A couple of poems I wrote for my poetry students. These students are a long way from here, and we are a long way from them — a dynamic of the times. I am always wary of the 'ambient intimacy' of the internet, but I share these in the spirit of community. All poetry is a series of departures as well as arrivals, suggesting movement — flow. The conversations that develop between 'artworks' are inevitably political and ethical ones, and if we write out of colonial spaces (regretfully, disturbingly, and in grim reality), a series of responsibilities arise that are often in tension with the 'aesthetics' of a piece. I refuse 'aesthetics' as a basis of anything generative, but contend with it every time I write a letter, a word, a line... and every time I use any of the senses available to me. This is an act of dissension whose irony is made even more emphatic through the use of this technology (computer, internet etc) to access 'art' and to comment and respond to it.
See Kahlo's painting here. And here's an anti-ekphrastic act, maybe:
Not On Frida Kahlo’s ‘Wounded Deer’, Not Really?
When the bow hunters sported the deer out of the woods near Gambier
I was not thinking of Frida Kahlo’s ‘Wounded Deer’, which I do now.
This is not appropriate in so many ways, but maybe it is in others.
When the pick-up truck with the stag in the back secured so the antlers
were safe — wall trophy, obviously — but the hindquarters flopping
and bouncing on the open tail-gate, hooves kicking off the road’s asphalt
(and I imagine sparks but it was flecks of staling blood), roared
past me on the road through the village, I was not thinking of Frida
Kahlo’s ‘Wounded Deer’, which I do now. Maybe I should have back then?
But now I am thinking it through, in another hemisphere, over fifteen years
later. I am trying to be the deer and the stag but not be Frida Kahlo —
I would never try to do that. Which makes me wonder as I unloose
arrows out of my skin — nine times I quiver, nine times I transfer
my essence to a tree, nine times I shape the memory into something visceral —
if I am really seeing the past now? There are no deer here, but there are
kangaroos and they suffer similar fates. I cannot see Frida Kahlo’s
head on a kangaroo, I cannot build the symbolism, archetypes and set
of personal references. I won’t mystify. If the sea at the end of a wooded path
is forced into the sky, so too are the hills of the valley into a different
but intimately connected sky. Wrong images. I wonder about translations of ‘karma’,
and reach for my feet to see if they are secure on an earth that turns fast —
or maybe it’s just turning at the necessary speed. Neither fast nor slow. Maybe
that speed will stay the same no matter what the miners, industrialists and adventurers
do to it in all our names. It frightens me (and honestly, I don’t frighten easily —
well, not in a personal sense, anyway) that I have nothing to do with Frida
Kahlo or her deer-stag or her injury or bare forest or fetish for arrays of nine.
But then, why would I use a word like ‘fetish’? What am I painting here?
Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus: version after 2:10 — a mimesis
How we machine machines
might be at the root of the problem,
a root system of fibre-optics
and nanoparticles, the equilateral
disjunctions in application
of field-work. We have made it part
of our avatars not only via imposition
but by unnatural selection:
each lyrical strain we tune
into our ‘feelings’, remade as satisfaction
and compliance of mystery.
Speech to text slips past the inexpressible.
Expansion of services is not the music
we associate with ‘ecology’ — house of the word.