Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Esquisse and Incubare

Insomnia, Part Four

Can you handle more late afternoon communiqués from this puss-filled, brain-damaged, hot-hot-hot me?

There are some relative newbies to the blog, and if my brief introduction to them at another social (but never the socialist, how long shall I be denied?) web site -- dedicated to the prospect that most anyone is a poet -- OH, CAST THIS SENTENCE INTO HELL'S PIT.

There are new Readers aboard.  They come from two main sources, pools of candidates drawn from their cool, dank waters by curiosity, and fear.  The trustworthy ones, with whom you'd leave your babe-in-arms for the weekend -- with a minimum of Pampers, four jars of strained organic peas, and an extra dark-dyed onesies to hide the spills -- are from this place called All Poetry.  That's right, optimists dressed up in smeared black eye-liner, but who will coo for the baby as soon as your back is turned and your ear obstructed by layers of doors, and a mile or two.  Ah, but the shifty-eyed devils, mostly men with severely scraped faces, clinging to the dangling scraps of their dissipating morality, mummies come unwrapped, are panicked Walmart pharmacists and mid-managers.

If you're of new readership but deny the provenance I just outlined, well, please, make yourself at home.  No childcare duties for you, no burden of instant animus.

Yesterday was a good day.  I put in almost eight hours of uninterrupted domestic labor and The Manor reflected my work in smells of polish and cleansers, in neatly made beds, and with the faint suggestion of the scales I practiced on Fred's piano every time I happened to pass by.  There was pain galore but manageable, until it wasn't and so I quit, happy with the hope of maybe sleeping well as recompense.

Hopes dashed, I got up to do more laundry, to swap one novel for another, to tend to Bianca's ever-broken heart and chipped thumbnail, to assuage Sven's jealousy of the fruit of his loins, the lascivious Cabana Boy -- who, cad that he is, is circling the weepy Castafiore -- and, as always, making time to brush the screeching Dobby.

Night turned into gloomy day, a pork loin was roasted, then neatly divided into five appropriate plastic containers, a few overdue gifts sent, along with overdue bill payments, and I bid "good luck and be careful" to Fred as he took off in Ruby, one outrageously large Maine Coon kitten tucked under his arm.

Yes, Buddy's second trip to the vet.  Fred believes Buddy's psychic frequency so attuned to his own that he won't cage him for the trip, nor for the time in the waiting room full of dogs, bunnies, ferrets, and other sick felines.  Have I not described Buddy's claws?  His natural exuberance?  Like Fred, I place loads of faith in Buddy and in the alignment of our stars -- but straight into the carrier he'd go were I the one driving and responsible for tempering any hint of waiting room mayhem.

I'd be sure he was ensconced in my familiar scent -- a towel, a t-shirt -- and had a favorite toy, at the present time one of my red mohair leg warmers tucked over and over until a tossable ball.  A kiss on the nose, and the bars of that cell would clang shut until the vet needed to handle him.

He's fine, by the way.  A bit of conjunctivitus, easily fixed.  We'd have had it cured days ago if only common sense had kicked in.  We treated the *one* eye, without doing preventative maintenance on the other.  The day after we congratulated ourselves on a vet trip averted, Buddy began rubbing and weeping from the other eye.  Duh.

I'm at 102, precisely.  Between 99 and 101, I am energetic and productive, and find it easy to delude myself.  I'm a happy girl!

Topping 101 -- and, for those of you in the know, doing so while on steroids -- changes everything.  I spent five hours choosing which gift basket of organic nuts and trail mix to send to my MDVIP Go-To-Guy and his staff in honor of their finally catching up on The Walmart Affair.  I would update you on that store's continued slow dance with idiocy, but even I am sick of it.

At about 101.5 I decided to read, then changed my mind in favor of listening to music, then opted to do both at once.  When I stopped checking it at 102, I did the unthinkable and turned off the somehow turned on television, in mid-Chris-Matthews, Hardball be damned.  There was an irrepressible air of clucking chickens loose in the bedroom.

Yeah, so back to this poetry business.  I haven't written poetry in years and still haven't, despite having posted some decided crap at this All Poetry site in the last few febrile days.  "Publish your poetry online,"it crows,  its symbol being, of course, a crow.

And they quantify to beat the band.

"428,081 poets."  Oh dear God.

I apparently joined some years ago, using the moniker of one of our dead cats, Monaghan.  It's not that we have a huge supply of dead cat monikers, but over time, well, beloved kitties pass on.  He was one cool cat -- a fighter (we didn't "get" him until he was an adult and such delayed neutering has less of an effect on habits such as knock-down-drag-outs in the street) and a jazz aficionado.

Hey, and here is a hint for the ages!  My password is "mon philosophe préféré + 1." So go ahead, my friends, and hack away.

According to the many quantifiers, I've submitted SIX poems, though I can only find five.

I cannot write poetry.  I may have already said that.  Once upon a time, yes.  And quite well.  Enough to be published in a fairly above board, non-vanity press kind of way.  With a check in hand and everything.  But no longer.  It hurts, frankly, and is terribly embarrassing.  So, I'm thinking this All Poetry site is the perfect place for me.

I wrote this just about an hour ago, entering my first contest.  Contestants are to begin this "round robin" skill test by submitting but one strophe, to begin with, based on a sketch that looks to me like two Japanese waifs clinging to one another seconds before being obliterated by an atomic bomb.

Winners of the first round are invited to add a second strophe and so on.

So this was my initial attempt, composed as you see it, online, in less than five minutes.  It would have been less than two minutes but I had to go pee mid-creation.  I titled it "Esquisse":

Pen, ink, charcoal: I try to honor what 
made it, not who, resisting the forced
twisting of my vane to the East
on this decidedly Western day,
and the visual bane of pen, ink,
and charcoal clues, hand-swiped
beastly bled-of-color visions, various 
bleak bombs, the requisite clinging siblings, 
and wonder whether to thank the artist 
for cuing up the Orient as horror's home
again (though my vane does creak,
rust breaking, trailing oxidated orange,
auroral to the curse) -- for that 
is not my home.

I suspect that I won't survive the first cut, if only for lack of enthusiasm.  Also, I don't think I've accumulated enough points, applause, comments, or money to be eligible to enter a contest to begin with.  You get points by participating, basically.  You tell other poets how wonderfully dark and at risk for testicular or breast cancer they are, you get points.  You click on one, two, or three icons of clapping hands, and are awarded points for your "applause."

But what makes you a poet, above all, is buying into a plan -- gold, platinum, paste, cubic zirconium, and so forth.  And even if I was willing to fork over 50 bucks to treat my favorite medical team to organic trail mix and an oversized "Thank You" card, I cannot seem to pay up for the privilege of purchasing space for my word assassinations.  The pop-ups and constant reminders that I'll get to use amazing fonts and words of many colors, plus buy the approbation of the equally talented have yet to sway me, have yet to give Discover, Visa, or Master Card the necessary impetus to pay up.

But it will probably happen.

Have you eaten yet?  I hope not, because here is "Incubare," written in as much haste as the esquisse above, but six days ago.  Feel free to trace the ascendant line of my accumulated poetic maturity.

i found two old lovers in one
week: one buried in an old miscellany,
the other beaming like an olive about
to burst a pit, but blunt handsome still.

(oily, though, as i always felt his favorite words 
to be -- smarmy, taken, snatched.)

the older one no longer lives in london,
or he does, but back then he loved to write
from rome, writing "cara mia, cara mia..."
until i thought i would simply weep.

(but see, he was -- in faith -- in love 
with my best friend, she who married someone

she sent me many postcards, all with
dreams of barnes casting down, with lightness, the church's doors;
dancing in a couplet, a doublet, wearing burgundy tights,
a velvet cloak, dancing down the aisle 
to embolden the unhappy pair, and to carry her away.

our loves and lovers of the time:
buried in miscellany, so cut to the quick
as to make precious acceptable --
we panted for his preciosity --
and then, older, buried in the borrowed, 
published, known, stealing the words
right out of people's mouths,
grease on his lips.

I will have to cough up something worthy soon -- a sestina, a rondeau, something that says I know form.  Content, for me, there, will always be as content is for me, here:  always a meta-something. Poetry is always and only about poetry.

Oh, sweet Reader!  A cold sweat is breaking on my brow....  How wonderful!  I must be on my way down.  In a bit, then, I'll wash up, don the jammies, and give this thing called sleep another go.  It's either that or more poetry, and I don't need to wait for the polls to know which way the wind blows.

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