Monday, February 09, 2009

[Begin Again]

Dig deep, there is a boy
Fathered / fatherlessed
The flag in his eyes and head
Is not his country’s—
Might as well have been living on Mars—
Not McCullough Avenue,
Not the avenue of rain,
Gathering coal, gathering
Rhythms left over.

He wandered east
Across an ocean
Saw vivid green through swollen lids
Walked the streets of Frankfurt
German boy not German
Brödchen, käsekrainers, and pain
Snow in the air
Stained glass crossed wrists of mercy
Ghosts, shorn hair
Displaced at the DP camps
When did the displacement begin?
After the gold rush?
After the desecrations?
Wandering the streets,
Little lame prince, nightly
Insurrections, nightly
Levitations, dreaming a night sky,
Dreaming a night’s journey nightly.

Wooden shoes, tilted mills
Cheese rolling down the street
This boy in a cavernous room
The American Hotel
Shabby royalty at a table for one
Soft-boiled eggs, face-painted
Cheese and butter sandwiches &
The acres of bones in country,
Declensions of a final worry.



Blogger anno said...

This is music, paschal, a nocturne: heartbreaking and beautiful.

6:44 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thanks, Anno: My first take on the challenge I gave my juniors today, after we read Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B." I suggested that we all set aside our collective clevernesses and write something a bit more from the heart, just to see what the experience would be like. For me, a pastiche of childhood images: in my first draft I found myself off on "clever" tangents, kept cutting, just to keep it closer and closer to the bone. Even so, I still drift off for cover...

7:08 PM  
Blogger sister Laura said...

Ah ha, no wonder as I read this I recognized the imagery.

12:30 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Sister Laura: You wuz certainly there.

2:21 PM  
Blogger present said...

You dug deep Paschal. This piece is visual with many different and deep images.I wonder about the meaning they hold for you.
I appreciate the teacher asking his students to write from the heart and then, not skipping a beat, responds to the prompt along with them. No cover there!

4:22 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

present: To the woman and man, the poems the kids wrote were awesome, and they really took the assignment to heart. They're all good and inventive writers, but these poems just rocked. One of the high points of the morning was this: they wanted me to read all the poems aloud, but not cop to the writer: they wanted to guess. I shuffled the stack, re-read Langston first, then mine came up next. I read it, and one of the students said, "Gotta be L-'s." L is brilliant, my local Rimbaud. You know it rocked to be mistaken for one of her poems.

I peeled some layers for this one: boyhood was a mess, scrambling to stay above water, lost, very lost in myself. Outward signs of caretaking (oldest of six), school success, but still a woozy mess.

7:03 PM  
Blogger alister said...

OK, I see. I was going to ask, “What’s wrong with you, P? This was not in your usual code. Until the end.” But the comments, they became part of it, everything’s righter than right, and that whole thing with L was especially nice. But you know I’ve go to razz you some, because I haven’t see you all week and it’s this question: if writing from the heart produces what you wrote here, where do you write from when you produce your word jazz?

8:44 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Duchess: Smart ass answer to the question was gonna be: the booty. My crassness aside, yours is a fair question. Yes, plenty p-pomes comes of the heart, as do plenty others from the chaka khan. The difference with these poems (mine and the juniors') was that I wanted us to intentionally approach our vulnerable places, not shirk, and when we started to dart off in our flashy clevernesses (as I was still wont to do a few times), that we strip it all back again. As it was, I still hid for cover, but I felt myself trying to stay close to little p and not wander off too far. In fact, he probably needed (needs) some of my flighty flights as much as I did (do).

I am glad to see you again, my groundhog friend...

9:20 PM  
Blogger jsd said...

these don't amerge often, but they're a treasure when they do.

6:53 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

jsd: Manboy keeps runnin' off the path, dontcha know...:-D

7:44 AM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

a painful tale that inspired the appearance of a wonderful man!

Sir, I have given you an award on my latest post. I could give you many awards besides this one, more serious ones that honor the deep gifts you have as a writer and a seer into the depths of life. This one is more a fun one that will let us get to know a whimsical bit of you.... until a more appropriate one comes along.


9:31 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie: Thank you for your words and for the whimsical tag. A more "serious" award probably would have just brought out the goofball in me, anyway - as you intuitively must have known...

5:42 AM  

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