Posts Tagged ‘poet’

From the Editor’s Perch…

November 26, 2013
Who Can't Sympathize with Someone Who Slashes Their Wrists at the Office?

Who Can’t Sympathize with Someone Who Slashes Their Wrists at the Office?

“Not Waving but Drowning”

 

The full poem by Stevie Smith goes like this:

            Not Waving but Drowning

               Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

                                                   –  Stevie Smith

For my money, Stevie Smith lived the essential poet’s life: monotonous secretary’s days so compressing in their accumulation that she finally lost her employment of umpteen years from slashing her wrists while at at the office.  You don’t have to be a poet to sympathize!

Not dying, she continued on living with her aunt while scrabbling together a living out of writing book reviews and doing poetry readings.  You might wonder why artists choose this life?  It’s probably mostly because they live between their ears.  Like religious ascetics, worldly things haven’t as great of a grip on them.  And between the ears, “The desire for liberty is the most powerful force for creativity in an artist; that is why even in the most oppressive places some of the most beautiful and powerful art is made.”  (- Lindy Vopnfjord)

Smith reveled in the liberty of the mind more than most poets.  As the novelist/critic Martha Cooley notes, “Over the years, Smith got called everything from whimsical, quirky, childlike, and silly to mordantly sophisticated, stoic, brilliantly comic, and plain old depressed.”  Smith aptly represents this blend of modest successes with great failure which I’ve tried to describe in these previous essays on the strategies of losing:  “She tolerated rather than apologized for her own misreading, believing them usefully deviant; and she took great enjoyment in reading in a desultory manner, grazing without aim.”

But, of course, she was a fine poet.  Great poetry is made of those lines, such as the poet Robert Bly describes of Whitman’s, which can sustain great weight across the span of a sentence.    “Not waving but drowning” is a gold standard of poetic phrasing.  It has all the features: off-rhyme, metrical emphasis, and a meaning which ‘contains multitudes’.   You can’t crush it, and you can’t brush it away.

You couldn’t crush Stevie Smith, and we can’t brush her away.  Her failures are enduring.

Photo plucked from Google Images

Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

June 19, 2013

Drinker2

Aftermath

(Episode 55)

“I hope you haven’t paid that bastard anything yet,” George Everlee swore.

“Now dear, I think it’s best we don’t decide anything just yet.  Let’s go home.  Tomorrow’s another day.  We can talk more about it then, after a good night’s sleep and a little time to reflect.”

“You’re probably right,” George agreed.  “All of my guns are at home, and I’ve probably drunk too much to hit anything square now.”

Arlene made a mental note to hide all of George’s guns, once he was home asleep and in bed.

Ralph, meanwhile, had returned to drink.  He’d finished off his first bottle of Three Feathers Whiskey, and was well into his second.  The bar let him bring his own, as Ralph couldn’t afford theirs.

“The troubhle his, with the nose,” Ralph slurred, waving his arm dismissively at Daffodils protrait, “With a portrait hits hallways tha nhose!”  Ralph grabbed the arm of the man nearest, pulling him closer.  “You cahn’t mhake ‘um happy!  It’s heither too lahrge  whore too schmall… whore too thish whore too that.  Hits nehver  jhust  rhight!!!”  Ralph stated angrily.

The man happened to be Stan.

“So that chipmunk really got into your head, eh?”  Stan asked.  He looked very interested.  Perhaps he was an art lover, Ralph thought.

“You chould say as much.”  Ralph nodded.  “I can’t hear him.  But I can feel him all over inside.  HIt’s like he’s ruhmmaging haround in there, meshing with how I fheeeeel habout things.”  Ralph grabbed Stan’s wrist.   “What I want, what I hintend to dho.  Hand as near as I can tell, he has no feeling at hat  hall…”

“Kinda make you want to strangle the little sucker, eh!”  Stan’s brows rose.

“Hi don’t know.  Hive nhever wanted to schtrangle anything?  Hide have to think about hit,” Ralph declared.

“But you’d like to kill it, if you could, wouldn’t you?  Maybe poke around inside, see how it works?”  Stan insisted.

“HI don’t know.  Hi would kind of like to find a way to talk to it, if I could.  Mahybe bhe friends.” Ralph nodded.

Stan shook his head.  “Be friends.  Talk to it,” he muttered.

“But it doesn’t seem to talk.  It’s more like it burrowed  into my midbrain, whore something,” Ralph reflected, where Stan had left him.

The next time Leland glanced around from speaking with Agent Hailey, the ‘psycho’ Leland’s cook acquaintance had mentioned was gone.   “You see where he went?”  Leland asked.

“Who me?”  The sparkplug man replied into the mirror.  “The guy’s who’s been trying real hard to just stare straight ahead?”

“Somehow  or other I’m going to find a good reason to punch you real hard in the ribs,” Leland snarled.

Sparkplug man hoisted his glass.

Leland  walked over to speak with Ralph.  “Don’t bite me,” Leland cautioned.

“Hi nehver meahnt to bhite yyou, Lehland.”  A tear ran down Ralph’s cheek.   “That’s hall what hi have bheen shaying!  Hits that damn chipmunk.”  Ralph gestured at the painting with his raised drink.  “She mhade mhe dho hit.  The Dehvil mhade mhe dho hit!”  Ralph bawled.

 Leland nodded.  “Who was that fellow you were talking too, just now?”  He asked.

“Who?  Him?…”  Ralph glanced around.  “Hi dohn’t know.  Juhst a rheal nhice fhellow Lehland.  Dhidn’t look lhike a Dhemocraht.  Buht he saihdt, “he felht mhi pain.”  Ralph searched Leland with dog eyes.  “Dho yyou hunderstand?”

“No, I don’t understand Ralph.  I don’t understand it at all.  But, I’m working on it.”  Leland patted his arm.

“How are you doing?”  Agent Hailey asked.

Leland thought it might be permissible to squeeze Agent Hailey, ‘Suzanne’s’, shoulder as he sat down beside her on his return.

She smiled.  “It seems the evening has crashed, and your painter friend over there is in tears.”

“Ah!” Leland waved her concerns away graciously.  “Ralph’s been kicked when he’s down a lot harder than this.  That’s the thing you get to know about artists.  They’re not too good in the stand-up sort of way, but boy can they endure.  They’re like moss.  They find a way to make a home of wherever they find themselves, even gravestones.”

“There’s a practical sentiment.”

Leland smiled, and shrugged.

I know the next person we need to talk to.”  He nodded conspiratorially.

Photo of anonymous bar patron by Carl Nelson

Travelling Expenses

November 2, 2012

…and Poet

The Bloke.
I’m not a good bet he said, I’ve been in the bush too long, too self reliant too independent,
I wouldn’t know what to do with a woman’s love.
Don’t get me wrong, I love you, but I think you’d be better suited to city bloke,
I’m from the bush you’re from the city, I’m all dust and hinterland, you’re pale and smell of roses, I love the earth, you love shopping. Our cultures are as alien to each other as the ocean is to the land.

I’m a simple bloke and you’re, well, you’re more than that.
I don’t even know how we met, how you did that, walked into me and took my heart.

I have nothing that you could value apart from my love, and I know that doesn’t work in the city. If there was some way I could change myself I would probably do it even though I know I wouldn’t be happy having done it, if it meant I could wake with you next to me.

The thing is, I kind of function okay on my own. I have no expectations to live up to.
If I spend my last dollar at the pub, I have no one to blame but myself, I can take my own blame but I couldn’t take yours.

So just know this. There is a heart out here in the outback that will always love you, always know you, and every time I have to chase down the herd, or break a brumby, my heart will beat with the same strength that it did when we made love.
You made me know I was a man; you let me know what love is.
Copyright Paul Eenhoorn 2013

Photo from “Sizzle Shoot”

Travelling Expenses

May 4, 2012

Editor:  But as we re-join our actor/hero Paul Eenhoorn for the drive home… 

…His Travails Are Not Yet Over

 
Under the lid.

Driving home after a wrap, time with Ernie and Tonya,
It’s silent under the lid, the wall beckons to me, end it.
Concrete steel and speed, should do it.
… I make it out, alive, into the silent cool rain washed newness of a Seattle night.
I think of your hands, how I know them,
I think of your voice and how it soothes this pain I carry.
I think of your long beautiful legs, how the moonlight reflected off your skin.
I feel my thumb on that spot on your foot that relieved the pain of being who you are,
Bringing you close to me.
I hear that small silent sigh in my ear when you first felt us.
I experience the desolation of my life without you.
Concrete steel and speed, should do it.
Still I wait.
Copyright Paul Eenhoorn 2012

 
Photo from The Divine Marigolds TV Pilot shoot, by Carl Nelson

Travelling Expenses

May 2, 2012

Paul’s Lips are Sealed

“Just spent three and a half hours shooting a sizzle for a new TV show. Can’t say what as I signed an NDA but it was intense. A five, Yes five camera setup. Improv comments. Twelve crew, six plus two in the cast and then a To Camera without prompter to wrap it up. Am I tired you betcha!  – Paul Eenhoorn

Photo snitched from Facebook

 

 

Travelling Expenses

March 23, 2012

Editor:  Meanwhile, Paul’s been busy finding work, finding alcohol, losing his mind and writing poetry:

Paul Has Been Dealing with Life and Death Issues of Late

A Monologue From Men and Women

JAKE.
My Theory is, some of us are meant to love,
and we keep loving but it’s not enough,
… I don’t mean the room mate kind of marriage love,
I mean deep abiding heart destroying love,
and we think that should be enough, but it’s never enough,
we have to get a job, buy a house, a car, medical,
why can’t we just love? You see I think that shit kills love.
We keep falling in love you and I, deeper and
deeper each time until we meet “The One”.
The Big Kahuna, and when that happens
we’re gone because there is no coming back from that one.
You see each time we fall into a woman
we leave a piece of our heart there,
it’s like you cant get it back, and when you meet “Her”,
“The One”, instead of running which is what any sane person would
do you just walk towards her like a zombie and say,
“Rip what’s left of my Heart out Baby oh Yeah, I love the pain”.
And I have met her, I have loved her and I died for her.
So what I’m saying Jess is that you really you haven’t loved enough
yet! You’re still alive.
Paul Eenhoorn Copyright 2012

 Photo borrowed from one of Paul’s film projects. 

A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

March 23, 2012

Lyn Coffin Onstage

 On a Roll…

Editor:  If you’ve been wondering what Lyn Coffin, our Poet, has been up to, here’s a recent message:

“Yay! I’m psyched! I’m going to be Lorgean theatre’s first playwright in residence, which means heading out at the beginning of May to Bucharest, Romania! Please go to the Lorgean Theatre site here (some of it’s in English)- The LT has cool photos- Lorin, who lives in and runs the theatre, got a residency in France, and instead of pocketing the money (which okay doesn’t quite cover my flight, but hey) passed it forward to me! and East and West (my and Ts. Bavuudorj’s poetry) is now out in English and Mongolian. And I’ll be teaching Writing Fiction through the University’s Continuing Ed program in the fall. All of which means, I realize, not all joys involve grandchildren.”  – Lyn

Photo by Carl Nelson

A Poet’s Lives with Lyn Coffin

April 2, 2011

Editor’s Note:  Latest update on our Poet’s Adventures in Georgia… one month in.  This update arrived with a photo which wouldn’t show… possibly of our Embassy?

Our Poet Tries to Penetrate the American Embassy

Ever since I arrived in Tbilisi, now almost four weeks ago, I have been trying to penetrate, to get inside, the American Embassy here. This edifice/social and architectural construct sits out in the boonies of Tbilisi- extraneous (unlike other embassies) to life in Tbilisi. I have no doubt the positioning is strategic. Never can tell where those terrorists are coming from.
About two weeks ago, when the beautiful invitations for my first reading at Art East Gallery in Tbilisi were printed, I decided to take one to the embassy. Invitations to various embassy personnel had already been sent out electronically and by messenger, but I’m a do it yourself kind of person. I wanted to go personally to “my” embassy, to meet up with Americans serving here, offer my services as an editor and writer, see what I could see. My view was (and is) that the American Embassy is a little piece of America in a foreign country. I am an American, I have papers, I will go and make myself known to “my fellow Americans.”
My friend “lends me” his car and driver- Nobody seemed to know how to get to the Embassy by bus, if it was even possible.           And away we drive.

Staged Using a Professional Actor: Don't Try This at Home

I identify the American Embassy at once. It is extremely big and extremely ugly and has the appearance of a medieval fortress- long thin pencil-like (“we can shoot arrows out of ’em and you won’t even see us”) windows. There is some kind of high wire fencing, and no people in the surrounding area except police.
My driver is waved into a parking lot and questioned about the visit. Before we even enter the parking lot, at least three people (Georgians) have regarded us with intense suspicion.  I am leaving the car and approaching the guard shack when I realize what this complex reminds me of- Purdy, the Washington prison for women, where I used to teach meditation. No wonder the locals call the embassy the Little Pentagon.
I try to enter the guard shack, but it is locked- There are two doors at either end of this kind of Quonset hut apparatus, and I (suspiciously) have just tried to enter by the near door- which is only for exiting. I must go in the far door, which is for entering, and which is watched by its own police woman and bank of security cameras.
I enter the room through a narrow turnstile and, surprise again, there are five people in the room, all of them Georgians. All five regard me with suspicion, which melts partly when I begin my fumbling, I’m sure horribly-sounding, attempt to communicate with them in their language. (I have been studying Georgian for all of two weeks at this point.) I say that I am a pretty well-known poet and writer living in Tbilisi until June. I am having a reading in a few nights at the Art East gallery. I have brought an invitation and a little packet of biographical information (my Wikipedia entry, for one). I would like to enter the embassy and see the Ambassador, if possible. (My dad always told me to start at the top.)
Amusement is now filtering through the levels of skepticism and suspicion. The very small room is beginning to warm with something like friendship. I am told I can leave my packet and they will refer it to the proper department which some say is Public Affairs and some say Cultural Activities. I am told that to actually enter the Embassy is an unusual event. You must know someone inside and you must apply 48 hours in advance for security clearance. Sometimes, apparently in emergencies, 24 hours is sufficient. Perhaps five or ten minutes of intense negotiation follows. I attempt to get across my idea that the American Embassy is a piece of America in Georgia, that I am an American citizen, that I have documents and wish to be admitted to my country, that I come with no ill will (not strictly true, but true enough) toward the Embassy, and have as my purpose only the wish to extend an invitation to what promises to be a fascinating cross-cultural event.
I have abandoned Georgian long before this, of course: all communication is now taking place in English and I do not know whether the nods and smiles indicate understanding or the absence of it. At any rate, I am insistent and eventually the head watchdog calls someone who calls someone and eventually I am told someone will see me. I wait for another ten or fifteen minutes and eventually a woman comes out and speaks to me and she is wonderful- she is a Georgian woman who sympathizes with my attempts to penetrate the Embassy- she says if I send her an email asking to see her at the Embassy, and submit to the security clearance, she will see to it that I get in.
After a few days of emailing, this wonderful Georgian woman comes to my reading and a few days after that we meet for coffee. We are on our way to becoming friends. She doubts, however, that I shall be able to enter The Little Pentagon after all. She has been informed by her superiors that she was incorrect in her “optimistic” assessment of the situation. She alludes vaguely to terrorists and crackpots and people who are at best a waste of the Embassy’s time.
Later that day, I lecture at Ilia University. All the students, without exception, say they want to go to America. I ask why. They tell me what is clearly, to them, the obvious: Because in America, one is free.
I think to myself- “Once upon a time….” – Lyn Coffin

Photo, taken completely out of context once again, by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

March 31, 2011

Beginning of Life

I was thinking about what soul was, and it was very confusing. So I meditated on the beginning of life, which is my favorite subject to meditate on. I see the ancient ooze and the first cell, and to make it easy to understand I color it pink. The cell divides, the resulting cells are also pink. What does it mean? Is it just chemicals or is it a soul?

I’ll get back to you…”  – Rita

Editor:  And while we’re waiting for Rita to get back to us….  “We invented Dloves. Everybody should have a pair to wear.”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTic6oExMG4

Photo by Carl Nelson

Work, work, work… with Rita Andreeva

March 28, 2011

Spring is Here!

Rita Celebrates "Earth Hour"

 

Yesterday at 8:30 pm was Earth Hour. Eva texted me and told me to turn off all the power. I wasn’t going to do that, so instead I went for a long walk in the neighborhood while it was still light. First I found a bag of oranges on the street, half smashed by a car. I shook out the contents, and two huge oranges in the end were completely undamaged. So I grabbed them and continued my walk. The next thing I came upon was a large plastic flowerpot sitting by the curb. I grabbed that too. The pot underneath the dirt was just the right shade of blue to match the mess in my apartment, and a very nice size: a foot tall by a foot wide. My next stop was a pile of earth in one of those wooden sidewalk garden thingy’s. I filled up the pot. Then I took my spoils home and planted cilantro, dill and spinach in that pot. And I ate one of the oranges.” – Rita

Photo/Watercolor by Rita Andreeva


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