MORE WEST ACTION: ROSS GAY VERSUS DONNA MASINI

We at Scarriet have never really liked poetry that does not use punctuation, or uses a great deal of white space.

Written speech is not a magic island or a fancy island in a white sea; it is just an island: what the words and punctuation say is what the poem says.

We have always found Charles Olson and Ezra Pound dubious, if not offensively stupid, in their efforts to overturn the “old poetry” with “new” notions of gnosis and transformative knowledge, in which body and breath liberate us from time and space, escaping old dualisms and old habits, blah blah blah. No one defending this silly stuff has ever proved any of it, even for a second.  It exists only in the minds of the gulled. Early 20th century manifesto-ism nearly killed poetry, yet scholars still speak in hushed, reverent terms of: H.D., Imagiste.

We are confident that nothing we say on this subject will change anyone’s mind—in fact it may convert a few against us.  Psychology is the great anti-science amassed against the reasonable: it laughs at reason’s reasons.

Ross Gay has a line which skips punctuation, but we are sure what we have said will not prejudice anyone against it.

If we argue for punctuation in all instances, we may still like the following, anyway:

One never knows does one how one comes to be.

We hear does one? as a stage aside.  The lack of punctuation gives the line a dramatic turn.  The mystery involves punctuation; the limb works when it is gone.  It is like what Mozart said about music living between the notes.  But of course you still need the notes, Herr Mozart.

Some of us believe punctuation belongs to speech, but not thought—do all of us think without punctuation?  Alright go downstairs now it is probably warm out now don’t forget your jacket.

Or perhaps very intelligent people think with punctuation added.  Who knows?

If there is one notion pondered more than any other by intelligent people, it might be this one: One never knows, does one, how one comes to be. 

And perhaps this is another thing which makes Ross Gay’s line interesting:

Because it has no punctuation, it resembles a line “inside our heads,” a thought.

But the use of “does one,” makes it sound like the poet is talking to someone.

If one were writing it more as a “pure thought,” one might write it this way: How did I come to be?

Donna Masini, the poet matched up with 5th seeded Gay in this West Bracket contest, has a line which sounds a similar note of reckless resignation: a tragic resignation, and yet with a shrug, or even a smile.

Gay and Masini might be reflecting the fact that stoicism and resignation have replaced Romantic yearning since Edna Millay went out of style among highbrows as Modernism took over the academy in the 30s and 40s.  Recall how Millay, pondering death, was “not resigned?”  Poets today are more likely to say, Oh gee, fuck it, I’m trapped, gotta die.

Masini: Even sex is no exit. Ah, you exist.

Masini could be addressing this line to Millay, herself, who, it was rumored, carried on a bit in the sexual department.

Dear Edna. Even sex is no exit (from the predicament of mortality).

But then we have the wonderful,  “Ah, you exist.”  Which is just wonderful, and we are not sure exactly why it so wonderful, but we suspect it has a little to do with the fact that “exit” and “exist” are alike in sound, and the sound of the word “sex” hides in “exit” and “exist,” too.

Masini’s line uses punctuation, which recommends it.

For even if the poet is thinking this to themselves, they could think, “Even sex is no exit.”  And then walk for half an hour, and then think, “Ah, you exist.”  We like that.

Not so if it looked like this: Even sex is no exit ah you exist.

Just so you know: we like Masini’s chances.

But Gay has a good chance in poetry march madness you never know do you.

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58 Comments

  1. Surazeus said,

    April 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Sex is the cause of our dream-bright existence.
    Once we understand desires of our parents,
    we can understand ourselves all too well.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Thomas Graves you have a supreme gift of words but I can’t help but feel here: too much said on too little.

    Maybe I’m reading too much Merton…

    MERTON’S LAST WORD ON THE SUBJECT

    [on the enigmatic soul of Thomas Merton…
    known only to God;
    impressions from his last journals]

    the fellowship of wounds unwritten here.
    the cold air banking the snows
    keeping us apart,

    the faerylike hour and I;
    with only Basho for company
    or the latest news.from all the sundry

    dropping by

    the poplar fruit dried to a dimming gold.
    stray thoughts of growing old: 5, ten years?
    between God and the soul, the literary estates,

    an uneasy truce.
    in Asia, the white flag raised.

    mary angela douglas 1 april 2016

  3. noochinator said,

    April 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Anxieties

    It’s like ants
    and more ants.

    West, east
    their little axes

    hack and tease.
    Your sins. Your back taxes.

    This is your Etna,
    your senate

    of dread, at the axis
    of reason, your taxi

    to hell. You see
    your past tense—

    and next? A nest
    of jittery ties.

    You’re ill at ease,
    at sea,

    almost in-
    sane. You’ve eaten

    your saints.
    You pray to your sins.

    Even sex
    is no exit.

    Ah, you exist.

    Donna Masini

  4. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    the cult of anxiety and the absurd rehashed as the ants at the picnic. But I still believe in the picnic and am tired of the worn out religion of negative existentialism. what I mean by the little made much of. She is a poet with a definite poetic gift but I hate the subject matter I can’t help it.

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    FALLING BACK INTO GOD WE WILL NOT FEAR

    falling back into God we will not fear
    as into the snowlights of the waning year
    as dream fades into Dream, more real

    by the ageless minute.
    the music ticks the metronomes away
    the ladders by dim windows stray

    and they are made of gold.
    they will unroll, defying gravity,
    the flower seeded carpets on the lawns

    regretfully, we leave behind.
    that we ourselves may finally be

    the flowering we thought we were
    when we were young.
    or only, just about, ready

    to become
    in fields forever and
    familiarly green.

    mary angela douglas 1 april 2016

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    on “one never knows does one’. How much formal distance do you need to establish between yourself and your own soul; this is taken to such an extreme as to become gibberish. I know this sounds harsh, but this kind of construction is cold as ice to me and just as deathlike if you dwell on/in it.

  7. noochinator said,

    April 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    To My Best Friend’s Big Sister

    One never knows
    does one
    how one comes to be
    standing
    most ways to naked
    in front of one’s pal’s
    big sister who has, simply
    by telling me to,
    gotten me to shed
    all but the scantest
    flap of fabric
    and twirl before her
    like a rotisserie
    chicken as she
    observes
    and offers thoughtful critique
    of my just
    pubescent physique
    which is not
    a thing
    to behold
    what with my damp trunks
    clinging to
    my damp crotch
    and proportion and grace
    are words the definition
    of which I don’t yet know
    nor did I ask the
    the mini-skirted scientist
    sitting open-legged
    and now shoeless
    on my mom’s couch
    though it may have been
    this morning
    while chucking papers
    I heard through the Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock
    pulsing my walkman
    a mourning
    dove struggling
    snared in the downspout’s
    mouth and without
    lowering the volume
    or missing a verse
    I crinkled the rusted aluminum
    trap enough that with
    a little wriggle
    it was free
    and did not
    at once
    wobble to some
    powerline but sat on my hand
    and looked at me
    for at least
    one verse of “It Takes Two”
    sort of bobbing
    its head
    and cooing once or twice
    before flopping off
    but that seems very long ago
    now
    as I pirouette
    my hairless and shivering
    warble of acne and pudge
    burning a hole
    in the rug as big sis tosses off
    Greek and Latin words
    like pectorals and
    gluteus maximus
    standing to show me
    what she means
    with her hands on my love
    handles and now
    I can see myself
    trying to add some gaudy flourish
    to this memory
    to make of it
    a fantasy
    which is why I linger
    hoping to mis-recall
    the child
    me
    make of me
    someone I wasn’t
    make of this
    experience the beginning
    of a new life
    gilded doors
    kicked open blaring
    trombones a full
    beard Isaac Hayes singing in the background
    and me thundering forth
    on the wild steed
    of emergent manhood
    but I think this child was not
    that child
    obscuring, as he was, his breasts
    by tucking his hands
    into his armpits
    and having never even made love
    to himself
    yet was not
    really a candidate for much
    besides the chill
    of a minor shame
    that he would forget for 15 years
    one of what would prove
    to be many
    such shames
    stitched together like a quilt
    with all its just legible
    patterning which could be a thing
    heavy and warm
    to be buried in
    or instead might be held up
    to the light
    where we see the threads
    barely holding
    so human and frail
    so beautiful and sad and small
    from this remove.

    Ross Gay

    https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/my-best-friends-big-sister

  8. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    worse and worse.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 1, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      and perverse.

      verse

    • Andrew said,

      April 8, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      I agree. Just retchingly awful.
      Why write such mundane stuff ?

  9. noochinator said,

    April 1, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    For Some Slight I Can’t Quite Recall

    Was with the pudgy hands of a thirteen-year-old
    that I took the marble of his head
    just barely balanced on his reedy neck
    and with the brute tutelage
    of years fighting the neighbor kids
    and too the lightning of my father’s
    stiff palm I leaned the boy’s head
    full force into the rattly pane of glass
    on the school bus and did so with the eagle of justice
    screaming in my ear as he always does
    for the irate and stupid I made the window sing
    and bend and the skinny boy too
    whose eyes grew to lakes lit by mortar fire
    bleating with his glasses crooked
    I’m not an animal walking in place
    on the green vinyl seat looking far away
    and me watching him and probably almost smiling
    at the song and dance I made of the weak
    and skinny boy who towering above me
    became even smaller and bizarre and birdlike
    pinned and beating his wings frantically
    against his cage and me probably
    almost smiling as is the way of the stupid
    and cruel watching the weak and small
    and innocent not getting away.

    Ross Gay

  10. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    END OF THE LINE

    end of the line
    the bus, trolly drivers too; train conducters
    always find or found the same words for it

    above ground.
    somehow it comforted me
    on days to work whenever this resounded

    to reflect no matter what the day would bring
    by way of suffering in the little ways you can
    at work, the outsized smirks, the putting down

    you always face as a temporary employee
    always out to sea as far as the permanent ones
    are concerned and ever on trial for their

    superiors no matter what you learned
    in the job preceding this.
    this helped me get by, and bookstores

    so no matter what was endured
    I could say at the end of the day
    I went through that for Kafka,

    Fairy Tales, or Michnik’s latest essays,
    Ashkenazy’s spell, and April, at the museums.
    so work was the straw I spun into gold

    on paydays. other days there was always
    the soothing reminder, end of the line,
    and then the chime or the accordion fold

    of the doors that let me off in the purple twilights.
    “this is the end of the line.”

    one day
    it will be.

    mary angela douglas 1 april 2016

  11. thomasbrady said,

    April 1, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Ross Gay is a professor and just won a poetry prize (Kingsely Tufts) awarding him $100,000.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying, Mary. That punctuation matters? Does not matter? You didn’t agree with what I said? Or you’re just disgusted with Gay’s poetry.

    All aesthetic opinions are welcome on Scarriet.

    I’m just riffing on what I find.

    The poetry world is too large and complex to bring in judgements from other realms.

    Or maybe we have to bring in judgements from other realms? That’s OK, too.

    Taste is important, and I’m not far away from you, Mary, at all.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 1, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      I like very much what you said about punctuation. It is very important, beautiful, and imaginative what you said about that. When I followed the two threads of those poets into their poems I was dismayed and then I felt your choosing of those lines was not worthy of YOUR gifts. I hate depravity, whining, and the smirk, and the smart alecky in poetry, in philosophy and in all the arts. I am having health problems now which might result in an early death and I just feel like saying how I really feel. There is a lot of crap in poetry and SOMEBODY needs to call it out. It might as well be me since I’ve NEVER had anything to lose. I don’t want to go to my grave being nice in the face of what I consider EVIL. Call me a freaking fanatic whoever wants to, obtuse, a stupid woman, something to be mocked as I have been God knows in all the highways and byways of my life, the temple of poetry and everything else we knew as beautiful has been defaced. And I am not ashamed to say it, obscure as I am. I’m not against you or any of the poets; I am against these murky but to me unmistakeable lies.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm

        What the heck do I care how many prizes the professor has won.

      • Andrew said,

        April 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        You are on fire here and I will fan your flame.
        Scarriet ought to be about “calling out the crap” ALL the time.

        I only differ with you Mary when you say:
        [I hate depravity, whining, and the smirk, and the smart alecky in poetry, in philosophy and in all the arts. ]

        I think there is a place for these things, but one must try to do it with some wit, some craftsmanship, something to keep it lively rather than just vomiting up sordid social realism, linguistic absurdity, and (Godless) whiny existential alienation, which for me encapsulates most of Modern Poetry.

        Butler, Pope, Swift, Dryden, many other great poets were smirking and smart-alecky. And since we are all inherently and fundamentally depraved, there is no getting rid of that one (the first of the 5 glorious and irrefutable truth-petals of Calvinism’s ever-blooming TULIP).

        I think Nooch just posts that stuff to get us going.
        I wonder if he REALLY likes it sometimes. (?)

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      I am learning a lot from you Thomas Graves and I am learning a lot about the limitations of my own opinions on things. As soon as the words are written in the comment and I look at them I see I have tried to put a fence up with my words keeping some things in and some things out and I see that my words no matter how careful I am in choosing them stiffen like concrete and even appear to me a little ridiculous. I understand that you are not crusading for Poetry for any particular school of poetry or approach to Poetry although it is possible to find in your essays and some of your poems some golden glints of what you really think and it is fun to find those. I, on the other hand am nearing possibly soon the end of my life and I have watched for a long time poetry become stranger and stranger to me as if it almost a foreign country to me IN MY OWN COUNTRY. Overwhelmed with this feeling I write things that sound like pronouncement and yet, I actually hate pronouncements because I want people younger than me to know the treasure of feeling I had for poetry at the beginning and Ihink they could have too. As I have no children I wanted to pass this feeling on. Instead, what I said in the comments yesterday ssem like harangues. I am so sorry for this. It is not what I intend or intended. Maybe I should just stick to writing my own poems my own way and leave others to do the same. It is their right after all and I am no fit judge. Let the beautiful return I say to myself and to God under my breath. Let the beautiful return.

  12. thomasbrady said,

    April 1, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Mary, I hear you.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 1, 2016 at 10:09 pm

      Thank you for listening. I guess my previous comments are what the civility disposed now call a rant. But my God Thomas how would you feel if you thought you had weeks or months to live? Would you still be doodling or would you try to paint a masterpiece. People who are real poets are in a deep, shitfilled quagmire. If they aspire to the highest that Poetry has ever been they will be mocked and scorned. If they write crap full of innuendo and cutsy scatalogical and philosophical fin de siecle pretentiousness or however you spell that stuff, they will ride on the shoulders of the cafe crowds heading straight into Pompeii. What I am saying diectly to you as I know how to, dear Thomas Graves, is get the heck out before the ceiling caves in on you and write from your real soul before it’s too late..

  13. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 1, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    National Poetry Month

    Is it just simple coincidence
    or maliciously designed irony
    that National Poetry Month should
    begin on April Fools Day?
    For as everyone knows,
    though dread to acknowledge,
    poetry is but a fool’s game.

    Of what use being quickly forgotten
    to those who obtain glory today?
    And of what use laurels and honor
    to those who lie in the grave?

    Copyright 2011 – Mortal Remains, Gary B. Fitzgerald

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 3, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Actually a very good poem for the nonsense of having a National Poetry Month. Poetry exists out of time and flows in and of itself. What is a month to poetry when at least some of it is immortal. It’s a wonder they didn’t shrink it down to an hour.

    • Andrew said,

      April 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      It’s National Poetry Writing Month!
      Align your chakras, hold your breath.
      Let poetry flood your living spirit;
      free your mind from lyrical death !

      Let go the appallingly unpoetic:
      meditate. Assume the position.
      Adore your muse in rhythmic wonder;
      write in automatic transmission.

      Chant the mantra: NaPoWriMo
      Let it hum like raw electricity.
      Find your center… focus inward
      ¡ And thus behold sublime diversity !

  14. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Its still possible to be fools for God and write psalms for Him or just sing like the birds for the pure joy of it. You do have a point about April Fool’s day. I remember as a kid being scared to go to school that day.

  15. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 1, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun
    Nor the furious winter’s rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    Home art gone and ta’en thy wages.
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

    Fear no more the frown o’ th’ great;
    Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke.
    Care no more to clothe and eat;
    To thee the reed is as the oak.
    The sceptre, learning, physic, must
    All follow this and come to dust.

    Fear no more the lightning flash,
    Nor th’ all-dreaded thunder-stone;
    Fear no slander, censure rash;
    Thou hast finished joy and moan.
    All lovers young, all lovers must
    Consign to thee and come to dust.

    No exorciser harm thee,
    Nor no witchcraft charm thee.
    Ghost unlaid forbear thee;
    Nothing ill come near thee.
    Quiet consummation have,
    And renowned be thy grave.

    Shakespeare (from Cymbeline)

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 12:03 am

      There used to be a certain reverence attached to poems such as those of Shakespeare. And for good reason. Because there was something to be reverent about. Even in the craft of it, the singing line that hits its mark in the human heart and spirit. Can we blame people for hating poetry or being indifferent to it in the present age when the reasons for revering it as incarnating beauty, truth, goodness and all the ideals possible and impossible in human life have all but disappeared? We have turned what was golden into the banal and worse, the obscene. And we still call it poetry. I don’t mean all poems, all poets, just the general, sickening milieu. And if you never talk about this, if you, in fact, do everything you can to talk around it, then what you are writing about poetry and what you are doing in poetry will always be small.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 2, 2016 at 12:42 am

        I know this sounds like a judgement. It isn’t. I feel this way toward my own writing. I want to serve Poetry in the highest sense; I don’t want to get in a situation where I start thinking poetry is there to serve me. And just because others are great who went before us doesn’t me we don’t have the right to try. I don[‘t mean that at all. I just don’t like to see poetry turned into a joke factory or a conveyer belt for suicide notes. I believe art exists, true art, to make human beings feel better, not worse. People don’t want to feel worse. Especially when they paid for it.

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 2, 2016 at 12:43 am

          doesn’t mean, not doesn’t me, sorry. but I don’t think anyone’s reading what I’m saying anyhow so I’ll just say good night to all and to all a good night. and mean it.

  16. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 2, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Violated Passing

    Black and ragged,
    tattered scraps of evening sky
    chase a rising wind and drift like warships
    on a crimson sea,
    upon the sunsets fading light.
    They float across the spreading mortal blood
    which spills from a day
    now soon to die.

    The last defiant gasp of color dims,
    smothered by the night,
    an amber glory of farewell
    now corrupted, trespassed upon and stained
    by these dark and ragged clouds.
    Torn roughly from the flanks of distant storms,
    they march triumphantly on the vanquished day
    like shapeless pieces of the night,
    evil, wretched forms, the advance guard
    of a deep and coming darkness.

    They dance like the ripped and rotting sails
    hung like shrouds on a shipwreck’s
    weathered spars, shreds fluttering without sound
    like the wings of death itself.
    Misshapen bits of vengeful, angry sky,
    drifting, shadowed insults, they gape like jagged holes
    punched through the scarlet finale of the day.
    The day, which began both clear and bright,
    which spun its hours in fields of blue,
    warmed the earth and blessed it in its light,
    but pure no longer, now scarred,
    blasphemed by these black and ragged
    bits of sky.

    Copyright 2008 – Specimens: Selected Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  17. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 2, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Your poem is like a painting by Turner but I love all the skies there are. I can’t look on them as ugly. I just can’t.

  18. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 2, 2016 at 4:41 am

    EVEN YOUR SHADOWS SHINE OH GOD

    even your shadows shine oh God
    whenever we’re waiting for the train
    or something else, or in the rain

    your shadows shine. and then I think
    is the Divine really impossible for us
    if you could be that near

    when the weather isn’t clear or
    so many other things to me.
    and I have sung alone there

    waiting for the bus to come
    at odd times of the day
    and I know you hear me singing

    but I’d want to anyway
    you made even the shadows
    so beautiful

    the shadows of trees falling
    across the pavements.

    mary angela douglas 1 april 2016

  19. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 2, 2016 at 5:40 am

    I did not mean to sound dismissive of your poem, Gary. It is very expressive and vividly painted. You always put yourself fully into the poem and when I finish reading your poems I recognize that it ended where it should. My mood today in thinking about poetry generally is that we are used to things being a certain way in current poetry, but we can’t be used to it. Being used to it the way it is and going back and reading the truly great poets and really immortal poetry I have to say I notice the difference and why shouldn’t we all strive with all our hearts and minds to make our poems the very best they can possibly be as an expression of ourselves, an expression only we can make and yet it just feels like this is not happening. Why make anything at all if its just going to turn out to be tepid and half baked? And I feel the same about a lot of music and films now too. Why bother? Make something distinct, something you would be proud of forever and if it’s not like that for heaven’s sake tear it up and start over. I know I sound like a person fuming at other people when it’s not my business too but I’m not saying it to be mean. The day we all start writing poetry, or singing songs, or dancing or anything from our entire mind, heart and soul, and paying real attention to what is truly great in what went before and finding what is truly great within ourselves is the day people in general will start paying attention to the arts again, and to what matters most inside themselves which is the most wonderful thing that could happen. That’s my dream, anyway. A Living Art. An Unforgettable One.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 5:42 am

      Haha. The Martian sentence above I/m not sayubg ut ti be neab is translated as I’m not saying it to be mean. I shouldn’t be writing things this late!

  20. Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

    April 2, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Dear Mary:

    You said:

    “I am having health problems now which might result in an early death and I just feel like saying how I really feel…I don’t want to go to my grave being nice in the face of what I consider EVIL”

    And:

    “But my God Thomas how would you feel if you thought you had weeks or months to live?”

    For this reason, Mary, I posted my poem ‘Violated Passing’. Please read it again, more closely. I’m on your side of this debate. You are not the only person who has been there.

    Gary

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Gary I read everytthing closely. I am not talking about where I am as in “been there’. I am talking about Poetry itself. I will read your poem many times as it is very expressive and I wish you continued joy in your poetry as I wish all poets well. I just felt I have to say eerything I feel the way I see it for once without thinking about being polite or kind. It is not a kindness to withold the truth the way you see it all the time as saying what you tihink and feel might help a person to find a new and eventually a happier direction. In poetry as in life. All poets are brave to write at all and I surely salute them. Whatever we do we should do with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and we to some extent have all let ourselves be cowed by the Ones Who Are Suposed To Know everything so that we all to one degree or another sound MEALY MOUTHED compared with the great poets of the past. It is NOT because we have measley souls. Its because we have stupid “EXPERTS. Thomas Graves and Scarriet have much brilliance but in the end I do feel you can’t read the poem with one line; you have to see the whole. And you can’t really know a poet by one poem. But it was a creative thing to pick one strand from each poem and an interesting exercise. And many ot Tom’s essays, thoughts, digressions (especialy digressions) and poems (especially those where suddenly Keats or Shelley seem to linger there with the next line being in the vernacular, are- Spectacular. We are all too senstivie to live and yet we do. But we are not weak people and I would like that perception of poets (as weak and ineffectual) also to be challenged. I know I’m one drop in the ocean of poetry and poets and living below the poverty line (but happily except for being a littlle scared about my health) but I am trhying to say all I can say in case it might be useful to someone else. It would be a lot easier to just shut up and I’m sure some people wish I would. So I will but not before saying to whoever’s listening: I love/loved Poetry and I love all of you/poets. And I always will.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Gary, do you have a favorite book from the many poetry books that you have written?

      • Gary B. Fitzgerald said,

        April 3, 2016 at 4:11 am

        I’ve only published six. How does one choose their favorite child?

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 3, 2016 at 11:12 am

          How does one answer a question like that. Six books is a significant amount of work.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      I do appreciate Gary your sending the poem in response and I do see the connection you mention. I often wonder in making books of poems, our poems if it would be helpful to readers to have us tell stories about the poems, kind of the way they “happened” to us or even like a story within the story of the poem itself. I appreciate your poems as well as your comments on them about your reasons for submitting them but in another vein I think your poems are worthwhile whether they are in response to something immediate or not. It is clear you have written each one as a separate work of art they are so varied in style and subject matter and I try to do the same because it is more fun that way. On the whole i’m glad that poetry now includes really anything you want to write anyway because that is freedom. The thing I am worried about is that the high, visionary way of looking at poetry and of creating poems is being trampled underfoot, unknowingly. Thank you for supporting my position; it is heartening and appreciated.

  21. thomasbrady said,

    April 2, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Shelley thought he was going to die. As a teenager he received a false diagnosis of early death. That must have done wonders for his writing after that.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      It is possible to receive false alarms. i don’t recommend anymore going on the internet to check your symptoms. The worst possibility always pops up first and then follows you around if the website has cookies everywhere. My nemisis was an ad that pointed to my foot and leg and circled certain tings as swelling, redness etc. and was captioned: 4 signs you’re close to having a heart attack. That add popped up for weeks with its spooky diagram and finally I recognized that I hadn’t had a heart attack and yet the phantom lingers; Poe would have understood.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 2, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      Very interesting detail about Shelley. Maybe he never got over that diagnosis and perhaps that does, as you say explain the wonders, and the peculair strain of his Poetry.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 3, 2016 at 12:22 am

        REALLY POOR PEOPLE CANNOT DIE

        really poor people cannot die
        at least not in public,
        unless they slump over on the bus,

        while waiting in line
        or overnight, frozen sparrow fashion
        come to dust outside

        when they’d rather die
        than go to a shelter
        where they can get knived.

        well, you never see them lying in state
        in a rotunda, banked with flowers
        behind velvet ropes

        where the myraids in hushed wonder
        pause and look their way.
        sometimes they pass away in

        their apartments.
        no one knows, for days
        unless it’s someone coming upstairs

        to post the eviction notice
        for non payment of rent
        but you tell me how do you get it sent

        from Heaven when the trip’s one way
        to the house not made with hands.

        mary angela douglas 2 april 2016

  22. thomasbrady said,

    April 3, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Dick Van Dyke has managed to stay very youthful. His advice: keep moving.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Kind of amazing you should say that. For the last two weeks I have been reading everything I can about Dick Van Dyke and it just started because I was thinking about performers, personalities I’ve always liked because of their geniality and then I came across that book. It seems astonishing that he is as lucid and as agile as he is at almost ninety but looking at interviews I saw something else. He still considers himself essentially to be the SAME person and has not the same enthusiasms and interests, but has them to A GREATER DEGREE than when he was young.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 3, 2016 at 12:34 pm

        Concerning that poem about poor people dying I have a belief that anyone who dies alone is escorted by angels and friends in heaven when it comes down to crossing that bridge and I did not mean to create a bitter poem; I was just thinking about that image of the person being found when rent comes due because sadly that has happened in the building where I live to several. It is possible for anyone to die alone not only the poor but I was just thinking about the strangeness that some are viewed in state while others just keel over. I expect of course to just keel over myself but for sure I don’t want to be on the bus. Anyway, life is for living till the last breath. It’s not worth thinking about.

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 3, 2016 at 12:37 pm

          Well I think everyone has help crossing over. It is impossible to say exactly what you mean in words but at least we all keep trying.

    • noochinator said,

      April 3, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Here’s the interview on Conan O’Brien in which Dick Van Dyke said “keep moving”:

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 3, 2016 at 4:16 pm

        I’m glad you posted this. DIck Van Dyke was tricked into making this photo. Mary Tyler Moore knew about it. He had no idea what was going on. He should have sued the hell out of the magazine but being a decent person he didn’t. He spoke about this a little on Conan when he was interviewed and when Conan pulled out the picture to laugh about it Dick Van Dyke was not laughing. Dick Van Dyke has always stood for decent, family entertainment and is a true comic genius of the highest order. It is a shame but no dishonor to him that something like this happened. We live in a society of crap artists and I know your motivation in posting this picture yourself as you have posted so much other crap on this website nooch or whatever the heck your real name is is not honest and is not good and is not decent.

  23. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 3, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    VANISHING LANGUAGES

    “vanishing languages, reincarnated as music”
    the NYT headline read in april,;in april you were the bride
    of language something happened to poetry

    wept inside I’m

    not reading the article, off in wondering
    not at the clouds, at vanishing languages.
    oh who can recall them if the poets stop

    trying to see from a filmy window the filmy
    trees of april the incarnations of music residing there or
    long gone by ah poetry you are vanishing

    more each day who will sweep away
    the snows of accumulating silences
    how silences have accumulated since

    your reported demise, my poetry, my music

    my sadness intertwined with those who went before:
    the last through the golden door till wars and bitterness
    interposed a modern rendition of the tongue cut sparrows.

    my dilemma, oh wounds have no words for you but
    must make do with

    this accumulation of noise, these factories of the
    prefabricated Word

    oh cantatas of nothingness gathering force each day.

    down to the marrow they have pared you now my apple
    my shining pear I have lost you everywhere though
    music, was, is, shall be

    in the orchards so far from us still-
    still blossoming- still dreamed:
    pearled, spilling into vast steams

    mary angela douglas 3 april 2016

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      HAVE YOU?

      have you defended the falling rain from rainbows
      crumbling in your armour
      and you fought to crumple the paper sun

      the firmament of tears
      in your own sphere working late
      ah throw away the moon the stars and the sun

      the old ways of thinking about them
      we have learned to fly
      with nowhere left to go

      have you defended the glistening snows
      from Christmas taken the children far
      from their native Star

      and broken the looking glass
      weeps from the path where the children always stray

      now holding the moon in their hands
      incapable of understanding
      why has the sky the sky fallen in

      on them

      mary angela douglas 3 april 2016

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm

        LET ALICE LIVE

        take the looking glass back!
        let Alice live
        in a world where this is

        won’t find a sieve.
        it isn’t this one.
        you could stand on your head

        reciting Poetry here:
        rose window splendid
        and they’d still walk around you

        on the thronging sidewalks.

        here’s where children get apprenticed early;
        I thought we’d passed that by!
        only to reason and applied science or embedded

        as working machine until they’re broken down
        and that’s all they’re good for or else, unhoned,
        daring to walk alone, with thoughts all on their own

        ridiculed by trending administrators
        breaking us all down into TEAMS;

        the recruiters who stalk by night
        and broad daylight fetching
        fresh fodder

        deleting the dreamers from the scene.
        the soliatries. the saints.
        hey new pans for old

        no breaking the mold
        with anything quaint.
        shredding all documents

        lumened in gold.
        Red Roses To Paint.

        mary angela douglas 3 april 2016

        • maryangeladouglas said,

          April 3, 2016 at 6:34 pm

          PILATE, THAT PARAGON OF CIVILITY

          I’m sure Pilate thought he was
          showing good form that day
          with his thoughtful, “What is truth?”

          his dreamy stare indicating a reasonable man,
          admirable, even in that situation to have
          given the Criminal a chance to answer in the docket

          a question about his favorite hobby.
          (Pilate’s I mean; quite the dabbler in it
          and a paragon of civility.)

          What is truth, asked Pilate a tad dramatically
          aware of his question
          ringing on the air.

          But Christ said nothing

          knowing the question wasn’t real.
          knowing he was about to die as the Answer to it.
          and then the I find no fault in this man

          thus washing his hands of the whole thing

          especially the bad dream his wife had,
          begging him not to condemn that man or else.
          so he comes up with a game show choice:

          and proud of himself, for neatly solving
          what could have been a real career breaker:

          Jesus, or the thief?and Barabbas goes free
          as Pilate must have forseen,
          thus letting him off the hook

          with his bosses, his wife and
          keeping the crowd, the Scribes, Pharisees happy.
          letting Christ bleed.

          how civil of him.

          mary angela douglas 3 april 2016

        • Andrew said,

          April 8, 2016 at 2:24 pm

          (posted for Easter 2016)

          ‘Rabbits in Dhimmi-land’

          Rise from your grave. It’s Easter Sunday
          two-thousand sixteen years A.D.
          Save the West with hashtag child’s play
          Post on FaceBook, fancy-free.

          Easter pinks and chick-yellow highlights
          Nestléd eggs and pastel notes
          fail to charm our friends the Ishmaelites
          poised to slit our kuffar throats.

          Love your rabbit; keep on shopping.
          Watch the game and charge your phone.
          Allah’s bunnies won’t stop hopping
          Till they make your land their own.

          • noochinator said,

            April 8, 2016 at 7:33 pm

            To the breeders go the spoils — from a democracy to a dhimmi-cracy….

            • Andrew said,

              April 8, 2016 at 7:36 pm

              It’s nice to get a bite once in a while – -(sigh).
              Thanks Noochinator.
              The lights are getting a little dhimmi around here as well.


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