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Poems by L.D. Cooper


Last April, when we were playing the NaPo poem a day game, both Kat and Chris expressed interest in the poetry of L.D. I finally pulled out a late collection of his written two years before he died. He had already been diagnosed with cancer I think. The poems draw on the Tarot Cards' Major Arcana, the trump cards. The ms is typewritten and so I first had to scan the poems into a PDF file and then, because the file is too large to upload, I had to cut and paste the poems to the screen. Finally, I had to read through and reestablish both line breaks and indentations. So the text is two generations removed from the original. I hope I didn't miss anything.

If interested, and if you have a Tarot deck, it might be fun to look at the cards L.D. drew from.

Tere

The Path

 
by L.D. Cooper

June - July, 1988
New York City and elsewhere
 

I. The Human Path

0 - The Fool
1 - The Magician
2 - The High Priestess
3 - The Empress
4 - The Emperor
5 - The High Priest
6 - The Lovers
7 - The Charioteer
8 - The Hermit
9 - The Hanged Man
10- The Wheel
 

II. The God Path

0- The Fool
11 - Strength
12 - Justice
13 - Temperance
14 - Death
15 - The Devil
16 - The Tower
17 - The Moon
18 - The Sun
19 - The Star
20 - Carnival
 
 

I

The Human Path

"We met on the level
and we're parting on the square"
June 1988 - New York

0 - The Fool

Behold.
All paths begin
here where the fool begins.
In my first stepping out,
like the debutante,
never looking back,
looked at and looking at.
Stepping just so,
I mark the beginning, the ending,
and the mid-life crossing.

The figure is infinity
where all things cross over
- there is where I embark
upon this fool's journey.
It takes a fool
for the first venturing forth.
Who else could ignore the flaws
in such a design,
who overlook the futility?

For all beginnings and all endings
are futile.
Only one such as myself can handle
the implications.
And though there is a nipping
at the heels,
though the chasm is deep,
I leave all behind me.
They who tarry are trapped,
trapped
in their own knowing.

But I shall be
their great unknowing
as time begins again.
In that repeating sound,
the fool steps out.
Behold.
 

1 - The Magician

We've met before, you and I.
At the carney
or on the street corner;
my satchel, as ever,
at my side.
My spirit was water when
first we met
and you were drowning.
This was how we recognized
each other,
for every brother
is the undoing of the other.

There are many worlds
for you to travel,
and I have much to teach you.
The earth shall bury you,
the air smother you,
and fire consume you.
As I was water,
so shall I be all of these,

and each death
shall be a veil lifted
from your eyes.
Midway in your beginning will be
your ending;
and there, at the still center,
where all things
are given up and forgotten,
you will begin again.
Listen.
 

2 - The High Priestess

The moon my tiara,
you come to me, wasting and alone,
pilgrim.
My eyes that are stars
haunt you
and cause you to turn away,
hunter.
The sun in my belly
where you rest your head,
lover,
gives a warmth
undying in your arms.

You will leave me soon,
but you will never leave me.
You will hate me soon,
but you will always love me.
Worlds stretch out before you
and, though leaving,
you remain.

Come closer, stranger.
I am the vision you seek.
Take what you can
while you can.
It will never be the same,
and yet,
it is always like this.

Moon my tiara,
eyes that are stars,
sun in my belly ...
Rest weary one.
Tomorrow I send you packing.
 

3 - The Empress

flowers ...
shy peonies, majestic roses,
sweet honeysuckle, regal marigolds,
flowers
and cool branch water,
fruit trees
and whimsical daisies;

these are my children.
Yes. Mine.
Wander here, if you like,
or rest awhile
midst clover and dandelion,
bluebonnets
and indian paintbrush,
discreet orchids, vain lilies.

Mother I am,
but no city matron to be
paraded around
like some old grand dame;
shy, perhaps,
certainly sweet,
proud child bearing hips
- Spring Maiden,
that's what I am,
lusty and full bodied.

Small riches are mine.
Simple things
that only children
are wise enough to love:
bird song, tree swing,
chatter brook, windy meadow.

I will love you,
but only because
your hair's a mess and you
need a bath.
I will love you,
but only for a little while.
Simple boys
grow to be complex men.

More's the pity.
Violets have need of shade,
my boy,
my manchild man
 

4 - The Emperor

This crown came to me
by no divine right of kings,
no mewling brat
inheriting his father's status.
It is mine
by my own lights
and the flowers of struggle.

You think that life favors
the rich and powerful.
You are wrong.
They are crippled by their own
majesty,
shrivelled infants on the tits
of abundance.

Pity them
if you have the heart;
revile them
if you have the nerve;
but do not envy them.
Life owes you nothing! Until
you know this,
until you've held it with your own
damned hands,
you are nothing,
owed and owing nothing.

And so I teach the arts of war
and horsemanship.
The true enemy is not
on the field.
He is you.
He is that stupid little fart
who insists
that you deserve better
than this.

But I shall teach you
that life
deserves better than you.
The horse senses
when its rider has no character.
If you wish to harness
the four powers,
if you can taste it like a
madness descending,
you must first shed your skin.
You must become human.

This is the foundation.


5 - The High Priest

High Priest, my name of honor;
just a name.
I am, like you, a seeker,
aiming my thoughts
toward the stuff of things,
hoping
to hit the mark.
Caught always in a mystery.

This is my one strength:
I do not turn away
from doubt;
faced squarely in my inner chamber,
it is ever before me,
questioning my motives,
sanctifying the temple of my
incessant yearning.

Do you know what it is,
to yearn pilgrim;
to suffocate in the bile
of your own inadequacies,
to always be a dollar short
and the train just leaving?
You thought that I would be an
extraordinary power,
a stronghold
of wisdom and endurance.

But I am your temptation.
How easy it would be
to remain here,
my devotee,
how sweet and spineless a destiny.
Will you be easy,
or will you take what I offer
and move on?

The well of immutable sorrow
is so deep
and so very peaceful.
It is like a drug,
so sad, so hauntingly beautiful ...
will you have the temerity
to leave?

If so, remember this:
When you think you've made it,
the world your plum,
and you've commandeered the meaning
in all things,
that is when I'll cut you down.
I am become
your conscience.
Try as you may,
you cannot shirk my blessing.


6 - The Lover

Yes ...
you seem to recognize me.
There is a light
kindling behind your eyes.

I am your sister spirit
and your lover.
I travel the path in tandem,
sympathetically to you.
You thought
that you could make it on your own,
silly man.

I am your perfect mate,
the woman you have dreamt of,
sought and seeking.
We meet here for the first time
to consecrate our struggle.
Perhaps you believed
that women have no need for struggle.
I could tell you more,
but examine your heart.
Am I not there?
Have I not always been there?

Silly man.
You are only half human
without me,
as I live by halves without you.
Just a pair
of traveling fools.

We shall meet again,
but only in that stark center
where all true lovers
tether themselves.
Until then, abide by me,
as I shall abide by you.


7 - The Charioteer

Others may dazzle you
with their expertise behind the wheel,
dodging in and out of traffic,
banking the high curves,
but I shall preach to you the
straight and narrow.

It is not easy
to stay steady on the path,
unmoved by fancies which
the heart is moved to weave,
unimpressed by the slight of hand
of god or devi 1.
One quick swerve
and you are just another
charlatan,
an evangelist of good
or evil.

But there is a road, my friend,
a clear divide,
a road seldom taken and
ill advised.
It is the road called honesty,
diamond hard,
destitute and harsh.

On one bank are ranged the
legions of God;
on the other, those of Satan.
(they're always bitching and fighting,
don't you know)
And you there in the middle,
eyes fixed
on the one thing,
the very bone of contention,
truth.


8 - The Hermit

A staff, a torch, and time;
dried flesh, wild berries
I have stashed
for our wilderness.
It is far, yet not so very far,
where we are bound.
Far from the center
yet near to the heart of things.

Days we will travel.
Wildness and silence
shall be our cloak and seal.
No road
to guide us there,
no hope
to thread our dreams.

It is a dryness in the throat,
a soreness in the hip,
where the world ends
and the wilderness takes hold;
your life an unknown such as mine,
your mind a wasteland waiting
to be discovered.

All is all.
Nothing is nothing.
And between them
the bittersweet poison called
virtue.
There are no nets in the desert,
no safety in numbers;
your foot a dry turning upon
dust and longing.
You are brave
but you are not yet human.

Further,
further into the desert we must go
until you unclench your hands,
unmask your eyes,
unshield your feelings,
where the vastness of space
may comfort you.
It is a violence of blessings
swung high
and awful to descry.
 

9 - The Hanged Man

Swinging here like dried garlic,
a tanning hide,
amused and not a little
world worn,
bound at the ankles,
hanging upside down.
You know there is a reason.
You know it
but have you felt it?

In the dry moments,
buffeted by adverse winds,
have you ever considered
why the hanged man hangs
upside down?

Listen.
To embrace the world is to
oppose it.
Simple enough.
but how many miles to reach
this juncture?
How many gross moralities
and band wagon revivals went west
before my dreadful hanging?

You will move on
but I will hang here for eternity.
And you will carry me,
there,
in the hollow of your chest,
a silent pendulum,
compassionate and detached.
But why here
in the wilderness of your longing?
Why now?

Listen again.


10 - The Wheel

I am the keeper
of the wheel of fortune.
It amuses me continuously for the wheel
must turn
and I maintain its awful circuit.

I know what you're thinking.
Here is where the poor
become exalted
and rich men are stripped
to their shaming,
what goes around comes around,
dame fortune
and her fickle finger ...

All very interesting, but,
just shy of the mark.
All creatures travel the full circuit,
to be sure,
but the real point is one
of attention.
You can travel the wheel blindly
like a trained pet,
or you can open your damned eyes
and pay heed to the great beauty
and mystery of it all.

Regard the man
who wears the mantel of success:
He sees himself perched there
on the top,
actually believes he has managed
to arrest the wheel's motion.
But see how his heart decays,
his loins crumble;
destruction from within!

Now look at the poor bugger
who never got an even break:
He's down there in the mire
cursing the son of a !@#$
who stopped the wheel.
He'll never know
the hundred times a hundred chances
he missed
at being happy.
He'll never know the marvelous strength
that all misfortunes gather
unto themselves.

They who travel blindly turn
misery upon misery.
But those who dare to be vulnerable,
quite by accident as
the wheel turns,
discover joy.

 
 

II. The God Path

"What profits it a man to gain the whole world
if he loses his true self?"

July 1988 - New York and elsewhere


0 - The Fool

Surely ...
but it all seems so unreal,
was it me
or some other one,
I the dreamer or the dreamed?
The roads I trekked,
the comical machines
I invented
for the sake of - if only I could,
only just remember
why.

But somewhere
I hear a voice bite back:
It's not over yet,
fool.

Must I, then, start over,
overstepped, then stepping out,
again, all again?
Why not remain here
where the earth and time are still,
where life
is a dreaming thing,
is it not better to dream?
Wi 11 I,
must I find the body
and the body find its road?

And a voice,
the voice that is my voice
bites back: Yes.

(Houston, Texas)
 

11 - Strength

There are many things to fear
in this life,
some real,
others self-perpetuating.

My lion's name is dread.
His names are many
but dread is his most poignant
apellation. ,
Others cal~ him horror, terror,
consternation, anxiety
or woe.
Dismay is good.
Trepidation has a well bred
ring to it.
For some there is
good old fashioned worry.

All fine names,
but his name of names is dread
for dread
is the hind side of awe.

Strength is always
the first preparation.
Neither the audacity of warriors,
nor the righteousness of saints,
it is the plain tenacity
of hard working spirits.
No quick fix,
no incantation can rid the soul
of dread.
Hard work and attention to detail
are the only tools.

There is many an ornate
and fanciful mask
for the weak or pretentious.
Most will mistake their masks
for courage.
But not my lion.
He is the ferocious equalizer.
And he will know
your strength
by virtue of your kindness.

(Hot Springs, Arkansas)


12 - Justice

You think it is the sword.
It is not the sword.
You focus on the scales.
Wrong again.

These are the trappings of my science,
nothing more.
What you miss when you concentrate
on these
is the blindfold.
Who but the blind
can separate evil from evil?
What seasoned swordsman could cut
the pretenders
from the truly blessed?

I am blind by my own choosing.
Or do you prefer
the justice of the sighted,
like grenades exploding in
young men's guts,
follow the evergreen trail
of crimes against humanity.
Recite some cockamamy story of how
God's love tips the scales.
Pontificate
upon the method of selection
for suitable weights and
counterweights.

It can be done.
A proper world can be modelled
from any assumption.
Break out the ropes and pulleys!
Or admit it:
It is hard to be just.

We are creatures of dark
and lightness.
No amount of swearing, forgetting,
rebirthing, contorting
can purify our wayward hearts.
For without the violence
of a thought
transmuted one day into substance,
there would be no things,
no separation,
no need to join, disjoin, fight,
fornicate.

It is against the body
that the idea of justice is born.
But where may justice
root itself
but in the deep seeded ground
of selfishness?
Gods descend to earth
to regain themselves,
not to run around bestowing
grace and mercy!

It is the way
of total involvement.
It is the way
of bearing no false witness.

Christ was not a savior.
He was just another Jessie
at the crossroads.
For in the moment of crossing over,
the spirit engaged and become flesh,
then, and only then,
do the scales balance.

(Hot Springs, Arkansas)


13 - Temperance

By the hot and cold
which brings the blade to hardness;
by the moisture which delivers
softness to the clay;
these gradations
are my special craft.

It is balance I am after.
Qualities in their purest form
are noble but useless.
And so I blend
one element into another
to achieve purpose.

I am the juggler
or I am the alchemist.
I am anyone who professes
the science of proportion.
But take heed, initiate.
Don't aim too closely
at perfection.
Perfection is its own kind
of excess.

Aim with modesty
and your skills will multiply
by horizons;
the oak will acquire sturdiness,
the willow subtlety,
and the arrow directness.

And you, my friend, will become
as water,
fluid and changeable,
vaporous or compact;
a shape shifter
blending to the diverse patterns
of abundance.

(Bjloxi, Mississippi)


14 - Death

All living things die.
This much you've
figured out by now,
like the grass
that withers come winter,
the mouse reeling
when the poison sets,
the grandfather
who just stops breathing;

all the living die
and return
to the belly of earth,
their bones
nourishing the newcomers
in the time of ripening.

Make way, make way,
you've heard me cry.
It is my song which ever pierces
the inner sleeve,
the tenebrous fluid of being.

Make way, make way,
the scythe is ready,
any old time is harvest time,
you must not be greedy,
make way,
make way for your children!
Your life means nothing
to the unborn.
Only your death
can raise them up into the light.

Their time will come
and they'll hear their jailor say
make way,
make way for your children's
children.
They will and so must you.
Make way.

(Biloxi, Mississippi)


15 - The Devil

I know.
Down here in the catacombs
I begin to resemble
the collective obsession,
the bogey man,
old Beezlebub hisself,
by cracky.

But, in all fairness,
I am much maligned by history.
I am not some itinerant
bad boy who gets his kicks
playing pranks on our father
who art insensitive.
Nor am I in the market
for that pincushion
which you call your soul.

I am far older than you imagine.
God, for instance,
is a relative newcomer
to this improvisational play,
a spoiled rotten misogynist,
you know the type.

But I am the ancient one,
the goat king
who keeps death's other door.
None may look upon my
awful visage
without cringing in torment.
For I am the mirror
and you are the world entranced
with its own image;

the worst kind of hell, really.
Why do you suppose
that the word becomes flesh?

Out of boredom, mostly.
Who among you
could look at himself
for more than five minutes
without wanting to run screaming
into the night?

Mutation, transformation,
transmigration,
there's the stuff of life!
From the purest emanation
to the foulest maggot,
we are all ante'd up
in the same hand.
Life cannot be
hamstringed into the ashcan!
It is everywhere and always
repeating itself.

Why quarantine yourself
in some strange existential hell?
Break the ice, human!
Screw heavenly bliss and,
while you're at it,
screw death's dismal nothingness.
The kingdom is here.
The kingdom is now.
And truth is just one
of many garments
you'll be wanting to wear.

(Biloxi, Mississippi)


16 - The Tower

Stormy night.
Thunder complements the sudden sky;
becomes you,
becomes your special torment.
Waves lash upon rock;
one slip
and you're dashed to pieces.

Awefilled night,
night that gods and men alike
dread.
It is the storm perpetual,
my brother,
where Kali formulates
her terrifying purge.

Atoms are eternal
but the shapes in which
they invest themselves
are but shadows forming
and now unforming,
to find at their journey's end
the violence
which reins over creation.

It is nights like this
that disembowel the just
and the unjust alike.
But, in spite of it all,
in spite of the terrible destruction
which surrounds you,
you still pursue your dream,
your tower
where rock and ocean meet.

And you will climb it,
won't you,
climb the steep and rough hewn sides,
for it is rumored
that there is shelter at the top,
a tower room
with a vantage point of grace.
Never mind that the fingernails break
and the feet bleed.
Never mind.
You follow the dream.
You are God
and you must stop the world.

Do your eyes deceive you?
But no. It is the peak.
You clambor over the ledge
to safety,
and, looking back
over your left shoulder,
you see the night
in all its majesty of wind
and calamity,
and a voice, cavernous and full
cracks deep
as you raise your arms in worship:

"Sanctuary! Sanctuary!"
Sanctuary,
which is the call of the earth
to the clouds.
And the clouds answer back:

"There is no sanctuary,
neither for the living nor the dead!"
You tumble.
It seems an eternity
that you fall before the rocks
break you.
And you raise yourself up;
heart full of chaos,
eyes full of lightning.

(New York City)


17 - The Moon

No sanctuary,
neither for the living nor the dead,
still rings in my ears.
What a world.
Damned coming or going,
waxing or waning.

My feet. They are clay.
My voice It is glass.
My eyes They are paper.

Moon,
traitor moon,
lighting my convict's way;
I am all of these,
human become god become element,
and stilL
it's no use lying,
somewhere back there I lost
my sense of direction.

Wild doves and crickets
flutter and chirr in my rib cage;
When I blink,
blue flames dart from my eyes;
I sweat ocean,
grave dolphins and moral fish.
And that damned oriental,
the one with the silly hat,
keeps repeating:
"To overcome the world you must
become the world".

Three women with breasts like
rocket launchers
balance cabages on their heads.
I know this is important.
There is a mystery here,
but every time I try to think,
wild blackberry vine and ivy
spring from every pore;
field mice nest in my armpits;
fingers become
roots gnarled and searching deep,
deep to bedrock.

And the three weird sisters
straddle the tree of life in unison,
and I come, not once,
but continuously,
and each drop of sperm
becomes a crystal orb
spinning into outer darkness.
We have succeeded, at last,
in making the stars.
And I remember thinking, just before
I pass out,
that this is good.

Full moon, killer moon,
even in sleep my spirit bends
until it screams like a hawk:
"When,
when will be my moment?"
Somewhere north of the wind,
south of the morning -
(no sanctuary,
the clouds said,
neither for the living
nor the dead,
shed my eyes to lightning).

Then, dawn aware at my
first awakening,
the moon bending over me
like a jocular saint,
chuckles a little and says:
"That was only a sample
of what it's really all about."

Then he takes
a portion of his light
and fashions a silly hat
which I wear
whenever life begins to make
too much sense.
Lunacy just my way of
becoming the world.
 
(New York City)
 

18 - The Sun

red dawn ...
winter has swept the hills
with snow.
The trees are tolerant,
still noble in bareness;
the stark chill's air like
vaporous glass.

Breathing in sharply
I open to the light my prayer
of morning solitude.
My arms circumnavigate
the sky,
blessed and blessing this luxury
of space and history.

I scan the woods for deer sign,
I the hunter
and the hunted,
my eyes like scopes,
loins like a trigger,
my heart which flies bullets
to the mark.

Snow deer,
red halo of morning;
we walk in tandem,
alert to the coming of day,
the sun's merciful passage.
We will argue with fate when
we have to,
for we know that all arguments
highlight
the way of agreement.

We will laugh at those who
pray to God.
They torment the all-seeing eye
with pettiness,
flushing their own inadequacies into
the void of self-effacement.

And we will seek the steeper way,
for it is hard
to be true to one's self,
harder still
to be true to one's neighbor.
In the fast fix
of wounds nourishing darkness,
it is easy to forget that
the sun must rise,
and by that unspeakable light
we are known,
one to the other,
for what we are.

Winter has come to the wood.
In the stone cold pierce of snow
stands a lone deer.
We have made a pact,
she and I,
an oath of silent agreement,
to cherish
that which is fleeting,
to worship
that which passes,
to rejoice
at how compact our bodies are
and how vainglorious it is
to be alive.

It is the sun's gift
to the morning,
and our gift to the sun.

(Brooklyn, New York)


19 - The Star

I have a star in mind,
north star,
friend of sailors, poets,
and vogobonds;
lone sti1r
whose position remains fixed
though the world
spins violently on its course
throuqh seasons of torment
and delight.

I have a star in mind,
stone star,
the only constant in a
relative world,
the only hook
where fate may hang her
web of morals.

Star of judgement,
leading star,
I cannot follow you,
for no matter how I turn,
our relation is the same.
It seems that the roads taken
are not so different
from the roads left behind;
all tending,
all mending to that same land,
where I stand
I am.

(Brooklyn, New York)
 

20 - Carnival

It's carney time again,
the town strung end to end
with pearls of light;
there's the magician
and his bag of tricks,
earth mom knocked up again,
bless her heart,
and here's the moon coming round
just for a looksee.

I can tell there's a lot
of beer, bourbon,
and "the hell you say!" in my
immediate future.
It's carnival, my lad,
time to stretch out for
the long haul.
Morning will come soon enough
and my head will be aching like
it always does,
but not from the booze this time,
no, not from the booze.

It's carney time
and I just might be at risk,
could possibly
lose my sense of propriety;
no more virgins in the woods
I'll wager;
they've all gone to seed.
And the world
has to shake itself down
from time to time,
has to let that bastard loose
for a good romp
around the maypole.

And my girl, my woman song,
the one I've been chasing
half my life,
she'll be there too.
And we will both be compromised
in the great shake down
of carney town.

It's a party but it's more.
It is my life
brought down to the seeding ground.
And my woman and I will find
the link which bonded us
and it will become
the wreath
of our impossible union.

We are, after all,
the main event,
the star attraction which has
pulled them in
from every farmhouse, shack and shanty
in the starlit countryside.
You've seen the posters I'm sure:

        Come one come all
        to Carnival,
        to see an astonishing sight,
        the he that's a she
        or the she that's a he,
        the amazing hermaphrodite!

There will be the usual fanfare,
the wheel of flames,
bearded prophets,
and doves descending from heaven
at propitious moments.
God will make an obligatory speech
about sin
and the symbolism of the snake.
 
Nakedness will abound
Chastity will be officially outlawed
to the end of time.
And when all is said, sealed,
and certified;
when I am pronounced authentic,
a bonafide androgynous being,
the magician will amuse us all
by very neatly stuffing
the entire fabric of creation
into his hat.
 
When I wake up, of course,
I will remember nothing.
There will be a dog licking
my face
and nipping at my heels.
Something,
yes, something will compel me
to stand up and start
walking.
 
That is how it always begins.
Always the same.
And with that first step
I am free.
 
(Brooklyn, New York)
Jul/12/2009, 1:47 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


For more L.D. poems go here:

http://www.themadhouseartists.com/Larry_Don_Cooper.php

The page has been created by his first wife. I had forgotten just how good a poet he was. And I don't think I appreciated his poetry enough back then.

L.D. created a thing he called the 'slap song'. He would recite the poem to a beat he pounded out on his chest using the palm of his hands. A poem has been posted called "The Buddha and the Fool and the Rat." The blogger has tried to explain how the rhythm should run but she has missed it. Recite the poem aloud and the beat comes through. I must have asked him to recite the poem a hundred times, at least. The rhythm comes through still.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Jul/12/2009, 5:01 pm
Jul/12/2009, 4:46 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


Tere,

Thanks for posting these. They're thouroughly alive, aren't they?

Chris
Jul/13/2009, 8:30 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
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Yes, Chrisfriend. The aliveness of the poetry comes through to me too. I certainly did not appreciate the tenor, the caliber, the verve of the poetry way back when. L.D.'s first wife reminded me yesterday that L.D.s diagnosis dated to '86 or two years before his Tarot collection and four years before he died. She said an interesting thing. She said that maybe the diagnosis accelerated his poetic growth. The accelerated growth of Keats comes to mind.

Tere
Jul/13/2009, 7:20 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


Yeah, there is a no-holds-barred quality to this writing. Do you or LD's wife have plans for submitting or publishing?

Chris
Jul/14/2009, 8:47 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


Chrisfriend I understand that a little while ago L.D.'s elderly father published a book of poetry in his memory. This is particularly affecting as his father was not, shall we say, a close follower of poetry. He was a pretty pragmatic guy, an engineer type. I've yet to figure out how to get a copy but I will. Also, if you go to the Larry Don Cooper link I posted upthread you can read some of his poetry that has been scanned in its original hand written manuscripts. Kind of cool.

Tere
Jul/14/2009, 7:11 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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I keep reading the collection's last poem and it keeps stopping me. L.D. took some liberties with the traditional lay out of the Major Arcana trump cards. He even took out of his system the Judgement card. And so I can't be positive what he had in mind with this Carnival poem. The Major Arcana's last card, however, is usually called the World. Almost always a deck will symbolize the card with the picture of the Oruboros, the world encircling snake who has hold of its tail with its mouth. The card of primal matter, of unindifferentiated creation before existence gets seperated out into distinct parts, even the end that begets the beginning, also the card of the mystic's comprensions.

Many years ago I honestly didn't get what L.D. was after with the card. I think I even felt the conception was a bit cliched. But look how he takes what, in fact, is a cliche, and turns it into something authentic and alive with image play. Look how he celebrates the androgyne in experience, looking to tape back together two halves of what it means to be human. and it is all done so simply, so seamlessly, so naturally.

I am blown away.

Tere
Jul/18/2009, 1:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


Tere,

I can't believe I missed the LD series when you first posted it. I've only read the first set of poems: "The Human Path." I had to stop, felt overwhelmed. I am blown away too. The voice in these poems is very assured, no nonsense, no trinkets, no postruing, no self-consciousness and no excuses. LD certainly took on the big themes in this one, didn't he? It seems to me LD's diagnosis sped up his spiritual growth as well as his poetic growth. The comparison to Keats is a good one. So much for those who believe the two are ultimately unrelated, huh?
Aug/27/2009, 8:18 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


It took me awhile to remember where I had registered L.D.'s poetry on our board. I got another one to post, thanks to his first wife who tonight sent me the poem in a document. The dedication is to her.

The poem is a performance poem. It was made in '76 I think. But the year might have been '77 or '78. L.D. called it slap poetry. He would slap his hands against his chest by way of keeping beat. I never knew if he knew the performance poetry of Vachal Lindsay. But here is L.D.s slap poetry. I think the metrical beat needs no explanation.

The Buddha and the Fool and the Rat
A Slap Song
- by Larry Don Cooper from SONGS AND TESTAMENTS
dedicated to "My love, Candy, 24 Sept 1980"


The Buddha and the Fool and the Rat

There's a problem dear
Brought to question here
That brings a proud man
To many a tear
And it all has to do
With a thing called fear
Do tell
Do tell

Some blame it on love
Some blame it on hate
Some blame it on the angels
At the holy gate
Some blame it on whores
And the hounds and the sluts
Some blame it on the mud
And the blood and the guts
Some blame it on kids
In their ivory towers
Some blame it on Christ
When the memory sours
But it all comes down
Yes it all comes down
To this
To this

You can't bear the hole
In the bottom of your soul
Can't bear
Can't bear

You can't bear the hole
In the bottom of your soul
Where the rat runs in
And the rat runs out
Where the Buddha talks Zen
And the Jester shouts

"All rot my friend
But oh how droll
There's nothing holy
In a hole in the soul
Just a hole
Just a hole"

It's a thing called fear
Brought to question here
Drives women to beer
Lays a man on his ear
To fear
To fear

To fear the hole
In the bottom of the soul
Where the rat runs in
And the rat runs out
Where the Buddha drinks gin
and the Jester shouts:
"Well I don't know
It just might be
There never was a god
Nor never will be"
No God?
No God!

And that is the fear
Brings many a tear
Drives a woman to gas
Lays a man on his ass
No God!
No God?

How perfectly old
How very household
The question's been tossed
And crossed and lost
But it all comes down
Yes it all comes down
To this
To this

We just don't know
No we just don't know
Do tell
Do tell

We can't be right
And we can't be wrong
And that's the name
Of that song - so
Don't be disturbed
By the rumbles of the rat
Nor scared
By the Jester's lear
Be glad you were born
Not a cat nor a bat
Nor a hog nor a dog
Nor a common treefrog
Be glad you were born
To fear
To fear

And screw your courage
To the sticking place
(Sweet William said
Though he's now quite dead)
And face that fear
That you hold so dear
Amen
Amen

Now gather round
Your fiddlers three
(The Buddha and the Fool
And the Rat makes three)
And dance a jig
For love and strife
And drink a toast
To life
To life!

(Copied exactly as it was typed by the author,
all misspellings and capitalizations exactly as written) LDC/cghl 12/27/09


Dec/28/2009, 12:22 am Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Patricia Jones Profile
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


I gotta ask...and it may be a stupid question, but did L.D like Bob Dylan? I can almost hear Dylan singing this one...or Waits...a voice like that.

Pat

---
"Don't you worry--I ain't evil, I'm just bad".
~Chris Smither~
Dec/28/2009, 3:52 am Link to this post Send Email to Patricia Jones   Send PM to Patricia Jones
 
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And add to the list Leonard Cohen. I had introduced Cohen to L.D. no later than '73, having myself found Cohen through Judy Collins in '69. But L.D. so absorbed the him, years later he forgot, thought he had brought the Canadian into the conversation(s).

Isn't this a fun thing, even if with a bite? I can still see him on the stage slapping the beat out against his chest.

Tere
Dec/28/2009, 5:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
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Re: Poems by L.D. Cooper


LD's slap poetry strikes me as an exuberant subset of what we now think of as slam poetry. emoticon
Dec/29/2009, 1:44 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
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That works for me, Katfriend. When you think about it, however, slam poetry itself is a subset of poetry performances going back to Langston Hughes' notions of jazz-poetry fusions. You reckon?

Tere
Dec/30/2009, 9:01 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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