Saturday, April 02, 2011

April 2011 Poem-a-day 1: Narcotic Democracy

*sigh* I was going to start my April poem-a-day yesterday but I didn't really get to it. And today's poem is rather less-than-good, disjointed and jagged. This is an inauspicious beginning. As the saying goes: I've suffered for my art; now it's your turn.

Narcotic Democracy

Fugitive curs of action,
evading sunshine,
dozing by dumpsters.

When the sneers appear
mocking activity,
we refuse to care.

This legacy of uncivil dialog
leads to dull and insensate
couchlock, an inability
to move, to speak, to envision.

Thus our dreams turn
nightmarish and creepy,
our hopes ashen and lifeless.

Broken by anger, listless
as voices tell and sell
frames, stories, fictions:
winners and losers only.

Unease and unrest
force sleep, insensate
to oligarchic pressure.

Lay the blame
and faint.

© 2011

Friday, May 01, 2009

April Poem-A-Day 25-30: The Goldberg Variations

(It became obvious that I wasn't going to meet the quota of 30 poems for April so I'm just blatantly cheating and rolling all of the remaining numbers into this one. I considered doing a five part poem as a slightly more honest cheat but this is what came instead. I can't fight the muse.)

The Goldberg Variations

These scenes linked by notes,
inverted melodies,
progressive transposition,
and restated themes.

Shaking all over,
tremors of pleasure
shiver us all night.

Rush of novel sensorium
pulling joyous tears
without thought from them.

Cautious signifier
creates distanced retrospect,
separate memories.

Different cities,
several lovers later,
tragic longing hearts.

Bemoaned emotive callus,
raised and broken in
very specific ways.

Recapitulated over
and over, never the same
despite the urgency.

Unexpected whiff of lavender
releases the flood, the sense memory,
the embrace of ranked years.

These substitutions of us,
kindred connected through
proxy ties and alumni bonds.

Contemplation from bridges,
measuring blank distances
from the past to the present.

We no longer live within
reach, the events receding
the details fading slowly.

I am stuck in emotional
drydock, yearning to see you one
more time among mauve hyacinths.

Mementos kept in storage boxes,
decaying shared crumbs left behind,
losing meaning, losing context.

Tertius decimus – Undetriginta:
Et cetera, mon amour.

Regal mishagosh
celebrates analog Isabella.
Attribute community
Gerontion of the eastern gate,
African salvation now.
Liberty devoured by God,
collapse of the western gate.
Gone west, gone west.

Mutans Aria:
Hannibal Lector killed two guards
while the Variations played
in the background.
Are we like him in some way?
Have we murdered our guardians?
Have we escaped yet?
I don’t think we will
until the west light fails.

© 2009, php

Listening to: 801 - You Really Got Me

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April Poem-A-Day 24: Abridged by Bowdler

Abridged by Bowdler

Marcel said…
…soft incense…

…assuage you,
…massage you.

…cold from…
…rough sighs…

…bed of fire…

© 2009, php

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April Poem-A-Day 23: The monster in retrospect

This is desperately in need of being edited down to half the size but I've been poking at it for days and I'm a bit sick of it. Too many cutesy alliterations litter it and they should be severely purged. And it loses focus in the last quarter, meandering to a weak end. This illustrates that you can make me write daily poems but you can't make me write well.

The monster in retrospect
Could not stand to fight.

This desire to club him
in the orchard rows
rises from fertile ashes,
the fragrant fruit
bearing sad witness,

There is no romanticizing
this vicious beast ravening:
he lusts for blood,
he brings only pain.
His only goal clear:
a feast of you.

Never let illusion
delude you, blur your
bounds of safe haven.
Never attempt to tame
a fulltime hunter:
he will devour you,
he will consume you whole.

Yet here be a mystery:
unbidden within you,
the dark primordial destroyer
throws off hibernating sleep,
discards the anesthetic cocoon.
Ancestral instinct, inchoate and strong,
bares red teeth, shoulders aside
the civil veneer and does not bide
with endless patience or vain hope.

Facing the monster calls forth
indwelling strands of strength:
forged from generations,
descended through warriors,
crafted by countless survivors.

This transformation,
so resolute, so complete, so awful,
confounds the monster:
prey should never resist,
never turn to face the pursuer,
never turn to act like a hunter.

Then he begins to feel fear
eating into him from the edges,
eating out from his chill grey heart,
melting his cocked confidence,
the vampyr in sunlight.

In that preternatural moment,
his abilities fail,
his power falls away,
his nightmare bounds free.
Chained by surprise,
drained of momentum,
a weak and quaking coward,
toothless and de-clawed.

Now mewling and puling,
the monster abject in defeat,
as if he deserved mercy,
as if he had ever granted mercy.

This is now so clear:
his cravenness was hidden,
his strength an illusion,
a thin façade, scrim sheer.

Now he will gutter,
shunned by stray dogs
repelled by his craven scent.

No longer a strong monster,
merely a pathetic poser
bereft of respect and alone,
surrounded by cannibals.

Monsters make good eating.

© 2009, php

April Poem-A-Day 22: Phantom Tablatures of Rachmaninoff

Phantom Tablatures of Rachmaninoff

When everything is complicated,
I simplify, diminish, reduce my presence.

Complexity perplexes,
mystifies my simpleton mind.
I struggle to comprehend,
to fit the puzzle together
but I’m left gape-mouthed,
a hint of drool setting off
my vacuous blank eyes.

Sometimes the brain stain
overwhelms me and I strain
to pattern, recapitulating
all the corruptible facets
into child-friendly concepts.

I boggle playfully,
renouncing my soi-disant
haughtiness and expertise
for cool clarity and peace.

When recovered, I build up
my tolerance with slow frenzy
until I revolve and rev furiously,
until the revolution completes
another time, another cycle.

Please use small words,
I am confused.

© 2009, php

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April Poem-A-Day 21: Bête Noire

Who can resist this bête noire?
He shines among us with confidence,
dripping an almost visible ectoplasm
scattered wide in his wake.

Everyone loves him in the moment
and when he leaves, tragedy flowers.
We make plans of resistance,
behind his back, out of his presence,
but the plots dissolve like sugar in hot coffee
when he comes around radiating.

Charisma is a glamour, an infection,
a powerful dumbfounding poison.
The carrier is immune,
the toxin weakening everyone else
the longer they are exposed to it.

Perhaps the time of assassination
draws near, a solemn solution.
We are weak and enthralled,
our eyes empty and cauled,
unable to muster strong will
or determined forward action.

So we admire ourselves to death,
brought low by gleeful glances,
props and promises of per diem wages.
The beast is within us tonight.

© 2009, php

Friday, April 24, 2009

April Poem-A-Day 20: Noam Titus Dawson

Noam Titus Dawson

You're out on the streets drunk
and pulling around a shopping cart.
Here lurks no treason, here no envy swells,
Here grow no damned drugs, here are no storms,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep…
I don't think anything could be further from the truth.

Unless you've had your heart set on watching Dumbo.

"Tough love" is just the right phrase:
love for the rich and privileged,
tough for everyone else.

And I have been
your sidekick,
your confidant,
your other half
for so long and
that's how our relationship works.

If you quietly accept and go along
no matter what your feelings are,
ultimately you internalize what you're saying,
because it's too hard to believe one thing
and say another.
Because I can not understand
why anyone would choose that kind of life.

I'll find a day to massacre them all,
And raze their faction and their family…

Their moral values are very explicit:
shine the boots of the rich and the powerful,
kick everybody else in the face,
and let your grandchildren pay for it.

You are definitely a mystery.
All this verbal sparring…
is getting a little dangerous.
So we should just go on a date
before someone gets hurt.

Because let me tell you,
they may all live in fear of you,
but I don't.

© 2009, php

The above is not written by me. I merely assembled it. It's a mashup of quotes from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, Noam Chomsky, and the TV show Dawson's Creek. I drew from the above linked Wikiquote pages the phrases I thought interesting and arranged them with a few line breaks here and there.

I see why people like doing mashups: it requires remarkably little creative talent or inspiration. It's kind of fun though.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

April Poem-A-Day 19: Incoherent Notes Towards a Deconstructed Poetic Theory

Incoherent Notes Towards a Deconstructed Poetic Theory

4: Parallel/pair reality/metaphor
4a: Individual or serial similes

8: Cyclic rhythm through rhyme
8a: Repetition
8b: Syllabic cadence
8c: Breath cadence

15: Internalized personal experience
15a: Character experience

16: Empathic connection
16a: Disconnection
16b: Social juxtaposition
16c: Misanthropy

23: Betrayal and hostility
23a: Self-betrayal

42: Putative redemption
42a: Refusing redemption
42b: Aggressive alienation
42c: Redemptive alienation
42d: Redemption through surrender
42e: Symbolic redemption

NB: Many sections are missing or lost.

© 2009, php

April Poem-A-Day 18: Contractual Obligation Poem

Contractual Obligation Poem

I made a vow to create/spew
at least a poem a day for April.
(“vow” might be a tad strong
to describe my intent toward
this spastic poetic slaughter.)

I’m dragging behind and
I’m feeling word blind.

No ripe phrases fall
in autumnal waves
from my dry pen.

Be glad I don’t yearn
to create a verbal
Metal Machine Music
on 8-track tape.

I am not a monster.
Not yet at least.

© 2009, php