Friday, March 27, 2009

Sunday Scribbling #156: Aging

I've been wanting to write about the wondrous movie "Everything is Illuminated," a movie I watched with three of my classes this past week (one of the many glories of the freedom of creating your own curriculum), and the SS girls want me to write about "Aging." This poem slouches towards both, bits and pieces of the sunflowered wonder of Liev Shreiber's film (and JSF's book, assuredly) caught in splashes of rampant amber.

The Last Brigade (for Trachimbrod and Baruch)

Radioactive salt,
The kind you sprinkle on your withers,
Morbidity, Sector One,
Venusian contraband,
The paschal lambs of the day after the
Floods of derivation,
Irrigated permutations
That wax the moons of memory,
The Last Chance hurrahs of Methodomes,
Crucified chutzpah, puffy tacos
Of the Last Brigade,
Telenovelas brimming with the good news
That what you left will follow,
What you see, you’ll get,
What you fired will amp your disarray,
What you seem will tar the feet of the last
To leave and the first to tarry:
Mercy crowds the sunflowers
Of illumination,
The half moons of life
From the grill work of ashes,
Tessellated wisdom:
When the shades come off,
The who you were,
Looking down the barrel,
Aims in return,
& repose will be your crystal nacht.



Blogger anno said...

Paschal: This is lovely, and it made me laugh in places, too. Count me as another member of the Puffy Tacos of the Last Brigade, ever grateful for that mercy crowding the sunflowers of illumination.

5:22 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, Ms Anno/Queen Puffy (QP might need a website of her own, no?).

Even though the KOB found his long lost cousin Alex in EII, it's the luminous second act of this film that landed it squarely as one of the 25 films on my Top 5.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Exquisite phrasing and word this.

1:06 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, TW: whatever worked was definitely inspired by the movie.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

Wonderful piece paschal
you tell this life in a wonderfully
unique way~

10:40 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you, Tammie. I loved the movie: it leaked into the poem for sure...

1:38 PM  
Blogger San said...

Poignant, Paschal. "The who you were/Looking down the barrel/Aims in return..." Talk about recoil. Talk about recall. "That wax the moons of memory...The half moons of life."

6:46 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San: Thank you. Where to look, in your final moments, was a haunting part of the unfoldings at Trachimbrod: there was a barrel staring at you, but there was also a numinous eye.

5:23 AM  
Blogger alister said...

Look at you, all stirred up and illuminated by everything being illuminated! It’s the newest drug you say as we eye the bottle of little yellow pills cautiously. Go ahead, you say. They do look good. So we pop a half moon of life and it feels so good we have another. Radioactive salt, mo’ better. Tessellated wisdom, the pinnacle of highness. And on and on and we lose track, forget who we were, until we’re staring down the barrel and BLAM! Then between the stars we stammer Oh! Wow! Thank you for that, Paschal : )

3:31 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Muchness, mija: I think, in this case, memory was the drug: no yellow pills, but sunflowers aplenty. Memory and, sweetly cloying as it may be, love. Love, I think, if I read the eyes correctly, only declared in the final moments, an act of mercy: look here, look here, look here..., the barrel's steel unmanned, Coltrane's love supreme...

3:46 PM  
Blogger alister said...

Hmm, I see… Well I’m queuing it up on Netflix to see... I could do with a little of that sacred hush you’ve got all over you : )

7:55 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Keep in mind, DOM, that Act I of EII is right out of the King of Blogging's scrapbook, which makes the turns in Act II all the more wondiferous. And FYI, the actor who "plays" KOB's "cousin" is the lead singer of the awesome band Gogol Bordello. All of which I found out after the illuminations.

8:16 PM  
Blogger anno said...

You've just triggered my next consuming passion: getting to hear Gogol Bordello. A group that started off as Hütz and the Béla Bartóks? Clearly irresistible...

8:26 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: I'm with you on GB, as are not a few of my high school students, few of whom even knew what a bordello is. They were already hooked, before the lascivious lagniappe kicked in.

10:06 PM  
Blogger floreta said...

scrumptious words in this poem! i have wanted to see this movie for awhile now.. thanks for the reminder.

10:51 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Floreta of the new doo: Thanks for the shout. I am reading the novel now, and I do believe that, strange as it may sound, the movie may be even better...

11:38 AM  
Blogger Sepiru Chris said...


First comment; the Kristallnacht Requiem has been ringing in my ears.

I have e-met you at a challenging time, temporally and logistically; and I have been reading and enjoying.

Today I noted you at my site, hopefully spread the word.

Bliss out, I'm in Mumbai was Bombay (I love the smell of puja in the morning...)


11:42 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...


Thanks for your comments. I was actually a bit leery at first when the "crystal nacht" spilled out in the last line. These lines usually spill out quickly, almost a few lengths ahead of the conscious mind (I've compared the method of most of my poetry as similar to Pollock's "action" paintings), so the association to Kristallnacht certainly gave me pause. Still, one of the luminous (and numinous) aspects of EII is the way in which beauty and mercy (the loving eye that holds lover) are interwoven with the darkest moons. I remain captured by this film and story, and continue to render it poorly, by comparison, though even poor rendering does not stop the yearning to respond.

So, crystal nacht, once weighed into the balances, stayed, as a way of taking back the words, resurrecting in the echoes of shattered lives and shattered glass.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Sepiru Chris said...


That leeriness was shared by me, reading the poem, but, they did fit, and on reflection, I decided that I was comfortable with that boundary shove.

That leeriness and questioning and reflection was why it rang and reverberated in my ears and the cotton connection candy that dwells between the tympani of them both.

Secondly, I completely guessed that the words pour out of you in a splash, ahead of the conscious edit or censor. And J.P. was exactly the anti-Justice of the Peace that I guessed ruled your poetry generating mind. In weird fact, I really did think of Jackson Pollock when I first started reading your poetry.

Must run.


10:16 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Chris: That leeriness hits hard and fast, but there was a softening in the interior that needed investigating, akin to the "beauty" I found amidst the horror of Schindler's List. With all its many other accolades, I found it to be one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen.

Pollock's method describes / illustrates, but these, too, must be counted in the list of influences: Breton and his gang, the Black Mountain folk, Donald Barthelme, Hoa Nguyen, John Berryman, and even, lately, Bob Hicok.

Keep the cotton candy machine rollin'.

3:39 PM  

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