Hermetic (ridiculously transparent & gentle, crazily ambitious & unbreakable) terribly serious poet seeking same is about to faint! is set on transforming the Rilkean-Kierkegaardian relationship conundrum into its intensely beautiful simple life: planting sunflowers, Fords & Fellinis, reading epics & each other, waltzing to Blind Willie Johnson & Van Morrison, global vagabonding & the hard work of heartbreakingly sweet days & sweeter nights... amalgamized to... Forever!
Seriously, if you can't choose between Hiroshima, Mon Amour & It's a Wonderful Life, Rimbaud & Auden, James Wright & Hart Crane--- & topically James Brown & Cat Stevens--- & don't want to--- we don't have to!
And after that suggestive pause & gauche display, I really am the soul of individualism & shy; I'm a poet searching for a poet (or painter, novelist, film-maker, etc) someone I can trust with our lives, who prays to not ruin what we've built--- when & if we build it: the beautiful life.
I am nuptial, august, and solemn
(the farthest possible place)
I'm aware the above is terrifyingly formulaic & to insist on sincerity is more of the same--- some esoteric dint is lost in the superfluous, the stone farmhouse & blowsy kids in a dandelion storm (but O! I live less than a minute's walk from the Atlantic, in South Beach)or surrounded by books near the fire drifts near GAP-ad-dom, but hell I will disclose now I've been alone too long. No pressure, really! Friends would be a God-send. If the isolated careen mine has been a careening isolation--- for 13 years (after a few MFA programs in poetry) (& no Internet!) I've happily worked in that Keatsian "vale of soul-making;" four books written & the eternally-re-worked 5th, selections from the others--- I admit I've been a little foolish, I think of, say, Ezra's numerous slim early volumes freeing him for The Cantos--- since I was 20 (& all along) I think I secretly wanted to win The Walt Whitman Award (from The Academy of American Poets) & stuck to accomplishment--- non-stop singing--- heady to create the one great end-all, only to arrive with something bulky, wild, parameter-less (100 pages?!? I can't do with less than 200pgs!) exhausted, friendless, & 1/2 way through. When I catch my breath I guess I'll be glad--- this is what I wanted but what price? I want to win! Then to find you've grown beyond it... well. I know, I know, look for an editor, etc. Re-read my Kierkegaard & remember despair is The Sickness Unto Death...
So long in this lovely museum-mall of paradise that could really be everything again... Cezanne advised brave isolation to create "an optic"--- but by God the holier vision is advanced by lovers, & by far the happiest route... something human in me is all the time crying & shrinking, the empty bed, the lack of kisses, the delightedly shared thought--- even as my work takes on terrible expansiveness (don't judge me on this prose--- poetry--- an ineffable absolute--- doesn't deign to entertain me now--- I'm clumsy & full of platitudes, & too-familiar cadences--- dull & over-eager--- when I'm not writing poetry I feel less & less like a glittering demi-god, these days--- in fact I sense the worst kind of pedestrian disappointment until I return to that Otherside--- as if it waits for me--- to show me who I am--- as if it is now myself & I am no longer here, & belong less & less to the world). "Under some strange eye of fire, I feel my wing breaking." ---Baudelaire
But that's just today! All the old transcendance will be everywhere, suddenly...
(Silhouettes, a picture of the Everglades, etc!)
Milton, On His Blindness. There may be no more heart-breaking poem.
But I can't leave them without mentioning my old beautiful Faulkner. Many teenage nights he slept by me... with the smell of honeysuckle & doom... The Sound & the Fury, The Light in August... And Rawlings' The Yearling... 1984. Brave New World. One Hundred Years of Solitude. All Quiet on the Western Front.
What I've read some of & would like to read more: Thomas Pynchon (loved the first 1/2 of "V" until I gave it to a stranger on a train (all very innocent, I assure you--- unfortunately!--- ah! youth, wasted on the young---) & would like to get to Gravity's Rainbow. The Bible. All of James Joyce! How almost unbearably lovely to have read all of him... & of course ye olde Eternal light "Willy the Shake" (an appellation I stole from some graduate student poet, forgive me, both of you) more: Plato & on Flaubert's 'advice' Hegel: "& when the translation of Hegel will be finished, God knows what the result will be!"
By the way--- also stole something else from Flaubert's own list of recommendations: his favorite line of Hugo's: "the shadow was nuptial, august, and solemn." I'm a sucker for atmosphere! O & Ayn Rand. ADORED The Fountainhead, must get to Atlas Shrugged.
Hiroshima, Mon Amour, anytime. Harold & Maude! Signs. Mishima. Burnt by the Sun. Bridge on the River Kwai. Anything by Fassbinder, Bergman, Tarkofsky (sp?) (Especially 'Solaris.') Raging Bull. (The soundtrack's a favorite.) Hillary & Jackie. Kaspar Hauser. Romeo+Juliet! And Zeferelli's version! Wings of Desire. Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down. (In fact, all things Almodovar!) Fearless. The Last Picture Show. Fitzcaraldo. Tous Les Matins Du Monde--- All the Mornings of the World. The Jordi Savall soundtrack (of Mr. de Sainte Colombe & Marin Marais will stay with you all your life...) La Strada. All of Peter Greenaway, (Particularly 'The Architect's Contract.') Huston's Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Casablanca. Braveheart. All classic sci-fi & horror! (Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, Teenagers from Outer Space, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Beast with a Million Eyes, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Nosferatu, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, etc,etc. All classics, for that matter! Singing in the Rain! On the Beach! The Big Country! The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly! The Elephant Man! For Christsakes every movie I've ever seen! Oh, if I could make my own film, I'd make my own film! The swans in bottle-green tubs on Pelican Island, The Holocaust Memorial, Tarkofskian texture & rain, all of Miami Beach as set. Breathless. Lovers Under a Bridge. My Darling Clementine. La Strada. Cinema Paradiso-- ("The square is mine!" & all those kisses...) Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Five Easy Pieces. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Young Frankenstein! O Brother Where Art Thou? Blade Runner. Twelve O'Clock High. Titanic. Apocalypse Now, Redux. How the West Was Won. The Last King of Scotland. Once.
Music, oh music!
My dear sweet Chopin! Beethoven. (Emerson String Quartet.) Wa Do Dem? Eek-a-Mouse. Elvis, from "The Louisiana Hayride Archives" esp. Volume 1, & with love to Arthur Crudupp! Coltrane, especially "Naima..." Al Green, in particular "You Ought To Be With Me" "Sha-la-la-la" & "Belle..." Chet Baker--- "My Funny Valentine," "Everytime we say Goodbye" Billy Holiday--- "I'll Get By!" (especially the early stuff, it's all springtime & birds!) The Platters "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The Allman Brothers! ("Blue Sky!")Bach may be my all-time love. Hank Williams Sr.! ("Mind Your Own Business!") Motzart's "Requiem." Anything by Little Jimmy Scott. Late Beethoven. John Lee Hooker,("Dimples!") Robert Johnson, (what's that song called where he sings "I woke up this morning, & all I had was gone"?)Ella Fitzgerald, all I can say is WOW! Skip James, ("Cherry Ball!") Blind Willie Johnson, ("What is the Soul of a Man?") all the old masters. Django Reinhardt. Limestone Blues. Thelonious Monk. ("Pannonica," "Ugly Beauty.") Bob Dylan. (Everything of course but especially "My Back Pages," "I Threw It all Away," "Lay Lady Lay.") And without guilt: Golden Oldies of the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, (especially Jimi Hendrix, ("Little Miss Lover," "Golden Rose.") Jim Morrison, ("L.A. Woman," "Hyacinth House.") Janis Joplin ("Summertime," "Me & Bobbie McGee.") 70's. All Beatles. John Lennon, ("Mind Games," "Love.") Strangely, I'm not much for the 80's... or 90's... I used to listen to the radio all the time now I don't know what the hell is going on. Any suggestions appreciated! I go to my Peggy Lee or Etta James... (I Want a) "Sunday Kind of Love" "My Heart Cried" Brahms. More than especially Brahms. Leonard Cohen--- "So long, Marianne!" Bob Marley. "Stir It Up." I grew up in The Bahamas & woke up many mornings to my mother playing "You better lively up yourself, & don't be no drag!..." And we sang Cat Stevens'"Morning Has Broken" in the quad before prayers, & held dances to Disco (ughh!) "Shake Your Groove Thing, shake your groove thing, Yeah, Yeah! Show 'em how to do it now!" Well. Some tastes have changed & some haven't. It's a comfort, somehow. Measures of growth & funny things combine "to bind us to the earth" (Keats' "A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever" from Endymion?) I keep thinking lately how "the trees that surround the temple have become dear as the temple's self" (a paraphrase) when I consider global warming... a bit out of place here but not really, I remember now how the land gives rise to music...
Story-book Story, song from the Princess Bride, my mom's favorite movie.
Whew! Food! It's easier to write about food when you're hungry, now I've a belly full of coffee & beer so I'll make it short (that reminds me of another of my favorite movies: The Grapes of Wrath.) (AND I love Steinbeck, of course!) Let's see: French eggs! (Saute leeks, scramble, add healthy dollops of creamcheese near end.) Fresh-squeezed orange juice (champagne's not bad either) all things grilled outdoors: salmon with fresh dill, skirt-steak juicy & crispy at the same time (as if I could still emulate The Lake Poets & all swami's & cover the Earth on foot to stop & make a fire of tasty tid-bits--- peripatetic craving soul that I am) mammoth garlic on the grill, orange & yellow peppers from Holland on the grill, steaks of all kinds in plenty of worcestershire sauce, fresh cracked pepper & sea-salt, with red, full-bodied, buttery wines--- any kind of fish we spent all day fishing for on the grill (God forgive me) cheeseburgers on the grill! Mashed potatoes & cobs of corn & real butter & green beans! Popcorn! Cotton Candy! Filet Mignon in 'a' bernaise sauce! Lobsters & King Crab claws! Smoked Gouda & French bread, grapes like globes & Pesto on any kind of pasta, hot or cold! Every pizza known to woman! Red Thai curry, green Thai curry, blue cheese & Feta & Gorgonzola, French crepes with English Golden Syrup & triple X confectioner's sugar, Belgian waffles with bananas & strawberries, fresh whipcream & pure maple syrup, all berries, nuts, fried chicken, Salisbury steak, potatoes baked in the oven for an hour & more with sourcream, gourmet Mexican & ice-cold Lagers, clam chowder & yellow-block-cheese sandwiches on thick slices of broiled home-made bread, bacon, spinach, all salads! The sweet grief of liver & onions! Tuna & rice! Home-made potato soup (diced potatoes & onions boiled in water, butter, can of cream, salt & pepper to taste) biscuits & poor man's gravy, Captain Crunch, spaghetti on the second day with garlic bread & milk, Wild Turkey on the rocks, & last but not least, beautiful ice-water!
I spend a lot of time blindly divining Eternity. Dreaming of being beauty & truth, & so forth, & bitterly considering what my Chinese fortune said: Hope is the most precious thing to an individual. The future of our species, our Earth, the paradox of Joy, how to restore the first wonder poetry inspired (which lately I rediscovered in the days where I lost hope for my own ambitions) (Thanks, Ezra! ---"I have sung women in three cities./ But it is all one. / I will sing of the sun." ("La Fraisne."
and: as from the intro, (collected early poems of Ezra Pound)---
And Malrin beheld the broidery of the stars become as wind-worn tapestries of ancient wars. And the memory of all old songs swept by him as an host blue-robed trailing in dream, Odysseus, and Tristram, and the pale great gods of storm, the mailed Campeador and Rolland and Villon's women and they of Valhalla; as a cascade of dull saphires so poured they out of the mist and were gone.
see what I mean! And so hilarious, & so absurdly young!))
I spend a lot of time thinking about how to finally see the world, how to find love again before it's too late, how not to feel like a ruined person, how to stick to time-tables & schedules for self-improvement & believe I can change anything & do everything like I did when I was 12!
"I beg you, ah, I beg you: don't desire death!
I'm here, alone, with you, in a future April..."
from "Prayer to My Mother"