IIIrd publication of the year

fish

i am very pleased to announce that my poem Fishermen has been published in vol 5 of Four Ties Lit Review. much obliged to all the editors of Four Ties & especially to Matt Larrimore who founded the journal & i suspect has been emailing all the authors with good news. please allow yourselves to be saturated in their literary picks for this issue & make all their hard work even more worth while. furthermore, stay posted for videos by a handful of the poets, authors & artists, including myself, coming in a day or so & perhaps more.

cheers.

daniel

asides on the ordure of july

my previous few posts have all been focused on Jeju & Korea, but i feel it is time to revive the Wallace Variations. here i am in my best Wallace mode, trying, in more ways than one, to get to the core of a matter, playfully.

hot-day-dragica-micki-fortuna
Dragica Micki Fortuna: Hot day

asides on the ordure of july

as it is, a sort of order barricades us outside ourselves,
a sort of ordure, smelling of a barricade that blocks
us from ourselves, from knowing what it is we are
: it is uncertainty, this order of ordure that takes our shape,
& must take shape of itself or from a portion of itself : us.

the autonomous portion of uncertainty that due
to it being of uncertainness wants to take a shape,
so as to behave as a certain shape, to manifest
out of a certainty that there are things we are
uncertain of in a universe of uncertain qualities.

& so it was, in the humid entity of a july day,
he felt fingers fold around his shoulder,
the humid fingers of that july day, had taken form,
then touched him whilst his back was turned,
so he would know that the weather had a form

beyond the effect it takes upon his pores, the quality
of sweat given a certain quality above the merest sensation
of skin : that sensation caricatured as fingers folding,
curling & folding over turned backs on a july day
that has reality because the mind has turned it so.

what otherwise of worth considering apart
from turned backs on a humid july day, master of words?
should we consider other emptinesses : in parts, without parts?
of everything as formless impossibility of touch,
what then of the brigade of passions man combines in himself?

2 humorous pieces: i deliberately broke my smartphone & Purefoy & the sparrows

i hope John Berryman smiles from his death-place on these light pieces. i try to do you proud master. 

smartphone
the object intact

i deliberately broke my smartphone

It is gone. i am free.
The glass of its face fractured & the battery having jettisoned
on impact with the wardrobe seems to have been the clincher.
No longer will precious time be spent on click bait
nor when i’m on the toilet will i read statuses & memes;
rather than gawp at the countless posing’s of pets & pints,
the seafood meals & selfies, i’ll do something else.
No god hurtled claps of lightning from stormy cumulus.
Neither liturgy nor elegy to the mechanical deceased is necessary.
The why of the matter is of no importance. What can it mean for man?
It is gone. i am free.

purefoy
thrilled to discover this (charcoal?) sketch of James Purefoy

Purefoy & the Sparrows

i wonder if birds yawn & if they don’t how is it they articulate
the drab monotony of
coo coo caw caw click click jug jug?

If they only had James Purefoy’s face
for properly expelling their disaffections to their species’ warbles
(that’s why they always chase each other)
& the likes of us
just by raising an eyebrow, curling their beak, sighing.

It makes sense why i saw a host of sparrows at the newsstand
flapping through Empire magazine for headshots of Purefoy
they could glue with spittle
to their tiny foreheads or impale on their beaks.

Envelopes

If you recall from the poem Post, there is a letter for Charlie, who it is from is hinted in its hovering, stationary position, casting a shadow on his welcome mat & saving him some dosh on his electricity bill, which he is happy about, however, his refusal to open it is causing him a little perceptive problematic. I hope everyone enjoys these very low brow poems.

Comedian as Letter C

Envelopes

Remarkably without a wisdom from his retinas
& not a wisdom teeth in his skull
the edifice of this n’ he’s reality
– the everyday all the day stuff like
his afternoon jug of rum n’ milk, his Weetabix,
the billboard advertising headache pills,
the traffic & the negligee in high-street windows
the sky clad overcast & too the puddle draped
beside the leaves brushed off like dandruff to the curb
-him noted as composed of envelopes.

Gizillions of just perceptible, envelopes
envelopes envelopes is quantum structure of
this all perceived just envelopes
envelopes envelopes & more envelopes ad infinitum
n’ all addressed to him that can’t yet tie his shoes.

on the perimeters

 

on the perimeters

poor street bitch, famished & lonely, tiptoe
your perfect parabola, study me
for sudden movements, then scuttle anxious bursts
in mimicry of all the other homeless dogs,
risking the treacherous oscillations of traffic
to protect the precious cargo you ferry to life

: you must have 5 pups or thereabouts due.
in your warm hammock-womb
they swing to the omniscient hush of the sea
& develop in the only peaceful sleep they’ll know.
i don’t read in your tidy steps any complaint
about our leftovers being your only nourishment.

how are your sufferings measured?
if you do wrong, you wedge your tail between your legs & pin your ears back.
if cut you bleed & whelp, if throttled whine.
if without your permission we approach your pups you snarl.
if you see another dog you sob for their affection.
if cold you dither once it slinks beneath your fur.

so we’re not so dissimilar, you & i.
the disused perimeters of this island appeal to us,
the outer reaches skeptical of inward things
affect us, so too the elements & lonesomeness. we chose to be
as far away from tourists & their selfie sticks as possible;
it’s here, where we’re the only life for miles, we meet.

 

the harbour town, hallim, where i live, has an abundance of street dogs & they must have lived such miserable lives to distrust people so much. should you wave a tin of tuna before them they wouldn’t come & take it from you, for fear of what you may be capable of; regardless how pure you know your intentions to be.
i respect their capacity to endure. to endure loneliness. to survive. they cannot grumble. they have not the mechanism for grumbling & yet their complex emotions are plain to see when you note how they abandon a comfort to elude us. that we are to be steered clear of. not to be trusted. i think we can learn something about ourselves from their insight.

Some things you need to know about Charlie

Comedian as Letter C
A semblance to Charlie

 

I wish to return to Charlie Malarkey. In the last poem Meanwhile in Paradise Lost we discovered that heaven is in a shambles. Its all gone tits up. On Earth as it is in Heaven. Well in this post i’d like to tell you a few things about Charlie you really need to know.

Some things you should know about Charlie

Breath like a Goidel munching liver n’ onions.
More out of place than a Pict at a make-up counter.
Farts like a tiger after a gazelle supper.
As sincere as an empty stomach.
Not as ugly as Dot Cotton but uglier than Deidre Barlow.
Not interested in religion but it’s interested in him.
Looks as if he’s been cudgeled with a duck’s foot.
& battery acid leaking from his arsehole time to time
& from his ear’oles if he ain’t ‘ad Weetabix ‘n rum;
bett’r ‘avit examint  by the dentist-man
– a beautiful incongruity of Charlie’s life.
He’d change his diet if the stove worked & his brain.
He wants a woman who smells of Osmanthus Fragrans
but don’t know what it smells like: never smelt it;
it isn’t native to the British Isles.
When he thinks (or thereabouts) he looks like a dog with itchy teeth
trying to gnaw its leg off so as to satisfy the itch.
An orphan who cries his dead mother to sleep.
He reads to himself but only in his dreams : he cannot read.
His jokes flat as a witch’s tit & too to be his fate.
His love & kindness deep as a nun’s habit & piety.
He is Godly God’s purest object of creation.

Anecdotal Poems

here are all of the anecdotal poems together. I recommend that if you are interested & have stumbled upon this blog for the first time through this post, to go back & read the anecdotal poems individually as there is more to read on the process there; especially in the final poem.

Anecdotal Poems

하나 : approach to the stream

하나

the storm’s strong hinged arms shook the land like a snow globe
/ i don’t know when this happened / a few weeks ago?
/ cross stitched branches / trunks / twigs & leaves / outlined in chalk
/ the weather’s juvenile obstacle / a foot poking out of a blind corner
/ a puerile attempt to protect something . to halt .
/ i kept my eyes open for camouflaged snakes it may have hired
/ for wild pigs / snouts like baked potatoes / it may
have whispered propaganda in the soft ears of.

the trail steadily climbed / inching clockwise
& then sank like a thought become feeling
to a stream / its crowd of voices / gently / yet suddenly
/ kidnapped the pop & crack of twigs beneath my boots
/ the fricatives of sun crisp / wind dried foliage
/ even the wind became quieted by the spirant stream/

but still the path pestered with things of death
/ some trees broke so clean they looked guillotined
/ i did not want to stub the soil & free a list of bleak analogies
/ relating things around me to massacre
to hideous acts of genocide / of political lambs
bleating the slaughter of their right to ideas
/ i carried a reminder on my back i’d not become aware of yet
/ i remembered stories i’ve been told
of commoners escaping into mountainous terrain from their persecutors
/ if they weren’t executed / many usually starved .
/ a period of korean history blinded by two ideologies
where taking sides meant taking risks
& everybody chose a side / even against their will .

was the weather insensitive for shedding so much light
/ for the sky made blue as prison uniforms
on days when people died in droves for ideologies?
you’d think the sky would darken for such an occasion
/ that weather could consider etiquette.
to see the sky as nothing but a prison guard
/ to witness the charge of the weather confine me / wasn’t natural.
if the sky can have impure intentions
can water too make for itself a case of impurity?

 

두: the influence of kim chiha

the give & take of stone & water is remarkable
: the water takes the minerals it needs to purify itself

& in return hacks & polishes the stone a tongue
with which to taste the minerals it keeps inside itself

/ i sat where this phenomenon was happening
/ a stone pad bleached with sun, a rug of moss

/ i shook my bottle of fresh muju makkoli & squeezed
its neck so as to settle the enzymes down

/ but still they frothed in the bottle cap / vying for air
/ i poured a cup & gulped it like parched soil

/ the enzymes / lively as chiffchaffs in walnut trees
/ foaming on my lips & tongue & nesting in my beard

/ while they played doctor in my stomach
i started reading kim chiha’s five thieves / i needed makkoli to start .

/ how poor kesoo / under torture / blabbed to the corrupt police chief
whose words menaced like a tiger’s fart .

/ a poem that talks about the rife corruption in korea
following the war of ’50 -’53 / he was mad again to write poetry

even if he got the paddle across his arse
or once again was locked away where even starlight couldn’t reach .

/ i heard the motion of the stream form a sentence
사람이 짐승이 아니다 : man is not a beast .

howled with the desperation of a man dragged
against his interests for something he didn’t know he did

/ i tried to piss my name in hangul on the shrunken leaves
exhausted from a long captivity beneath the snow

once my makkoli was finished / i napped with chiha’s poems
for a pillow / the sun in my face. wind & water in my ears.

i would follow the stream for better company
& due it knowing where it came from & where it must go.

 

셋 : the stream’s character

하나

to ascend the stream i grappled vines
as sinewy as pagan gods
/ trusted the integrity of numerous branches
/ most offered me their final ounce of strength
so as to climb a face of rock covered in wet moss
/ or cross well-polished stones
the grip of my boots could not be trusted with
/ even the stones that appear assured must first be tested
/ as in a game of chess its best
to plot a route as far as can be seen ahead of you.

all day & night much is demanded of the stream
: as long as human memory it has been a lapidary
/ meticulous, it buffs its private collection of stones
that differ from the parched stones of a trail
the filthy stones that have been pressed into the soil.
it also tends an unspoilt arboretum, a nursery of pine & maple.
& finally it weaves scruffy rugs
/ treating them with its homemade shampoo.

a woodpecker’s pip like a metronome
/ sends me back to a pebbly beach in brighton
/ the sound of one pebble clinked against another
/ a person i just met / a friend of a friend
/ explaining how all grains of sand
were once part of a single pebble
& that the future state of all pebbles
was to one day turn to sand.
i thought this so intensely wise
& from somebody only 23.
it has always stayed with me,
came to me there / again / ascending the stream.

the stream was done with me, unlike it / my intellect is fallible.
i hoped that later on it would lend me more revelations
/ would teach me from afar through memory & anecdote.

 

넷 : the mythology of the stream

하나

i continued on a man-made gravel path .
i was / at first  uncertain of its purpose
/ it wasn’t a hiking trail
/ wending through the mountains as it did / like a dollar sign .
once i’d noted the tanned soil / thirsty / bare
/ the piles of pillaged pine / warmed in the sun / belching fragrance
like a dying man’s carefully picked last words
/ it was clear / the man-made intention of the lumber road .
yes, the road was off-white, but stained ochre
it would have suited more the motif of my stomp.

i mistook the squawking f15s for the silhouettes of falcons
/ their engines like the loud slurping of coffee
/ the peace & quiet disturbed then fading like a singing bowl.
i imagined mythopoeic village kids / bored / seeking adventure
/ trading fables & trusted sources about the f15s’ mission
/ just as i mythologized the environment around me when i was young
& often still do.
they don’t need the dull truth told to them just yet
: that r.o.k. & u.s. forces were doing annual military exercises
/ monitoring with omnipresent belief in themselves.
it seems so easy to apprehend imagination & myth there
: everything is so unashamedly real.

fidgety coal tits said wurzel repeatedly in funny accents.
searching the origin of their nonsensical twittering
led me to mistletoe / the god-head’s nest in miniature .
i am always pleased to spot a bushel of mistletoe
/ as if i were a miltonic character . suffering doubt . shown the face of god .
it always reminds me of an apothegm my parents use
: wherever you make your bed is where you call home.
it seems to me that being roguish / mistletoe has no origin
/ no place to call its own / it seldom grows in colonies
/ but latches on to any host it chances on & there germinates
/ it borrows from its host all of the vital nutrients required to grow .
completely at the mercy of chance / the routes of birds .
some judge it parasitic / a pest to elegance
/ however / its medical potential is well documented
: an enemy to cancer cells.
once dried / it brews into a tasty tea with a woody odour .

i paused to clear sweat from my eyes & swig some stream water
& noted something of importance about myself
: i could not write like this / pausing as i stomp along
to scribble notes & remedy the itch to plot
the acts & observations i leave myself open to / if / i had a companion
/ i become too involved in them / bending to what is rightly theirs
: my undivided attention to what composes them
/ people deserve to be fixated on / to be studied.
i realise this is a characteristic of mine
/ i don’t think anybody knows about
& will be as surprised as i was to discover.
it is the reason i came to this odd country alone
& persist on periods of loneliness.
i receive no essential joy from myself
/ i manage only the completion of selfish endeavours
/ to busy myself / distract even / with the transmutation of life into poem.
of versed life / pushed far enough ahead that i can feel infinite now
/ like the hunter gatherers who printed their hands on a cave wall in argentina.
this poetry lark seems the final method i have left to me
& i am mad with the task.

다섯

if only a friend / if only any companion at all
would have been with me up
there by the glittering stream / naiad-less
/ where everything pushed & pulled
but nothing moved or stirred but i
/ or on that artificial white mountain path
/ you wouldn’t need to read this anecdotal poem
/ an exercise in the emotion of place
/ i’d have just entertained it in passing & quietly forgotten it .

final anecdotal poem : 넷 : the mythology of the stream

 

928122_259454547722596_2032766922_n
the white mountain path

i have a lot to say about these poems. non of it is very good. i am on the whole unhappy with the result & for numerous reasons. first of all, the poems are too informed by the landscape, that is, the content is too informed by the central motif of the stream, which would not be too bad if i had achieved the desired effect that i had in my head when i decided to attempt this method of composition. the problem has arisen due to the original notes taken on the walk being too long. once i had got it all in front of me it amounted to maybe 7 – 8 separate poems that were all written in lines as long as Wallace Stevens stride & maybe 50-100 lines each & this would have just been a dull slog for any blog reader & would have made me look boastful even if i could have pulled off such a feat. i think a better poet would have managed such a long piece. i am not that poet.
to answer why this has sullied the effect i originally intended is probably quite obvious to you by now: the stream seemed a good location & furthermore, symbol for a poem that worked on both the level of a landscape that a protagonist might move through & moreover the stream of consciousness that develops whilst moving through the landscape. but that is just too much movement.
as i wrote far too much & decided to edit what was already a mesh of thoughts & motion, i lost something. i think i lost the substance of the poetry & actually ended up editing a diary entry, never having kept a diary & knowing full well they are not edited, i shot myself in the foot. any impact i wanted them to have i feel is lost as the work doesn’t know what it wants to be.
the form too is ugly. i read so many contemporary poems with this sort of wending free verse structure & i always say i want to achieve it myself, because i like it; i think it is a flexible form that can be applied to many themes. i actually took my inspiration for the form from a fragment i read of Michael McAloran’s breath(en) flux, which was published at Poethead. a brilliant & complex poem. but i have just made a hash with the structure, it looks awkward, like a gangly person with small feet. i still have much to learn about the confessional mode.
but i take solace in the knowledge that the confessional poem is still largely uncharted territory for me, at least a honest, well more honest, first person witness of experience.
whilst i was still fidgety & awkward about titling myself poet & studying with the simple aim of one day being proud of something i wrote, i did something that is probably normal: i abstracted everything, hid everything beneath the stones of symbols, jokes i had with myself & character from myth & literature. this was natural as, when i was a child i hid all of the things i wanted to do & be, as i was terrified of being alienated from people at school: if they found out you wanted to be a poet, life could be very difficult.
i wanted to be a gourmet poet, like the classic poets of the high brow schools after i had learned about them later in life. the closest i came to confessional or self reflective poems or even honesty, was when using the third person, a tip i took from Wallace Stevens; who even now worms his way into my style, as can be seen in my Wallace Variations poems. those poems are really a way of exhausting his hold on me.
regardless, i am not unhappy with all of it. this final poem has some good moments & i think the similes work well & there is a little more artifice to the piece, which seems totally absent in the other three. there is an emotional audacity, while maintaining & fulfilling poetic lines that i feel are not mimicked or imitable. this is important as it shows that the line came from a portion of myself i recognize only if it comes through in poetic form. this is the source of all memorable lines of poetry: they are an absolute, pure expression of the poets mind. it is like when Robert Crumb talks about the lampposts & details in the background of his comics you can’t make that up he tells us, they are incidental; but a character is a pure expression of his, as the line that expresses something deeper rather than details of environment, are in a poem. an example in this poem of a line direct from me would be

it seems so easy to apprehend imagination & myth there
: everything is so unashamedly real.

this is completely different to say

once i’d noted the tanned soil / thirsty / bare
/ the piles of pillaged pine / warmed in the sun / belching fragrance
like a dying man’s carefully picked last words

which is really just detail but nevertheless important. a poem full of inspired lines would develop nothing & leave the reader exasperated. these moments are seldom achieved & i would say it is the reason any serious poet puts anything of the world & mind into poetic language. perhaps it is a minor form of satori.

i think it’ll be a while till i attempt anything of this sort. & now i’ve inspired you with confidence onto the final anecdotal poem.

 

넷 : the mythology of the stream

하나

i continued on a man-made gravel path .
i was / at first  uncertain of its purpose
/ it wasn’t a hiking trail
/ wending through the mountains as it did / like a dollar sign .
once i’d noted the tanned soil / thirsty / bare
/ the piles of pillaged pine / warmed in the sun / belching fragrance
like a dying man’s carefully picked last words
/ it was clear / the man-made intention of the lumber road .
yes, the road was off-white, but stained ochre
it would have suited more the motif of my stomp.

i mistook the squawking f15s for the silhouettes of falcons
/ their engines like the loud slurping of coffee
/ the peace & quiet disturbed then fading like a singing bowl.
i imagined mythopoeic village kids / bored / seeking adventure
/ trading fables & trusted sources about the f15s’ mission
/ just as i mythologized the environment around me when i was young
& often still do.
they don’t need the dull truth told to them just yet
: that r.o.k. & u.s. forces were doing annual military exercises
/ monitoring with omnipresent belief in themselves.
it seems so easy to apprehend imagination & myth there
: everything is so unashamedly real.

fidgety coal tits said wurzel repeatedly in funny accents.
searching the origin of their nonsensical twittering
led me to mistletoe / the god-head’s nest in miniature .
i am always pleased to spot a bushel of mistletoe
/ as if i were a miltonic character . suffering doubt . shown the face of god .
it always reminds me of an apothegm my parents use
: wherever you make your bed is where you call home.
it seems to me that being roguish / mistletoe has no origin
/ no place to call its own / it seldom grows in colonies
/ but latches on to any host it chances on & there germinates
/ it borrows from its host all of the vital nutrients required to grow .
completely at the mercy of chance / the routes of birds .
some judge it parasitic / a pest to elegance
/ however / its medical potential is well documented
: an enemy to cancer cells.
once dried / it brews into a tasty tea with a woody odour .

i paused to clear sweat from my eyes & swig some stream water
& noted something of importance about myself
: i could not write like this / pausing as i stomp along
to scribble notes & remedy the itch to plot
the acts & observations i leave myself open to / if / i had a companion
/ i become too involved in them / bending to what is rightly theirs
: my undivided attention to what composes them
/ people deserve to be fixated on / to be studied.
i realise this is a characteristic of mine
/ i don’t think anybody knows about
& will be as surprised as i was to discover.
it is the reason i came to this odd country alone
& persist on periods of loneliness.
i receive no essential joy from myself
/ i manage only the completion of selfish endeavours
/ to busy myself / distract even / with the transmutation of life into poem.
of versed life / pushed far enough ahead that i can feel infinite now
/ like the hunter gatherers who printed their hands on a cave wall in argentina.
this poetry lark seems the final method i have left to me
& i am mad with the task.

다섯

if only a friend / if only any companion at all
would have been with me up
there by the glittering stream / naiad-less
/ where everything pushed & pulled
but nothing moved or stirred but i
/ or on that artificial white mountain path
/ you wouldn’t need to read this anecdotal poem
/ an exercise in the emotion of place
/ i’d have just entertained it in passing & quietly forgotten it .