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The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Revision 1

Once a ghost passed our kitchen, blue-eyed; I knew him from Wilde’s
fairy tale, but could make no head or tail, 25 fulsome ribs (one put back in) heaved
moving like the Ferris wheel from our old fairground inching its way all the same
foundations don’t work anymore; stylistically the Whitman line should have been shelved
with my old porno stacks that no one was able to reach even back in the 80s and must
have been quite the spectacle once the ringmaster left the table to tend the lilacs. I had
Browning propped up against the toaster, sang

left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like.
”(3)


Such a direct dig.

A fly stuck in my keyboard, burrowing into sounds on two legs:
stuffed with regard for me and a hint of mutton chaap(1), looks up.


I floated out of context. Later I burnt him. Still later the visit to the bank to check his
condolences. ("The weight of this sad time we must obey") (4)
My old cabbie chacha(2) from Albany
who wore his mulayam turban to the day the roof of our world cracked.



Notes: (1) Robert Browning- Bishop Blaugram's Apology
           (2)Duke of Albany in King Lear
         



Original

Once a ghost passed our kitchen, blue-eyed; I knew him from Wilde’s
fairy tale, but could make no head or tail, 25 fulsome trusses heaved
moving like the Ferris wheel from our old fairground inching its way all the same
foundations don’t work anymore; stylistically the long line should have been shelved
with my old porno stacks that no one was able to reach even back in the 80s and must
have been quite the spectacle once the ringmaster left the table to tend the lilacs. I had
Browning propped up against the toaster-

“Because, friend, in the next place, this being so,
And both things even,--faith and unbelief
Left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like.”
(3)


Such a direct dig.

A fly stuck in my keyboard, burrowing into sounds on two legs and !@#$ metaphors
rubbing against the fly or am I asserting independence here to turn into a flea this instant
looking up, voyeurism digested with chapatti and mutton chaap. (1)


I floated out of context. Later I burnt him. Still later the visit to the bank to check his
condolences. ("The weight of this sad time we must obey") (4)
My old cabbie chacha(2) from Albany.





Notes: (1)Indian preparation
           (2)Hindi for "uncle"

           (3) Robert Browning- Bishop Blaugram's Apology
           (4)Duke of Albany in King Lear

Last edited by culdesac101, Feb/20/2010, 10:59 pm
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Hey, Arka, I'll come back and check this properly later, but you are doing some very fine stuff right now.

Steve.
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Hey, Arka, I have to say that now I've heard you reading I read your poetry with your voice in the background. I don't know if that's a good thing or not with this kind of stuff, but it just is anyway. Anyway, there's a sort of cultural issue about me attempting to critique a poem by someone from Kolkata, but it's the same issue as you doing it to me, and I don't mind, and I don't think you do. I guess the thing is to keep it personal and feeling-based, then you can't go too far wrong. So, with that in mind...

Once a ghost passed our kitchen, blue-eyed; I knew him from Wilde’s

In this little box I can't tell where the line breaks are, so I'll have to do without them. In here the line break is at 'Wilde's', which makes it sound like a pie shop, but it may well not be the real line break.

fairy tale, but could make no head or tail, 25 fulsome trusses heaved
moving like the Ferris wheel from our old fairground inching its way all the same
foundations don’t work anymore; stylistically the long line should have been shelved

I didn't much like the reference to Wilde as it seemed too much of a familiar homily. I'd rather this was out on its own with no reference points for the reader. I don't much like the old ferris wheel either for the same reason of offering unqualified reference points, but I do like that 'inching its way all the same'. That is a classy bit of language.
 
with my old porno stacks that no one was able to reach even back in the 80s and must
have been quite the spectacle once the ringmaster left the table to tend the lilacs. I had

Hmm, that's quite a weird and comical thrust into detail. I'm not entirely sure the complex of the ringmaster leaving the table etc doesn't require slightly too much from the reader. Not sure. I quite like that 'quite the spectacle', as it feels like Kolkata coming through. I'm slightly aware of the language differences, having spent some time in India (close as I got to West Bengal, but there are similarities).

Browning propped up against the toaster-

“Because, friend, in the next place, this being so,
And both things even,--faith and unbelief
Left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like.”

Okay, cool to feel so free as to stick a piece of another poet in there like it is almost your own. I thought I had invented that affrontery. Yes, it makes it veer towards linguistic multimedia. The Found Object returns. Would you dare to do it without acknowledgement, though? That would be the true Found Object.


Such a direct dig.

That's funny.

A fly stuck in my keyboard, burrowing into sounds on two legs and !@#$ metaphors
rubbing against the fly or am I asserting independence here to turn into a flea this instant
looking up, voyeurism digested with chapatti and mutton chaap. (1)

6 legs? No? 2? Okay, quite interesting whether these are '!@#$ metaphors' or '!@#$ metaphors'. Anyway, there are some complex moments in this, but also quite a lot of straight confessional homilies, so this isn't as good for me as your last one. I can't help wondering sometimes if this is largely straight confessional first person.


I floated out of context. Later I burnt him. Still later the visit to the bank to check his
condolences. ("The weight of this sad time we must obey")
My old cabbie chacha(2) from Albany.

But anyway, it's doing a lot of things that most poems don't do. It is playing in ways that I admire a lot. But this doesn't grab me like the other one.

Still a quite fascinating read, though.

And I'm not really qualified to assess it properly, as you know.

Cheers,

Steve.





Notes: (1)Indian preparation
       (2)Hindi for "uncle"
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Hey Steve. Of course you are qualified/justified to judge it a failure or otherwise. in fact this sort of cross-cultural “talk” is quite common if you come to think about it. think frank o hara in the day Lady died talking about the poets in ghana. it’d just be like me reading DS Mariott’s Incognegro that he comes from somewhere and writes in a certain way which i cannot replicate is not really a big deal. i might be missing out on some local/cultural references. but then that is remediable in light of his awesomeness. don’t let my Indian sotto voce sway you to thinking otherwise of manageable differences in culture/diction . that said i am limping towards giving freer rein to my idiolect; something that will be truer to my roots. been reading some Caribbean poetry to that end as well.. .dang. i am turning this into an essay. my apologies. (that reminds me. you are right. i should have mentioned the sources for those two quotes better. i thought mentioning Browning (not the toast) would do the trick but then it doesn’t seem so lucid now. first one’s from bishop blaugram’s apology , the second snatched from lear. i played with that Albany bit of course. surely the duke of Albany never set foot on the Albany my chacha worked in. i used wilde’s old ghost cause he had an aura of domesticity around him. but oh well. i’ll probably drop it. Whitman the ringmaster. quite a long shot eh? “quite the spectacle” might be Kolkata but i am tempted to think dickens pickwick papers specifically. dunno why. the postcolonial psyche perhaps. heh heh. by the way the whole thing’s very far from being personal. i have no cabbie chacha. confessional poetry is nigh-impossible for me.
i’ll let this sit for a while.your read has sobered me up. for now.
really grateful for the read steve and yes,o blue eyed one,you are qualified dammit.

-arka


Last edited by culdesac101, Feb/11/2010, 10:48 pm
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Man, I would love to meet you. If you ever make it to the UK you are very welcome to stay in my house. Seriously. That goes for most people anyway, but you have a special invitation.

Hmm, do you think 'quite the spectacle' is Dickens? I don't think he would have said that exactly. Maybe Kipling would have used it early in his career, but I don't quite figure it as Dickens. I don't object to it in any way, I'm just spotting it as a cultural referent like a shibboleth. It's all fascinating, and it's damn good.

Steve.
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


hi arka,

I'm anxious to know what the fly is doing to the metaphors and the program's anti-smut function is obstructing my view. So the metaphors are being molested or excreted by the fly and I need to know which. I'm not being facetious or dissing your poem.

This is a wonderful, unsettling poem.

Chris
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Hey there chris. yeah what i meant was f***ing metaphors. thanks for going through the poem Chris. really appreciate it.-arka
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Just deleted my own post, using my magical mod powers. I didn't like the post and I hope nobody read it.

Chris
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Arka, this is the first poem of yours I've read. My thinking is that I can't really know a poet's objectives until I got the right orientation, what comes by way of familiarity with the poet's stylistic means. All across the board this is true for me.

Having said as much, in the main the poem is working for me. My first thought was, well if I have to subscribe to lang-po notions this might be how I would go. I notice especially a lyrical quality, always essential in my view, in the cultural cross-referencing: something Pound could do at his best, but not always. On the level of instinct, I catch gestalt in the poem. Not sure it is organically unified, however.

~Loving the opening line. It pulls me immediately in, which is what first lines should do.

~Maybe I should have caught the Whitman reference involved in the ringmaster thing. An earlier line does point to the possible abolishment of the long line in poetry. As it stands, the referential stuff strikes me as a bit obscure, maybe too involuted.

~The Browning citation so works for me. It kind of resonates. Immediately I remember a Yeats line: "And I would find myself and not an image." Of course he would have known Browning's poetry better than you or I.

~The fly and flea strophe leaves me quizical. I can't get right grounding in its intention. Maybe the limitation is mine. But no matter how dissassociative or high flying a poem is I expect it to ground me.

~Not sure why, actually I do know why, but last strophe works for me. It involves the Shakespeare line. And it is always true, no matter the stage.

I think the thing I like the most about the poem is its sense for bodying out deep time: any everyday scene viewed as layered in tenses. That is what comes through for me.

Tere
quote:

culdesac101 wrote:

Once a ghost passed our kitchen, blue-eyed; I knew him from Wilde’s
fairy tale, but could make no head or tail, 25 fulsome trusses heaved
moving like the Ferris wheel from our old fairground inching its way all the same
foundations don’t work anymore; stylistically the long line should have been shelved
with my old porno stacks that no one was able to reach even back in the 80s and must
have been quite the spectacle once the ringmaster left the table to tend the lilacs. I had
Browning propped up against the toaster-

“Because, friend, in the next place, this being so,
And both things even,--faith and unbelief
Left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like.”
(3)


Such a direct dig.

A fly stuck in my keyboard, burrowing into sounds on two legs and !@#$ metaphors
rubbing against the fly or am I asserting independence here to turn into a flea this instant
looking up, voyeurism digested with chapatti and mutton chaap. (1)


I floated out of context. Later I burnt him. Still later the visit to the bank to check his
condolences. ("The weight of this sad time we must obey") (4)
My old cabbie chacha(2) from Albany.





Notes: (1)Indian preparation
           (2)Hindi for "uncle"

           (3) Robert Browning- Bishop Blaugram's Apology
           (4)Duke of Albany in King Lear



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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Hi Terreson. Thank you for the excellent pointers. I was trying to refer to "the autobiography of a flea". Something of a half-baked processual digression trying to nudge the poet into the poem which I couldn't pull off . Anyway it doesn't even deserve an explanation. Bad bad strophe.
This was a hasty formulation (even incorporating a particular hate crime). Thanks again for your read. I am posting a tentative revision. -arka

Last edited by culdesac101, Feb/16/2010, 6:24 am
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


culdesac,
This seems to be a thinking poem, a poem about poetry. Makes a few observations. I guess I didn't see the requirement to shiit on Whitman, as he is still very valid in his time; valid too for our time. Yes, I suppose few write like him, but that may be because few "can" write like him. But then maybe I missed your whole point. This type of poem doesn't strive mightily for clarity, as I'm sure you are aware, but it is not nearly as obscure as some of the experimental poetry being written. It's a quirky poem. Zak

 culdesac101 wrote:

Revision 1

Once a ghost passed our kitchen, blue-eyed; I knew him from Wilde’s
fairy tale, but could make no head or tail, 25 fulsome ribs (one put back in) heaved
moving like the Ferris wheel from our old fairground inching its way all the same
foundations don’t work anymore; [I think I like this image of the ghost rising as a Ferris wheel, if that was the intention] stylistically the Whitman line should have been shelved [You may be right if writing for today, but I love reading Whitman more than I love reading most of what there is today. I guess you're saying stylistically his style doesn't work today. (An aside, I've been dinged in the past for using "style" instead of "voice" in talking of poetry, but I think "style" works here)]
with my old porno stacks that no one was able to reach even back in the 80s and must
have been quite the spectacle once the ringmaster left the table to tend the lilacs. [Nice tie-in back to Whitman]I had
Browning propped up against the toaster, sang

left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like.
”(3)


Such a direct dig. [Meaning to Whitman? Or Browning?]

A fly stuck in my keyboard, burrowing into sounds on two legs:
stuffed with regard for me and a hint of mutton chaap(1), looks up. [Reference to the narrator as impotent, literary-wise???]


I floated out of context. Later I burnt him. Still later the visit to the bank to check his
condolences. ("The weight of this sad time we must obey") (4) [Saying you are validated to make these literary judgments?]
My old cabbie chacha(2) from Albany
who wore his mulayam (5)turban to the day the roof of our world cracked. [You seem to be making a comment on the frailty of human existence. But is this directed at the narrator or at Whitman???]



Notes: (1)Indian preparation
           (2)Hindi for "uncle"
           (3) Robert Browning- Bishop Blaugram's Apology
           (4)Duke of Albany in King Lear
           (5)adj: soft



Original

Once a ghost passed our kitchen, blue-eyed; I knew him from Wilde’s
fairy tale, but could make no head or tail, 25 fulsome trusses heaved
moving like the Ferris wheel from our old fairground inching its way all the same
foundations don’t work anymore; stylistically the long line should have been shelved
with my old porno stacks that no one was able to reach even back in the 80s and must
have been quite the spectacle once the ringmaster left the table to tend the lilacs. I had
Browning propped up against the toaster-

“Because, friend, in the next place, this being so,
And both things even,--faith and unbelief
Left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like.”
(3)


Such a direct dig.

A fly stuck in my keyboard, burrowing into sounds on two legs and !@#$ metaphors
rubbing against the fly or am I asserting independence here to turn into a flea this instant
looking up, voyeurism digested with chapatti and mutton chaap. (1)


I floated out of context. Later I burnt him. Still later the visit to the bank to check his
condolences. ("The weight of this sad time we must obey") (4)
My old cabbie chacha(2) from Albany.





Notes: (1)Indian preparation
           (2)Hindi for "uncle"

           (3) Robert Browning- Bishop Blaugram's Apology
           (4)Duke of Albany in King Lear





Last edited by Zakzzz5, Feb/16/2010, 7:30 am
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Hey Zak. Nice to see you and read your well thought out comments.
the poem on one hand harps on poetry. (foolhardy, i know)
I wanted the Whitman (stylistically &c) to imply that when the old ringmaster, the grand master of the style, Whitman himself, has left the table, it's a tough call holding the line together for fledgling poets; trying to improve/riff on him might be nothing but vanity.A sort of nostalgia about old favorites really-anxiety of influence, what you will.

The "left to a man's choice,--we'll proceed a step,
Returning to our image, which I like." is meant to talk about such a step back to the giants.

All directed at the narrator i am afraid. angst, frailty &c. a sort of self-derision of a fledgling poet.

thanks for the read again. take care-arka

Last edited by culdesac101, Feb/16/2010, 6:20 am
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Re: The day the roof of the world cracked admitting cosmic change


Hi Arka,

I don't think we've officially met: Welcome to Delectable Mnts. Hope you don't mind if I risk blundering forth to make a few comemnts on your poem. Don't consider this an official critique, just some observations. emoticon

The revision seems to me more focused. I enjoyed the juxtapostion of different voices, literally and figuratively, in the poem. I don't know if you intended it, but the fly stuck in the keyboard put me of Dickinson. Well, okay, not exactly, but the mention of Whitman and his long line, followed by "a fly stuck in my keyboard" took my mind in the direction of Aunt Emily. She was certainly a poet who floated out of context in her time.

I don't understand all the references in the last stanza--you mentioned something about a hate crime?--but I like the way you've interwoven the various elements. As a reader, I would like to read more, but maybe that means waiting for another poem. . .

Thanks for posting.
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Hi again, Arka,

It came to me this afternoon the other reason why Dickinson came to mind; it was the mention of Browning in your poem. In her bedroom at Amherst, Dickinson had two pictures on the wall: one was of George Eliot, the other was of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. As much as she might have admired them as writers, I think she admired them as women because they were able to break free from the shackles of society's conventions and to lead, at least to some extent, the lives they wanted, the kind of life Dickinson herself must have dreamed of and desired.

In my mind I see a connection between Wilde, Whitman, Mrs. Browning, Dickinson, the narrator and perhaps the old cabbie as well as victim of the hate crime your poem references: How does society proscribe the life of the individual, who wishes to be free?

I hope this isn't too far off-topic, but I wanted to share with you the speculations your poem provoked.

Last edited by Katlin, Feb/18/2010, 6:36 pm
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Hi, Arka,

To me, this poem's strongest layer is the colonial discussion, though there are others. I kind of wish you had fleshed it out into a full-out critique or something I could more specifically grasp. I took the American poet refs as a comment on cultural imperialism. Kept thinking you'd throw in a quote by Tagore or somebody to show us a different, South Asian point of view.

The language and attack are terrific, no nits there. The attitude seems ever so slightly supercilious in addition to satirical. I took that as the poem taking on the colonial mind-set.

My nit: the footnotes ruin the poem. In or out, but not numbers like this is a college paper. I'd say out; we can coast and guess a little on these simple words. I'm used to a quick google here and there too. They seem like local color, not so essential we need footnotes.

My thought for further development is that it would be great to see these techniques adapted to a non-satirical mode, with a more personal subject. That's probably just what you're trying to get away from, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway. I like getting involved emotionally, and this only involves me intellectually.

Thanks for the posting, Arka,

Auto

Last edited by pjouissance, Feb/20/2010, 7:49 pm
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Nice to meet you Katlin and thanks for the welcome!!

“How does society proscribe the life of the individual, who wishes to be free?” – sums up my theme. but then i have to admit, aunt Emily was not on my card you know? i would have loved to weave the sort of allusive richness you describe into the poem but as it stands it is lacking, a bit too disjointed/ham-handed. Terreson mentioned gestalt. i would tentatively (and honestly) describe the poem as it stands as aspiring to such an effect. i realize that there is not much in the poem to refer to what had precipitated it (musings on poems and a small hate crime involving a cabbie) and that probably it will take time to work on this further. but your involved commentary gives me some excellent ideas and makes me look at the poem afresh.
Thank you so much. -Arka
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Hello Auto.
shed the footnotes.you are bang on about the supercilious/satirical attitude too, unfortunately (for me ie since i cannot seem to straddle two worlds or at least two languages blithely. you must have seen this in some of my earlier constructs as well.) i guess i have to work towards freeing myself up in that regard. grateful for the read Auto. till later-arka.
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Hi, Arka,

Your command of this one is pretty awesome, A, no worries there! I think satire is hard to do, and you have a knack.

Auto
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