A Poet Makes Himself

Orphee by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

Orphee by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot

 

A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men: the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed—and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and, if demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!  ~Arthur Rimbaud

 

 

 

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We Once Knew Purity

Like that elegant lily
white and tender — soul
bared in vulnerability.

We once were tender
white-skinned fragile,
our tiny souls groping for
and gravitating toward
all that was fresh and beautiful,
unaware of dark clouds
drifting toward us, storms
and deep-black-rain-caused
mud. Streaking, splotching —
baby-tender opaque skin —
our souls trapped in a
place of harsh-red silence
covered in deep-dark pain.

We once knew purity
and a place before sex,
lust, violence, rape. That old
white candle flickering
inside opaque souls, we
held the light tighter
with each day passing,
terrified always of a time
when lights were snuffed out.

Like that elegant lily
white and tender —
denied water under
a harsh orange heat.
The slow-burning death —
crinkled-black-brown
burning, until an almost
desiccated-withered brown flower falls,
from yellowed-drought-stem to ground.
We once were tender
white-skinned fragile
child-bodies. Bloodied
bruised to brown-purple,
rag-mouthed crusty blood
spilling across dollar store
dirty-worn sheets.

We once were like
that elegant lily,
white and tender souls,
and we sang, laughed,
cried, survived
that slow-burning death,
bled-out innocence marking
sweated-on, dirt-covered
dollar store sheets
in a virgin-red smear.

 

~July 2012

 

Artwork: Gladis110 at Photobucket can be seen here.

Feeding Molek (for 100-million-girls blog)

The rock still stands —
growth of bushes,
briers, and half-dead flowers
covering its north side —
the south side shows
its grooved-smooth-gray-top,
this ragged side, chipped,
well-worn from use.

~ * ~
For thousands of years
it was a place of
fresh-born scrub-bushes
and twisted-tiny
crawling roses. The rock
at noon, the hottest hour
of the day, so it
would pull the seeping blood
deep into its skin.
Faster than room and space made —
bodies slain and pushed aside —
they lined up with,
the crying children
held tight to breast, shoulder, face —
whispering, “remember the honor,
necessity. You must die.”

In this way they fed Molek
the blood of their children
for days-on-end, one-by-one.
Crying babies, death knell ringing
across a summer sky while
the hot-wet-smell of blood
filled the breeze, floated away.

~ * ~

One hundred, two hundred, three
thousand, four thousand, more —
slaughtered into dark-gray silence,
quiet like the years
passing after them.
Two thousand years,
countless days, and
100-millions-girls later.

~ * ~

They come to the rock,
clear the way for sacrifice —
the blood, child blood, warm blood
splashes on the crawling roses.
The lines grow long, filled
with crying children
held tight to shoulder,
breast, face — whispering,
“remember the honor, necessity.
You must die.”

In this way we feed Molek
the blood of our children
for days-on-end, one-by-one.
Crying babies, death-knell ringing
across a summer sky while
we pretend it’s an illusion —
turn away, hide our eyes.

The rock still stands —
the growth of bushes,
briers,
and half-dead flowers
covering its north side;
its south side chipped,
well-worn from use —
waiting.

~July 2012

This poem was written for the 100-million-girls website. This site was created, and is managed, by my friend Sheree Rabe. Sheree is a poet, an attorney, and now a human-rights activist that I met via Twitter. She has a wonderful poetry site HERE, but it’s her 100-million-girls site HERE that prompted this poem. The site is dedicated to creating awareness and change in the world, and to stop the mass slaughter of young children in our world. PLEASE take time to visit her site and consider helping in this endeavor. If you’d like to know more about Sheree’s poetry, 100-million-girls effort, or if you’d just like to say “Hi” — you may do so in the following ways:

Sheree Rabe
3267 Bee Caves Road
Suite 107, PMB 281
Austin, Texas 78746
Sheree@shereerabe.com
My blog is at http://www.poetonpoetry.blogspot.com
Facebook Page:  http://www.facebook.com/poetonpoetry
Find me on Twitter @poetonpoetry

OR

BLOG: www.100milliongirls.blogspot.com 
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/100milliongirls 
TWITTER: @100milliongirls
PERSONAL WEBSITE: www.shereerabe.com 
#shereerabe

Artwork Credit:   Artwork by (c)  Tirin, aka Tilde Carlsten. Please visit her blog (offering a variety of interesting topics and great artwork HERE.) Thanks and gratitude to Tirin for the use of this picture.

Citations:

Wikipedia contributors. “Moloch.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Jul. 2012. Web. 21 Jul. 2012.

Molek – explanation from Wikipedia:

As a god worshipped by the Phoenicians and Canaanites, Moloch had associations with a particular kind of propitiatory child sacrifice by parents. Moloch figures in the Book of Deuteronomy and in the Book of Leviticus as a form of idolatry (Leviticus 18:21: “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch”). In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was initially where apostate Israelites and followers of various Baalim and Canaanite gods, including Moloch, sacrificed their children by fire (2 Chr. 28:3, 33:6; Jer. 7:31, 19:2–6).

Moloch has been used figuratively in English literature from John Milton‘s Paradise Lost (1667) to Allen Ginsberg‘s Howl (1955), to refer to a person or thing demanding or requiring a very costly sacrifice.

Memory of Fire, 1976

journey-svetlana-novikova

Two fireplaces remain
in this house, built in the Twenties.
Their elegance long-lost,
forever-gone,
each leftover mantel
a home for knick-knacks, small
framed pictures, newly received letters.

The living room boasts a fancy
oil heater – modern,
square box of fire —
heat roaring behind tiny doors,
the ring burning bright.
Brown-box filled with fresh oil,
proudly standing
on the hearth, winner
over the old fireplace it hides —
Better than wood and coal,
used sparingly – this precious oil –
on the coldest of days.

Loyal, old dinning room stove
stays true to plain and useful.
It’s black-iron belly – gorging
itself on wood and coal,
a ritual breakfast-dinner-supper.

Each day – You
hot-top, flat-for-use practical friend.
You, I loved and understood,
as you joined me in play —
melting-and-mixing crayons
in old tin cans. Trying to find
that certain-perfect and unique color – Like
a favorite pet: I fed you, cleaned you, played
beside you on cold winter nights . . .
anticipated your warmth
on cold winter mornings.

No fireplaces remain
in this ghost of a house
wavering and faded in my old child’s mind.
Each mantel long gone,
along with the heart pills,
chipped collectable plates,
half-cut school pictures, and
several frayed pieces of unfinished-hand-tatted-lace.

 

~July 2012

 

Artwork Credits: Special thanks for the use of Journey by ©Svetlana Novikova. Please visit the artist at her website or at Fine Arts America to find out more about her work, or to purchase a print, poster, or greeting cards. Also, you can see her information on our Featured Artists Page.

 

Photography Prints

Taz (commonality)

This dog plays
at the same game:
drop the ball
roll the ball
fetch the ball
again.
Day after day:
drop the ball
roll the ball
fetch the ball
again.
It is his career,
not so dissimilar
from mine,
day after day
in the end:
drop the ball
roll the ball
fetch the ball
again.

picture with Kathy, 1970’s

We are both dressed
in matching-tan-wool coats
topped-off with elegant tams.

Standing together on stone steps —
green grass thriving at our feet,
buds and blossoms from the rose bush
showing in the corner of the frame.

We are playing “dress-up”
(blistering hot and sweating
under the heavy-wool-weight),
in the famous June heat —
smiling on cue, as grandma snaps our picture,

with an ancient box camera
and old, arthritic hands.

~June 2012

nilsy art

Image by geirt.com via Flickr

Other Reading:

like books

I.

I have been reading
books about people
since I was ten. Then —
comprehension expanding — 
growing, to become
understanding of
people like books
since I was twenty.

At thirty, I could find
the villain in the story —
the hero
always a too-pristine-
perfect-caricature
of reality — the bad guy
realistically-real.

At forty, I picked you
off the shelf
of the world, opened
the last page
and started
reading the story
backwards.

II.

Playing at detective,
sifting through
the last pieces of familiar
before they start to fade.

Not so much
sentimental-nostalgic . . .
those people
those days
that life

forever gone – old ghosts
attached to my shoulders.
Muscles strain, dip
under the weight
as old smiles fade.

When the answers come
I will be
too old to live them.

I carry this
fatalistic understanding
tossed over my shoulder,
held tight like books,
in a coarse-woven rucksack. 

~Winter 2011

 

 

Derivation

I grew up in a small town.
Southern – reserved countryside
where even the roses said grace.

Each fragile part of life
exposed in natural hardship
of daily living. For years

I would believe the old adage:
Everything will be okay.

But, it wasn’t, couldn’t be,
and you knew time marched
hard forward. The end
coming on a mild February day.
Your promise to never leave me —
broken.

Three days later in a silk-lined
casket, your final sleep.
Lowered, leveled, the dirt
softly rolling down
to cover you. This deep-dark
iron-fed earth your final home.

The beat of my heart, flesh-torn,
forever changed, a murmur
of loss traceable — back
to the day of your leaving.

~June 2012

In the Dark of My Soul

Dusky non-dark lightness 
the kind that comes only
in those no-name motels, 
secret places of meeting
where the darkness
of strange rooms is muted by
lined-orange curtains, 
where parking-lot-lights caste 
ethereal shadows: 

you come quietly to bed 
like nothing uncommon exists 
in my being there drowsy 
head on your pillow,
clothed in your shirt. 

Your body, stiff in the act 
of lying down, carefully 
trying not to wake me 
from my almost-dream-state 
sleeping. Your 
warm-volatile 
spark-laden energy 
forced 
into submission -- still atomic: your skin, chest warm, 
hips touching -- 

rolling, turning, wrapping 
myself around you -- 
normal-necessary touch, 
like a moth to flame -- 
the burning-shock 
epiphany moment, 
in an old motel room --you, 
a bright-white imprint 
in the dark of my soul.

~May 2012

 

ky

from this invisible room

Last one standing
out of all those masses
that failed the tests
weren’t tough enough
for the mind-games,
were too strong to stay
through the mind-games
that I survived, endured.

Sitting alone in a hotel room,
over a thousand miles from home.
A hard-won victory dissipating
into a stark aloneness, cold

mirrored futility —
an old much-used bed,
fake art-deco reproduction,
mauve carpet, 70’s flower
printed curtains —

a train rattles by on the track
across the road
from this invisible room
in someone else’s world.


All the gypsies
packed and gone by noon
after knocks on the door and
“goodbyes” and “see ya’s” yelled
on the way to their cars.

I am leaving tomorrow
but for good (I think) on
to another band of gypsies —
Simple rules, no confusion.
No mind games to win
or lose — no awards
were given anyway. Was
it even a win? How to know?

~2008 in Pryor, Oklahoma