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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fast Day 260 May 27 2012 {Memorial Day In Goshen}

Memorial Day In Goshen

Holidays are thick with ghosts enough
within the barbecue of spirits:
dripping fats and smokey flavor pork
and collard greens and sweet cornbread,
with broken husks like china plates.

And in this festival sat Pharoah, tail-gating,
feasting on the porcine anatomy
and giving gifts of smells and smoke
to the spirits of his ancestrals.

Pharoah ruled in the Fayum of Bombay Beach,
by the ancient spirit lake of Cahuilla,
by the Temple of “The Luck O’ The Irish”
where liquor went for sapphires
on the shore of the Salton Sea.

Moses said when they first came here,
there was nothing but gang-banging and drugs
and shootings in the cities, in El Centro,
but now it was time to go…

If Pharoah did not agree, plagues would afflict
the land:  the waters would not engender life;
the waves would conceal firearms and guns,
overflow the banks and encroach your ground,
killing first-born, male and female.

Eight million fish died in one day alone
in the piscicidal divine rage on Bombay
Beach:  Death’s tilapia silver carpet
rolling gleam like undulant beer can empties!

Well, in Chicago alone  ten people
died of forty-three that were shooting:
holiday barbecues
zombies in Miami
we’re gonna miss these days sometime…
when Pharoah change his mind...


Goshen - the area in Egypt where the Israelites lived

Bombay Beach - a vestigial city on the south eastern shore of the Salton Sea
Fayum - an area of lower elevation in Egypt where Lake Fayum is located.  As it is a depression, there is a parallel to the Salton Sink - where is the Salton Sea - in California.

Cahuilla - the Salton Sink anciently was the lakebed of Lake Cahuilla

Luck O' The Irish - a quondam bar and watering hole in the heyday of the Salton Sea

piscicidal  -  pronounced pis-ki-side-al , meaning the killing of fish. The Salton Sea began to experience massive fish die-offs in the late 1970's due to a number of factors.

This Memorial Day past, 43 were shot and 10 died in Chicago, and there was a real zombie attack in Miami, and I feel very much 'Resident Evil-frame of mind'.

The battle to save the Salton Sea in ongoing. The California Supreme Court most recently hammered another nail into its coffin, however, and water will not be diverted to maintain it. The Salton Sea is in a low depression called the Salton Sink. It has been filled with varying amounts of water over hundreds of years, anciently being an extension northward of the Gulf of California.
It's most recent incarnation was caused by a break in 1905 in the irrigation system supplying water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley in California.

It's all about death society and holidays! 

This poem marks the accomplishment of 6 years of this blog. I finally got home from my parents' place  - who are in their 90's and have no internet access - and got this up. 
I have another due for this Saturday, the 2nd of June.

I realize that a lot of this poem requires some familiarity with thje Salton Sea and Bombay Beach, but they are metaphors for the large nation, and there is info on Google and Wikipedia.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I shall be a little late getting #260 up on the blog. I shall be at my parents who do not believe in new-fangled computer things.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fast Day 259 May 13 2012 {Mothers' Day 2012}

 Nobori Battle Flags

Mothers' Day 2012

from beyond the moon, or the Milky Way,
the robins come each spring in robin time -
which lasts until the goldfinch nesting comes -
Susan scrubs winter from the balcony,
and plants the first pansies, as colorful
as Japanese nobori battle flags!

this drama recurs with movement calm as sleep:
the magic of the robin’s nest, as we
give up that porch of sweet spring and winter
divide, giving them the place for four weeks
while balcony flower boxes are stacked
everywhere that sun is available!

we await young robins, we unemployed
warriors recruited by Shimada
of the Seven Samurai, battling
the nest-thieving doves’ mindless banditry:
driving them off with well-placed blows and shouts,
which are the fruits of their insolence and crimes!
when we end our vigil in June,  we smile -
having drunk a tonic of the wilderness !

The nest in 2012


I am putting this up early, since it is Mothers' Day today. I had this poem and the one about the engaged couple, which was a papal commission... well, not a papal commission, but a commission, so I had a superfluity of the lyrical this week.
This is for week 5/13 through 5/19, so number 260 will be in week 5/21 through 5/27, which would mark 6 years.

This poem compares pansies to the Japanese battle flags called nobori, and presupposes a little familiarity with the film masterpiece The Seven SamuraiThe Magnificent Seven just will not suffice.
In the Seven Samurai, the samurai warrior Shimada Kanbei gets together a band of seven unemployed samurai to defend a peasant village against bandits.
Doves are paralleled to bandits, because doves are dirty and cannot even build nests.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fast Day 258 May 11 2012 {An Engaged Couple Viewing Constable's 'The White Horse'}

An Engaged Couple Viewing Constable’s 'The White Horse'

The Melancholy of a summer day,
governing sky unsure of its mandate
to rain or not; certainty gives way:
to lighten, dark, to storm or to abate?

Bride and groom: vibrant morning star and sun;
they cast their spell upon the River Stour,
and  amaze the clay-pipe smoking boatman,
and throw his horse into a mild uproar!

Her gown a messenger of evening clouds,
wearing the cirrus of the bright sunrise,
punctuating the humdrum of the crowds
with bold calligraphy before our eyes!

Two people alike in love’s advocacy,
Uncommon in mutual fidelity!


Written for two people, who are soon to be married much earlier than they had originally planned. I was writing about a photo I had of them at an exhibition, but cannot go into detail, in order to protect their privacy. She was wearing a beautiful red gown as they stood before Constable's painting, hence the emphasis on red.

I have not seen her in years, and him I have never met, so I had to study Constable and his paintings to be able to say anything at all. The painting may be viewed at:

Constable's skies were revolutionary, and he considered the sky to be the "primary organ of sentiment" in a painting.
In this poem, we go from a sky partially cloudy: the weather could improve or deteriorate; this is the source of the "melancholy". We progress to true love, however, and all is well!

In addition, to those who make apologies for their poetry, I think this poem to be a good example of that which can be expressed in no other way. Poetry speaks up to the limit of the ineffable!
Poetry is the Large Hadron Collider of Intelligible Reality.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Welcome May 8, 2012 : The Nature of Poetry

Welcome to
kartika angga dwi pratiwi,
lamp and light,
sundara raman,
and JohnnyDiamondSF.

If I have missed anyone, let me know and I'll be totally befuddled.

I posted a piece about Poetry on my other site this A.M., but it was intended for this site and actually for this welcome.


Why Poetry?

A lot of people have odd opinions about poetry, but it seems that a lot of people have odd opinions about a lot of things these days, so that indicates nothing  except the prevalence of odd notions.
People tend to look down on poetry. I do not have the luxury of being able to do that.
Some people feel they must apologize for their poetry, but I think this is an extension of our society's normal marginalization process, which instills a sense of inferiority and "otherness" into vast numbers of our fellow beings, keeping them at bay.

After two weeks thinking about poetry, I have come this far:
(Note: when I say "intelligence" below, I mean the entire network of intelligence and cognition in a human being, not just "smarts"; I mean the entire neural network and what is implies over time.)

(1) Writing Creatively is a sharing of Intelligent Experience based on the assumption of Communality.

Oratory, Essays, Sermons, and Science papers go to extreme lengths to spell things out and ensure that the audience understands and - hopefully - may at times be persuaded.

Not so Fiction. Fiction ignores the business of building proofs and assumes we are companions already: we eat at the same table of intelligence. Scientists may read the papers of their scientific opponents, but it is rare that people read the fiction appraised highly by people they perceive as being decidedly different from themselves, for readers of fiction assume a communal intelligent experience of the world, not a confrontation with alien views: there is no long-lasting logic to meld alien ideas into an intelligence that has reached a certain level of complexity.

(2) Writing Creatively is an effort to recreate and re-invoke Intelligent Experience

Words are not used merely as enumerators and signs, as they were in early scripts, but are the things of the rhapsodist who recites the works of Homer, and conveys the audience into an altered reality: the reality of Troy recreated and re-invoked, and thus transforms the community of intelligence - the audience - into altered states.

(3) Poetry is Writing Creatively Confined to a Small Space

Poetry needs not meter nor rhyme; poetry only requires a crystalline growth, a certain structure - not necessarily unchanging. Meter was an ancient mnemonic; The Iliad was prose constructed to be remembered and recited, and used meter to aid the process.
Sappho and Simonides were poetry, lyric poetry.
Whereas fiction may ramble and become amorphous (Joyce's Finnegan's Wake comes to mind), not so poetry. As intelligent fellow beings experience Life, Poetry seeks to recreate the Shock of the New, whereas prose seeks to recreate histories and annals of what was once New.

Now this is a good example of what happens when we put our minds to something. Of the three points above, only number three was apprehended by me before 2 weeks ago. The idea that epic poetry was actually prose never occurred to me before, for I allowed the notion that poetry requires meter rule my mind.

We each take life like a deck of cards, we shuffle it, then pass it on to someone else who does the same thing, only each time we touch the cards, we add kings and queens in medieval panoply and symbols from the Levant: gold, silver, attar of roses;  all resplendent against the busy-ness of the four suits from ace to ten:
we hold all cards in communality, but the face cards, kings, queens, and jacks, in all their static ferocity are our poems!
And as we share them, we extend this game of life we play.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Fast Day 257 May 6 2012 {Islands In The Ocean} (1)

Islands In The Ocean

Trees swimming in the midst of distant sights:
wooded stepping blocks within a vast sea,
dropped by a Bauhaus regularity;
when seen afar: an artificial atoll
well stocked with architectural delights.

As we draw near, this order we impeach:
these small appendices to aesthetic
become Edenic kingdoms in turmoil:
Island Galaxies light-years in the Stream!
... or, at least, off some distance from this beach...


Islands, Architecture, Gardens

impeach  - to change an earlier impression

small appendices to aesthetic -  Hegel considered gardens to be small and unimportant parts of aesthetics, the theory of beauty. Gardens were like an appendix to architecture.

(From a distance, the islands looked very regular, and drawing near they took on a jungle of detail, and I thought of the change from hazy nebula to vast Island Galaxies, from regular to complex, and felt small in the universe!..., but, they were still just islands a ways away from the sandy beach. Whether Art or Nature, it was still beyond my grasp, and I sort of give up my galactic viewpoint and become ironical in tone, changing from galaxies to standing on a beach... probably in a bathing suit and looking pale... possibly flabby.)