Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blue law

Hope your bar is stocked. You'll need it.

Despite the title of the piece below, it has nothing to do with the above painting itself, but with certain emotional realms in my head that are the actual origin of the poem. During mes vacances, I brought it out of stasis, still incomplete, realized that the myth previously illustrated shared some imagery with what I had already written, leafed through my copy of Cheri Ovid's Heroides -- classic(al) *groan* grist for the romantic mill, as it were -- and made a concerted effort to finish the accursed thing in between bouts of couch potatoing. Et voilà ! Lest this become even more of an intermittent tradition -- hey, it takes work to churn out shit this cryptically maudlin and, well, blue -- it's soon back to humorlessly captioned photos of ridiculous humans and power chord YouTubing, with a few sporting jabs, to boot. Stretch them neck muscles, prospective headbangers. And practice the principle of perfect punnery.

The portrait

Some who wander are condemned to be lost
among galleries of indifference,
where drowsy waters lap against the light
whose burnt words are painted with vicious care.
A parade of names down fathomless wells –
found beyond long years, written in the bones,
broken on the stone. Whisper remembrance
to seal a bargain in the dark. Watch
seasons devoured, bright choirs silenced.
There is no blood inside, only thousands
of unspoken lines drawing out the last
inscription once carried on your beacon.

A fiery spirit no longer trembles.
Sweetest imperfection brushed into life –
secrets known only to me in repose,
interred in each fluid stroke. Velvet hues
given new beauty, adorned with plucked joys
indulging in the past. Panoramas
in my head. The noonday, flush with color,
dies by my hand, stricken by profane storms
shadowed in your brow. At sunset I cry
before you in a voice falling tired.
This absurd theatre birthed my labors,
hastened struggle’s leap into troubled seas.

Drop by drop sleep comes, drowns pitiful hearts.
The ritual done, you may take your throne
and reign over distant lands. Impress gloom –
an opulent kiss, worthy of a bride,
to purify me – almighty priestess,
prophesy away this plague with one gaze,
live anew an inflamed serenity.
Angels, look upon my face and be shamed.
Pastel dreams plumb the deepest fevers,
illusions, the finest compositions,
to keep the waves from opaque memories
whose vacant tower leads me to perish.


Betty C. said...

Oh, I'm so glad you've posted something else so I don't have to leave this award for you on your hockey post:

Bon dimanche!

Freida Bee said...

This is why I fell in love with you in Paris back in 1872.

FranIAm said...

Freida Bee lives much better than I - you, Freida, Paris, 1872.

For me it is you, me, Cleveland, 2008.

Freida wins!

Anonymous said...

I don't of half naked people, poetry. Feels a lot like France in any century to me.

Oh, and mwah! Well done, as if I know anything about poetry.

okjimm said...

//Some who wander are condemned to be lost//

...and not all who wander are lost.

galleries of indifference..... hmmmmmmmmm

it is the galleries of indifference that have caused me to wander

I have no fear of being lost
it is all I have between bitterness and solace

I will not drink from either stream...

I dread being found.

The lamp on the street says goodnight

I nod with it's benediction.

Tom Harper said...

Yes, the bar is fully stocked for the long weekend. The liquor store is closed on Sundays and holidays, so if you're a booze addict you have to plan ahead.

Each town in Washington (or maybe it's by zip code) has just one liquor store. You can't by hard liquor anywhere else. And yet almost every restaurant has a full liquor license. Weird setup.

Randal Graves said...

betty, hockey, that most hated of posts. Now I really think I should do one on the NHL Draft. Et merci.

FB, then, as now, I'm sure I wasn't rich. Good thing you dig my meager skills. Or that I know magic. But I'm not telling.

fran, I don't hate my hometown, but well, it's comparing a decent diner burger to a five-star restaurant. We do have that giant 'Free' stamp, though. It's our Eiffel Tower.

dcap, hey, it's not like I know all that much myself. I just write what I feel, as we all do.

okjimm, I think you should write some yourself.

tom, which makes no sense, because you can't even say it's an insidious, pro-business conspiracy. Wouldn't they want the liquor stores open? Puritanical remnants.

La Belette Rouge said...

Blue indeed. Your purple coloured poetry that plums the depths in its Ovidial heroics would make Picasso blush. He thought he had blue covered and then you go and write like this "between bouts of couch potatoing" and then he realizes that his blue was as deep as a Labatt Blue or some nauseating liqueur from Curacao. ( warning: all feelings and thoughts attributed to Picasso may be the actual feelings, thoughts and inadequacies of the blogger known as LBR).
You, my friend, have a fierce and extraordinary talent.

DivaJood said...

Drop by drop, inch by inch, slowly I turn...

Wait, I think I've gotten confused again.

Utah Savage said...

Bravo! Blue indeed. Where is Scarlet when you need blue?

You are quite a poet. Probably got a books worth. How about publishing. For money and fame. Awards, too.

okjimm said...

//Drop by drop sleep comes, drowns pitiful hearts.//

ya, it sounds good in a poem.....but

glass by glass beer comes....
drowns the fucking ache in my back.....

80 miles of biking this beerkend..... I think, I bike, I suffer. I need to knock off the thinking. So where is a hockey/ice post when I really need one!

susan said...

"A work of art is good if it has grown out of necessity." said Rilke.

Randal Graves said...

LBR, I figured there was some projection. Picasso was good, I'm just a dude. Mais merci.

diva, that's easily rectified. Grab a baseball bat, stand it up, place your forehead upon it, and spin around. Everything will become clear as crystal. The real kind, not the cheap knockoff stuff!

utah, she's got red hair anyway. Must be one of those mexed missages. Ah, the lucrative poetry market and all the associated benefits of fame such as mobs of ladies wanting a precious lock of hair and agents offering six figure advances? This blog is about as publishy as I'll get. But thanks.

okjimm, oh, you're one of those weirdo 'exercise is good for you!' types. Goddamn non-slacker. Today's post isn't that deep! You're welcome.

susan, the problem with that definition is that pretty much everything I've written falls under that umbrella and most aren't good. ;-)

okjimm said...

//you're one of those weirdo 'exercise is good for you!' types. //

GOD (if there is one) FORBID!

I just found that it 1)is fun running stop signs 2)it is easier to park 3) my internal combustion system runs on non-leaded beer; takes a bit more to burn off 4) I don't have to stay on the road if I don't want to 5)I can do a tune up myself. 6) If you are on a trail it is real easy to stop for a tune-up 7) people 'think' I am an excercise weirdo.... boy&howdy....biking is fun.

Randal Graves said...

No, I hear ya. I used to ride my bike all the time. Then I ended up with a family and became lazy, exercise-ily speaking. I really should start up again.

Dr. Zaius said...

"Some who wander are condemned to be lost..."

That can happen to both poets and audience members. ;o)

Randal Graves said...

If we spelled everything out, we couldn't keep up that artistic veneer of mystery. ;-)

b said...

"The noonday, flush with color, dies by my hand, stricken by profane storms shadowed in your brow." So powerfully beautiful. It makes me feel so much and each time I've come back to read and reread it, I sit here in such awe.

Anonymous said...

RG, I've been meaning to leave you a comment on this post. Man, this is powerful stuff. I had to come back to it and read it several times before I could say...nice versification.

Favorite line:

Pastel dreams plumb the deepest fevers,
illusions, the finest compositions,
to keep the waves from opaque memories
whose vacant tower leads me to perish.

Randal Graves said...

b and spartacus, thanks. I always fear stuff like this will feel like the palest imitation of the masters, a pastiche worthy of nothing but the garbage can. Writing ain't easy, I'm glad you guys understand and share your own stuff.

b said...

I really do understand this all too well. Writing isn't easy and oh, we can be so very cruel to ourselves. Your writing is beautiful and rich, Randal. It is just so disappointing to me that there is no substantial market for poetry. And then, I realize that poets are truly long sufferers. They've always been manipulated, mistreated, under appreciated in their time.

This piece and other works you've shared in the past, really evoke so much in me. More than many other "well-known" works by "masters" have. I think about it like coffee or wine. Someone else can label which are the "gourmet masters" and which are crap, but it comes down to what tastes best to me. And trust me, I have great taste! ;-)

Randal Graves said...

It really does seem that poetry is the one creative act that has truly become a niche market. No one - well most of us, I hope! - does this for purely financial reasons, but it's nice to know that someone thought enough of your stuff to plop down a couple of bucks. But since that'll never happen, I'll take your kind words and not argue. ;-)

b said...

Yeah, there is always validation in being financially rewarded for your writing. Sadly, what earns the most financially is usually not that great. Although we would all love to live off our writing, I truly don't think that is the ultimate aim... financial success. I think we write because we have to, we are compelled to express. For me, when one or two people "get it" I find the greatest satisfaction.

So glad you won't fight me on this one! :)