:: :: :: :: terrible dragon: slaying the world one poem at a time :: :: :: ::
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Bogged down in laos
A Change Of Same
If you can count to that high a number, more power to you. I lost track before I was of age. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I’d be happy with three cents for each time. I read an article from the Vietnam Era written by a journalist named Arthur Hoppe who lamented that he had come to a place in the madness, a kind of bookmark, that saved him some small space of sanity before a colossus of opposite. He stated that he was rooting against his own country, that he had somehow lost the carefully crafted innocence all American children got in those bygone days of proud national life. He wrote that he was glad our forces had been bogged down in Laos. I thought about calling this poem, Bogged Down In Laos, and I may yet change it from A Change Of Same. I have not yet had coffee. There are who knows how many dead since I went to sleep for eight hours who will never ever again have coffee.
The war is everywhere. The war is here in this quiet room where only the ratatatat of my keyboard pierces lawns being mowed twelve yards away, ping off clanging barrages of church bells at noon. I’m in the trenches as sure as mustard gas is yellow. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” So I came to this idea that we need a change of same, a different set of things to lose count of, interchangeable, of course, but along a different direction. The more free national health care changes, the more it stays the same. The more affordable housing changes, the more it stays the same. The more free and higher education for those who want it changes, the more it stays the same. The more humans enjoy human rights changes, well you get it.
We’re bogged down in America. The enemy are closing in. It’s getting crowded because we insist on making room for more enemies. The enemy looks like me. It looks like you, too. This poem is not finding its soul. It has a leak somewhere. There is no triple-A for poems. They’re expected to hobble on square flat wheels for as long as they can until the last line is mercifully administered. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” That won’t do. I’m bogged down in this poem. Before the end of the first cup, I’m certain to be rooting against it.
Joseph Gallo March 31, 2007
Full article by Arthur Hoppecan be read by clicking on his name.Photos are from a hike I took yesterday up on the Santa Rosa Plateau.
Spring pussyfoots in again. It might rain again later, or not. Yeah, I saw a leafy congregation knotted around the dark center of a malformed tree trunk like negroes huddled around a blazing oil barrel on a gated street in Beverly Hills.
This is my 55th spring and it looks like 4, 11, 15, 27, 32, and 49. Seasons are like busted lotteries, all the numbers just off by one left or two right. Today I serve dirty punch to new-turning worms and tell them what a great job they’re doing with the bloomgrass and all. They ignore me because worms lack ears.
They are my nation now. They are artists and poets and makers of black music that no one can hear, no one can see because we lack eyes. This season does not come with pre-installed hand- rails, so if you’re feigning to be feeble, have at it. I will call lazy lazy and you will go your whole life without suppers of wordcraft and paintcraft, dancecraft and storycraft because you have done the worst thing imaginable to yourself. I feel sorry for you nearly as much as for myself. You would relegate me to pointlessness, coil the looted core that blackened Eve’s blind eye and I am not even the sorriest thing to have ever trespassed your orderly world.
I am spring come pussyfooted through the bolted back door leaving evidence on the white kitchen tile for which you have ample mops set aside for such unwarranted intrusions. It was never about flowers, or love’s unkindling, or the barbed larks' pitiful calliopes spent on empty meadows. Spring is too goddam allegorical for its own good. Any poet can crucify a metaphor and with one handy nail can teach the trick.
Winter tenders its violation and laughs as it turns to leave. I’ve heard this before as have you. Grace is not a state of acceptance; it’s a half-written sentence of a bitter defeat. Suck it up and let the ice saints enchant. It is their time this last sunset. Even spring knows that.
The women move like curtains in Amalfi, rouged as robust figs, ripe as the unhurried sea. They move across sheets of wind like cursive over fine parchment, looped and lilted in the handless alphabets of their sheer curves. Such is the manner of light on water, pressed but never touching.
In soft armadas, mizzened windows sail their high faces in painted fleets as mountains prow the edge of the skirting sky. There is dance in the village, the thousand scents of intrigue and hunger spilling down stone cobbleways. This is a night for golden calves and myrrh-oiled hair, vertiver skin tamboured with the essential glisten of distant promise two worlds away.
Moor among these peerless women and lose yourself to all that remains yet possible. Do not marry the false brides of your own name for none here will remember it. Give yourself a steep anonymity and cast away whatever cane the fates may afford you. This is how history is born.
“Where are you from?” is no longer a relevant passport. Sing instead a melody that will live but once in your mouth and forever be lost. This is how legend is born. It lives but one night and never speeds the day. It pulls veils across the senses, amplifies everything that echoes from surrender and reconquer. This is how your present is born. Live it then alive, and live.
The summer birds are flinting. Spring is two weeks away and the trees are already talking to each other. One tree says: I am here. Another responds: Where is here? It was winter today; warmest day of the new year.
Buds are squeezing through the branches and cirrus blue is soaking in lengthening light, deeper, longer. Stars once laden with December hoar now sashay with March sequins in their eyes. Brazen coyotes patrol down from the hills, the trigger of bravado in their hunt.
The mutes of winter have been removed and threadgathering begins in earnest. The trees talk all night. In places we can’t see, fevered nest building moves the sun across the sky. Wind blusters across the desertscape and everything it traces becomes assemblage in its artcraft.
Spring wields the early brush and cold recants the palette. I am small against this picture and, as the air freshens with the day’s return, open my first window to the night. These are the days of change and I am changed by the days that change them.
A tree calls out: Listen! I am still here. Another calls back: Let us make this season of life.
wisdom is worth all we lose to attain it. ~aucassin verdé
i wonder if the artist ever lives his life-—he is so busy recreating it. only as i write do i realize myself. i don't know what that does to life. ~anne sexton
you must acquire the trick of ignoring those who do not like you. in my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid and the envious. the stupid will like you in five years time. the envious, never.~john wilmot, 2nd earl of rochester
art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes. ~kahlil gibran
creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. art is knowing which ones to keep. ~scott adams
those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart, don't know how to laugh either. ~golda meir
i said to my soul, be still,
and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope
for the wrong thing.
wait without love,
for love would be love
of the wrong thing.
there is yet faith;
but the faith and the love
and the hope are all
in the waiting.
wait without thought,
for you are not ready for thought.
so the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing.