Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Raven with the Buddha's Face/Cranes/Critical Silence/Ungulations:Review/ Rick Posner's “1967”/
















Joyce Coletti Collages

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A Gift

Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.

- Denise Levertov




To a poet,
silence is
an acceptable response,
even a flattering one.

- Colette, author (1873-1954)

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1967

by Rick Posner

Otis sleeping in the deep six of Lake Mendota,
his body sinking under lead-vested loneliness,
his soul too rich for his own good.


Che laid out like a suckling pig
by the Bolivian cowards.
“ Shoot,” he said, “You are only killing a man!”

Lenny on the toilet with a needle hanging,
thinking about his next court date, all the betrayals
and all the fools and kings.
(Uncle Miltie smirking in the wings, whoopee cushion in hand.)

Who else bit the dust in ‘67?

Coltrane as high as you can get,
down on all fours ,
being whipped into submission by a raging cancer,
just when he couldn’t get any looser or free.

‘67 slugged it to them
‘67 dampened the spirits.
‘67 buried the muse
‘67 choked the chicken

Woody G. fading away…
Disowned by his old Oklahoma home,
his voice trailing the tears of ramshackle migrant misery.



Sandburg buried in his humility,
up to his neck in the arms and legs of humanness.
Left to the dogs of time,
lapping at his carcass.

Johnny Keane freed from making choices (in both leagues.)
No more Gibson glares when he came to get him in the eighth.
Bombing under pressure in the Bronx.
Breaking his heart like a splintered bat.

Spencer Tracy drenched in his drunken sweat as
Death began sawing down his tree with a wry smile.

Newark: burned and abused.
Blue-shirts beating their brothers.
26, dead as door nails.
No one knew their names.

Dorothy Parker, Claude Rains and countless naves and naïfs
Dead in alleys, dirty beds and hallways,
All swept by the tide,
Washed up like shriveled jellyfish.
Their last whines and wheezes
gasping for one more try
and zero thoughts of heaven-

Nineteen Sixty-Seven.

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Ungulations:Ten Waves(Under The Hoof) A. diMichele & Amy Trussell (Surregional Press, Slidell, Louisiana 2011)

First, the caveat that Amy Trussell is a friend of mine. Then the apology for the disclaimer. The brilliance of friends may be overlooked when familiarity breeds, not contempt, but rather an intimacy beyond which it becomes difficult to immediately notice something much bigger. However, since I became familiar with Amy Trussell's work before I knew Amy, my respect preceded my friendship, and the latter put a face and a heart on the work. I do not know A. diMichele in the same way. Therefore, my respect for him comes from this work and his association with Amy Trussell.

Ungulations is that type of poetry book which defies, even laughs at explanation. So I will be brief here and suggest that you pick up a copy and lose yourself in it. Amy Trussell is a moon worshipper who exhalts the deer and celebrates the Goddess, but far far more deeply than do those who use the term with its typical loose associations. Amy is deeply rooted in a mythology which rises above myth. She is quite literal about the moon, "0 shamanka luna,"

di Michele and Trussell open similarly to Dante with

we take armorica bread to a descent unknown
through fogs of gel and slithering
where rainbows forget the log lit fires

and the iris and the pupil are reversed

Yoking the Christian and Pagan, saint bridhe galloped sans mare.../...spare the lilith-faeries our trespasses. And Witches abound with a fleet of cauldrons hissing and i throw comfrey in the pot with some old bones.

There are scholarly allusions done Irish-Indian-beautifully,

burning earthen waxforms of bran or kukulcan for
the yeats-ganesh rite, mashing persimmons in the night
in front of hestia's fireplace
smell of yeast rising from the middle of the earth

And, both despite and due to their being scholarly poets, di Michele and Trussell hold my interest all the more when their use of arcana also seems to pay homage to such more modern "gods" as TS Eliot with this echo,

yama yemaya am, i (one equals
= everyone, mounds, all-my-relations)

This book yokes world myths to present realities. A young witch who scuba dives while i can only douse my head. And the myths run from Irish to Indian to African and back again with what seems to be as much intimately known as it is researched. Arcane esoterica frames a horrendous auto accident,

she is driving but arianhod quasar is at this silver wheel
almanac

and we are bound for manonia

Such use of myth and ritual to describe present "realities" abounds. The authors connect Indian saints from the epic of Hanuman with a tether to domesticity,

now to bake orange hagiograpy cake

I now end as I began. Pick up a copy of this epic. Immerse yourself in it. Google its many exotic references. Learn as you go. Let your spirit rise with the soaring poetry. (Point of contact mesechabe@hotmail.com OR amytrussell@earthlink.net

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