The Third Area is pleased to announce its second poetry reading of fall 2011 on Thursday, December 1st at 7 PM, at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Bergamot Station, featuring: Chad Sweeney, Julie Paegle and Beth Ruscio.
Come to the gallery at 6:30 to drink, nibble, say hello, and view works by Charles Arnoldi.
Rosamund Felsen Gallery 2525 Michigan Avenue, B4 Santa Monica, CA 90404
XII We cannot stop the crimes from falling. Was it in the time of Rome, that intrigue liked to die? As much as they could devise, who they could elect – hypnotic dissidents plot the movement; love, but not for another, overfeeds, power is ample. The sweet synthesis of voices in rebellion resounds. We were soon grateful we were not so fast in showing a like love of loyalty. Instead we were envious – “Is it not my god-given stance?” he asked. And as with Prometheus, we earth gods split his screams among us. We were no longer who we had been: the once clear path changed before us. How quickly the last touches of love fled! The first long night after the deed none can know. What has been courage by dawn was simply gravity, happiness, only that which kept the present distant. To know no more tears of love, or rough tenderness: and if ever awakening could change body heat, or translate the attitude of one served into love without alliance or sudden halt, I answer this: what begins in change, will always end in change.
Greetings from the fortress of solitude, a tiny room on the roof of a building in Brooklyn. Much like the character Blanche DuBois (my arch enemy), I am alone with my thoughts... a misunderstood artist sitting in a room alone pretending to be angry at my mother. However, unlike Blanche DuBois, I don't have shitloads of "stuff" that follows me around in dusty, unwieldy trunks. Come to think of it, I do indeed have a lot of clothing that I must donate to Goodwill, but because I'm markedly not a disgraced woman of the night, I uh...I uh... well this extended metaphor thing is getting really bad. Moving on...
So now that Cyber Monday and his ugly older stepsister Black Friday are shrinking in the rear view mirror of my calendar....I can skip to the favored younger child: LAST-MINUTE SHOPPING! Sure it's not even December yet, but Ye Ol' Organized Freaks out there are already completely finished with their shopping. The rest of December is a mere daymare filled with a blank expression-filled pressure cooker of crowds -- or in the pursuit of the avoidance of these crowds. Oh it's almost too late!.....(I lift my lifeless wrist to my forehead and arch my neck back.)
I'm here for you: for you friendly poets and friends of poetry and poets out there like me who haven't begun your shopping and are looking to shop for the poet in your household. Please check out these poet inspired gift ideas. In other words, these are all things that I, Amy Lawless, want and I was inspired to write about. You can backchannel me for the mailing address of my fortress of solitude. (Just kidding!)
Here's what I look like without the following presents (note: completely asleep, perfect bangs, and delicate spectacles):
And here's what I look like once I get the presents (only slightly more awake, perfect vision):
So let's get right to the recommendations!
1. Augury Books has set up an "Indie Gogo" account. I'm pretty sure Indie Gogo is Kickstarter for the people who...haven't heard of Kickstarter before. But more importantly, Augury Books are raising money for their line of cool books and chapbooks. If you click here, you'll view a cute video as well as a list of the books that Augury is going to put out this year:
B.C. Edwards' chapbook, Paige Lipari's chapbook, and Patrick Moran's book. These are books that I'm excited to read and (therefore) you should be excited about these pieces too.
2. The latest and last issue of Supermachine! Here is a link to buy it here. I'm thinking your cool younger cousin might like this. It's cutting edge poetry. I fell out of a train station one day and ended up at the release party and I heard really rad readings from the content of the magazine from Sampson Starkweather, Dan Hoy, Bianca Stone, Dan Magers, Ryan Doyle May, and Jackqueline Frost. I wish I could lift my arms from being lazy. Then I could copy lines from Jackqueline's poem which I laughed a lot during because it was the funniest and darkest poem about OK Cupid (a shitty dating site) I've ever heard.
3. If idealism is your thing, and you believe you can make a difference in the world, you should donate to a cause that floats your boat. Here are a few that are new and interesting (to me). Donate to Occupy Wall Street, or Amnesty International . There are plenty of other beautiful causes. Poets LOVE ideas and are often thrilled with a donation in their name being made to an organization they believe in. This year has been a weird one politically. The U.S. killed an innocent man this year. If you care, then give a little bit to that kind of cause. But if you don't, I'm sure there's something you believe in. If you don't see injustice in this world, you're not reading enough.
4. Maybe you're someone who wants a break from poetry. You're terrified that the world is coming to an end or is broken and you need to prepare for endtimes? (LOL) Well, how about Thermal Night Vision Goggles? We all purchased expensive night vision goggles last year for Christmas, but this year, we need to be able to sense the heat of others as they approach our compound. Wait you didn't know that the world was coming to an end? Oh well, I mean well... maybe it isn't. Maybe you're just feeling that "nagging feeling" that you can't put into words? Well there are 2 avenues to take to calm that feeling: snorts or coughs.
5. Snorts: A Mini Potbelly Pig. Listen sometimes dogs aren't cute enough for those of us who are dying to cuddle something. Thing is: pigs are way cuter. Shhhhhh package of bacon in my fridge! SHHHHHHH!
I know i said I didn't want any of these gifts. I know i said I in fact owned most of these things, however I was lying. I want a baby pig. I want you to give it to me. This one on the left is a cute adorable baby. I think it would look amazing curled at my feet right now and would make me drink less wine.
6. Coughs: I don't know about you, but in my perfect reality, I am sitting on my couch with a potbelly pig curled at my feet and I'm reading Keats' letters. So you should buy the young burgeoning poetry lover in your house a copy of Keats' letters.
Here's a letter to Fanny that makes my Gchats transcripts look like nutritional contents of a baking powder canister!:
25 College Street
My dearest Girl,
This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my Soul I can think of nothing else - The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you again[s]t the unpromising morning of my Life - My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again - my Life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving - I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love - You note came in just here - I cannot be happier away from you - 'T is richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do not threat me even in jest. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion - I have shudder'd at it - I shudder no more - I could be martyr'd for my Religion - Love is my religion - I could die for that - I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet - You have ravish'd me away by a Power I cannot resist: and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavoured often "to reason against the reasons of my Love." I can do that no more - the pain would be too great - My Love is selfish - I cannot breathe without you.
Yours for ever John Keats
Mmmm.... Now I'm jealous of a dead girl and a little lonely like Blanche again. This isn't good. I really want that potbelly pig. Well....(rubbing toe in the sand).... guess I'll have to see if I'm on Santa's nice list. You don't want to see me look like this all year, do you? (look below) Well, short of being alone without a pig, I guess I might continue to breathe another year with just books. Books are my friends, eh? (cute loud, almost artificial sounding *sob*) Here is a list some books that I've made friends with this year. Maybe you should read them too because well...some angel must have gotten its wings in order for you to have continued reading this far: "Negro League Baseball" by Harmony Holiday, "Glass Is Really a Liquid" by Bruce Covey. When I next descend from my turret, a copy of Paul Violi's In Baltic Circles will surely be in the Fortress' mailbox.
7. But there's other stuff I want. No one gave me a copy of Anne Carson's Nox last year, so I must toil away without it. And I can't seem to reserve any of my wine money to buy "This Can't Be Life" by Dana Ward. I loved Ward's chapbook "Typing Wild Speech" and much like the Mini Pig, this would also be one that i'm "not kidding" about wanting under my Christmas tree this year.
8. Are you still curious about the necklace I'm wearing in the 2nd picture? It's a piece of jewelry made by a wonderful poet Paige Taggart, as a matter of fact. Click here if you'd like to look at her wares. Her necklaces make excellent presents. I have given my family members many of her necklaces and they always love her pieces! Always!
9. Oh well now... I guess there's nothing else that I could ask for in the whole wide world if these presents sit under the tree on Christmas mornin'. In gratitude I wish I could give you something of my own to repay you. If only......
Well.... the doctor is here.... I better open my eyes and see what he wants.... See you all next year! Happy Holidays! <wink>
Jake Adam York's post of several months ago about studying with with A. R. Ammons during graduate school reminded me of the interview David conducted with Ammons back in the early '90s. I had been meaning to post it for quite a while. Here's part one. If it seems to begin in medias res that's because it does, due to a bumpy start to the recording. Part I runs roughly 25 minutes and you will thank me for all but the last moment, for which I apologize. Put your earphones in and listen. There's much to learn from Ammons.
When the masses stop counting on their fingers, will this noble face perish with the conscience of Rome? Multitudes divide the ill from the well, and millions read books of quantum hypnosis that dissidents dictate; the necks of lost lovers show the teeth marks of love, sin, theology, and the sweet aura of a sonnet. Greatness defies all: nor can a contagious platoon derail the man who pledges fidelity and love. Invalids smoke, but do the fumes reach god? And why would Prometheus, thief of fire, throw away his lighter? I think, therefore I smoke: life is a long mutation, an extemporaneous fugue quantifying love. Now comes the consciousness of long nights alone, the mental lapses of a woman in love. Happy we who present our flames to graves; hope for relief from pain leads to tears, yes, but prisoners deprived of sleep and food may yet regain their faith, nor be reduced to servitude. My neck a mere mortal’s, I shall not desist from lauding her who, once kissed, can never again be resisted.
"The thing I don't like about being called a 'sex symbol' is that it makes you into a thing. But if I have to be a symbol, I'd rather be a symbol for sex than for some other thing." "I had the foreground -- and the background."
Allow me to put two more bits of notion into our meditation on the rule of bliss and its opposite, the swing-and-the-miss (and solitude, and its opposing number too) (which for me, right now, is you).
Note the first is the excerpt from Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal commonly, wonderfully offered in tandem with Will’s poem. Read it like you have been staring hungry too long a tin of grav lox missing its key, and then entered the theater to deliver it as a monolog to the ghost of Stanislavski:
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore & that the little colony had so sprung up— But as we went along there were more & yet more & at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road . . . some rested their heads on stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here & there a little knot & a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity & unity & life of that one busy highway... —Rain came on, we were wet.
April 15, 1802
I wandered lonely as a cloud, indeed.
Note the second is that William wrote, and it has been oft repeated, that the two best lines of his poem were written by his wife, Mary, these being, “They flash upon that inward eye/ Which is the bliss of solitude.”
Well the winner is whosoever’s work is long remembered and in this case the palm goes to all three. Also I don’t mind noting that while Will is a good man to go publically gloating about the wonders of his spouse’s mind, he was to himself a little too unkind, as the best line of the poem is the first one, the one that no who hears it, or perhaps speaks it aloud, ever quite forgets: I wandered lonely as a cloud.
The second best lines are indeed the ones Will called out as best, his wife’s apt description of something usually hidden and damn difficult to describe: that there is an inward eye, that things flash upon it, that solitude can be tasty and what is most tasty about it is the opportunity for day dreaming wherein spiced heights of passion and tangential sour lows of gross revenge play out a thousand times. That is the bliss of solitude when nothing, even so divine as love, is suffered gladly to intrude.
The third best lines of the poem are “Ten thousand saw I at a glance,/ Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.” I’m kidding of course with this beauty-pageant ranking, but the other lines that describe the wind tickling the lake into a million flickers of lightnesses and darks, then without dropping a stitch switches to tickling the flowers into a million flickers of yellow, lilting in brightness and weakness and power.
To continue, the forth best lines of the event are Dorothy’s: “some rested their heads on stones as on a pillow for weariness & the rest tossed & reeled & danced & seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them.”
I could have stopped the quote at “laughed” which as the moment awakens into full-on magic, as in fairy tales when candles stand up and sing or when the color comes on in the Wizard of Oz, because here the flowers are Pinocchioed into humanity, when the daffodils, giggle themselves from that to they, but I was loath to lose Dot’s repetition about the wind and the lake and the blooms. What was so transfixing to them all, Will, Mary, and Dot, was the oneness of the water and the petals in their response to the wind. It created a scene of simplicity, and unity, and life, and that is the wind we all long to get caught up in.
Our own little heads are heads among ten thousand and when we too are too weary to dance, we rest noggins on rocks and are still parts of the program. The wind blows. Each tiny patch of water responds with a new reflection of the sky or matte introspection. On the shore, each leaf responds, each alone, each uncertain and certain, all in concert. Our hearts respond, each an only, each uncertain and certain, all in concert, and something lifts that often keeps us drastically darkened and lonely, somehow nature and art lift that murky curtain, and we join again the light fantastic.
Such togetherness abounds and is as thick and sweet as candied meat, but what about Crusoe, truly alone, perched on a little dead volcano, watching things of unquenchable beauty, like roving, giant, test-tubes of glass arising from hot pits in the magma, with boiling water spouting out of them like screaming kettles abandoned on their stove. Actually, let’s return to the text for a listen:
The beaches were all lava, variegated, black red, and white, and gray; the marbled colors made a fine display. And I had waterspouts. Oh, half a dozen at a time, far out, they’d come and go, advancing and retreating, their heads in cloud, their feet in moving patches of scuffed-up white. Glass chimneys, flexible, attenuated, sacerdotal beings of glass...I watched the water spiral up in them like smoke. Beautiful, yes, but not much company.
I often gave way to self-pity. “Do I deserve this? I suppose I must. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. Was there a moment when I actually chose this? I don’t remember, but there could have been.” What’s wrong about self-pity anyway?
Whenever I read this I’m like, "What the what?" I’m a nut for this kind of question and answer, the commitment to the notion that I know this world is of my making, clue one was that it is so perfectly tailored to unnerve me. She tells us it is our fault, this mess we’re in, but that it is okay to cry about it.
We are all back from somewhere, each a Doberman among Chihuahuas, but we are also on our way elsewhere to birdland, when we will look back on sharing dogness and a scene together, Will, Dot, and Mary, will seem something only the impossibly young could do, and what might never again be done.
Then we’ll know that we have passed the lake-afire-with-light part of life and are into a new one this time full of laughing fellows and full on sunny yellow where every glint of golden shimmer is perfectly opposed by one mustard and dimmer. As in the past it is the next ancient world I am trying to get through to, to which I am trying to get through. As I’ve told you before, I may play with a noun or a verb but prepositions must get all their tits in the right bra cups if I am going to proceed.
And I mean to. So, yes, there is Crusoe remembering Will and Mary and Dorothy’s memory, but not quite remembering their communal memory to the finish, leaving him diminished by three lines and the crucial, I repeat, crucial information that the bliss of blank is Solitude, where one has time enough to start seeing picture shows, unasked for but awaited, running unabated upon the inner screen of mind, “that inward eye.” Crusoe remembers the Wordsworths, and later remembers himself remembering, and is then remembered by Bishop, who is remembered by me, who is remembered by you, all of us wandering lonely as a cloud, building up to a bit of a storm.
Which is where I’ll leave you. Get home safe now. DKY and ISRTEYA.*
*Don’t Kill Yourself. I Shall Return To Encourage You Again.
#12 What yesterday was written with red fingers appears in whose noble Roman face, today? The divided multitude is a multitude still, so many calling for Reason, the marked ones calling for Love. My blushing thought has amplified your quiet blushing thought. Cynthia, the sound of your voice is freedom sounding: one word is love fifty times. Our like-hearted hearts are possessed by a true heart, a hot overtaking; can one world overtake the same? A student is teaching Prometheus the separate parts of a single plant as it comes together: bursting with flower in a rush, a stream, reeling out its life in search of temporal love! It isn’t the first to pass long solitary nights as a tender brooding bloom hanging heavy. Hope tells of those few bright and streaming flowers who aren’t defeated in love. It is this telling that gives me a multitude’s conviction, translating my untranslatable love into words. I say my heart’s beginning and life and ending is this: Cynthia the first, Cynthia the last.