Friday, April 16, 2010

one word jacket: potato

smoking jacket reveals

tender feelings

habitual removal of foxy

elements: the display

was offered

a la carte while

the tierra del fuegos

took the stage

zanzibaring all


of the forever men

sliding down

the squeegee bends.

frivolity comes

in twos and threes,

not really much

more mustard than

that. down

the street

caravans assemble,

vigilance is cast

off, the table

set by

the usual name and tide.

Account for yourself,

bloody fool: enough

with your vagaries: contact

officialdom, cagey little


standard warranty,

unaccustomed earth

in the diligent dance.



Blogger Dee Martin said...

those official little beasts are cagey but they better be careful sliding down those squeegee bends - they might razor sharp. Love the sounds but you always include pictures...
beautiful elements removed and offered up in pieces...

9:31 PM  
Blogger anne said...

Zanzibaring of all remnants of the forever men sounds might interesting all by itself, but then you paired vigilance with the diligent dance and all the delicious bits in between: a potato jacket with the works!

10:19 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I know I've been singing the praises of poetry as sound, which sounds as if I overvalue that above all things in poems. Truth is, when I sit down to "make" a poem (Hoa's class was "Poet as Maker"), I'm inner-surfing for words, sounds, rhythms . . . Well, not really surfing for the rhythms, I'm already feeling those, so I'm simply trying to follow their meridians. My eye will cast about a room, a desk and I will add bits from what I see into the collage. Last night's "unaccustomed earth" was the title of the book Tina is reading. "Squeegee" was "Word of the Day" (WOTD) for my middle-schoolers yesterday (predictably, we search for the nonsensical in that realm, often making up our own; I say we, but it is really Jack, an eighth grader, the founder of the tradition and our class-designated Wordist).

I am not a fan of intentional rhyme, but I assuredly have a rhyming set of bones in my body, because they always show up on their own, plenty in this one: remnants / caravans / vigilance / dance. Zanzabaring and bends would even fit as at least slant rhymes in that mix. I like the way sounds ping pinball-like off other sounds in just such a way, and for a while, I didn't feel like a poem was finished until the last word rhymed with something a few lines up the way. And I should say that in recent years, I have begun re-reading poets for whom rhyme was essential to their craft, and I marvel at their use of it: many's the time I will read the poem through without catching the rhyme until the second reading, so compelling is the poem. All the more remarkable, then, that an intentionally rhyming poet is able to disguise the very thing she is doing.

The thing I am always least concerned about - no surprise to you - is sense. Not that I am not moved by poems of ideas or sense, but I very much tend to Emily D's "tell it slant," though she is much less slant than she might urge. For new poets - my kids, for instance; those "I'm not any good at poetry" folks - nothing kills a poem faster (or kills the writing of poems faster) than intentional sense: sense is probably, in my book, neck and neck with rhyme as poetry-killers, and many's the non-poetry-writing English teacher who adds to the death march by hanging their lessons on meaning and rhyme.

Okay, since this has already turned into a rant, I'll follow it down one last alley. Went to a poetry reading last Saturday: old middle school student of mine, now sophomore at another school, asked me to come to a reading by poets included in a local anthology. Wonderful writer; she's been honorable mentioned three years in a row. This was not her best poem of the three years I've gone, but it still is a poet's poem, unlike the three winning poems, which were full of rhyme and sense: dreadful poems. I told A that the winning poems are never the best.

Nuffa all that. I'm sorry to have written a ranting "essay." My seniors and I are reading Hesse's Siddhartha; their first assignment is to write about their own spiritual journeys thus far: not necessarily the same as their "religious" journeys. I was mulling over my travels through poetry as a spiritual journey, debating a long-ish essay that I would post here. Obviously, it's leaking out all over the place.

Peace to you, Sister Dee. Have a great weekend. Thanks, as always, for your eyes and ears.

7:53 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Good morning, "Anne": I've paid a visit and I am deeply moved by the project that's afoot (well, there is a foot, so of course it's afoot). This is meaningful art you are doing for yourself and many more of us; love your reflections and refractions. How wonderful is it for you to just be laying it down, right on out of the closet?

Butter, sour cream, chives, barbecue sauce (!?!) - sorry, Texas boy - all the fixin's in this potato jacket.

What a treat to have you in the mix this morning.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

it's such a wonder to find that poetry as in music, is as varied as the different tastes of every individual and not just each one but each in a particular mood or state of mind at any given time. It will take years for me to wander through to where I'd like to be. Rhyme/don't rhyme, kaleidoscope sounds and images, slam, sonnet, lyrical, epic - my love for it is growing which shouldn't be a surprise. Music, the first love was always about sound, mood, and more for me - lyrics. Every stage of life owns a soundtrack and even now, a bit of music can make me cry or break out in harmony (luckily for the public - the car windows rolled up tight) but I am enjoying the ride either way.
I've heard some rhyming poems that were wonderful and some non-rhyming that were horrendous cacophonies and vice versa. Even when you don't let meaning or rhyme get in the way, the sound and the words and mood seem to veer off road sometimes despite you. I stroll through them like a crow picking up pretty bits and turning them around. Sometimes sifting through more gut kind of stuff. Sometimes I just throw my arms up high and scream through the ride. Rant away dude. We are all on the road, just describing the scenery as we go.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Hi murat,

I tried to read this last night, but I was too tired after sitting through a 10 hour day of lectures on translation. Someone there spoke on "the text as poet". That was quite interesting. In translation, we just kind of let the text translate itself :0 .

This morning I discovered that you had contributed to the scholarly vibes in the atmosphere. So very cool.

I like that frivolity comes in twos and threes and slathered with mustard... sounds fun, especially sliding down squeegee bends and zanzibaring down the street to the fiesta sounds of maracas and race cars.

10:12 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: Great to have you in this dialogue. I decided long ago that, fancy word notwithstanding, "poetics" was just a (subjectively) objective way of saying personality or, even more to the point, "this is what I likes." Scorpio that I am, I tend toward the margins, opinionatedly so, from which I rant and rave at all manner of straw dogs who have never bitten me, though I may certainly act like they have.

I'm struck by what you said about music; I was thinking the same thing while driving through gorgeously monsoon-like rain this morning and listening to another first love - Brazilian music - on both of our only decent Tres Leches radio stations, the community college's and Trinity University's. So much lyricism. My enduring musical love is largely very lyrical, very straightforward, quite romantic. Other more discordant folks have opened me up through the years, but the enduring thread - in whatever genre - usually tends towards the lush. The feeling of this is also in my poetry, even if the sense of it is not.

11:15 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Ms T: Good morning to you. Hope you are more rested. Even 10 hours of, say, ice cream would have to be a labor of love, or just a labor of labor.

I'm thinking that it has to be both: "text as poet" and "poet as text." And, by extension, translator as both. Though I never have my own knowledge of a language as a reference point in reading translated works, I feel - or at least think that I can feel - when the translator is just a scholar and not a writer (even if "only" a translating writer): the language does not carry the energy of the original, is in fact not translating the original. That's why it took me years to appreciate Rimbaud: not until Rosemary Waldrip's translation of Rimbaud in Abyssinia could I feel his impassioned, molten genius. David Rosenberg's "translations" of the Hebrew Bible, for which I have a fair obsession, writes at length of his entire adult life's quest to recapture the people, the authors, the flesh and blood of the writers J and S, that the suppressing of their individualities is what gives us much of the flatness of the redacted, depersonalized, Bible-as-moral-lesson approaches of today. J and S' writings were, first and foremost, self-consciously (and self-conceivedly) works of art.

I know that, in the act of making poems, I am being texted, but I am also texting: it truly feels like a textual slalom. Text (or pulse, rhythm) comes through, as if from without or deep within, and then "I" respond with words of my own, a jazz-like, scatted call and response. Tesseracting, for sure.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Or perhaps "texteracting" :)

1:33 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: Indubitably.

2:53 PM  
Blogger anne said...

I'm appreciating those ironic "quotes." Would definitely go for some barbecue sauce on that jacket... just added some to my hot-smoked salmon, and am currently of the opinion that just about anything tastes better with barbecue sauce on it.

Not much afoot these days, but I could be working myself up to some "texteracting." Or anything that sounds like nearly as much fun.

6:20 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Anne: Excepting ice cream and, say, waffles, and I believe you have quoted gospel re: barbecue sauce.

Speaking of texteracting, I created a Twitter account this afternoon for the sole purpose of allowing me to take the "quiz" (actually, to get the results of said quiz, since I had already taken it) to tell me which writer I am. Most surprised to find that I am, after all, Mr. Pynchon himself. I would have thought the London-tailored suit would have disqualified me from that one. Having satisfied my curiosity, @joachimsmurat is now officially retired.

8:11 PM  

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