Sunday, September 27, 2009

7-Poem Dad Suite/Teknologee/Wendell Berry/

Ed Coletti 9-9-09 edcoletti@sbcglobal.net

7-Poem Suite For Dad

So Many Poems
(for John J. Coletti)


My father lies dying
(so many poems)
His chest rises and doesn’t
(so many poems)
then rises again
(This is our moment)
My beacon now phoenix
(so many poems)
I draw him,
soothe him
(so many poems)
I sponge his lips with cranberry
He sucks on it
(honey bee)
So many poems
he’ll never read —
has never read —
so many.


Sailing Towards My Father Dying


My beacon
a faint flicker
will sputter
extinguish
leave me utterly
beyond vision
stranded.



No Bullshit

Think you’ll make it
to your 95th birthday
next week?

I’ll try

Do you want to, Dad?

I don’t care

You okay with that,
no fears?

Nope, When you’re dead, you’re dead!”

our father

my younger sister
tendering farewell
one last time


the dying

day primeval
progenitor’s flame
failing bed beside
me writing something
of a forbearer nearest
then and now
no more always
this day tomorrow


Becoming Friends


As with death himself
I too sit close
to my father —
death all too close
I breathe hot to his cold
jealous we must share
my father, me exhaling,
death inhaling
No contest,
just a rhythm

My Own True Father Passing

I watched my father die
unencumbered by the Catholic hell
he provided me. He meant well.
I doubt he ever fully
swallowed communion
or my school named
American Martyrs
for Jesuit missionaries
(eyes boiled away by Huron Indians
who did not understand
this other hell)
and for an Indian maiden —
Katherine Tekawitha —
protecting her sacred virginity,
saved but for her life.

So as I prepare for my own death,
I recall my father,
both eyes open
to his past and future
unafraid
unexpectant
fearless.

What lesson can I,
exposed to childhood myths,
horrid legends disguised as truth,
learn?
How do I wager all eternity
upon the premise of integrity?

Just being here informs me
that I know my own open
blissfulness far outweighs
that remotest hell.

Why would I ever want to spend eternity
with a vengeful monster
whose idea of a relationship with mankind
includes narcissism, sado-masochism?
He ain’t no father

Why pretend to choose
to believe a fiction,
over my own true father passing?

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For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press three. Alice Kahn



How To Be a Poet

(to remind myself)

i

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

ii

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

iii

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

- Wendell Berry



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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

David Bromige 1933-2009

(Ed Coletti & David Bromige Petaluma Poetry Walk September 2007)


Just a Very Few of My Favorite David Bromige Passages

Step out of that frame
Tear free of that backing
It's your only chance
To start establishing your big mistake

(from " 'Then he was led, blindfold, into the predicate' ")



3 Ways with the Same Sentence


I've been looking for perfection
but still am permitted to sleep
on our mattress with its
broken spring next to the

completion of your body.

Not so much lately since
circumstance has seduced me
away from the initial fervor but
in youth as with a mission
invited debauchery & remember
incidents of tenderness &
sanity that baffled me.

Godknows—god of my fathers
I have questioned all I could
yet still found means to live
when I woke up this morning nor
hold much hope things won't
once I am gone continue.

I Read This Someplace

The lyre bird
amid the eucalyptus
listening for every sound he hears
to trip him into sound he makes.
He has no call or song
his own. He imitates. Each time
he utters something chances are
it is his soul that speaks.

The Death of Poetry

The bad news came.
You got thinner with each day
and less substantial.
The end in sight,
painful breathing from the next room
came and went throughout the night,
and with morning
much to our surprise
you were standing in the doorway
wearing a headdress of duckfeathers
and an oversize pair of British Wellys.
Your were off to compete in the triathlon.
We said, "That's poetry for you!"


2 Brief Passages from Spade

In these pictures of Cambridge
They'll say, 200 years from now,
"Look at that old bridge—& Bromige,
There, next to that wall...Now
This guy here I don't know what
He's on, he cd talk very well w/o
Slipping up, but it never meant
Anything, a phantom language"...

I wish I shared my co-author's
Faith in afterlife upon afterlife.
We will never see, hear you
Again, dear Thom (ed: Gunn).
Never write this poem again.
And you will never read it—
Lucky you!


The Crux

We assume
what we can leave unsaid,
What can we assume —
one day we'll be dead.

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Rockpile Michael Rothenberg (also see below) reminds us of his wonderful world tour with David Meltzer. Check out this link.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Henry Miller Died Happy//Poets' Forum/Swede&Haiku/DiPrima (scroll down to see everything)

Flash: Congratulations to our good friend Amy Trussell selected as a finalist in the Crazyhorse Linda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize competition.
Henry Miller On Painting

The more I paint, the more I appreciate Henry Miller and his philosophy of painting. These are 3 of his. What follows are some of his remarks and those of others in his great essay "Paint As You Like and Die Happy."

"Usually what is taught in school must be unlearned...life is the teacher, and one of the first questions thrown at one is 'Who influenced you? That one looks like a Chagall.'....another looking at the same painting says 'I see that you have been influenced by Paul Klee' (Ed: I've gotten both of these)...certainly I (Miller) have, but there are hundreds of painters who have influenced me."


And Lawrence Durrell in his preface says "If you wished to draw the arm of a chair or an airplane, you closed your eyes and wished for it to form under your brush. Also you used whatever resources you had of memory or drawing... but the main effort was just to will the image...this image would form itself...without all the effort of building it by rule or precept but taking it as one...not a life class...one had short circuited all the drudgery of practice by this immoral and low down procedure...but I must not pretend that it was infallible...it did not always fall out as you might wish...sometimes obstinacy set in, and, instead of what you wanted, you got an unwanted Japanese umbrella or a runaway horse or a forest fire...in this instance, nothing could be done but to have good humor and fall in with the inevitable ...you entitled the work "Fire At Night" and people praised your 'savage realism'...but what's to be done, you just nodded gratefully and walked away. Henry and I consoled ourselves with the realization that many of the masterpieces of this world were accidents or at least semi accidents and that even the expectations of the great artists did not match their works...Sometimes too, haphazard work deviated into sense dropping the original intention....

"I never had formal training, and the lessons I took from artist friends convinced me that I am incapable of learning through instruction, that I must find out for myself through trial and error. In other words, I learn as I go along, absorbing only what I need for the time being. I alwaysread with glee that certain painters I adore were failures at the academy -- sometimes pronounced "hopeless" by their instructors. And who were their instructors? Their names are unknown or forgotten. One thing is certain: they never became great painters (Even a great painter like Gaugin, who was also a great teacher, could get nowhere with Van Gogh.) Usually what is taught in school must be unlearned, life is the teacher.

"Naturally in the work of self taught artists there occur what might be called "monstrosities" -- monstrosities that are accidental, not willed-- in such paintings, all the canons of art seem to be violated (Now, David, you understand why I shrink a bit from you and Harris attempting to emulate the "canon" something like Harold Bloom, who, by the way, is a valuable critic) One might imagine that such products are the work of an insane person but if one is really familiar with the work of the insane, one would not make such a mistake.


"In the case of my own work I must confess that these monstrosities often grow on me, that I get to like them and appreciate them more than the more successful ones. (Success, of course, as judged by my own standards of realization.) I have friends who request me to save my 'failures' for them. Months later, when I see these failures framed and hanging on their walls, I realize that they have qualities that I never dreamed of when I tossed them aside. What I regarded as the bad elements in them suddenly acquire charm and distinction. No real artist could make such mistakes, such meaningless forms or patterns, as these failures reveal. The very wrongness adds spice to the painting, it would seem. After one has acquired some mastery over the medium it is obviously difficult to do the wrong thing. To my amazement it has often happened that another artist, a good artist, looking at one of my failures has spoken warmly of it. Sometimes I have even heard them murmur, 'I wish I had the courage to do one like that!' Which makes me think about why we are so often bored with so-called good people, or with artists who are perfectionists. Or why, sometimes, we have to admit to ourselves that a touch of evil in an individual lends him a magnetic quality....

"...What I am trying to point out is that these failures, or monstrosities, are a result of my faith in the virtue of letting things happen. When looking at these products many individuals think that I am expressing my sociological views. They look for ideas, for signs of protest, for rebelliousness. They do not want to believe that the painting in question just happened. Or, if they concede this, then they begin to talk about the subconscious or such-like twaddle. There must be a reason for everything, even the accidental, they think. Perhaps there is; perhaps the spectator is capable of telling things about one's work that the creator himself does not know. But my quarrel with these analytical individuals is, why can't they accept what they see without trying to explain it? After all, the truest thing one can say about creative work, in whatever field, is that there is an element of magic in it. Pure reason leads nowhere, unless it be to the analyst's couch. The necessity to analyze, to understand, to categorize, answers to some basic need in the onlooker. He cannot rest suspended in thin air. He must know,know the reason why, and in doing so he kills what he sees. How much more interesting and instructive it is to ask a child what he thinks of one's work. Often, after a session with intellectual individuals I feel like saying, 'It's your problem. Don't ask me what it means."

Now try this on from Jean Dubuffet as quoted by Miller:

This much is sure, a picture interests me to the degree I succeed in kindling in it a kind of flame -- the flame of life of presence, or existence, or reality, depending on what we take these words to mean. To be sure, it often happens with me that my picture lacks this quality...In any case, I go on working, I add and I take away, I change, I revise (notice that I work empirically, like a blind man, experimenting with every kind of means), until a certain extraordinary release occurs in the picture, and from then on it seems to me endowed with this very life -- excuse me, reality. How can this be accounted for ? I have no idea. I never know how I produced it, or how to repeat the same effect. It is a mysterious happening, and because of its very mysteriousness it drives me again and again to renew the experience each time I make a picture....


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Poets' Forum (water color by Ed Coletti)

If you're a poet and missing, take comfort that so are Geoffrey Chaucer and John Milton.

fyi - Diane DiPrima is San Francisco's New Poet Laureate

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George Swede's Guidelines for haiku:

Swede makes it abundantly clear what he thinks constitutes a good haiku. In the Global Haiku intro, he outlines eight commonly used haiku guidelines, then eliminates a few to come up with his five ultimate rules of good haiku.

1. haiku must be brief: one breath long

2. haiku must express sense of awe or insight

3. haiku must involve some aspect of nature other than human nature

4. haiku must possess sense images, not generalizations

5. haiku must present an event as happening presently, not past or future

As long as the haiku gives the reader short yet sensual images, a haiku can be effective.

A few examples of Swede's work:

on the face
that last night called me names—
morning sunbeam

almost unseen
among the tangled driftwood
naked lovers

Young widow
Asks for another
fortune cookie

first warm spring day
I take my shadow
for a walk


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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Madgalene's Kali/Herron's Osiris/ 7 Coletti Paintings





Kali
by David Madgalene published by Round Barn Press April 2009 (cover art Ed Coletti's Streetcar)


























Mattie Sue

(from Kali)

Say I never knew a gal like you Mattie Sue.
Say you sure knew how to do the do.
No, I never loved a gal like I love you,
but, Mattie darling, no, you couldn't do right.
You had to go and pull out your knife.
Didn't have no money for the funeral home,
so me and my brother, yeah, we did the job.
We took you on down to the burying ground.
We dug us a hole and we laid you down.
Then we threw the mud all in your pretty face,
but not before I got me one last kiss…
Couldn't find no preacher say a prayer for you,
so I got me a Bible did the best I could.
Say “Jesus, sir, Mattie Sue didn't please you,
but I got something I want you to do.
Hear me, sir Jesus, Lord, hear me well—
If you can't take Mattie Sue in Heaven,
Send me straight to Hell.”
Then I went home and I got my shotgun.
I went and shot the white trash that shot you.
Say I shot his mama, shot his daddy too.
Aint no white trash mess with my Mattie Sue.
Say the posse gonna string me up tonight,
but, Mattie baby, I don't care to fight.
Sheriff leave me hanging but that's all right—
cause my brother he know what to do.

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Elizabeth C. Herron's If Osiris









If Osiris

As if he had been dismembered
and reassembled by a team
of drunken surgeons, his skin ridged
with red welted scars reminded me
that once a god lived and died each year

in the round of earth’s growing cycle,
his severed limbs -- his feet and hands
and head and guts, his fingers and knees
thrown to the fields that the soil might be fertile.
You could take my heart and cut it into giblets

if you could make something of it,
if you could cast the twisted pieces of your own
with all that is salt and sunder between us,
if you could gather our dismembered lives
and make as good a harvest as the earth we eat.

elizabeth c herron

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8 Ed Coletti Paintings

I've decided to post these here because No Money In Poetry is not updated as frequently as the P3, and therefore constitutes a less changeable place to send folks who want to view my paintings.




"
"Quetzalcoatl," "Rare Bird," "Firebird," "Rose Window XII," "Paddle," "White Spaces" and "Nafisa"

































Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ocean/Two by Lu/ Jack Foley on Inaugural Poem

Painting "Ocean" by Ed Coletti (watercolor and archival ink)

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Two Poems by Luis Garcia





(Photo of Lu Garcia reading in Santa Rosa
at Ed Coletti's SoCoCo at the Toad series 1-11-09)



STILL

I still love to walk in the sun
with a story on the tip of my tongue.

I still love to walk in the sun
with a song on the tip of my tongue.

I still love to kneel
in the presence of the sun

with a blossom on the tip of my tongue.
I still love to seek out

those sacred times,
those sacred places.

THIRSTY

Trying
to write poetry
for me

has always been
and I think
will always be

like trying to squeeze
the last drop
out of a forgone conclusion

or the word ill
out of the word
illusion

or water
from the dry mouth
of a thirsty bone

or speech
from the empty mouth
of a rolling stone.

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The following letter to inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander was written by notable Berkeley poet Jack Foley on January 27, 2009 and is reprinted with his permission. It will also be published in Contemporary Poetry Review--an online magazine.

Dear Ms. Alexander,


I have long considered whether to write this note about your inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day.”


It may well be better to let the matter (and the poem) be forgotten, as I believe they will be. Or if remembered, remembered only as still another dull poem written for still another presidential inauguration. I wondered whether you showed the poem to anyone before you decided it was “finished.” Surely a clumsy line like “We need to find a place where we are safe; we walk into that which we cannot yet see” might have been improved. From a purely musical point of view, didn’t you have difficulty saying “we walk into that which we cannot yet see”?


Nobody sets out to write a bad poem, yet, unfortunately, many bad poems have been achieved. Just about any poet of any distinction is guilty of writing badly at times. And I realize that you’ve written far better poems than the one you displayed for the entire nation to see.


But that is what is depressing about it.


Here was an opportunity to show millions of people—millions of people—what an exciting thing poetry is. Look at what you gave them. Look at what you gave all those people who think poetry is dull, genteel, a form of little interest—a dead thing. You gave great affirmation to their opinion; without meaning to, and I’m sure with the best of intentions, you drove still another nail into the coffin of poetry.


I'm sorry to be writing this because I think you are basically a good poet. But now a bad, banal, rhetorically dull poem will be presented to the American people as an example of the high reaches of the art. What a shame.


Sincerely,

Jack Foley

P.S. If you wish to find out anything about me, there’s a Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Foley_(poet)#Biography


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