;
in brilliant sunlight and in black night you loved me.

I failed you, man. I should have been the better friend
than the friend I was in the days of our undoing.

It isn't that you gave of yourself too much, but you did.
It isn't that I asked of you too much, but I did.

It is that you grounded me in the way no man or woman has.
It's why my wives were jealous of you in Solomon fashion.

I think you didn’t know how much I needed of you.
Men never say how much they need of each other.

You are a dead man tonight and I am not sure,
sometimes, what it means to be alive anymore.


10---

An old line from a war movie keeps with me.
It badgers, taints, drills its way through:
'I was born of two fathers,' the line goes.
Sometimes I think my daughter was born of two fathers.



another bromide, a line from an [sign in to see URL], or poem, or book, or [sign in to see URL] never [sign in to see URL] we've heard the line often...


The narrator isn’t 99 years old, no need for the posture, an old line from a war movie.


delete: In the corner of a closet,


in an archive box, in
a folder I have the last and second-to-last batch
of poetry you sent. Twenty years sitting in the dark.
I bet you knew the diagnosis was a done deal by then.

The second-to-last? Your Tarot poems where you
pull in to, answer through each Trump card
from first born Fool to World encircling Serpent.
Just the mystic’s indigo Way.

When my daughter was born you first threw her cards.

With the last batch? By then you had become a reporter.
The hallucinations, your letter said, radiation induced
you found fascinating and worth a record.
I've never read such a report of brain torsion and epiphany.

The letter that came back was from your mother because
you were gone. I think I don't accept
you and my daughter are gone.

  


Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/21/2013, 12:14 pm


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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Feb/20/2013, 3:36 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
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Re: The L.D. poems


Hi Tere,

Time is not something I have a lot of at the moment, so I will return to your revisions when I have more of it. In the meantime, I thought folks who aren't familiar with LD's poems might like to read them:

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Also, anyone interested in reading the LD series before you edited it, can find it here:

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Feb/22/2013, 9:19 am Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: The L.D. poems


Bernie, I very much appreciate the time taken and the rather substantial effort made at crit of the suite. You've given it a pretty thorough reading and not for the first time. Not sure I understand the need for what strikes me as an unduly harsh tone. You could have still given the poems a sharp thrashing without such comments as "faux philosophy" and "a bromide". But I'm okay with that. Maybe that is just your way. Maybe you were having a bad day. Guess I'm left wondering about motive.

That elegant, elegant mid-century poet, Carolyn Kizer, told a delightful story. It involves a poet/teacher/friend of hers who said there are two types of poerry teachers. The one who wants you to be your best, original self. And the one who wants you to write like them only not quite as well. Your comments bring the story to mind. Especially with how frequently you suggest deletions. What I mean is that I think your way in poetry is to rely heavily, sometimes I think too heavily, on the elliptical expression, the device Emily Dickinson all but invented, certainly introduced into Modern poetry, and used to masterly affect. I can, sometimes do, trade in the ellipsis. But not for its own sake. Again, it is just a device, not the end-grail.

I imagine it likely you've read Poe's essay "The Poetic Principle", since, you are very well read in the stuff of poetics and prosody. One of his main ideas is that a poem should be brief. His reasoning had to do with what he understood about the propeties of poetry. "I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves its title only in as much as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in ratio of this elevating excitement. But all excitements are, through a psychal necessity, transient. The degree of excitement which would entitle a poem to be so called at all, cannot be sustained through out a composition of any great length."

I bet that is something every poet understands even without thinking on it. Understands somaticly. I've never been able to prove the connection, but I'm pretty sure Poe got the idea from Coleridge who, likely and given his thorough study of German philosophy, was following a lead suggested by Kant about the aesthetic sense of natural beauty and how it comes through perceptually. But Poe pointed out a caveat to his notion of short poetry.

"On the other hand, it is clear that a poem may be improperly brief. Undue brevity degenerates into mere epigrammatism. A very short poem, while now and then producing a brilliant or vivid, never produces a profound or enduring effect. There must be the steady pressing down of the stamp upon the wax." (italics mine) I am comfortable working in both the epigrammatic and the elliptical expression. Upon occassion I've done so satisfactorily. But I am sensible to Poe's cautionary note. Something, I think, too many poets miss out on, not understanding the "steady pressing down".

Something else, my friend. I think it possible you've missed the nature of the suite. As said upthread it has to do with a kind of love affair between two young friends when they were starting out and how the dead friend has kept alive in the narrator for over 30 years. #11 could not be a clearer statement of intention. And I think the insight worth the reflection. The conversational tone itself should speak to a great affection.

Thanks again, Bernie. I'm comfortable with that your way belongs to you, not to me. But as Whitman said, poetry is a large mansion with many rooms.

Tere
Feb/23/2013, 3:41 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: The L.D. poems


Tere---

i must ration the time i have for this poem, but i'm half finished.


you writ to me:

  
Something else, my friend. I think it possible you've missed the nature of the suite. As said upthread it has to do with a kind of love affair between two young friends when they were starting out and how the dead friend has kept alive in the narrator for over 30 years. #11 could not be a clearer statement of intention. And I think the insight worth the reflection. The conversational tone itself should speak to a great affection.


my focus is how the poem conveys that news to the reader; how the poem shows and tells.


i hope to complete my comments by reading verses 11 thourgh 20 this week.


bernie


this i believe is the verse 11 that you just mentioned:

11

Tonight, L.D., a friend, so close a reader you would fall in love with her, questions my themes. She means to say my themes reoccur and she is right. Her comments bring me back to you.
  
The themes, my brother, are still the themes you and I tracked down when you were alive. All I've looked to since then is an opening in the scene in which these themes get played out, fleshed out, predicated upon. But isn't this true of all the blues?

I got a picture for you you might remember of two young men. One is the son of fortunate circumstance. The other is a son without circumstance. They meet in a bookstore. They are both devotees of a certain type. One could not be less concerned, less motivated by his good fortune. The other could not be more unaware of his lack of fortune. When they meet the understanding between them is immediate, coming even before the first exchange of words. Their preoccupations have to do with one thing only.

They meet in late August of '73. While it comes across as a cliché it is apt: their paths diverge December of '77. For over four tendering years they walk, walk miles through different towns, work together, walk through so many nights and so many days, talk and argue in so many shabby apartments, push each other, question through so many days, day by day, go off on their adventures and come back comparing notes and edging each other on.

My themes, L.D., come out of those four plus years. And they were your themes too. And I can prove it. And I can prove the plenty of our themes. It is what we were after on the street, in the apartment, in the work place, by dawn and dusk. And what I’ve decided is this. Keeping to it all is what stays the unfinished, thematically driven business.















Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/25/2013, 8:20 pm


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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Feb/25/2013, 8:16 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 
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Re: The L.D. poems


Tere---


Richard Howard reads his own poem,
Occupations, at the Metropolitan Musuem of Art.

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the vidoe for Occupations begins 18 minutes into the tape.


i'm not saying it is like your poem, but is a direct address form---the wife (mostly) of Bonnard's art dealer speaks to Hermann Goering.

ll minutes into the video, he first reads another of his own poems titled Bonnard a Novel---i flatter myself to think i could write a poem like that myself some day, if admiration could help my writing---at any rate, it is mercifully only someting we need listen to, the eyes are spared and we can restart at any point.

however, his Pulitzer is for translating various poets, not for writing poems of his own.

hope at least one of the the two poems strike gold for you, as Kathleen and I this weekend so much enjoyed Bonnard a Novel.


bernie
     


c
c

Last edited by Bernie01, Feb/26/2013, 2:22 am


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Fall

Bob Grenier: the leaves / falling / out of the / water by the / table
Feb/25/2013, 8:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to Bernie01   Send PM to Bernie01 Blog
 


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