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“Lyrics For Inner Music”

Poetry for Understanding

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for The Masters of Humanities Degree Tiffin University Tiffin, Ohio

By

Dalva Church

12/07/2008

Dr. Vincent Moore ________________________________________ Dr. Sherry Truffin ________________________________________

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Lyrics For Inner Music #1 Original art by Dalva Church

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Acknowledgements I would like to thank several professors who were a constant source of feedback and inspiration. Dr. Vincent Moore, Dr. Sherry Truffin and Professor Anne Marie Fowler were all instrumental in helping me to shape and edit my poetry. The English Enthusiasts group of Tiffin University and their advisors also helped me to pare away unnecessary elements. Every class I took in the pursuit of my degree contributed towards this work and all of my professors gave me ideas to shape and mold into poetry. Others were also a mine of support and encouragement. My daughter Heidi puts up with being a source of subject matter, as well as with my creative fits, and gives me the smile that enables me to carry on. Friends and family- such as the Lunchtime Poetry Club, Terry Love, Joanna Church, Cory Kramer, and Brianna Huth- all read, critiqued and shared their own poetry with me. My sister Cammy provided all the sarcasm that one could wish for, especially when I got too gloomy. My mother, who died suddenly while I was working on this project was the first poet I ever read. I did illustrations for some of her poetry and, while I never cared for it, her vivid imagery kindled pictures in my mind that never completely left me. This work is dedicated to her for the love of literature that she inspired in me.

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Introduction

“Dr. Donne and Lord Byron, I am convinced, spent may more of their spare moments asleep or staring aimlessly into the middle distance, or having a lonely chop and an early night than they would have led us to believe.” –John Mortimer

The work in this collection is a result of two years of study of the nature and source of creation. I considered the impetus behind art, story, poetry, verbal communication, theatre and music. As a practitioner of all of these forms of creation, I had enjoyed participating in each, but had never really considered why I did them or how I created. As I went through each of my classes, I paid attention to how and why others created, the philosophies behind forms of creation, and how and why I created. I directed a play, acted in a play, attended a master’s acting class, created an art exhibit and presentation to an art gallery, wrote several short stories, took a jazz singing workshop and wrote and wrote poetry.

For some reason, learning about the source of creativity turned my poetry in a completely new direction. I realized that the reason I was interested in participating in creative endeavors of all kinds was that it strengthened my understanding of myself and of others, and helped me to communicate those understandings to others. Art, I came to understand, is a mirror into which anyone can gaze and gain insight into the human psyche and motivations. This understanding changed my focus in writing poetry. Over

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the course of my study, I stopped making overt statements in my writings, and instead talked about direct and immediate experiences. This allowed my readers to look into the poetic mirror and see themselves or someone that they know rather than one simple point.

Art is a small piece of hidden truth hinted at or a plain showing of what everyone already knows but is afraid to look at. True art may induce ecstasy, fear, loathing or delight; but it can never leave one indifferent. The best art causes the one experiencing it

to leave it a changed person with a new insight into self, others, or life itself. In short, a work of art is a mystery of epic proportions. Art is not reproduction of works that have come before or a simple copy of what is being seen. Rembrandt is art; a student copying Rembrandt is not art. A landscape painting may be art; then again, it may simply be a lifeless copy. A photograph may be art or it may simply be a snapshot not even fit for the scrapbook. The expression of an originally expressed idea is what makes these differences. The work must express an idea that comes from the mind of its creator, and is expressed in a way that it has never been expressed before. This idea about originality originates with Tolstoy, who felt that “Artistic…creation is such mental activity as brings dimly perceived feelings (or thoughts) to such a degree of clearness that these feelings (or

thoughts) are transmitted to other people.”

He also says that these transmissions should

be original ideas; ones that no one has ever had before. Art is not a decorative work; something that one may hang on the wall and never

look at again because it does not engage the mind or heart. Paintings reproduced for the

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masses and sold at bulk rates fit this category. Advertising, no matter how decorative, is usually not art. Much of the music that is being made today does not really fit the category of art, nor does much of the fiction being written. Even the creation of architecture has become mostly business and not art. Machines cannot create, only humans can. Even humans may make works created for the sake of consumption or for simple utility, however. Marketable commodities, when that is all that they are, do not fit the category of art. Therefore, they may be pretty but they are not aesthetically pleasing. Instead, a work should speak with an important message. It must say something worth hearing. As Tolstoy points out, “commercial productions” do not qualify as art. Dewey also states that commercially intended objects are not art. “Buy these paper towels” or “Buy my album” are not messages that art speaks. The language of art says something more important and worthwhile, and its message can be heard both now and throughout all time. The idea that deep truths can be revealed in art and that truth contributes to what is aesthetically pleasing is also argued by Heidegger. The goal of great art is to reveal truth. Therefore, adding to the concepts that originality and a sense of timelessness are important components of what makes art aesthetically pleasing, is the idea that art should convey a message worth hearing. The interpretations of the receiver of art have just as much validity as the meanings of the artist who created the art. This concept means that another important vi.

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aspect of art is that it must be seen or heard and not only send a message, but also have its messages be received. It is living and conveying truth; and that truth may be beyond the realizations of its creator. Clive Bell in his article, “The Aesthetic Hypothesis” said that, “The starting point for all systems of aesthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion. The

objects that provoke this emotion we call works of art.”

Bell believed that form was the

major component in aesthetics, but he also felt that the evocation of emotion was the touchstone of what makes art, art. The fact that art evokes emotion is a continuation of the preceding idea. One must see the art and hear its message in order to respond to it. This response is essentially emotional, or from a deep level. People say that art “strikes a chord” within them. This idea of striking an emotional chord also means that art need not be beautiful in a traditional sense. It may invoke awe, fear, or anger. As long as it speaks a truth that brings forth a reaction, then it may be art. This idea that truth is more important than beauty brings one full circle back to Heidegger, and his avowal of the fact that truth is the deciding factor in deciding what may be classified as art. The argument in favor of truth in art does not mean, however, that art need be didactic. Indeed, the overt nature of didactic works removes them from the category of art. Work that preaches a sermon tells the viewer or listener what to think. Didactic work sounds a single note, metaphorically speaking. There is no room for the observer to find hidden depths in the work, or to participate in creating meaning. Art is a multi- viii.

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dimensional, multi-layered work. If a work is to speak to everyone, across culture and time, it must not be so narrow that only those who agree with its single message can find meaning in it. Therefore, art is an original idea, interacting with the ideas of others, brought forth from the soul of a creator. It evokes emotion and moves the receiver to participate in it because it speaks truth. It is valid across time and space. It is not necessarily created for any particular purpose; nor should it be viewed with any particular goal in mind. It may be beautiful or it may be striking. Each work of art can stand alone and speak with its own voice, yet it may also speak in a setting or along with other works. Truth is not a single note; it is a symphony, full of chords and layers of many instruments. Art must reflect that symphony. This collection is meant to be just that- a part of the symphony, employing the terms of music and creating with words, sounds literary and musical allusions and pictures. Hopefully it is art. Certainly it has served as a mirror and a source of reflection about my life and the lives of those I know.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Pg. iv.

Prelude-Understanding the self

Pg. 1

Illustration “All Steamed Up”

Interlude-Understanding Personal Relationships

Pg. 15

Illustration “Masquerade”

Sonata- Understanding Others

Pg. 31

Illustration “Interior Design”

Postlude-Understandings Based on Literature and Science

Pg 44

Illustration “The Butterfly Effect 3”

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Prelude-Understanding the Self

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11 “All Steamed Up” by Dalva Church

“All Steamed Up” by Dalva Church

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Concert in the Dark The lyrics They were clever But the music O, the music Found my Sore spots And soothed Them well.

13

solar winds of change

standing on the back porch waiting for guests

  • i was six

in a tunic and shorts

the wind blew past me

and I watched the clouds shuttle through the sunny sky

  • I suddenly felt aware of my body

painfully so

yet pleasurably too

  • i felt exposed

as if I were naked

in front of the world

  • i felt every atom of my being vibrating with the wind and the clouds

  • i leaned on the pillar and never wanted to go in ever again…

14

The Passion

  • I wrote my own myth,

the myth of my life.

There was an epic theme:

  • I offered myself

as a sacrifice again and again, with daily flagellations and crucifixions of my heart and mind…

For the sins of my fathers- the passing along of agony and abuse from generation to generation; the marriage that my parents could never make work but could never leave.

For the sins of my past- the failed relationships that

  • I could not fix;

the thousand daily faults and mistakes that I alone am not allowed to give way to for I must be perfect.

For the sins of the world- Yes, even the mistakes of others Find their way onto my back,

  • I carry the responsibility for the

failings of all who come into contact with me;

  • I chose to drag them all with me, my personal cross to bear.

Yet I am never redeemed.

  • I can’t allow it.

Martyr to all who will use me-

Others benefit from my pain, while my suffering never ends.

15

Leviathan Something moves in the depths

Something I have never seen before Or at least for so long

  • I no longer know what it is

  • I need to know it

Before I allow it to surface

You have caused this rising By your presence and Your probing

You have raised the secret beast

  • I never wished

To see again

  • I feared it for so long Repressed it

Forgot it was there But I am unable To keep it submerged Any more

  • I feared its awakening

And feared to see its ravenous face

And now that it has risen

  • I find that the dragon Has my own face

It is me…

16

Down the Drain Into the vortex of mind versus soul Swirling confusion Ridiculous pain Time interjects But no words can express The intricate meaning Of moments and hours.

Into the vortex of Heart versus head Swirling confusion Ridiculous pain Your words interject Yet fail to impress On intricate dancing Of feelings and sighs.

Into the vortex Of infinite rhyme I pour out my reasons And pain Line by line.

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On the Film

I was exposed When very young The imprint made Long ago

Further Developments Of the same nature Continued the story Told the same tale

And now the spool plays Over and over The stories of sadness In black and white

Completely outdated Completely untrue And yet To me They are reel

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Fine Line She drew this line in the sand And she said- “I won’t put up with this anymore.

  • I won’t be used

  • I won’t go on guilt trips (you can’t make me)

  • I won’t listen to abuse

of any kind

  • I will speak up for myself

I’ll take care of myself

  • I won’t care what others think of me

  • I won’t let myself Be manipulated”

But then a wave came And washed away Her line ...

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Daystar, Nightstar My heart Like the moon Cold Mostly unexplored Only reflecting light

No one wants to Touch down and stay Just a brief visit Does for most

My heart like a star burning completely unexplored putting off heat

no one wants to even touch down the flame is too hot for most.

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Dissection “Cut a little deeper,” says the resident Guiding the hand of the inexperienced intern. The scalpel goes in farther Exposing all that is within.

There is little bleeding Since the patient is already dead. They move aside various organs, Looking for the cause of death. Nothing much comes to light:

Shattered dreams Loneliness Pain Rejection Stress… It shouldn’t be enough to kill. The dissection continues, Carefully they remove the heart. “Look at this,” says the intern. “Look at the extensive scarring on the heart.” Everyone looks closely, with no feeling, Examining the patient’s broken heart In a cold and clinical way And they discuss him as if he were not there. But he can still hear them…

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Learning by Experience You would think that we would have learned by now- The deeper the cut The more we require To heal it. Yet we stubbornly persist in struggling on with life while gaping wounds bleed all over those around us.

You would think that we would have learned by now- The larger the loss the longer the time to recover it. Yet we stubbornly persist in struggling on with life while gaping holes show our insides to those around us.

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Sleepless Night

If I plunge into these depths Once again Plumb the disquietude Of soul Which I And I alone Can ever know What’s the point?

  • I eat my shame and Regurgitate ingratitude and Doubt

But am not purged

  • I am unchanged

  • I cut and heal

Bite and mend Sew and rend Whip the dervishes of My circular thoughts Into frenzy

And up nowhere Equal to myself

Yet I do it all once And again Only to find I have Not even left my bed

Let alone my head

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Strange Bedfellows

This person is a stranger And undecided he peers in Feels the feelings Thinks the thoughts Moves the arms, legs Thighs, quivering lips Pounding heart

He is no closer to knowledge

he sinks into Rhythmic movement Even orgasm Listens to whispers From the past, Present, future Words of love He is unmoved By the heart which Is his own Yet which belongs To someone else

Some stranger He doesn’t even Want to know.

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Hopscotch In the bottom of the bottle did I find that I had lost my heart but saved my mind.

  • I skipped through life

Without a soul to touch And mystified them all With double dutch.

  • I never dropped more than

A veil or two, And whether I was real No one quite knew.

So I have faked my way Through every day And found that I just don’t Know how to play.

But now the bottle’s empty And I’ve been Naked all along Yet no one’s seen.

I’ll raise another glass And drop my part; Perhaps I’ll lose my mind And find my heart.

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Interlude-Understanding Personal Relationships

25 Interlude-Understanding Personal Relationships “Masquerade” by Dalva Church

“Masquerade” by Dalva Church

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ABOUT LAST NIGHT

  • I cannot recapture

The feel of your skin against mine The taste of your lips The sound of your heart beating

  • I cannot remember

The way your eyes looked The softness of your touch The cries of passion calling

  • I do not re-live

The moments of rapture The words that you said The things that we did

At least not more Than once Every five minutes Or so…

Baby Love

Nascent feelings-

half recognized,

half denied.

Infant,

frightening in its vulnerability-

unwanted love child.

A decision to be made-

abortion or acceptance?

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Tango The dance never seems to end. He leads, she follows, Or she leads and he follows, Step by step They move in time The rhythm perfect.

But it is no dance of love. No salsa, no samba, No smooth and gliding waltz. It is a tango, The sham of love, Covered by lust.

Yet the dance goes on. He leads, she follows, Or she leads and he follows, Because A tango is better Than no dance At all.

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“Pavlovian Romance” By Dalva Church

It’s happened before, You have me well trained. The stimulus and the response

You told a few lies, betrayed a few trusts. Does any of this ring a bell?

So now I distrust,

  • I fear to believe.

The stimulus and the response

You swear you have changed, Beg me not to leave. Does any of this ring a bell?

But I am afraid,

  • I cannot relax.

The stimulus and the response

And so we both prove We’re no better than dogs. Does any of this ring a bell?

29

Too Little, Too Late

Now that you have taken

Everything you can from me-

There is nothing left

That I can give

(Though I have

a heart for giving).

You have bled me

Repeatedly and shamelessly

(Though I admit I gave

Blood freely).

So now that I am drained and dry

And feel empty of

The will to be generous;

Now you come to me

And say you love me.

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Consternation Fade-Out He said he didn’t understand her, never had- She said she couldn’t take the indecision any more- He said he was confused and didn’t know what she wanted- She said she knew perfectly well what she wanted, he just wasn’t it- He said she was crazy- She said he had no room to talk- He said she was too emotional- She said he wasn’t emotional enough- He said women were impossible- She said men were egotistical- He said she drove him crazy- She said that meant he WAS crazy- He suddenly laughed- By the way, I am pregnant She said.

31

Let Sleeping Hearts Lie

  • I do not want to feel this way

Yet I do This heaven and hell In my heart

Why now? I ask my heart But it has no answers Only the feelings

  • I am not ready-

Not even willing- I’ve only ever played at love before

And now it has me By the throat And I’m not sure If I should fight Or should surrender…

32

Swinging

  • I say maybe yes

Then take it back to no

  • I take the ring

I

give it back

  • I think forever Then want to end it Does it matter? It does not Or it does Or it doesn’t

  • I love only you

I

love everyone

  • I love you

I

hate you

  • I want you

 

But don’t need you

  • I am angry

I

am happy

  • I say maybe yes Then take it back to

No

33

Flirting- With Disaster

I

know what you are up to.

I

know why the sidling movements,

The awkward silences,

Those slighting glances.

I

know what you are doing

and I must say,

I

approve.

Falling…

“Are you tired?”

She shook her head.

He knew. He knew that deep,

inward look didn’t mean she was tired.

It meant that she was thinking something over.

For some reason,

a reason he didn’t care to examine too closely,

that knowledge delighted him.

34

Concert of Mind Point and counterpoint Meet In the middle Harmony Melody Duet

Perfect together. Making beautiful music As out minds meet Then compliment One another, Then meet again Point and counterpoint. What an Ever-interesting note We interject into One another’s

Thoughts-

What music!

35

Is It Love?

 

You

TypicalGave

 

How

Me

 

Over

A

All

Rose

Bled

I

 

I

Pricked

 

Then

Myself

 

Thorns

On

Its

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seduction

He was quiet

so she

could sleep

gathering his clothes

glancing at her

where she lay

then she sighed and

he bent to kiss her

she raised her lips

to him

like a child

to be kissed

and he

fell in love

all over

again

37

The Cream in My Coffee

Eating breakfast with you- you read the paper-

  • I talk to the cat-

another cup of coffee-

with cream

“What will you do today”

  • I ask-

you grunt-

  • I sigh-

another cup of coffee with cream

Who are you?

Did I ever know you?

  • I look carefully at your face- another cup of coffee with cream

You finally look at me- “Yes?” you ask-

  • I look down at my cup- you get impatient-

“Nothing” I say- you leave Another cup of coffee with cream

38

Parking It

The window to the sky

made of leaves

swaying gently

mesmerizes me

while the wind sings me

songs of soothing

the tree stares

unabashedly at me

looking me over

deciding I will go

while it will stay

clouds tickle my eyes

taunting me

through the window

an ant finds something fascinating

about my hand

the grass pointedly ignores me

and you sit there

dabbling in my soul.

39

The Exorcism

Light the candle Ring the chime Chant the poem Without rhyme

Draw the circle With the stone Dance around it All alone

Feet beat harder Anger rising Your heart, my heart Apart prising

Words of breaking Flesh rejected Release of hatred Heart protected

He and she now Parted ever Once were one now Two forever

40

The Lover After Me

Sometimes

I think you have said

these things before.

Said them to

the lovers before me.

Did you tell them

That you never felt this way before?

That you never loved this much before?

That you never felt this deep before?

Sometimes

I think that you will say

all these things again.

Say them to

the lover after me.

41

Sonata- Understanding Others

41 Sonata- Understanding Others “Interior Design” by Dalva Church

“Interior Design” by Dalva Church

42

Chain Link Fence

Forged in fear Flame of pain Hard as steel Link by link You decided Who they would be

Abusive words Abusive acts Hardened heart Link by link You told them What they would feel

Stilted roles Quelled desires Stifled dreams Link by link You Fenced them in

43

Heart

Head

You failed to see the pain in my eyes.

You refused to see the pain in my face.

You flat-out ignored my words so clear.

You would not listen to the pain in my voice.

You failed to see how fragile was my hold.

You refused to see how I was barely hanging on.

You flat-out ignored my words so clear.

You would not listen to the sound of me letting go.

You failed to see my taking of the pills.

You refused to see the alcohol I washed them down with.

You flat-out ignored my suicide note.

You would not listen to the sound of me leaving…

44

Falling Mood

The leaves fall

and simply reflect

her state of mind.

She keeps telling herself that

this beautiful, yet wholesale, dying

is just a temporary thing;

that she will bloom again with

fresh love budding,

new ideas sprouting,

adventures bursting forth.

Yet the sky is still gray

and no lovely colored leaves are left

to comfort her,

and spring seems

so very far away.

45

GOSSIP

-he said

-she said

-they said

-I said

-you said

-we said

with wicked glee

-did you hear?

lacerating-

masticating-

salivating-

ruminating-

urinating-

with animal glee

-did you hear?

46

The Funeral

I go through the motions

shake the hands

so weakly

thanks given where deserved

yet is it meant?

All I wish for is

for these people

to let me be

to allow me a moment’s grace

to feel my pain.

Pitilessly

and yet full

of pity

they continue coming

and requiring of me

what I must give

but have no

means left

with which to give.

47

Beyond Skin Deep There is a beauty Only the eyes of love may see Only love will open that vision

So that true loveliness may be seen

  • I saw it today in my grandmother Who is dying

Beyond the skin stretched loosely over bone Beyond the slack jaw and empty eyes Seeing worlds I could not Beyond the illness and the pain She was beautiful beyond compare Her very self took my breath away and Made me silent

  • I have caught glimpses

Of this beauty before now In my daughter’s smiling face And in my son’s mischievous grin But never did I recognize it so clearly as today

And so In what should have been the grim face of death Was afforded to me A vision of loveliness Celestial and surreal And a hunger was born in me As well To see the beauty In everyone I love And to someday Have someone see it In me

48

The Id

She sneaks under my skin Feeling what I feel Knowing what I think She hears my thoughts And steals them Strips me bare and Searches my depths Leaving me bereft of privacy

She has rifled through Every corner of my mind And taken every stronghold She knows everything about me

Can laugh at my disquietude and

My naked self

But I- I know nothing of her And have stolen aback Nothing But the memory of a kiss.

49

For Mr X, Who Does Not Like My Imagery, and Has Issues- A Bit of Doggerel The snakes of indecision Coil and slither round your soul- Should and shouldn’t, Musts and mustn’t Tighten round your brain Until you can no longer think straight.

The wolves of need feed upon Your entrails Pulling out hopes and dreams Rending future possibility And bleeding out The last of heart’s desire.

The penguins of postponement Peregrinate across the Frozen tundra of your soul Carrying the egg of your unrealized dreams. In a line they march

To the sea of commitment, Where they arrive in a pack of peculiar waddling confusion, Only to turn back and return again to where they began, unswum. Trampling with frozen feathers To an undisclosed location With promise unfulfilled.

50

The Family Dinner

They come as they have always come

To suck me dry as dust

My loving family.

I scatter in the wind

When they are done.

They talk and talk

With nothing said and

Nothing concluded.

51

Argument Among Friends

Hands

fluttering around my head like birds

of all sizes

some dark some light smacking together and f a

l

l

i

n g mortally wounded

only to

flutter

 

back up again

reinvigorated

52

Eye Speak

You stand,

  • I sit,

We quietly talk about mundane things, With occasional silences.

Yet between us, Is a deep pool Full of all the things As yet unsaid.

  • I wait for you,

And you wait for me,

To break the silence, To cross the water.

Then our eyes meet, And for a moment, There is understanding Of all the things As yet unsaid.

  • I drop my eyes first,

Shy, as always, But not before seeing, The kindness in your eyes.

And still I hear The echoes of That pebble dropped into The deep water Of all the things unsaid.

53

Even Smaller Talk

“Did you hear about Rebecca?

She got flu from the shot.”

“Did you hear?”

“I had Pie for breakfast.”

“I need to lose some weight.”

“Did you hear?”

…the latest book

…the latest movie

…the latest diet

…the latest pill

…the latest shame

She left the room

for she prefers

conversation to

small talk.

54

Postlude-Understandings Based on Literature and Science

54 Postlude-Understandings Based on Literature and Science “The Butterfly Effect 3” by Dalva Church

“The Butterfly Effect 3” by Dalva Church

55

Whitman’s Playmates We have wrestled with the truth And lost- Every time we lose. Jacob’s angel Has touched us and The tell-tale literary limp Clues in all those Who have wrestled, As have we. A secret and under-skin society we, Unafraid to face facts- Willing to stare even death In the eyes. Laughing at quantum physics and Alternate universes:

Our playthings. Able to write our souls On a page, And admit all our sins With a pen. Ask us no questions And we’ll tell you No truths.

56

Rorschach Sky Who decides that the stars are Orion, Or a dipper or a bear? Or a lion? I don’t see what others see When I look up, when I look in.

  • I see something entirely new,

Something no one else has seen before.

  • I can’t see through a microscope or a telescope.

  • I don’t see what they tell me I should; They laugh at me and tell me

It’s plain. Why can’t I see what others see? Why can’t others see what I do? In the immense game of Connect the dots Which we all play, Why can’t I play well with others? They all agree… A lion, A bear, Orion. While I see Beings singing, A cosmic dance, A face, A unicorn… Or sometimes just The stars.

57

TILTING AT WINDMILLS

There you go again off to battle, with armor made of household items, some poor soul conscripted to be your Sancho Panza.

You see giants everywhere of your own making, so with a broomstick for a lance off you go.

Like the Gentlemen of old ever ready to throw down a gauntlet for a slight.

But you do not fight for fair Dulcinea, Nor tilt at windmills for love-

Rather you are always ready for battle, Just to protect your foolish pride.

58

Cognitive

The wheels are turning sparks are burning in my head

The clicking clacking thought not lacking in my head

And never stopping always working in my head

All gears are moving one another in my head

I

wish for freedom

from the turning

in my head

relentless motion makes me crazy in my head

The ticking tocking interlocking in my head

can not stop it try to stop it in my head

I

I

get distracted

fall off track then

in my head

The gears start slipping no clack clicking in my head

-I fall asleep

59

Non Trip to the Museum

The city moved

And shook me

To the core

The noise and heat

Sheer numbers of people

Bewildering

Mazes of streets

“Don’t stop, don’t stop”

Everything and everyone said

Colors, faces, places all a blur

Looking for a destination

That never materialized

Hoping for an oasis

there was only

concrete

and dusty spiritless

glass and steel and people

don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t…

60

Fall Requiem The strong winds rushed the river, Sending it to its destination ever faster. “There are no destinations,” Said its voice, “Only journeys.”

The water pounded the rocks

  • I relished the sound…

The few remaining birds Sang their dirge in the leafless trees- “Winter is coming, warmth is gone,” They lamented.

The water washed the shore

  • I relished the sight…

Red berries here and there Brighten the bleak landscape- The last offering of the bushes To fatten and sustain The tiny mourners.

The cold wind also sighed Through the trees- “It comes, it comes” And kissed my cheeks with a sting…

Then the first snow of winter began to fall.

61

TICK TOCK He hears the clock Beside his bed, It ticks away his life.

He lies awake And watches life Ebb and flow…

The sands in the Hourglass Make no sound But time moves Loudly here.

He is afraid that He hasn’t lived- And never will- And then he’ll die With nothing done ...

And the clock ticks, And the clock tocks, And the pendulum swings Back

Forth

And

Just for him ... He can’t slow it down He can’t speed it up He’s afraid of what it means.

The relentless progression Of time, It holds no meaning For him ... Because now He cannot move And he cannot progress And he really cannot Tell time.

62

Decomposition

Body gone

Mind too

One with

Dirt

63

String Theory

Everyone has voices in their head,”

He said.

“All the most creative people

Hear voices

Moses, Joan of Arc…”

I laughed,

Then sobered.

Where are my voices?

Did I hear them?

Have I missed them?

Ooooo- They are there.

They do not whisper

Divine revelation.

They whipsnake

Across my brain

In the dead of night

Breathing pink flame

That sears the soul.

64

I’m Having Tea With Alice

  • I have on my best hat

And I’ve shined my shoes, It isn’t my birthday at all- I’ve polished my eyeglass Plus polished my teeth, And waltzed my coat tree down the hall.

  • I sent out the invites Addressed all to me,

And answered them

Promptly (I RSVP).

  • I unmade the bed

Then re-made the cake, And got lots of milk for the tea.

  • I put on my best coat

Because it may rain, Then left my umbrella at home, I had tea with Alice A very odd girl that, Her hair really needed a comb.

So we all sipped politely From each other’s cups And shared deepest thoughts now and then. What a group! We’re so jolly- But she can’t do folly We won’t invite Alice again.

65

Schrödinger’s Cat is Hunting Us

We keep finding what we are looking for

only not what we would like to find.

We keep opening doors to the unknown

only to discover the same old thing.

We keep sneaking into Pandora’s box

only to unleash our sins again.

We keep cringing on in the same old way

only because we’re afraid to look.

So why is it that, time after time,

We keep hoping to find

something different?

66

Not Afraid Of Virginia Woolf

I was reading Virginia Woolf (Reading is my drug of choice) but not really reading per se--

More like experiencing her vision of the world and recognizing that world as one I often inhabit-

Swimming in a sea of impressions thinking/feeling muddled together

Sudden moments of absolute clarity cutting through Life’s facade and seeing one’s self and others through a magnifying glass and a telescope all at once-

Time passes quickly in a cascade of emotions stopping suddenly on a line of thought that leads only to chaos

67

Strange Quark There’s a scar on my hand That won’t go away And in three hours

  • I can go home

She said. When I look at myself

In the mirror

  • I am a different

Person each time She said. (Only two hours now)

My handwriting changes From day to day And I can’t think why She said. (twenty minutes).

  • I can’t stop

This endless fidgeting

  • I just change from

One twitch to another

Time to go home She said.

68

SURREAL PAINTING Life on speeded-up film Passes by me As I move in Super-slow motion

People rushing past

Thinking, feeling Making decisions (Some which even seem to involve me) but I am not affected

  • I feel nothing

  • I cannot tell

If life is passing me by Or if I am the Only one living

  • I rest on a park bench The pigeons madly Peck and coo Making grey blurs While I am still

My soul remains inviolate While my emotions scream in agony Until I turn The sound down

  • I cannot tell

If I am real Or if the sped-up world Rushing by me Is reality

My features stretch Then blur Then move no more And everything around me is Just streaks Of light…

69

I AM

The little girl holds out a picture of herself to passers by

“Do you know who I am?” she asks, her anguish apparent- no one answers

The young lady takes the picture and compares it to all the passers by

“Do you know who I am?” goes unanswered because she finds no match

The woman stares intently at the picture concentrating on the question-

“Do you know who I am?” but the emptiness and the silence prevail

Finally the crone throws the picture in the fire sits quietly watching it burn and seeing her own soul “Do you know who I am?” fades away as the soul finally answers “You Are”

70

Shock Value random lightening weakening exciting me

pink

red

blue

sizzlecrackle

electrons firing in my brain neurons atoms cells chemicals

dendrils connect

disconnect

electroshock therapy is nothing next to this.

71

QUANTUM TUNNELING I see you And you think that you see me

How good I have become at hiding my true self

Come and find me-

You have touched me once or twice And so you think that you own me now

That I am yours

Come and find me-

You saw a glimpse of hair A sheen of soul And think you know who I am

Come and find me-

My face is still hidden More terrible and more beautiful Than you can imagine

Come and find me-

The things I have seen

Have made my eyes old Could you bear them?

Come and find me-

Can you look into my eyes, uncovered Brave the glory of god Risk the turning to stone Learn what hides in the dark And see for one moment The things I have seen?

Come and find me-

Or will you too Give up Find someone easier to take

Turning your eyes away From splendor and from grief?

Come and find me-

72

Communion

I

am life

Sparkling and dancing

Bubbling and murmuring

Swirling and exciting

Ever moving

Ever changing

Reflecting your face

at the bottom of your

wineglass,

Waiting to be drunk to the dregs.

No more hesitation,

Put the glass

To your lips.

Taste me and

Drink your fill.

Give up your empty days and

Emptier nights

And start living.

I

am life.

73

Bibliography

Bell, Clive. “The Aesthetic Hypothesis.” Art. New York: Chatto & Windus, 1981. 15-34.

Dewey, John. Art as Experience. New York: Perigree, 1980. Chap. 1-2. 3-27.

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. “Chapters 1-3.” Introduction to Aesthetics (Berlin

Aesthetics Lectures of 1820s. Trans. T. M. Knox. Oxford: Clarendon Press,

1975. 1-14.

Heidegger, Martin.”The Origin of the Work of Art.” Poetry, Language, Thought. Trans. A.

Hofstader. Lectures 1 & 2. New York: Harper & Row, 1971. 32-48.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Aesthetic Judgement. Trans. J. C. Meredith. Sections 1-14,

16, 23-24, 28. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952.

Tolstoy, Leo. “On Art.” What is Art? and Essays on Art. Trans. A. Maude. London:

Oxford University Press, 1930. 46-61.