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In Deep Song's Register



In Deep Song’s Register

“The heart has its reasons which reason does not know.”
           Pascal



1

I kissed a young girl on the road.
I was too stupid to touch her heart.
I made her go away.

Death is an old man.
Night is our mother.

Cradle me again. The train horn blows.
I am tired of my strength,
the tension in my legs.

Death is an old man.
Night is our mother.

Sunrise in the river sunset.
Water is in the stone.
Creole finger paints your skin.

Death is an old man.
Night is our mother.

Spirits have used me up. Shadow voices called.
The highway is your wind.
Let me come back to you, girl.

Death is an old man.
Night is our mother.


2

She sleeps on her side this morning.
Last night we did not want to sleep.

The secret we make is a nation.
It is well guarded in these rooms.
There is no other city-state
when we are together in the vines.

Then she must go in the afternoon.
And the black dog in my body
becomes restive, walks the levee.
Tonight I hate you, old man,
For taking her back to the highway.
I thank you for showing me
What hatred in purity is.


3

Gitana,
what is new to you
is not new to me, my
wide brimmed hat and long coat
just a left over
from highway life pressed in
service of the dark queen.

Moon’s stark blood flow
is what enthralls
you. Fascinates me.
The thrill in what calls to you
I honor with the rhythmic beat,
my cante, black shod feet.

But I must tell you
the rattlesnake road steers us,
bites the ankle of the half-believing.

Come home with me, Gitana.
And bring the little ones.


4

The sting is on my chest this morning.
The pent up need runs deep
and she marked me there.

Last night her love was furious.
I’m sure she startled herself.
There was no moon , and so
stark of light cannot be blamed.

Across the Parish line
she will not acknowledge me.

The mark is there and I say sincerely
I will kill the man, the song,
the wind who looks to take her from me.


5

Mockingbird sing your song.
Black brother crosses the water.

Mockingbird girl
you never repeat a note.
But tell of elegant brother
crossing over tonight.

Night bird sing.
The picture is in white light.
And black brother floats
on Bayou Paul.

Cajun boy got too close today.
He struck off smooth brother’s
head with my long knife.

Mockingbird sing your elegant song
to cottonmouth brother
who crosses over.


6

Gitana,
why float around my head
so frantically?
I am not a lamp light
looking to scorch your body.

But you have scorched my skin.

I know nothing anymore.
Not the Gulf stream womb,
deep forest’s wet light,
sand dunes scraped of life,
mountain’s hibernation, raven lore,
long highway, or city eye.

It is all because of you.

You are so pretty in your soul.
Especially when you rest.
When will you let yourself rest?

There are stories like ours
that never get told.
My heart is your home, Gitana.
And we know it.


7

You called me out and I came.
Sweet Jesus, your voice was close.

You called and you met me there.
The bow in your body told the truth.

You called me up and took me down.
What we found cannot be refound.

Until I die I will love forever.
You will see me in his eyes always.

Tonight the air is too luxuriant.
I hurt for you on the shore.


8

The bayou is my heart.
The bayou is my body.
What can my whole body tell you
if you do not know
this flesh of space, heat and chill?

Gitana, come down.
Come down, Gitana.

There is the scorpion sting
in my boot when she says
the real thing that says
the train through town
is just a passerby, just a passerby.

Gitana, come down.
Come down, Gitana.

The bottom soul percolates
in her homeland. Unmeasured,
so uncaptured in our river walk.
And turn returns on itself, crazy,
the sense we need of each other.

Gitana, come down.
Come down.


9

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.


10

She has me down the streets tonight.
I am out looking for her.
But she will not be close by.

In Bayou Teche she has to stop.
I cannot call on her doorstep.
Do you hear me, hateful old man?
In her black night I cannot call on her.

Here at home we choked on the thing.
How it happened I cannot say.
The sting in my eyes might have come first.
Then she could not stop the tears.

What do you want me to say, old man?
She is love and I am life.


11

Play it down the neck, blues man.
The downpour is on the wind.
Play it hard, delta son,
hard to my mouth harp.
And death is on the wind.

Play it the same, blues runner.
Chase the old man down tonight.
I can keep you awake
through the falsetto dawn.
Death is on my ankle
and copperhead still near by.

Play it on the neck,
strike it in the bowl.
And death is on the wind.


12

The template at birth.
Texture and the lasting fingerprint.

It must be cause enough
to keep in view
the details of a girl
captive, dreamy, unfurled;
and the silk rope’s cinch,
the pounding feminine storm.

Today she skipped off
The blue radar screen.

All the same I love a squall,
the inside source, bayou downpour,
cleansing my used up body;

and I must keep right by her.


13

Gitana,
let it go tonight.
Please let it go.
And I still need
the kind of love I understand.

Sweet Madonna,
mother of Christ turbulence,
it is the river run
so confusing to us.
The way the bends twist, melt away
until east is west to sun.

On this blacktop street
a man’s need beats him down.
Another woman’s passion
bumps against the daily grind.

Gitana,
the horse you ride tonight
is instinct, keeps you to the road.
That is understandable.
Ride your pony, girl.
Ride what you know.

I got to keep to the wind spirit
I hear. Even on this dirty street.


14

Gitana,
the white rose you brought me
still smells of that hot day.
I have the rose here on your altar.

The hardness in the path
where I used to love the climb
in stair rock to your door.
And, moonless night,
why must you keep her so close?

Gitana.
Gitana!
The rose browns, bruises, and
I am your Christ moment
just before the cock crows.

Mother may you see her.
Mother may you see her.


15

Moon downs the bayou tonight.
The cold in her bones cuts the heart.
And I am the coyote man
you see in the shiver of a dream.

The road leads us away from here
and the receding face she changes
for another man in the cypress.
How I hate his money.

Black tupelo in the fireplace,
my face in the brand and ember,
she burns alive for love.
And I am the coyote man,
the stranger in your dream.

Bayou song, bayou wish, bayou summer again.
The sense of her flesh aches,
the honey dance waits for the sun,
and the coyote man she cannot keep.


16

The world is on fire tonight, Gitana.
It’s like you said it would be.
The flames lap up your sides.
The dark lady shows herself in sunset.

She is my first home.
Your love is my hell.

I cannot leave her in the near night,
and the carrion song you sing.
I cannot escape the fire flood, Gitana.
What is alive stays hers, in the trees.

And I saw her. And I knew her thighs.
And she showed herself. Exquisite.
On this side of your risen body.
On this side of that ghastly choir.

She is my first love.
Your hell is my home.

The little ones ask you remember them to the Lord.

Terreson

Last edited by Terreson, Jan/10/2019, 7:23 pm
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Re: In Deep Song's Register


honest confession. i have not read much of lorca. the conventions of flamenco, if there are any, i have no clue about. so what i am going to do is transfer this to my kindle and absorb.
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Re: In Deep Song's Register


Hi Tere,

On first read through I felt a bit dislocated, found myself resisting and questioning certain stanzas and stylistic choices, while drawn to others. Second read through went more smoothly; it was as if I had to find the right register in order to hold it with any consistency. I’m not familiar with cante jondo, so I googled and ended up at Wikipedia. Not the best reference site I know, but I found two quotes there, nonetheless, that I liked and found helpful:

In 1931, Garcia Lorca presented a conference devoted to keeping the rich tradition of the Cante Jondo alive. The following is translated from the conference notes by Lorca:

The "cante jondo" approaches the rhythm of the birds and the natural music of the black poplar and the waves; it is simple in oldness and style. It is also a rare example of primitive song, the oldest of all Europe, where the ruins of history, the lyrical fragment eaten by the sand, appear live like the first morning of its life. The illustrious Falla, who studied the question attentively, affirms that the gypsy "siguiriya" is the song type of the group "cante jondo" and declares that it is the only song on our continent that has been conserved in its pure form, because of its composition and its style and the qualities it has in itself, the primitive songs of the oriental people.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cante_jondo

The singer who sings seguiriyas leaves in each line of the copla (verse of cante) a piece of his soul; and, if not, he is deceiving the listener, perhaps even himself. If there is one style to which the singer has to give everything, has to give every bit of himself, it is the siguiriya. I have seen José Menese completely overcome, broken, a literal wreck after doing this song and I believe that if the singer sometimes reaches the kind of state of grace that the Gypsies call duende - and I don't know yet what that is - it is in these unique and unrepeatable moments. — Ángel Álvaro Caballero, Historia del Cante Flamenco

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cante_flamenco

A simple style, old and primitive, as in elemental. Yes, I can see that in what you have written. I can also see the appropriateness of such a style for the subject matter. How clever are any of us when we are truly broken hearted? When we are leaving parts of our souls behind in the words? There would be something faux about being silver-tongued at those times, no? What we are left feeling, if we are honest, is a kind of starkness. Emotional starkness, nakedness. Tears smear and wash away a woman’s makeup, and what are fancy words and fancier turns of phrase at such times but linguistic makeup? Which is not to say that the poem is not well crafted. Who was it--Yeats?--who said the craft is to make it seem like there is no craft?

These are my first thoughts. You know me, I like to read, go away and think for a while, and then return.


Last edited by Katlin, May/18/2013, 9:18 am
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Re: In Deep Song's Register


Terreson,

STANZA 3
Gitana,
what is new to you
is not new to me, my
wide brimmed hat and long coat
just a left over
from highway life pressed in
service of the dark queen.
[This stanza places the poem in another culture through the use of “Gitana”, and in another time through the use of “wide brimmed hat and long coat” - though I have been known to wear these things in a rainstorm when I’m walking my dogs. Since you also talk of Cajuns and swamps, I’m guessing that the hat and coat are just props, as might be the swamp, for again diving deep into the subject. ]

In STANZA 5 [ I didn’t quite understand the rationale for the violence between the “black brother” and the Cajun. Is the black brother the smooth brother? The answer might be a simple one: Read the entire poem, and read it more carefully]

STANZA 7
Until I die I will love forever.
You will see me in his eyes always.
[This line is a bit ambiguous, without amplification. Does it mean she he is the man she truly loves, or that he will impose himself on her awareness somehow?]

I read through the rest of it, and somewhat through Bernie’s notes. It would be a formidable challenge to try to comment on the entire poem in detail. I do have a comment on the reactions of some of the other reviewers. There seems to be a reluctance to comment on the poem at this time, and it appears to be primarily based on not being acquainted with the tradition you are working in. It could be argued that this is the correct response. The other argument could be that we live in America, or at least in the Western tradition; so the poem should make sense to the reader regardless of the traditions the poem is working from/or in. If someone is working of the tradition of the Haiku, or working from a 17th Century poet like John Donne, are we to back off and say, “Well, I want to absorb the tradition first?” Just a question; maybe that’s the right response. It certainly is right – up to a point. The point I’m trying to make here is that the poem, regardless of the tradition should make sense to today’s reader.

Now, for me the parts I read closely, up to about Stanza 9, read very well. It’s possible that, as Bernie pointed out, the poem bifurcates, and then splits again, that it diverges into various themes, or follows various figures. For me the thing captured most by the poem is a fire soul intensity. Sometimes, like other great poetry it reached into something just beyond what language can adequately grab. This is an achievement in any poem. Earlier, I was watching a rap video by Eminem, and as I read your poem, the rhythm was strangely compatible with his own rhythm. So I was reading it both for its Flamenco or gypsy depth but hearing a modern rhythm. This is probably not so significant, but it helped me to read it. Michael Mathers, Eminem, grew up in a Black neighborhood in Detroit, so there might be some subterranean relationship there. Zak
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Zak is right that the poem needs to work for today's audience without a lot of background information. Perhaps I didn't make clear enough that I read the poem several times before googling anything, and the second read through worked because I was able to enter into the spirit of the poem by virtue of simply reading the poem. I did, however, want to check out the flameco tradition because you mentioned it in your introduction. To that end, I aslo (re)read Lorca's essay "Duende: Theory and Divertissement." A lot of it was over my head just as it was 20 years ago when I first read it, but what I came away with is that duende is not about the intellect, not about verbal skill or surface emotions. Duende is about what Lorca calls "the black sounds". BTW, as I'm sure I've pointed out before, the Pascal quote is one of my favorites. In the translation I memorized somewhere along the way: "The heart has reasons, reason can not comprehend." Duende is about the heart, not about reason. Although the Sufis refer to the heart as a thinking organ, the way the heart thinks is not the same way the mind does.
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Thanks very much for the comments so far. It is most helpful.

I couldn't agree more that the poetry should be read on its own and not entirely set inside the context of a tradition. Maybe the right register is to think of the poems as drawn on, rather than working within, flamenco. At least, that is how I proceeded when composing the poems. My gut, then, was that in flamenco poetry there is a purity of expression stripped of abstract, stylistic geometry, the thing that, more than anything else, kills poetry. That's what I was going after, looking to transplant, put up in my own words, own time, own emotions. But let me put it this way.

Out of particulars one can draw universals. That is the big thing, but not the biggest, flamenco poetry shows me. Zak mentions #5. One day I watched a Cajun boy, someone who thoroughly enjoyed killing animals, pin to the ground a water mocassin with a pallet, then behead it with a bee keeper's hive tool, my hive tool. Around the same time I was reading a history of Louisiana. I learned that even at the height of lynchings, mostly but not entirely of African-Americans, the state was famous for the number of lynchings. One U.S. Senator opined that there must be something in the racial admixture to incline Louisianians to find pleasure in the violence.

One more example. In flamenco there is a special bond between the poet and the matador. They not only understand each other, the view each other as equals. But what can I know of matadors? I do, however, know something about artists so single minded in their art they sacrifice themselves, their loves, and their chances for happiness. #9 was incited by a friend I started out with in my career, who was a far more gifted artist than I am, and who died of cancer before he was 40.

This is something of what was going on when I made the poems. Not information one should need for the reception. But given in the spirit of pointing to motive.

So far, at least, the poems seem to be taken as strophes comprising a single poem. If that is how it seems to work for readers okay. I myself read each poem as distinct, read the whole as a suite.

By the way, what Kat says about feeling dislocated on the first read points to what I mean about stripping poetry of its stylistic geometry, a notion I got from lorca.

Tere
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Hi Tere,

Coming back again to make a few more specific comments. Yes, I understand that this is not one poem but a series of poems.

Poem 1 For me this was a somewhat difficult entry into the series. I like S 5 and 6 but resisted the repeated couplet, which on subsequent reads increased the song-like quality of the poem and came to feel more like a refrain.

Poem 2 I like this poem. I feel it can stand on its own but appreciate the way it ties back to the old man in the first poem.

Poem 3 I like this poem as well. Enjoyed the way the rhythm of the words builds in S2. Something occurs to me as I’m reading the poems one by one: that’s how they need to be read, as individual poems. I read them too quickly before and did not savor each one. In book form, would each poem have its own page? I think it would be good if they did.

As I wrote my comments on this series the last few days, I kept thinking of a Hirshfield quote I had posted this spring. I located the quote this morning:

To pick up on your earlier pondering, about telling writing students they
should, as the saying goes, "show, don't tell," I also think it isn't always
true. Just a good corrective to the beginning writer's tendency to write
"I'm sad" and imagine that's enough. But one thing I've been doing in more
recent work is a good deal of "telling"--listing the names of emotions, for
instance. Sometimes you just want that economy and simplicity, rather than,
say, constructing an image to embody the emotion. They're different
strategies for different requirements--and poetry needs the full range in
its tool chest. The deep image poetry of the 60's and 70's was a reaction to
the overly intellectual (at times) poetry of the 50's. Then people grew
bored with "stones and bones" and experimental writing appeared. What many
people are doing now is a kind of hybrid, drawing from both the tradition of
Lorca/Neruda/Chinese Classical poetry and from, say, the intellectual rigor
of Milosz/Herbert/Szymborska. This isn't new--the Roman classical poets also
combined both image and intellect. But we do it differently now, in a way
recognizably of this moment and its dictions.


http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/55/Jane-Hirshfield-page01.html

I think part of my resistance early on was the “show, don’t tell” dictum asserting itself loudly in my mind, but as JH says, “it isn’t always true.” This series combines what we have come to know as showing and telling. I don’t find the telling parts overly intellectual. Nor do I really see the Milosz/Herbert/Szymborska tradition here. But I sense something slightly different from the Lorca/NerudaI/Chinese tradition as well. Perhaps what you have created here is a hybrid style of your own.
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Poem 4 An honest and straightforward poem. What Arka referred to as "honest confession." The kind of expression confessionalism scared some people away from. In the marketplace of today's poetics, it will strike some people as too simple, too sincere (what? where's the !@#$, protective irony?). Which reminds me of another way this series will rub some folks the wrong way: too much of the lyrical I/eye.

Poem 5 Your explanation to Zak helped me understand this poem. I don't think I need to know about LA history to appreciate the poem, but I would have liked to have followed the action better and understood that the smooth brother who was beheaded was a snake. You do mention cottonmouth in the next stanza, but somehow I never made the connection.

I think I'll stop here for now but wll return to comment more on the individual poems.

Last edited by Katlin, May/19/2013, 9:35 am
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Kat, I am grateful for what you are doing. My sense is that you are setting aside at least some of what you know about poetry and giving the suite a chance. I remember the Hirshfield quote from when you cited it before. What I like about it, like about her thinking, is the willingness to allow for the exception that tends to disprove the rule. Whitman, more or less, said that is how poetry proceeds.

Funny to think on, but as slight as the suite seems it needed 2 years to make.

Tere
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Poems 6 & 7 are simple love songs. "What's wrong with that, I'd like to know?"

Poem 8 In this poem I'm reading the repeated couplets as an expression of "crazy" need on the N's part.

Poem 9 This poem for me is the most complicated in the series so far. The N's remembering of his dead friend give him the opportunity to address a male counterpart and to take the measure of himself as a man, then and now.

Poem 10 As I go through the suite reading each poem as a poem in its own right, I can't help but noticing how interrelated they all are. For example, the direct address to "old man" in this poem takes me back to the first poem in the series. Without that first poem, I would probably think of the old man here mainly as a father or older lover who conspires to keep the N and his Gitana apart.

Last edited by Katlin, May/23/2013, 8:06 am
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Terreson,

Particular attention to this line: "And to perfect love turning stone to water" and to the references to Christ. Generally speaking, I address the poem, or the protagonist in the poem. Here, I have to raise a broader question about background and intention in the creation of the poem. I'm not certain of the religious posture of the poem with regards to Christ or Christianity, but I see the influence of the New Testament in the deep faith that people have in Christ (traditionally), though here it may lean to the negative. Even there I'm not certain, but it's definitely present as some sort of symbol. The line: "And to perfect love turning stone to water" speaks of deep faith, though here it may be deep faith in something other than Christ. A naysayer could boldly assert that such faith has always been available, that maybe it was preempted by Christianity. So the question arises: Why is Christianity, the symbols, so available for the discussion? Perhaps because they are so pervasive in our Western world, even if they are increasingly called into question. England for example, is barely hanging on by a thread -- as regards traditional, organized Christianity. Anyway, it got me thinking. The poem is deeply immersed in the magic of that line. It's a line that has been heard before, but it's given life here. It does fit. Zak

quote:

Terreson wrote: 
9

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.


 

 
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Thanks again, Kat. I appreciate what you are doing, how you are proceeding with a few poems at a time. About that old man. I suppose the figure is a bit ambiguous. First poem makes it clear he is a metaphor for death. After that, the ambiguity sets in. Or maybe not. Maybe there are different old men, different kinds of death. As for the "crazy" need thing. Along the Mississippi there is a road called River Road. I believe it extends for the entire length of the river. When you drive it you are following the course of the river itself, with all its curves and bends. You quickly lose your sense of direction. There are times and places when you would swear the Mississippi is on your right when, a moment before, it was on your left. In a sense it gets crazy and all you can do is let go of your sense of the compass points.

Zak, I am not a Christian but I tend to take mythic value from the Christ story. A famous Egyptologist did an exhaustive study of ancient Egyptian religion. In passing he made a remark to the effect that there is nothing original in the Christ story, that it was a pure imitation of the story of Osiris, the god's birth, life, progress, sacrifice, and regeneration. The take home message here is that what the Christ story draws on is an archetype, as such, universal. Here, as elsewhere, I use the Christ stuff because, as myth, it is easily recognizable. Had things turned out differently in the West, I might have used the Orphic material or, perhaps, the Mithraic material. Both of which are stories involving sacrifice for the sake of renewal, and both of which were serious competitors in the early days of Christianity. That is my context. And thanks for the comments.

Tere
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<for tere>

shook up we see red
        night larger than subtle
move away
from the window
   the sea finishes
        its rigid
rotation
the birds have their own
set of advantages
       uplift
     rim and yaw
b/w overhangs
 you feel your shadows
go to sleep
 burning up
your thoughtful
 body

Last edited by arkava, May/26/2013, 12:54 am
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Re: In Deep Song's Register


quote:

Sometimes you just want that economy and simplicity, rather than, say, constructing an image to embody the emotion. They're different
strategies for different requirements--and poetry needs the full range in its tool chest. The deep image poetry of the 60's and 70's was a reaction to the overly intellectual (at times) poetry of the 50's. Then people grew
bored with "stones and bones" and experimental writing appeared.



this makes me think, kat. diff strategies for diff requirements.

i think zak pted out parallels b/w prufock & a poem bernie had posted sometime back and made some insightful comments/ questions about the style (?) employed there. he pted out why he thought it was high modernist and pondered how a poem comes to be written tht way when the herd moves in another direction . bernie pted out why his poem is relevant (and it is) by talking about the material it draws on. but i don't think tht covered zak's question. my take is bernie writes the way he sees the world. his is his own inroad into it. i have to keep aside some easy assumptions when i read him. same goes for tere. i have been carrying this poem around in my kindle for some time. there are places where the rhythm doesn't "work" for me, places which i find too sentimental, places where i think the poem is too bare, too honest. but the poem works wonderfully for me as a whole or as a gestalt as tere likes to phrase it. it's a continuous song which is probably not even complete. because it's not a convergent series nor meant to be.

"subtler emotions ... hardly ever do exist unaccompanied. the bodily sounding-board is at work, as careful introspection will show, far more than we usually suppose."

(william james)

Last edited by arkava, May/26/2013, 4:08 am
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Arka, your poem is a treat. I read it less as a comment than as an exchange between two travelers passing on a road. Sometimes I think that is what poetry amounts to, an exchange of something true or valuable made in passing, which amounts to an affirmation.

Your comments ring true also. I get what you mean about the suite's weaknesses. In places too much, in other places not enough. In places too stripped down, in other places self-indulgent. I can go with that. If you do find gestalt in the whole then maybe it is a case of the whole being more than the sum total of its parts. i can go with that too.

Something else. "But there are neither maps nor exercises to help us find the duende. We only know that he burns the blood like a poultice of broken glass, that he exhausts, that he rejects all the sweet geometry we have learned, that he smashes styles, that he leans on human pain with no consolation..." Lorca on duende; italics mine. Sweet geometry and symmetry of style always the great seducers.

Tere
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Hi Tere,

Coming back to the comment on the last six poems in the suite. What I notice first and foremost is how much repetition there is in and between the poems.

Poem 11 picks up a number of themes introduced earlier in the series and I assume the repetition in this poem is meant to enhance its musical quality. I like the phrase "falsetto dawn".

Poem 12 Unlike Bernie, I liked the stanza:

Today she skipped off
The blue radar screen.

Am I right in reading the "she" as both Gitana and the squall?

Poem 13 paints a big picture: the lover, the Madonna, the river, the man and woman on the street, who could also be the N and his lover, all come into play.

In Poem 14 I don't understand the reason for repeating these lines:

I love a squall,
the inside source, bayou downpour,
cleansing my used up body;
The bayou is my heart.

Interesting that the N received not the red rose of passion and earthly love but the white rose of mystical love.

In Poem 15 I don 't understand the use of so much repetition. If I had to guess, I'd say it is meant to be a kind of crescendo, a kind of madness, the N going over and over his file cabinet of memories, not being able to sort them out or let them go. I love the line:

Bayou song, bayou wish, bayou summer again.

In Poem 16 the N given a gift. I'm guessing he experiences his own form of the rapture, and it is very different than the one his lover predicted. In this poem a sense of irony does enter in, and in a way it is protective, but it is an earned irony, I think, not easily won or flippantly rendered.
   
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Kat, I hate this. Hate it so much I actually don't want to point out the confusion.

Your comments of today, 7 June, are in response to Bernie's play with my suite, dated 12 May. The repititions you point to are in Bernie's post, not in my posting of the suite, dated 11 May.

Your take is important to me. Please read the last 6 poems again, but in the original.

Tere
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Oh, I see. I didn't scroll up far enough. Well, that's a relief! As I said, I really didn't understand the use of so much repetition. Glad it wasn't really in there. LOL I think I read your version of Poems 11, 12 and 13. Yes, that's right, and Poem 16 as well. It was only Poems 14 and 15 where I slipped down the thread too far and became puzzled by what I thought was repeated lines and even stanzas (as opposed to recurring images and themes appearing throughtout the poems).

Poems 14 and 15 now feel more in keeping with the style and approach of rest of the suite: simple, elegant and straight-forward on the surface, with reverberations that run deeper. One thing I didn't mention earlier is that I also like this image:

Black tupelo in the fireplace,
my face in the brand and ember,

PS I did learn something from my big time misreading (other than to be more careful to focus on the original post, that is) and it is this: the use of repetition can come across as obsessive, and if that repetition also incorporates scrambled and fragmentary lines, it can come across as a kind of madness. A useful understanding to have should I ever wish to express either of those states of mind. emoticon
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Chuckling. Glad that issue is cleared up.

All the same, I acknowledge the suite employs a measure of repetition. Just not, I hope, obsessively so, as you say. Here is something to think about. You know how some traditional verse forms rely on repetition? Villanelle and terzanelle famously so. What I got from the old flamenco poems I studied is that repetition is a usage, a device, that goes as far back as primitive poetry, religious poetry in which a certain chant is set up, carried through a poem. It can be a line repeated. Or two lines repeated. The value of which is mantric. I don't know. Maybe it doesn't work for a modern reader. But my reliance on it here was a measure of keeping true to the first of flamenco form.

I'm glad the black tupelo image works for you. I could write a page of exegis on those 3 lines. Thanks for coming back, Kat.

Tere
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