Thursday, July 23, 2009

Old Man: el otro abuelo

Stick Years

This one I knew.

No: this one I watched,
And watching, disappeared,
Within the shadow of
Another. Summered
In your wake,
Felt the deep print of
Your disregard, the world

Your world &
No other, fashioned within
A private cacophony of
Cattle-driven rampage.
Upon these Teutonic
Zen monks, we
Throw ourselves: I,
Like pasta against a wall,
What will stick.
Years till the sculpture reveals
Itself, stripped of
Spawn of common dust.



Blogger Teresa said...

OOH. I resonate with the "Teutonic Zen monks upon which we throw ourselves like pasta against a wall seeing what will stick." What great imagery and oh so true!!!

And I love the ending: "Years till the sculpture reveals / itself, stripped of / difference, / Spawn of common dust."

So was this otro abuelo a cattle rancher / dairy farmer or just a man with a bullish temperament (mulish maybe) who went on cattle-driven rampages that were the cow's milk of your youth? The first few lines are particularly chilling...

12:56 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Teresa: El otro abuelo started out in poultry, on a farm that used to be on the northside of San Antonio (it's long since stopped being north: north central, at best). In about 1942, he dropped the eggs and moved to Uvalde County to breed registered Angus cattle. Bullish, yes (though Virgo, not Taurus), but his rampages were inward: those of us bystanders could just feel the heat.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

oooh again. Those are sometimes the worst kind. You can get burned pretty badly because you never quite know what's wrong, especially if you're a little kid.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

fantastic piece sir
I wanted to start quoting somewhere around: cattle driven, but I could not break it up. It is all wonderful.

11:35 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie Lee: Thank you, amiga. And thanks again for the props, back at your place.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

"Felt the deep print of
Your disregard"
cringe. That has impact. As all of it does. Very personal and yet belonging to everyone. Digging deep here.

12:22 PM  
Blogger anno said...

From that switchback start to those last damning lines, just wonderful. Kind of scary, in a careening, slightly out of control kind of way, but wonderful.

1:57 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I wanted this poem to be a bit more like the Ellen Bass poems, more particulars, but it kept insisting itself into this form. Perhaps it needed writing before the more specific pieces.

6:11 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: That switchback came instantaneously, plunked right down on my evening walk with Blue. I'm a little afraid of your read on "those last damning lines." I was thinking those were the lines of reconciliation, acknowledgment that yes, Old Man, I see the DNA in this body as well. Does it hit too negatively?

6:15 PM  
Blogger anno said...

Paschal, it's entirely possible that the baggage of my own associations has once again led me to the wrong conclusion; it was that word "spawn" that did it, always paired in my mind with "devil" or "evil," and thereby damned.

But now that you mention it, I see what you mean the narrator accepting/reconciling with what there is of the Old Man within himself, and perhaps with the Old Man, too. I just needed the nudge to shift my focus.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

The particulars are there, I think. Mama used to say there isn't anything new under the sun. Maybe she was right. I'd love to be able to be more objective when reading someone's creation but it filters through my memories, feelings, whatever. Shared consciousness, At least I used to believe in that. Seems like we may all be drifting a bit.

10:38 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anno: You were in no way off base with your call on spawn. Clearly, this is a begrudging reconciliation, felt more strongly than the narrator is willing to convey. The truth is, I have at times, through the years, been hit with laughing recognitions of our similarities: there's more tender mercy in those laughs than my last line conveyed.

11:00 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I'm not convinced that more objective really exists. The alleged objective readers are still filtering through their own aquifers, but they elevate and depersonalize their personal reactions above the fray that most readers are content to frolic in.

11:32 PM  

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