online literature since 2007

Monday, March 29, 2010

Carbon Leaves (Mind Autumn)


   When spring comes violent from the chimneys
Of winter locker, the maids, honey blonde
Chords of Irish skein, sterilize the sanitariums
Until the chemicals make all blind, I tell—

   The sickly hounds and wolves, from stick and city,
untrimmed filthies and frothing cages of  brittle bone,
Shake in circles from the cold,
                                                and the washing rain
Under the newly sprouted leave fingers of trees—

For the past, the carbon leaves of color die to wind,
                                                vain memories,
Wilt and succumb to the hungry mouth of soil
                                                Or sink in sea.

The top side of leaf sees the sky,
The bottom sees the canines shake—

In the rain,
By the cold,
(when all shake their heads
            In fear disguised for sympathy)
the belly of the leaf sees the
                                    Heavens
And the sunned topside sees the
                                    Beasts—

   The sanitarium is a church of suckling and
Vivid impulse, prostrate in
Hay, through worn and
Wooden pews
            With thousands kneeling in prayer
            With the wind chiming sins escaping
            from tops of the canines’ heads howling—

   To the confessional with the maids
To the confessional with the priest
To the confessional flooded with rain
And Lilly pads of carbon leaves

   At the confessional door,
With the confessional door opened,
The sanitarium becomes
                                    beautiful and filthy
In the escaping flow of maiden, beast, and
   Many carbon leaf.

7 comments:

andrew worthington said...

i read this and liked it, but i think it might be a little too wordy for my personal tastes

CharliePuckett said...

Thanks, but, out of curiosity, what makes you say it is too wordy? I trimmed all the fat off. What do your personal tastes like and why do you think that is? I completely understand this poem is more Eliot than Bukowski, just want to hear it from you.

andrew worthington said...

eliot more than bukowski makes sense but that wasnt what i was going for.

if fact, that might be the opposite. so let me consider the compaison

bukowski wanted to often write "bad" literature, and a lot of it comes off as just stream of thought nonsense with some words that should mean something but dont really. still, he was a minimalist, but his approach was kind of deformed i think. in a way, he brought concrete realism to his work but in this way lost some of the minimalism.

eliot was more educated and intellectual, and he wasn't afraid to bring this to his writing. still, when i read "hollow men" (my favorite elliot poem), i think of elliot as also dealing in minimalism. the lines and words are sharp and concise, and raw and to the point.

the reason i would be hesitant to admire a piece like this is difficult to discern. perhaps it is because this poem takes the intellect/education of an elliot but mixes it with the uncontrolled/inefficient method of a bukowski.

in a way, i would like to see you aspire to a bit more. you are highly intelligent/educated, that is obvious, but you should maybe wean it a bit more in your writing.

actually i just read it for the third time and now i am thinking that everything i said was bullshit.

andrew worthington said...

maybe Ezra Pound rather than Elliot is what I prefer.

Also, you might consider Frank O'Hara? brilliant. here is one of his poems:

Mayakovsky

1
My heart's aflutter!
I am standing in the bath tub
crying. Mother, mother
who am I? If he
will just come back once
and kiss me on the face
his coarse hair brush
my temple, it's throbbing!

then I can put on my clothes
I guess, and walk the streets.

2
I love you. I love you,
but I'm turning to my verses
and my heart is closing
like a fist.

Words! be
sick as I am sick, swoon,
roll back your eyes, a pool,

and I'll stare down
at my wounded beauty
which at best is only a talent
for poetry.

Cannot please, cannot charm or win
what a poet!
and the clear water is thick

with bloody blows on its head.
I embraced a cloud,
but when I soared
it rained.

3
That's funny! there's blood on my chest
oh yes, I've been carrying bricks
what a funny place to rupture!
and now it is raining on the ailanthus
as I step out onto the window ledge
the tracks below me are smoky and
glistening with a passion for running
I leap into the leaves, green like the sea

4
Now I am quietly waiting for
the catastrophe of my personality
to seem beautiful again,
and interesting, and modern.

The country is grey and
brown and white in trees,
snows and skies of laughter
always diminishing, less funny
not just darker, not just grey.

It may be the coldest day of
the year, what does he think of
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do,
perhaps I am myself again.

-FRANK O'HARA

CharliePuckett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CharliePuckett said...

Thanks for the comments Duncan, this is the kind of dialogue thats right and chill for this blog. I liked every bit you said. You hit it on the head: I'm trying to combine Eliot/Tennessee Williams with Bukowski/early Ginsberg (sorta)/imagist WCW. I like the idea of writing a bottomless poem where every time you read it, something new is available, or something different.

That is where the intellect comes into play and that is where the ambiguity, the "ice-berg" theory of minimalism kicks into gear, though my writing will often tip to intellect over minimalism (I'm hoping to become more humble and change that).

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