Tag Archives: misunderstanding

An End to Parables

I’ve spent a life in parables,
disguising my ideas
in costumes and strange metaphors
deliberately unclear

and so perhaps convinced the world
that I’m a harmless quack,
imagining just chimeras
with no spine in their backs.

But recently, while looking through
and sorting sundry stuff,
I’ve started thinking parables
are just not clear enough.

So I’ve decided to speak plainly,
well, at least plain as I can,
and for a while, pretend that I’m
a new idea man.

Besides, it seems at present
the world needs of bit of this;
so I beg your indulgence,
and hope you won’t find amiss

the fact that I’ll be writing things
to stretch your world, and mine —
and perhaps we together
can build a new paradigm.

24 JAN 2005

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Antonin Artaud

The play’s the only thing, upon this stage —
the one true line from which all tangents spring;
and if the actors move from joy to rage
in but a moment’s span, or seem to bring

a touch of madness to their roles, perhaps
reel in some strange delirium’s delight,
remember once the curtain’s drawn, these chaps
must face their critic’s mirror every night.

The lines that flow so freely from their lips
leave only bitter ashes on the tongue,
and in love’s arsenal, faded applause
serves as a scourge, and accolades as whips.
No wonder they seem mad and quite unstrung,
and break along their human seams and flaws.

09 DEC 2004

There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him. — Antonin Artaud (1895-1948)

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Two Poets Lament, Part II

Perhaps the world is full of verse that fails,
inspiring none to act as heroes should;
and in frustration, lesser poets rail
against the confine and form of the good,
their self-aggrandized talents gone to waste
that they alone lament through sleepless nights
spent in a fruitless embrace of the chaste.
Would you have these sad wingless souls take flight?

These small words, you decry, may do no more
than taunt at nestlings yet to try their wings,
but to deny that role is to ignore
that first one dreams, and then one does, a thing.
The truest poet weaves philosophy
of the imagination into every phrase;
and in the face of man’s catastrophes
breathes new life into dark and bitter days.

So what if critics jibe and treat with scorn
the works that such a writer may produce?
For they, unlike the poet, are not born
but made – and made to work to prove their use
comparing one illusion to the next,
and in the vacuum of the known, resigned
to observation, that at best, reflects
a too swift movement through their time.

But poets are to blame, as well, for this;
they seek outside themselves for themes and signs,
believing the self-created, wild hubris
they use to justify a state of mind
too pure for common purposes or deeds,
accepting, without question, some great cause
in which they have no role or fate or need
except to garner temporal applause.

10 MAY 2004

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Two Poets Lament, Part I

for W.B. Yeats

Some silken strains of angst-encrusted verse
or mystic message wrapped in words to woo
designed to part the patron from their purse,
or charm one’s snakes…what can these small things do?

An audience that can be misdirected
by such a simple ruse, where is their strength
and will to fight against being neglected,
their pleasures sought but found beyond arm’s length,

kept quiet in their apathetic lives
with promises of wealth in thirty days
empowered by not thoughts, but things and dreams
of avarice beyond the arts of gods to grant?

What good is such a crowd in praise of art?
Their graces can be bought at no large price
and the default rate on their loans is high,
conditions changed by fickle tides of whim.

And other poets, what use will they serve?
Since Hemingway, the writer’s world is filled
by just observing without much discourse
immersed in life’s most raucous noise and swill

to find escape from the plane of the mind,
absorbing and reporting vibrantly
the commonness in everything you find
without exploring or a need to see

the symbolism in a glass of beer
or archetype in the mad dancing crowd –
a study for some lost cerebral mind,
now deafened, needing life both large and loud.

There is no solidarity among
these artists; they lead strange and lonely lives,
each wrapped inside themselves and their own song,
producing reams of work that won’t survive

beyond even their next insipid phase.
and past their lifetimes? But then, no one cares;
the history of this time lasts just days –
a photograph, and not a flight of stairs.

And patriotic or dissenting lines
(it doesn’t matter much which one you choose)
may strike a chord or seem to redefine
the culture where you’ve chanced to pay your dues,

but really, what are these few sparks
against the bonfire of bombarding news
that daily forces all who live to choose
and blurs the lines between the light and dark?

What source do you imagine could resist
the Siren’s song of culture, breathing low
and whispering false promise of a kiss
to ease a mind engrossed with need to know.

In which new forum do you think your words
against the bread and circus, could succeed,
when books are used to line cages for birds
and seldomly for any other need?

The days for words are dead; they are no more.
Against these odds, you write and think to change
more than the channel, opening the door
to revolution of the soul. Deranged,

that’s what you are to dream of goals like these.
A job, some mindless task, that’s what you lack;
some visions are not blessings, but disease,
whose quest to is to consume and not give back.

06 MAY 2004

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