Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Poet Apart

A Poet Apart

somewhere a man sits
in his chair
contemplating a sad belly

dark stubble creeps on his jaw
a stubborn set against it all
eyelids low reveal none
none of the bad hangovers
that crowd the memory
and corrode perception

his pen opens a poem
only to close upon the mystery
of lingering loneliness

the tilt of his head a perfect egg
bright against evening shadows
words beat the winter about him
exposing veins where rages blood
and beer flooding plains of love and loath

crude honesty leaves no gap for fresh air
it slaps the truth into the cracks
ink over vodka laced in smoke
a perfect cocktail of senses
to follow the clock around

to earn that rare recognition
in a stranger's pupil
a man a chair one poem

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Review of Wolfgang Carstens' "Rented Mule" (by nadine Sellers)

Canadian writer Wolfgang Carstens ‘The Prolific’ has once more taken to the edge of the plebeian plight; from there peering over the abyss of cement cityscapes, entering the daily drudge to sink into the dregs of multiple shifts. Shifts of moods, shifts of needs that rise and fall with necessity at the heels of poetic brevity. This book, under the seal of NightBallet Press.

Carstens’ acuity, finds the detail like that of the great and the dead  who have brought us to deep and sad recognition of the human comedy. The artistic duo of writer and illustrator leads to the perfect distortion of word and line, rounded, lean or bloated. As if Janne Karlsson had been sitting in the security booth of the supermarket, capturing residual humor from the mindless breath beneath..

All these bipeds rolling around circular lives that lead right back to comfort foods, comfort gadgets, in discomfort of uniform apparel for the sake of pretense, existence. The hierarchy of the workplace runs by in concentric pressure down to the least and latest “rented mule”. It chokes the word out of the poet and the line out of the artist in softly delivered jabs; oh what a clean and blunt object, the pen and the pencil!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lost in Writing

Upon entering this writer's venue, it feels as if I was caught up in a surprise bachelor party, and can't find the exit. A bit overdressed, no fluff, no glitter; glamour does not enter my lexicon, the word ‘romance’ bumps against my sensitivity, shunning the use of offensive words as much as I can. “F” words range between feel and fear, not fond of ‘fun’. I guess that I must have stumbled into the wrong place at the right pace. Should I dig out the dusty thesaurus to find another name for ‘boring’?

In the time it takes to crawl out of incomputerate existence, I have reaped some pleasure in elbowing the literate cyber-community. The trip from isolation to revelation has helped me to embrace new writing and refined expression. I have met valuable artists, sensual poets and generous stewards of the collective consciousness.

Could a writer sense the different mental planes at work here? Words plop up from the cerebral pond. Friends know that, left to indiscriminate scribbling, I may eventually express the very breath that drives the writing. The longer I linger in this stagnant personal pool, the more algae will obscure my thoughts, till light dims memory altogether.

This life appears a bit bloggish since I migrated those writing efforts to the open web. The freedom of subject seems – subjective? I am swept by the whoosh of overwhelming streams and memes. The best blogger list carries a large percentage of men exercising their opinion and women flexing their hunting muscles on the information trail. So, a click and a cliche apart, I am neither male, nor huntress of any game. Mind over meat, matter over money? should I swim upstream or drown in the current wave?

While tentatively sniffing niches, I am establishing a novel route overland and overseas, seeking evidence of social progress, and yes, finding some, buried under piles of tantalizing and enticing tales. I follow the comment tracks and discover astute readers and co-writers of common ilk. Talent is sure to carve a rutted path among the needful throng. But someone has to hold the flashlight upon the road.

When all the qualitative ratio has been entered, one site seems no better, nor worse than another, just a different home for various styles. Entertaining or stimulating, most writers have so much to share in a more or less literary genre. Discretion being a minor virtue and kindness a major attribute, it is best to refrain from gossip in the ball court, for fear of being hit by a mean racket ball bouncing off the walls.

Pet names and clever pseudonyms may empower the timid, but they provide useful cover for the vengeful and the bully; anonymity offers little justice to the serious writer. Hidden identities detract from the boldness of truth. Truth, the wide spectrum lenses of authoritative vision, sneaks under guise of freedom of speech, under cover of freedom of information. It assumes shapes in the reader's perception, mobile, malleable or elusive.      

Concerned moralists, caring religionists and passionate atheists can be found within the ranks of the web. Shy or loud, in praise or protest, each one is digging at the essential human crust. Each voice, once formed of silence is loosened upon the globe in incremental word count. Gone are the limits of propriety, when women were kept busy at the wood stove, men were enchained to the paycheck and ideas died in the bed sheets of boredom. Alright, alright! we still have radiant stoves and glorious sheets, but we can write about the burning issues or the strangling ideologies with a strange feeling of fictional freedom. As if Art was imitating us.

Witnessing the human theatre through a controllable screen has given us a wider view of the universality of drama. We know that pain is eclectic in its face, it crosses the Ocean at the speed of news, it lives in the great noise, bounces off pages, and dwarfs our senses. Of course, it is essential to shun cyber-sluts who tease tired readers. All eyes open for psychic leeches who market ideas for effect, I mean predatory trolls who seek to taunt the lame or scratch the wounds. All manner of people hide under the opacity of social media, some hunger for fragile emotional systems; they jeopardize relationships through veiled identity, these provide us with necessary patience. For growing up with a global perspective, I am grateful.

We all need the nourishing atmosphere of the masters of language who help us to carry culture to a kinder level. Did I say kinder? That may be a bit optimistic. Whether written in a cathartic fit or an artistic fiesta, the object of word-smithing is to dispense enthusiasm to the receptive minds in this, our creative medium. The trick is to engage the subconscious. When at the quietest of moments, a thought comes upon you, find a pen, a keyboard or tablet, move gently, so as not to startle the idea, for it may never visit this way again, not in quite the same form, not in these very words, ever. Quick, write it down.

Verve will evaporate if you open your mouth. These tiny leaks of momentary glory will ooze the plot out, piecemeal. Beware! If you satisfy questions with any answer about your writing, the theme will flounder or waver.  Sensuous or lyrical, serious or satirical, satisfy the reader’s hunger with a polished story.  Life may provide you with empiric material, but the cryptic mind will decode the subtleties.

Dictate to your fingers, release the pressure of unspent passion, never to divulge the whole plot till it appears on small screens for its intended audience. Thank you for relieving me of my cyber-social duties, for deflating my pockets of guilt when I do not respond or reciprocate. Words can pull the ballast out of the writer's belly. But, readers are the ones who have the ultimate power to restore the balance between the writer and the written. Oh yes, that’s a lot to expect of voracious papivores who consume reams of published matter in a single day.

 OK!Mind hermetically sealed against vicarious seepage, keyboard at the ready, both typing digits at attention, I am, again, eager to nestle in this quasi anonymity, among few fine literati. See you next book!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Review of Zarina Zabrisky and Simon Rogghe's Green Lions.

A string pulls me toward the small book on my desk, this invisible lace draws me over and over to flip pages by thumb and to plunge along a travelogue of subcutaneous senses. Zarina Zabrisky and Simon Rogghe have fused an artistic duet that pours from pages of sketch and poetry.

The synchrony of evocative verse plays along allusions to self discovery, Simon darkly, in italics, Zarina boldly, in ink, dance to a black and white cerebral and corporeal harmony. Together they follow the meanders of their unabashed impulses. Their tongues express a blend of archaic aura with rich Slavic and Semitic influences. Their bodies, felt along moving metaphor. The authors translate the seen from the perceived in swirling words that flash images on raw senses

The colors of language bring vivid meaning to the flat print of black and white sketch “your stomach-it pulses violet and scintillates dark purple” Simon’s juxtaposed italics complement her sensuous line drawings to intriguing perfection.  

Mutual honesty flows deeply below each stanza “We have a pact against futile pursuits” says Rogghe.  The emphasis upon the personal establishes the insular quality of passion spoken in word and deed. Simon displays the gentle force which protects, Zarina allows necessary healing to progress. “I am a story within a story” drives the reader to the center of her being. She spirals the strands of spontaneous thought with tactile sensuality.

Animals allude to particular characteristics which they, together, weave along mystical paths. Flirting cranes on a full page drawing symbolize the elegant attraction of poet and artiste. Zabrisky’s swans idealize fidelity, each bird drawn by her hand elicits the relational flight of beings on a life journey, through the air above the mundane. In “Equestrian Seduction Duet” Pegasus untethered, takes us on an undeniable trip of all senses. Her plain text wonderment “Tell me, are horses lonely creatures?. Like people, like islands, like cities, like lovers.”, his wondrous reply imparts intimacy “when a horse takes off, it barely pats the ground”. Selecting a single quote would diminish this entire exquisite poem. I chose to hear their words echo into the subconscious.

Exotic locations become visions along the evolutionary path of sentiments. Queretara resonates to the rhythm of heels upon earthen tiles, impatient feet scaring fear away by day and the same feet restoring peace beyond crimson gauze by night. The innate mystery dissipates pain in single words and terse couplets; each one is chosen with economy against a larger scope of influence. They, together impart vulnerability, “I wept the forest bear of my fear” shares Zarina--against backgrounds of natural settings. “a gift of seaweed and love”. Whether by fire or by sand, the reader is pulled into the experience.  The immediacy of love above the desert scratches raw portrayals in Tableau Vivant. Simon Rogghe indeed paints essential emotive landscapes. “sand as blood—eyes of salt”

In conclusion, I skip the compliments, the summary, all I want to do is to return to the book and drown my day in layers of sensual reality, that magical sweet spot of being. Suspended by words, held by Green Lions.