Archive for November, 2010
Ok, so he has won a Pulitzer, so really, I should not be this envious that I simply cannot conjure up poetry like this. Maybe its age, maybe its nationality or practice or habit or instinct. Maybe its sheer fucking talent and that is all there is to it. I keep trying to stay away from stalking this poet online, but every once in a while I return. I return because he mixes the daily with the metaphysical, in a self deprecating, honest, cynical and passionate way. He manages to make even nature interesting, when I am bored to tears by any poem dealing with nature.
Well here is a gorgeous poem about nature. Its not really about nature. Who knows what it is about. I love it. I love the poet too. The brilliant mr Stephen Dunn.
Landscape At The End Of The Century
by Stephen Dunn
The sky in the trees, the trees mixed up
with what’s left of heaven, nearby a patch
of daffodils rooted down
where dirt and stones comprise a kind
of night, unmetaphysical, cool as a skeptic’s
final sentence. What this scene needs
is a nude absentmindedly sunning herself
on a large rock, thinks the man fed up
with nature, or perhaps a lost tiger,
the maximum amount of wildness a landscape
can bear, but the man knows and fears
his history of tampering with everything,
and besides to anyone who might see him
he’s just a figure in a clearing
in a forest in a universe
that is as random as desire itself,
his desire in particular, so much going on
with and without him, moles humping up
the ground near the daffodils, a mockingbird
publishing its cacaphonous anthology,
and those little Calvinists, the ants,
making it all the more difficult
for a person in America
to close his office, skip to the beach.
But what this scene needs are wisteria
and persimmons, thinks the woman
sunning herself absentmindedly on the rock,
a few magnificent words that one
might want to eat if one were a lover
of words, the hell with first principles,
the noon sun on my body, tempered
by a breeze that cannot be doubted.
And as she thinks, she who exists
only in the man’s mind, a deer grazes
beyond their knowing, a deer tick riding
its back, and in the gifted air
mosquitos, dragonflies, and tattered
mute angels no one has called upon in years.
Here is another one, and I am pretty sure I know a certain brown eyed someone who will chuckle at this. I found it funny.
At The Smithville Methodist Church
by Stephen Dunn
It was supposed to be Arts & Crafts for a week,
but when she came home
with the “Jesus Saves” button, we knew what art
was up, what ancient craft.She liked her little friends. She liked the songs
they sang when they weren’t
twisting and folding paper into dolls.
What could be so bad?Jesus had been a good man, and putting faith
in good men was what
we had to do to stay this side of cynicism,
that other sadness.
OK, we said, One week. But when she came home
singing “Jesus loves me,
the Bible tells me so,” it was time to talk.
Could we say Jesus
doesn’t love you? Could I tell her the Bible
is a great book certain people use
to make you feel bad? We sent her back
without a word.
It had been so long since we believed, so long
since we needed Jesus
as our nemesis and friend, that we thought he was
that our children would think of him like Lincoln
or Thomas Jefferson.
Soon it became clear to us: you can’t teach disbelief
to a child,
only wonderful stories, and we hadn’t a story
nearly as good.
On parents’ night there were the Arts & Crafts
all spread out
like appetizers. Then we took our seats
in the church
and the children sang a song about the Ark,
and one in which they had to jump up and down
I can’t remember ever feeling so uncertain
about what’s comic, what’s serious.
Evolution is magical but devoid of heroes.
You can’t say to your child
“Evolution loves you.” The story stinks
of extinction and nothing
exciting happens for centuries. I didn’t have
a wonderful story for my child
and she was beaming. All the way home in the car
she sang the songs,
occasionally standing up for Jesus.
There was nothing to do
but drive, ride it out, sing along
Hello world, or maybe in this case, one anonymous reader. A few updates and a poem. Things have not been very poetic in my head or gut. I feel drained of creative energy and no amount of staring at the clouds has helped.
I will write again, am sure. In the meantime, I find myself dealing with admin work that promotes creativity, which I suspect is better than doing nothing. My second book “Inkstains on the edge of light” is finally published in the US and can now be found for purchase on Amazon. This is good news for me, an Arab woman who once, ten years ago, in the bubble of an inebriated Beirut moment, looked out on the universe and thought, I would like to publish a book one day. My first- unofficial- book ran 13 copies only, and was hand cut, printed, designed, bound and inscribed by myself at a local internet cafe in Beirut. Now on my first and second officially published books can be found in Dubai, Beirut and the cyberworld through Amazon. Maybe when the third book is out, I can believe in poetry.
We have another Poetician event on the 29th of November in Dubai. And then I am going to have to take all this energy accumulating and unleash some love on the Beirut crowds I miss so much, for another Poetician event end of December in Beirut. For the Dubai folks, you can see the facebook invite on this link:
Join us, if you love spoken word, poetry and music!
And now for the poem. This is by one of our oldest poetician members…Monique was reading with us in Beirut in 2007 and started off the whole idea with me. She remains supportive, wonderful and a closeted writer who only shares once in a while. I shall have to track her down more often and see where she posts her little gems and steal them for us here. Enjoy the poem, I believe it has to do with the very wonderful and honorable world of Lebanese politicians…if you ask me. Thank you Monique. Keep writing.
You Can Find A Pierrot In all of them
Sometimes we feel like a tired clown face
from all the make up
the type of ink that doesn’t go off easily
when the clown is sweating onstage
but he tries to remove it out of the act,
now that’s a different story
which they don’t tell
I just watched an interview with a clown
expressing how happy she is
to see people smiling to her
when she performs her act
as if they are the performance
and not the clown
when the crowd genuinely laughs
while the only person who has to force a painted smile;
a depressed clown
probably thinking of his make up
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