Letters Of The Unliving by Mina Loy

 

Mina Loy by Man Ray.  Image found at  http://www.wikiart.org

 

Letters Of The Unliving

 

The present implies presence
thus
unauthorized by the present
these letters are left authorless —
have lost all origin
since the inscribing hand
lost life.

The harshness of the past
croaks,
from creased leaves
covered with unwritten writing
since death’s erasure
of the writer —
erased the lover

Well-chosen and so ill-relinquished
the husband heartsease —
acme of communion —

made euphonious
our esoteric universe.

Ego’s oasis now’s
the sole companion.

My body and my reason
you left to the drought of your dying:
the longing and the lack
of a racked creature
shouting
to an unanswering hiatus
‘reunite us!’

till slyly
patience creeps up on passion
and the elation of youth
dwindles out of season.

Agony
ends in an equal grave
with ecstasy.

An uneasy mist
rises from this calligraphy of recollection
documenting a terror of dementia.

This package of ago
creaks with the horror of echo.

The bloom of love
decoyed
to decay by the finger
of Hazard the swindler —
deathly handler who leaves
no post-mortem mask
but a callous earth.

Posing the extreme enigma
in my Bewilderness
can your face excelling Adonis
have ceased to be
or ever have had existence?

With you no longer the addresser
there is no addressee
to dally with defunct reality.

Can one who still has being
be inexistent?

I am become
dumb
in answer
to your dead language of amor.

Diminuendo
of life’s imposture
implies no possible retrial
by my present self —
my cloud-corpse
beshadowing your shroud.

The one I was with you:
inhumed in chasms.
No creator
reconstrues scar-tissue
to shine as birth-star.

But to my sub-cerebral surprise
at last on blase sorrow
dawns an iota of disgust
for life’s intemperance:

‘As once you were’

Withhold your ghostly reference
to the sweet once were we.

Leave me
my final illiteracy
of memory’s languor —

my preference
to drift in lenient coma
an older Ophelia
on Lethe.

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Her Kind by Anne Sexton

anne sexton 2

 

I have gone out, a possessed witch,

haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

get paid millions to lounge about

You have to really love to write

Peedeel's Blog

Most writers can’t make a living writing. This surprises some people. In fact, since I started doing the research for this piece and have been able to throw around specific figures regarding likely incomes, I have flummoxed more than a few people, who seem to think that writers get paid millions to lounge about in their pyjamas and slippers, or at least can afford groceries like most normal folks.

It’s estimated that fewer than 1000 fiction writers in North America make a living from their writing…

[and] income from writing is back loaded. That is, you write the book, edit the book, wait for the book to be published  (which can take up to two years after it has been accepted)  do publicity for the book and often start a second book without seeing much more payment than the first half of your advance. So, unless you have another source…

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The Sisters by Amy Lowell

In honor of National Poetry Month, I will be posting a favorite poem by a favorite poet every day this month.  First off is “The Sisters” by Amy Lowell.  I love the chattiness of this poem.  I would have loved to have had a cup of tea & a chat with Miss Lowell!

 

amy-lowell

image found at http://www.berfrois.com

The Sisters

Taking us by and large, we’re a queer lot
We women who write poetry. And when you think
How few of us there’ve been, it’s queerer still.
I wonder what it is that makes us do it,
Singles us out to scribble down, man-wise,
The fragments of ourselves. Why are we
Already mother-creatures, double-bearing,
With matrices in body and in brain?
I rather think that there is just the reason
We are so sparse a kind of human being;
The strength of forty thousand Atlases
Is needed for our every-day concerns.
There’s Sapho, now I wonder what was Sapho.
I know a single slender thing about her:
That, loving, she was like a burning birch-tree
All tall and glittering fire, and that she wrote
Like the same fire caught up to Heaven and held there,
A frozen blaze before it broke and fell.
Ah, me! I wish I could have talked to Sapho,
Surprised her reticences by flinging mine
Into the wind. This tossing off of garments
Which cloud the soul is none too easy doing
With us to-day. But still I think with Sapho
One might accomplish it, were she in the mood
To bare her loveliness of words and tell
The reasons, as she possibly conceived them,
Of why they are so lovely. Just to know
How she came at them, just to watch
The crisp sea sunshine playing on her hair,
And listen, thinking all the while ’twas she
Who spoke and that we two were sisters
Of a strange, isolated little family.
And she is Sapho—Sapho—not Miss or Mrs.,
A leaping fire we call so for convenience;
But Mrs. Browning—who would ever think
Of such presumption as to call her “Ba.”
Which draws the perfect line between sea-cliffs
And a close-shuttered room in Wimpole Street.
Sapho could fly her impulses like bright
Balloons tip-tilting to a morning air
And write about it. Mrs. Browning’s heart
Was squeezed in stiff conventions. So she lay
Stretched out upon a sofa, reading Greek
And speculating, as I must suppose,
In just this way on Sapho; all the need,
The huge, imperious need of loving, crushed
Within the body she believed so sick.
And it was sick, poor lady, because words
Are merely simulacra after deeds
Have wrought a pattern; when they take the place
Of actions they breed a poisonous miasma
Which, though it leave the brain, eats up the body.
So Mrs. Browning, aloof and delicate,
Lay still upon her sofa, all her strength
Going to uphold her over-topping brain.
It seems miraculous, but she escaped
To freedom and another motherhood
Than that of poems. She was a very woman
And needed both.
If I had gone to call,
Would Wimpole Street have been the kindlier place,
Or Casa Guidi, in which to have met her?
I am a little doubtful of that meeting,
For Queen Victoria was very young and strong
And all-pervading in her apogee
At just that time. If we had stuck to poetry,
Sternly refusing to be drawn off by mesmerism
Or Roman revolutions, it might have done.
For, after all, she is another sister,
But always, I rather think, an older sister
And not herself so curious a technician
As to admit newfangled modes of writing—
“Except, of course, in Robert, and that is neither
Here nor there for Robert is a genius.”
I do not like the turn this dream is taking,
Since I am very fond of Mrs. Browning
And very much indeed should like to hear her
Graciously asking me to call her “Ba.”
But then the Devil of Verisimilitude
Creeps in and forces me to know she wouldn’t.
Convention again, and how it chafes my nerves,
For we are such a little family
Of singing sisters, and as if I didn’t know
What those years felt like tied down to the sofa.
Confounded Victoria, and the slimy inhibitions
She loosed on all us Anglo-Saxon creatures!
Suppose there hadn’t been a Robert Browning,
No “Sonnets from the Portuguese” would have been written.
They are the first of all her poems to be,
One might say, fertilized. For, after all,
A poet is flesh and blood as well as brain
And Mrs. Browning, as I said before,
Was very, very woman. Well, there are two
Of us, and vastly unlike that’s for certain.
Unlike at least until we tear the veils
Away which commonly gird souls. I scarcely think
Mrs. Browning would have approved the process
In spite of what had surely been relief;
For speaking souls must always want to speak
Even when bat-eyed, narrow-minded Queens
Set prudishness to keep the keys of impulse.
Then do the frowning Gods invent new banes
And make the need of sofas. But Sapho was dead
And I, and others, not yet peeped above
The edge of possibility. So that’s an end
To speculating over tea-time talks
Beyond the movement of pentameters
With Mrs. Browning.
But I go dreaming on,
In love with these my spiritual relations.
I rather think I see myself walk up
A flight of wooden steps and ring a bell
And send a card in to Miss Dickinson.
Yet that’s a very silly way to do.
I should have taken the dream twist-ends about
And climbed over the fence and found her deep
Engrossed in the doing of a humming-bird
Among nasturtiums. Not having expected strangers,
She might forget to think me one, and holding up
A finger say quite casually: “Take care.
Don’t frighten him, he’s only just begun.”
“Now this,” I well believe I should have thought,
“Is even better than Sapho. With Emily
You’re really here, or never anywhere at all
In range of mind.” Wherefore, having begun
In the strict centre, we could slowly progress
To various circumferences, as we pleased.
We could, but should we? That would quite depend
On Emily. I think she’d be exacting,
Without intention possibly, and ask
A thousand tight-rope tricks of understanding.
But, bless you, I would somersault all day
If by so doing I might stay with her.
I hardly think that we should mention souls
Although they might just round the corner from us
In some half-quizzical, half-wistful metaphor.
I’m very sure that I should never seek
To turn her parables to stated fact.
Sapho would speak, I think, quite openly,
And Mrs. Browning guard a careful silence,
But Emily would set doors ajar and slam them
And love you for your speed of observation.

Strange trio of my sisters, most diverse,
And how extraordinarily unlike
Each is to me, and which way shall I go?
Sapho spent and gained; and Mrs. Browning,
After a miser girlhood, cut the strings
Which tied her money-bags and let them run;
But Emily hoarded—hoarded—only giving
Herself to cold, white paper. Starved and tortured,
She cheated her despair with games of patience
And fooled herself by winning. Frail little elf,
The lonely brain-child of a gaunt maturity,
She hung her womanhood upon a bough
And played ball with the stars—too long—too long—
The garment of herself hung on a tree
Until at last she lost even the desire
To take it down. Whose fault? Why let us say,
To be consistent, Queen Victoria’s.
But really, not to over-rate the queen,
I feel obliged to mention Martin Luther,
And behind him the long line of Church Fathers
Who draped their prurience like a dirty cloth
About the naked majesty of God.
Good-bye, my sisters, all of you are great,
And all of you are marvellously strange,
And none of you has any word for me.
I cannot write like you, I cannot think
In terms of Pagan or of Christian now.
I only hope that possibly some day
Some other woman with an itch for writing
May turn to me as I have turned to you
And chat with me a brief few minutes. How
We lie, we poets! It is three good hours
I have been dreaming. Has it seemed so long
To you? And yet I thank you for the time
Although you leave me sad and self-distrustful,
For older sisters are very sobering things.
Put on your cloaks, my dears, the motor’s waiting.
No, you have not seemed strange to me, but near,
Frightfully near, and rather terrifying.
I understand you all, for in myself—
Is that presumption? Yet indeed it’s true—
We are one family. And still my answer
Will not be any one of yours, I see.
Well, never mind that now. Good night! Good night!

(1925)

Beacon?

Let’s get this straight right now. NOBODY NEEDS THEIR PHONES. NOTHING IS THAT IMPORTANT. Even if someone close to you is dying or just died, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about it. & checking your phone every few minutes isn’t a solution to grief. Nor is it a way to manage your life & get anything done. The best thing to do is to focus on THE WORK AT HAND.

But in this 21st-century world where “feelings” matter more than logical thought or disciplined emotional response, I am not surprised that this is happening. Expect more of this.

hughcurtler

On one of my favorite shows on ESPN recently there was a discussion around the table about the new football coach at the Arizona Cardinals who has announced that he will take a break every so often in team meetings to allow the players to check with their phones. There were about a half-dozen people around the table and all of them, except for the main man (a graduate of Northwestern University I am ashamed to say), pilloried the coach calling the move “childish,” or “foolish,” and simply stupid –an attempt to prove his coaching methods are “cutting edge,” an attempt to draw attention to himself, perhaps.

The main man at the table (whom I generally agree with) disagreed heartily with the entire group saying that the younger generation are wedded to their phones and coaches generally need to tailor their approach to the generation they are dealing with. These…

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