fluther of jellyfish

lost 16: fluther of jellyfish
drawn with another soft rank to create a slow undulation similar; in word-spotting baboons that familiar faint roaring – voix celeste spellbound. it nestles round the scalp a vague thing, a pity object, a love object, familiar. done, vast, kite, but not dran, itsc lons. wat, the fringe of the near dark, the same cobweb dangling, my poor old vegetable. creak of air compressed through his larynx, crabwise restorative, he edged: oh i’m so confused says alice, the dormouse denying possible thens, the blankness of waiting, merely a felonious bot. am i real? i hardly feel/it. without mishap through the mirror if jellyfish inherit the oceans, sudden increase of water content in their gels, a float of jellyfish, a fluther shore to shore – oh dear, you forgot the castor oil, castors, castor beans, castor sugar the cast that makes woman sound like a four-letter word… hydra anemone and dance like a wave of the sea. ords/non-ords, dl and sr not yet sl and dr fine. he knew from the inside he was wild and this was a wild night; only his hat was a friend you can have my girl but don’t touch my hat murmurs lyle lovett, aside. grand ophicleide 130 db, it’s time to kill off the captchas – cnidocytes and all cnidarians, do you know where your captcha is, what it could be saying about you? what it denies? meanwhile the white dwarfs flame out, the dentist and the manicurist marry but fight tooth and nail, zombie bees litter the zone of light at the foot of streetlamps, jumping genes and tentacles turn soft eyes, unda maris, wave of the sea, very soft rank tuned slightly sharp or flat.

and dance like a wave of the sea, from the Fiddler of Dooney, W.B. Yeats

Thought du jour
“It’s amazing how quickly nature consumes human places after we turn our backs on them. Life is a hungry thing.”
Scott Westerfeld (1963-), U.S.-born science fiction author

I’m enjoying the recent questions about whether emotion is being lost in Canadian poetry; they tie in with questions about what’s ‘happening’ to poetry in general. What are these crazy poems all about anyway, and why smack one idea up against an unrelated one, much less do it over and over. Why break up syntax? Here’s a poem for poetry month from Poem-a Day (The Academy of American Poets, from yesterday) using similar ideas, so they are as crazy as we are. Emotion in this poem? What think you…

Scientific Method
by Adam Clay








Twenty-three percent when placed under
intense pressure did in fact kick
the door in. Soldiers creep on the other side
of the turn. Every little thing
is destined for ease. Music, be still.
Keep the mannequin secrets
to yourself. Remember a ladder
can take you both up and down.
The weather grows less stable
than us. This line here is where
the season starts. Spring seems
fluorescently golden. Too much
milk in the fridge. When left alone
long enough, the prisoners
began to interrogate themselves.

One more thing today: I’m a new Ipod owner, and having worked out many of the intricacies of turning it on, linking it up, downloading music from the internet and from my own CDs, I set out for my walks listening to random sets of what I have put on the little machine with wires and earplugs. A friend mentioned he preferred the Goldberg Variations by Angela Hewitt, but I’ve always liked the Gould version, listened for his voice underneath the notes. So this by Don MacKay pinpricked something in my mind and poetic heart. It comes via Southword magazine out of Ireland which, in this issue, features Canadian poets (via Riddle Fence Magazine.)

Glen Gould, humming

not along with the music, which isn’t listening,
but to the animal inside the instrument,
muffling the perfections of hammer, pedal,
wire, the whole
tool-kit, humming
he furs the air,
paints an exquisite velvet painting of a far-off country
where the rain falls
contrapuntally the wind lies on the land
like a hand caressing a cat’s back, humming
“this is your death, which is but a membrane away,
which is but a leaf, turning,
which is falling in these delicate
explicit fingers, as you have always known,
and worn, though only we,
the instrumentalists,
have found a way to sing it for you.

“Glenn Gould, humming” from Apparatus by Don McKay © 1997.

blockflöte clarabel

Lost 15: the blockflöte clarabel crust

everything i know she said putting the yogurt back in the fridge half-eaten my mom or my granny vox humana taught me in a moving morgue equipped with foresight, a crust of different thicknesses over the ooze, a vehicle; she was packing the touch of a moth. the feeling now, cloud of bats erst of bees gulp of cormorants covert of coots bench of bishops blush of boys – the cough tickle of a firm ground in life, blockflöte clarabel flute variant. yes, yes, a semiautomatic pistol and a revolver, the newborn discovered still alive in its coffin in the funeral parlour gloria steinem’s I do not like to write – I like to have written and the butterflies’ wet wrigglings from their luminous jade cases; diapason backbone 8′ on a manual the note an attenuated amen that stands in the cold air, hangs in the branches of pines, interrupts a communion of rabbits and the operation, just like your fuckin’ mother: the police go in, find in her home four pounds of/ good judgement a/ witty conversationalist and/ (line endings thanks to john barton) a hilltop lost in mist heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;/ in life, in death, O lord, abide with me

The italicized last lines from Abide With me, hymn by Henry Francis Lyte, 1847.

And with his permission, a critical comment from Grant Savage on yesterday’s poem:

Lots of interesting material. Like your poem. Particularly struck by the line “When he was young and paunchless” (but not punchless). Heart and paunch growing … arteries shrinking! Would particularly agree with the idea that the intellectual public fears emotion (and happiness) however well expressed. You can get as sexual as you want, name all the fluids and body parts, as long as you’re not too happily involved in them. Perhaps a residue of (English) Canada’s excessively and exaggeratedly Victorian (colonial) antecedents. By the way, it did strike me as good, your today’s poem Claudia, but a little darker and more serious … without some of the bright almost silly (happy?) moments of some of your others. Grant.

Comments are most welcome, favourable or not. Arguments are good too!

In today’s mail grain magazine, (attractive cover!), and on first dig, poems that look like they will interest me, like Tim Bowling’s first place poem in the Short Grain Contest. The judge was Jeremy Dodds, and the prizewinners somewhat reflect his own edgy work, but not completely. A good selection, the bar high in this contest.

Also got from Turtle Light Press, a beautiful anthology, Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku. Edited by Raffael de Gruttola, afterword by Kathleen O’Toole. The book design is gorgeous, making me even more eager to read these poems by an American haiku master. Now all I need is the time to read, but I’ll fit that in. As the blog says, all I do is write, write, write, and read.

Another package today from Scrivener Press, who printed Haiku Canada’s 35th Members’ Anthology, Touch of a Moth. I opened it to find bookmarks to go with the books, (that are sitting here behind a living room chair in cartons until our Haiku Canada Weekend in May) complete in themselves as little artworks.

A note: April 19 Is Holocaust Remembrance Day

This was on facebook from the New Yorker:

(I imagine poets who are asked for blurbs must sometimes feel the same about it. Once I asked someone, and he frankly said that he never wrote blurbs, though he loved my poems. Ah, we’re caught, poor poets, between ever more closely enclosing walls)

April 17, 2012 (I’m cutting it down, but the whole article is terrific…)
Blurb Your Enthusiasm
Posted by Adam Mansbach

Dear Novelist,
So you’d be honored if I blurbed your book? Me too! I can hardly wait to dive right in. However, due to the overwhelming number of requests I receive, I have instituted a new, comprehensive pricing system. Before proceeding, please consult this chart for reference.
You are under twenty-five. (+$100)
This is your first book. (+$100)
This is your first book in a decade. (+$150)
You’re still using the author photo from your “promising début.” (+$75)
I know you. (-$50)
I met you once. (-$20)
We made out at a party. (+$25)
We were once published in an anthology together. (+$75)
You are making this request live on the air during the only NPR interview of my career. (+$125)
The first word of your two-word title is a gerund. (+$75)
The word after the gerund in your two-word title is a proper noun masquerading as a regular noun, i.e. “Losing Ground,” a novel about a man named Peter Ground. (+$250)
Your novel is a retelling of another novel from the perspective of a minor character, a piece of furniture, or a magical being who did not appear in the original. (+$275)
You are a former spoken-word artist. (+$325)
You are my former student. (-$5)
You have attached a PDF of your entire manuscript to this e-mail. (+$300)
You have an M.F.A. (+$100)
From a low-residency program. (-$100)
Now count up your total.
Got it? Add $25,000.
Thank you for your request. The answer is no.
Illustration by Philippe Petit-Roulet.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/04/blurb-your-enthusiasm.html#ixzz1sRjetMCr