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Life Arts    H5'ed 2/23/21

Between place and child followed by brief comments on its writing

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Read slowly to the accompaniment of Brian Eno's "Compact Forest Proposal" start at 12.15

The river falls steeply
Hammered it out
Straight from the shoulder

Nothing but dead weeds
Inscribed upon this plum pit
For years to come

No place for you
No mood for celebration
Words written over

Pleading with my voice
Floating toward bursting stars
Comes running from the garden

It became a game
Nobody would tell me
Hurried down the hallway

Then the parade
Oranges under the bed
Drawn to old graveyards

Things ancient to me
From candle to grave
Between the white peaks

North of the village
Pursuing other-wordly theorems
I smelled it, touched it

It was like this
Woven into the fabric
The corrosive threat

The imperiled swimmer
Lost long ago
The crest of a mountain

Between place and child
See the daily suffering
We are somehow separated

Humiliated, abandoned
We can raise ourselves
The revolution of the age

There is a story
Shouting at the sky
Recording their experience

We wasted so much
In the time remaining
And forget about others

We can then view the guilty
The target was softened
To bring to life

A meditation class is held
Is not really optional
Impulses stronger than

The childish question
Although I had no map
From night to night

Sources of truth
Virtually a torrent
Free of the defect

Damage to our future
Well, well, well
Episodes of near disaster

The tinkling hoofs and
Such as electricity
What's in the wind?

But he knows better
Last hallucinatory second
Poison of the serpent

With the waning moon
Into the black hole
I'm nearly five years old

Suddenly got loose
The lovely measures
Science has explained nothing

Hide away the corpses
Gravitational lens
Washed out in the corona

I will close my eyes
Enclosed in shells
A new kind of static

A wiser intelligence might
Half the town was there
And forget about others

Wind is going to blow
One million times fainter
White against a stone


Books used:

Ill Fares the Land Judt

The Astronomer's Universe Friedman

A Spirituality of Resistance Gottlieb

Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril Kathleen Dean Moore

Trace Savoy

Ask the Dust Fante

The Snow Leopard Matthiessen

Ulysses Joyce

The Book of Beasts T.H White


The technique I use to write these more experimental poems has awakened my sleeping . . . I am tempted to say my dormant . . . how about comatose muse. In this technique I pull a handful of books out, select a bunch of non sequitur phrases, randomly reorder them and, with virtually 0-tweaking, accept the results as an oracle that has very little of my hand in it. What is exciting for me is that this technique seems to open a way for me to unleash my intuition which, in most of my poems, despite my best intentions, defers to (defaults to) my ego and to a more conventional (and linear) poetic blueprint. So, with this new kind of poetry (which is not stream of consciousness but something else), I get a mix of worldly and otherworldly images and hybrid, completely unpredictable, metaphors. The music provides an atmospheric element that slows down the read.

When I get lines like these (below) it excites me the way it excited me back when I was just starting to write precocious poetry as a teen, following TS Eliot's lead, I would trust the language to take me places that were outside of my adolescent boy-man mindset, expanding my consciousness (without drugs!). (TS Eliot taught that language has its own intelligence.) What I am doing is mining the intelligence of pre-existing sentence fragments and grouping them in chance-constellations or stanzas, so the intelligence of each phrase is synchronistically linked to the intelligence of other chance phrases to create a brand-new narrative. So, I think what this foray into "oracular" poetry is doing for me now is expanding my frame beyond any conventional points of reference . I don't know where this experiment is leading, but I trust it.

I consider these stanzas to be the core of the poem, "Between place and child". When I first read them I experienced a little of the excitement of reading someone else's work while knowing that it is original to me. I don't know how else to explain it, but, as I say, it evokes the ecstatic rush I experienced when I first started writing poetry that was more about the language than any other factor.

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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