Hiatus

    i have decided after some deliberation this week, to take a hiatus from blogging. Perhaps a month or so, until the summer is over— i think it may be searing my brain, short circuiting some of the neuronal connections, my dendrites are firing blanks.
    i furthermore, received a high number of rushed rejections from journals which tells me a number of conflicting things: that the journals didn’t even bother to read the poems properly, further adding to my inkling that there is a hell of a lot of cronyism going on. My poems are not good enough. i am not presenting myself as best i can; i have no ego for this; i don’t like myself enough to be confidant in the etiquette of the submitter’s voice. i am trying to write for the journals, which is showing in the poems, absent of the honesty in my usual poetic voice: i am not an experimental poet, it seems & need to know the boundaries of my experimenting with syntactical units to affect my themes— i blame Roy Fisher. i am thus choosing the wrong journals to submit my poems. i just don’t know what the hell is going on anymore, the world terrifies me more & more each day & i don’t know how to be happy about anything anymore because i am so confused about the positions we can take because taking one omits others & that leaves us standing on an ever encroaching shore on all sides that is eating the land around us, until we are marooned on a 4 by 4 bank of sand surrounded by a boisterous ocean. i am struggling to produce enough poems for journals & the blog. i want to post my best poems on the blog & to journals, but i don’t have the time to write for both, so i feel my writing is getting sloppy. i think some time out will allow me to replenish my stores & focus on finding some matching journals. Anyone who thinks a journal or magazine would be interested in my poems, please let me know & i can look into that journal & submit.
    i am sure in the chaos of everything & the uncertainty of my mind these days that i am missing a lot. As much as blogging helps me write, it is a cause of anxiety at the moment, because i have gotten a glimmer of attention & worry if i don’t perform i will loose the few readers i have worked hard to form relationships with. Have i worked that hard? i dunno. i sure feel an obligation to post & continue dialogues with the poets & bloggers i enjoy reading. i feel now that as my stores are dwindling, i am perhaps writing with less attention & branching to themes i might not have a decent enough grasp of to justify writing about. i need to spend some time considering again what kind of poet i want to be & how i am going to unify any new directions to the voice i know i am confident with. i take poetry very serious, perhaps too serious & witnessing myself lose sight of what kind of poet i want to be, i must reel myself in & give myself a decent talking to, make sure of my purposes.
On top of this i have a bag of bones narrative poem which i want to but a good deal of focus on. i want to get it into shape for sending to publishers. A few bloggers have been kind enough to read my first draft & steer me a little (you know who you are) but i could do with more strong readers willing to help me. i particularly need a woman to help me get the voice of my protagonist right. So if you want to help me, please email me at danielpaulmarshall85@gmail.com & i’ll send you my draft to read over. Any feedback would be helpful.
    So i’ll take my little hiatus & see what i can do. This all sounds very dramatic, but i felt a message worthwhile if only to not seem ignorant if i don’t reply or give the poets i enjoy reading any attention. i will return with, i hope, sacks of poems & maybe some prose.

FALling (PArt z)

The last sonnet Falling. Link to Part A

Falling 2

Knowing around 0%, about the influence
of deserts on man— aside from sun burn
& visions— i might discover, people who’ve known
only deserts, actual or otherwise;
that falling is counter intuitive to existence;
unsalvageable dependence on fideism, buoyed by prayers
for fields of cereals & oases, time-lapsing into oceans
& forests of hard woods— a focal shift to horizons.

As a child, on a Welsh beach, i tried
(on good info) to scoop my way to China,
i thought it a stupid endeavor. On a hunch
i figured there must be a point at which
the sand caves in to a remote nowhere,
or perhaps Shanghai, a fishing vessel
against the skyline—but more likely, sand.

Falling (part A)

We’ve all done it & you might say, we never stopped nor did we begin, but we’ll probably end someday, maybe.
i do not really understand these equations, but i wanted precision & recently read in Foucault that equations had a brevity akin to poetry (at least i think it was Foucault). i also kind of liked the inversion of mathematics explaining language rather than language explaining mathematics. High praise for anyone who can tell me what the equations are without resorting to copying & pasting them into Google.

Falling 1

i can say everything falls. If stuff falls
at c = 3.0 x 108 m/s, like the under garment
of reality, do they remain stationary?
F = Gm1m2/r2 is how a scientist will
explain a fall, maybe— i loosen my grasp
on anything & hear it hit the floor. i read
a Syrian’s account of Saydnaya prison camp,
now a hostage to memory, despite freedom,
as if his memories are fed through a drip
against his will. The sun doesn’t bleed light,
nor light shadow, they are a consequence of a type
of falling. The wind’s ruckus of updrafts
cannot pack rain into a cloud;
only the sun can do that, in good time

& with the help of chlorophylls.

Re-humanization

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i read recently, a short piece of prose by the Palestinian poet Ghassan Zactan, about his mother’s memories of a Jewish girl she liked, which led him to talk about his friend & fellow Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish. Zactan, explains that just as his mother after years of occupation could still allow the memory to be un-corrupted by all the terrible things that had happened to her, that she could still humanize the enemy, so in his poetry Darwish had continually given the enemy “character traits”, which humanized them.
The article made me rethink what an enemy is. The original title for this poem was Enemies. This is not just a poem about Palestine, it just so happens a Palestinian poet helped me see differently. This poem applies to every marginalized people who are shadowed & in those shadows dehumanized into a dangerous mythology.It sickens me that even after all that has happened in the history of man, we are still led to these conclusions about entire peoples, because of how susceptible we remain to ignorance & rhetoric.

Re-humanization

First of all, if you want to overcome it,
you’d best give it a name; transparency
gets under the skin with the word a mother feeds
& loves, a friend puts at the start of sentences.

Once unraveled from the itchy thicket of it,
the name requires a body, something to cast shadows;
eyes that couple the sun, hair that gathers dew;
breath visible on January afternoons.

Mahmoud Darwish made clarity with enemies,
wrote their angle in space, the strait of time
& rendered forms from monstrous figurines
born of a thousand terrors, hidden in sounds.
The failure to meet such silence head on,
is to distend the story-making spleen of men.

i never had an enemy
— what do i know of them?

Harry_R._Hopps,_Destroy_this_mad_brute_Enlist_-_U.S._Army,_03216u_edit

Scarecrow Travels (after Robert Okaji)

i wrote this relatively quick, i saw the scarecrow pictured & a sort of surreal narrative took shape. i’d like to do more of these after poets-i-know-poems. i’ll be keeping my good eye open.

 
scarecrow

 

Scarecrow Travels (after Robert Okaji)

i see you with my own eyes—mid-crucifixion

edge of an onion field dressed in tartan & flowers,
the sleeve of its handkerchief hiding a face;
a greedy magpie readying its beak to pick
out that face, i lob a brick to scare it off
& found the face to be but an imagined thing,
a tool, appendage to comfort us— no scars or burns.

How come you’re so far from Okaji’s poems, why leave them?
The stammer of your silence still your own.
We’ll flip a coin & if i win the toss
you must promise to return to those poems;
i’ll hear none of the usual excuses, no best out of 3.

i flip the coin, it somersaults (ping of sun)
& clamp it on the reverse of my palm

it’s…

문재인 — Korea’s New President, a Soliloquy

i am over the moon to be, for the first time in my life, living in a country with a liberal leader. After my total disillusionment with Western politics it comes as a surprise that Korea would vote in such a person. Yet, on reflection, it isn’t: sharing is a way of life here, people give each other things, they help & trust each other. But it is never done with a smugness, nor with any expectation of the reward of a good rapport, or to bolster the credence of their character, it is done, without any such notions. It really is built into the fabric of the society. Sure you can go off & find something to the contrary, but i would say that whatever article you can dig up on the internet doesn’t not hold up against my having lived here 7 years, married to a Korea, spending every day with Koreans & witnessing first hand this type of social behaviour. So it isn’t really a surprise after all.
i have been getting into all sorts of scrapes with liberals back home (some of the rhetoric is just shooting themselves in foot calling Conservative voters stupid & even soulless), because it is hard to explain that, liberalism isn’t born of government, but from a tradition of sharing that is done regardless of what you do or don’t have, but is simply a magnanimity that continuously assures the people don’t stray too far from each other. In the west we are a long way from this sort of automated reaction. Our kindness is always for a reward, even if that reward is the pleasantry of please & thank you.
This isn’t a good poem. i have been working & working on it. But the sentiment took over. It seems to me that sharing must become the common reaction to each other, then liberalism can potentially take root.

문재인— Korea’s New President, a Soliloquy

Asking for just a bite, you receive half a sandwich;
if this is not matter of fact, not cross-hatched
into the character of people, harmony won’t take root.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise Korea just voted
in a left leaning liberal, human right’s lawyer;
imprisoned during Park Chung-hee’s economic dictatorship,
for protesting to stop good men, poets & artists,
from being slung in the slammer for speaking against
the tyranny gripping Korea, back then, with intimidation & torture;
men whose poems were pitched by their anger
& broke like their fingers & will into analogies of freedom
: bird, sky, light, air, star, universe, love, door.

문 = door. 문재 = problem. 인 = person— i pun
on his name to conservatives: he’s a problem for everyone.

Glossary

문재인 is pronounced Moon Jae-in. i put it here, because he feels somehow symbolic in pure Korean. 문 is his family name, 재인 his Christian name, so 문&재 don’t go together to make the word ‘problem’ actually, but placed side by side, it makes a nonsense name like ‘problem person’, which is ironic & my natural inclination was to do something with this wonderful coincidence.

Mirror Soliloquy

i haven’t wrote a poem this complex for a long time. The symbols/archetypes in it are fluid & should be considered cautiously. i don’t say this about my poems, but for this one, i recommend a repeat reading at least, & a steady read, else i don’t think you’ll take much from it.
i am hoping the semi-palindromic rhyme scheme doesn’t feel gimmicky & adds to the theme & function of the meaning.
i have been preening this for weeks now. The original drafts had me chasing the rhyme scheme with a meaning that didn’t know itself yet, but i am sure of the purpose of the poem & the logos of it now & feel it needs to go out on its own limb.

Mirror Soliloquy

Our eyes each morning raised up from the plug,
half of us looks back, tete-beche— the sink lets out a gulp.
That other half, plunges us in the trickery of a liar
trapped in brick curvature— it’s hard to rail
against a well, its echoes, stifle with the brag
of depths that banish light, & speak in the garb
of tremulant lips. Look at mirrors directly, a peer
is not enough, no one whatsoever, can reap
the ratio of self in a progress of look— the lord
-ing over all this individualism, we’re better off as droll
examples from a taxonomic indices— a lead
face full of animal, cursory nouns we deal
in magnitudes, leave adjectives in poems, the verb to be
is our best means to connect & substitute the primitive ebb

& tide of us. Channeled in ticks of sleep
the latent, Vedic revisions of the day— one peels
beyond the locus of want, sinks the fractious sloop
shipping wayward mirrors, in which a familiar pools.
& half the trouble is to fog the glass & become part
in equal measure of see, speak & write; there’s no trap
in language, though under the bridge of sense an ogre
mates its own tongue, grunts & snorts— ergo,
what methods for decoding its noise, when we struggle to read
the embryonic shapes in the marge of its face? & dear
me if that isn’t something even Levis® denim
cannot make fashionable in a strip tease world of mined
data & daily catalogues of news that bulb
peripheral & lunge us dumbstruck into dissonant blub.

Rant Soliloquy

i’ve been mostly off the radar this week, so much work & perhaps a bit too much booze & trying to oscillate between Foucault’s The Origin of Things (which is just now starting to make more sense after 160 pages that have taken a month to read), David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, which is hilarious especially is ventured into the sordid world of porn & of course trying to write when all that has been hounding me is a character study of a fictional character i made up called Saul Sintooth, who is an unkempt weasel of a drunk who i have plotted (among many other scenes) into an annual Dervish festival where he performs a naughty trick of getting beautiful women to hold thermometers, which he proceeds to melt with his despicable gases until the mercury drips on their fingers, then he peels off to other misdemeanours. i have committed nothing to paper, because it is such a stupid idea & i should stop listening to Viv Stanshall’s Sir Henry at Rawlinson End because although it is brilliant i just conjure festering tripe in my head, in obnoxiously, exorbitant amounts.

After that little catch up a Soliloquized rant, which may be a little hard to swallow.

(The photograph despite there being no cormorant, drizzle or Alka Seltzer® is nonetheless, where i 1. wrote the poem (though not on the day i photographed the landscape) & 2. where cormorants can often be seen, but usually in higher tide than pictured.)

Rant Soliloquy

Drizzle & cormorant, the tenor
of undiluted sadness no Alka Seltzer® tonic
can nurse— & snipe forage the litter
of me, find little to nothing whatsoever, not today…
perhaps tomorrow. Dirt beneath fingernails.
There’s no love just talk & U-turns.
No foresight beyond unconquered hurdles.
That lighthouse must be taking the piss;
the delineation of Biyang island advises
me on everything i need but cannot have
— turn me into a gull, anything other than
this risible flesh & shtum pulse. Parade me in
God’s own showroom, hang my pelt
on a nail & leave me to dry out.

Ferry Terminal Soliloquy

Written during my recent crossing to Seoul, of which the previous poems Ikea & Sewol Tragedy are linked.

Ferry Terminal Soliloquy

The scent of ginseng candy wafts
from old ladies’ mouths, rattles their false
teeth, lubricates dry tongues & throats with spice.
People pointedly serious about schedules & tickets
their handshakes warm enough to incubate
cups of sweet coffee— the pamphlets
telling the other side of things; a pharmacist, in case

—light pours from high windows, stamps lattice
on the tiles— at least there’s promise of air.
i shudder at the sight, of grown men
in full tracksuits, curdling like acrid milk in foyers.
A coach waits for us. Ship horns blare
like dung chen, signaling that soon we will begin
to cross the sea & should know what that means.

Ikea Soliloquy

i wrote this to stave my boredom whilst inside the belly of the Ikea Leviathan. So this poem has been to hell & back.

Ikea Soliloquy

The magpies won’t exculpate us
even though we scared off all their competitors
& they alone occupy the cherry blossom
on the brink of renewal
— they’d do well for a diet of worms
though, rather than discarded noodles.

Bored, marched reluctantly to Ikea,
i consider the magpie’s greed: i feel like
i’m being dragged through a bramble hedge
: everything looks like leaves & twigs,
shelves of nest building materials; the spittle of birds
for gluing things, sold in tiny tubes; poor
verisimilitudes for sun, moon & stars.
Shoppers are wingless magpies with credit cards.