Sunday, August 29, 2021

Another Apocalypse: New Work in Gone Lawn

 

 

This is coming a little late

because I was in the process of moving

from New Mexico to Oregon

during the summer months

and didn’t have much time for

the blog...

 

Fall of the Rebel Angels - Breughel the Elder


So, back during the summer solstice,

Gone Lawn

published a couple of sections from a new manuscript called 

ANOTHER APOCALYPSE

 

drought

The two sections can be found here.

 

  ************************************

I started the manuscript back in February (2021). 

I thought I was writing a solo poem, responding to the constant feelings of overwhelm from the state of emergency across the earth – the changes that are here or are developing from climate change, the chaos created by media disinformation, the fear and sadness generated by the continuing pandemic, systemic police racism and brutality, class war built into the structure of the economic system, the horror and pain caused by so many US generated endless wars, along with experiencing the seemingly perpetual swing between anxiety and sadness among so many others - while at the same time experiencing 'business as usual' all around me and in my own life.

 

fire in the west
 

The contradiction between the news and present-moment experience coming in from all sides and still conducting 'business as usual' was maddening, exasperating, and I thought if I started another book that explored all of this with some (very dark) humor in it, it might bring some kind of momentary release (to both writer and reader). 

Acknowledgement of the facts is one of the phases of grief.

Although the manuscript did not end up developing with a lot of humor (no surprise there), it is not simply a walk through grimness, darkness and doom either. It has taken shape in unexpected ways (that I'll eventually speak about in later blogs).

By the time I reached take 40 I realized that the book was somewhat of a hybrid of fiction and prose-poetry, with continuing and connected characters appearing and disappearing.

 

glacier melting

 

Writing this manuscript sometimes helps keep me focused and more calm. 

May you find your own creative ways to regulate (find some calm and sanity), that may lead to taking action in your own way. 

********************************

 


 

I include the first Another Apocalypse below. It is a prayer, an invocation, that begins the manuscript:

 

Another Apocalypse, Invocation

 

Is there a prayer that will bring anything back? It probably begins with these words Oh the black birds spin in and out of existence oh the black birds they spin… And ends like this: …flare stack fire against my skin, burning bright as stars. No one knows the words in between. 

Yet. 

It’s too late for a prayer that asks for something. The spirit world has nothing left to give. We’ve been asking and asking for far too long. They’ve run out of shiny tokens. Remember how those greedy little prayers crisscrossed the sky like starling-clouds?

We need a prayer that’s more forceful now. One that can break into the spirit world, rummage around in spirit rubbish, pick spirit pockets, grab some broken shards of hope, rub two spirit stones together: flint-sparks that will light a path through catastrophe.

Screw prayer. Try sacrifice: a finger on the road’s shoulder. Try sacrifice: 24/7 videos of children in cages. Try sacrifice: the air that catches fire beneath a burning tree canopy. Fire merges with fire, melts the invisible barrier between worlds. Dead and living mingle, finally equal.

Ash particles drift in a clear sky. Perfect weather. Ash particles drift over a vortex of flame rising from a wall of water. Perfect weather. A glacier breaks away from my mind, floats into the Indian Ocean. I wake, my bed floats on dark water.

There are flare-stacks in the distance: beacons. They beckon.

 

 **************************

You can find the two sections in Gone Lawn 
here.

 

Mose Allison - I don't worry 'bout a thing, 'cause I know nothing's going to be alright








Friday, June 25, 2021

Praise-Chants published in The Banyan Review & Cholla Needles

 

Five chthonic praise-chants

from the manuscript

Tidal Flats

have been recently published in

Issue 6 (Modern Bestiary Issue) of

The Banyan Review

 

Cover art: Sailing the Salton Sea by Vanessa Compton

You can read them

here.  

 

There is also a video.

 

More on the praise-chants

(how they came about)

can be found on a previous blog

(here)

when several of the chants were published

by Mudlark back in January.

 

********************************

 

Meanwhile, several more praise-chants were recently published by

Cholla Needles

(in early June, 2021, Issue 54)

with amazing cover art for the issue

by Yvonne Ontiveros

 


You can purchase a copy here:

https://amzn.to/3iaGtg7

 

Here’s one previous published in Cholla Needles 48:



Red-Black Hollyhock Chthonic Praise-Chant

 

This is the red in black black in red

Where earth meets underworld inside the eye

Bridge between left and right hemispheres

Between the magpie’s left eye and the wasp birthed out

            of the bleached deer skull

Between tantalizing bat wings and the sweet-rot smell

            of datura

 

This is the red in black black in red

Shaking when too many bodies crowd close or figures

            appear in the dark

Shadows of walking apple trees

Apple cores give birth to predators with phosphorescent

            organ-balls dangling in front of a black mouth

            whispering the name of the river that cries beneath

            the earth

 

This is the red in black black in red

Feeble fingers that barely made it to the surface during

            the summer sink back

Retreat is the color beneath the color of pain

Blind sockets stare deep into the crows woven out of nettle

            leaves and stems that line the wall right before dawn

 

This is the flower that remembers the sea of stones near the

            asphodel field

Keeps repeating what the under-wind culled from those stones

Flower that murdered the unmarked grave

Opened a black-red mouth channel to the underworld where

            the dead gather around a radio listening to random

            words that pass over the flower

 

This is the black in red red in the black

The body that steps from the apple trunk from the stone pile

            from the blue streetlight from a book tossed in the

            compost heap

The body that watches the drifting cigarette smoke of a woman

            grieving her dead child

Of her partner watching her mute unable to speak

 

This is the black in red red in black

Announcement of winter in mid-summer

Rain-stick shower of long-dead gourd-purple ants across

            the back of my neck across the upper shoulders

What else did I expect when leaning too close to the door

            where after begins

The eye the finger the lips that are no longer lips

Mirror of my death