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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 12:51 am
by chicken
i have my final selection of poems now collected to apply for the professional poetics workshop this summer. tomorrow's mail will carry five of my works off to the thinktank that will determine if i have what it takes to earn the guidance of six leading poets here in the states (among those folks is Gallway Kinnell, check out "saint francis and the sow" in the other thread here, it's an awesome crafting of words!!).

the spacing and formatting in these forums doesn't relflect exactly how my works appear visually, but it's close enough.

i'm sending in five poems:
1) ode to my coelecanth (do a google on coelecanth and sit in your chair amazed at the absolutely perfect design of them to still be around; there's something divine in them, IMHO)
2) slug
3) phylum Cnidaria
4) marrow
5) sparrow (a rather delightful work inspired by reading Rumi, who is always worth the effort)

here they are for your viewing pleasure.........

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->Ode to My Coelacanth

Return to the dark deep my precious.
There is too much light up here, it will
Hurt your eyes, your primal neurons
Eyes that hold every thought I’ve lost, ego’s bruise, and dream of white herons.

I have nothing in my life to die for.
And everything to live for.
  Which you well know, my precious dark archetype, my lovely willful shadow.

My precious coelacanth, stay true to ancient ideas
Do you remember our first days?
When we made fire and how we smiled at novelty,
When we discovered the cost of commitment…
  This price you now pay by rising to the playground of snails,
  How you labor to simply breathe the light airy waters
    And why do you rise again, my beloved?

  And if only your lovely eyes could weep, then I would see your tears in the ocean
  They laugh at me, this thought of fish’s tears—ripe with gritty salt…
  But we know, you and I my precious.

My precious coelacanth, lovely knowing relic
How many ideas have you seen pass?
Dodo’s, glaciers, communism, my lovers all
Old bark and leaves no longer green fall aside
As you hover at the edge of my fitful sleep, stirring my waters deep
  Whispering lost memories of a light caress and half-finished sentences
  And like thick wool, ancient scales swirl through my dreams
  Dreams of perfect design
  Dreams you see pass as you take in sail.

Swim away, back to your pressures, to nature’s womb.
Where you no longer cry
If only to remember your commitment, you can still salvage honor and fly on rusty wings.

On leggy fins, scuttling in sand older even than you
Leave this loud world of birdsong and cattle lowing.
Return to your hidden safety, your favorite rocky ledge
Where everything changes but you

My precious coelacanth, it is I who will find you
Lungs and air and wind are pompous, like my selfishness, my pride.
When I deflate this pride, my eyes will be as blue as yours, blue doll’s eyes
  I will trade in these lungs, these capillaries, these fingers, these legs
  For something older, truer—where the warrantee is moot.
Swimming in cold water, hinting at ice
  I’ll meet you on your terms
  Where we can swim together in silence
  Where we won’t dance with trust
  And our truce will be ratified by the nations,
    of men
    of fish
    of shadow
  This cache of karma empty.
<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->Slug

I am a numbered chicken
Processed, inoculated, and growing fat.

Countless clucking hens
Gathered in the roost corner fanning wings
Festooned crowing cocks,
Scratching stones strutting against another.

So few wear dancing shoes.
And see slug.

I wear dancing shoes
Of correction
Of liberation…

  Where fall leaves are mild baritone
  Where peeling bark is constant forecast
  And the Prince of Squirrels holds court as he, too
  Grows fat.

Last week I wondered what it would be
To be slug.
To make love to no bones and all muscle; slug is,
  You know,
  Permanently lubricated.
And another chicken killed another slug.
Another mindless ninny, lost in masturbatory schemes.
As if all worlds revolve around the myopic spec. 

When the last chicken is slain
By The Hunter of One Cell,
Slug sings slow hymns of dancing shoes.
<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->phylum Cnidaria
(or:  the aerodynamics of jellyfish)

The heathens chase us with handfuls of salt
A precious blood stolen from arteries hidden in the soil
Hurled at us in vain, so akin to abundant fishes eggs.
They are transfixed on purification, as if salt were flames of redemption.
As we rain down from above
In a stilted staggering dance.

This exploration has gone awry;
For they expect us to fester in the sun,
Expect us to run in fear from inverted holiness.
For we are a mere five percent solid matter
  (and ninety-five percent solid inspiration).
We have never felt leaves, those strange living leathers.
We have never, in fact, seen clouds nor sky
  To which we now bid adieu. 
We have heard of flight, of cardinals
  And now revel in that grace, which sounds of a cello played by deft bone fingers.
We cannot return to that womb obscured.

And precocious monkeys scamper in lonely dust;
They reek of bad choices and premature trust.
Clutched greedy hands -full of vice- they cannot remove from hollow logs
And are blind to the doom of brilliance, deaf to salty psalms.
They send one another bouquets of vegetal genitalia in grief and love.
Their dreams burst with loving friends who become zombies
Fetid shambling carcasses bent on doom and a second coming.
    And mistake us for them.

Your skin is full of rainbows, my love.
Your delicate membranes flash and glimmer in principal light.
Your trailing tentacles I enfold in mine, so tenderly--
Blending benign stingers in participatory symbols
Which perplex the simian kings.

This dance will soon end in an inspired blaze
And we will fortify ancient sod, touching down in footsteps of dinosaurs—
To become salt.
<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->Marrow

Forty days in the shower
to wash away grey obsessions
condition my mind to freedom
and unravel the secrets of Svengali.

The shopping list is:
dog food, eggs, rice, and hot pockets…because I am a lazy man
because I want it now here as I please, please.
And the damnable aisle seven, those ramen noodles I love.

I think I know the mind of the war-time presidents
regretful indulgences and obligations
but I’ve no bomb to drop…
save the delicate autistic world I’ve created.

All the while you walk by blind
sucking the marrow from my spine.

Days in the shower are not doing it for me,
not the way your smile does
or even the way you blink your eyes.

Call me jangle-bones then,
I am the music of coins in my empty pocket

So call me jangle-bones, empty bones
Who needs marrow anyway?
All it does is make blood.
I will fill my veins with coffee, with ale, with prescribed elixirs from Germanic ancients
my body will live from secret imaginings,
And with that

I’ll keep the one-trick-pony mind
I’ll keep showering and rattling
and jangling,
<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->Sparrow

ten, twelve, twenty
times he heard the voice
and sparrow learned how to speak crane

the master expected
sparrow to light in his palm again
but alas, never again
will he feel his beloved this way

yet the freed sparrow returns,
but long enough to sing in crane
and fly away
carrying light with
leaving light behind

when joy rises in the morn
sorrow goes to sleep
and the old master wakes
to the song of a new crane
<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->


PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 3:26 pm
by elko
I think my favourite is 'Slug'.

Really wonderful, good luck with getting into the workshop - I'd imagine it's pretty hotly contested, but to my eye, which I admit is untrained, your poems are just fantastic.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 11:58 pm
by chicken
<!--QuoteBegin-elko+Apr 23 2005, 03:26 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (elko @ Apr 23 2005, 03:26 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> I think my favourite is 'Slug'.

Really wonderful, good luck with getting into the workshop - I'd imagine it's pretty hotly contested, but to my eye, which I admit is untrained, your poems are just fantastic. <!--QuoteEnd--> </td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'> <!--QuoteEEnd-->
elko, thank you. not only are you kind, you also have great hair!! all seriousness, i wrote that initially as a joke (on the e3 town hall forums) at the suggestion of someone; she's the one who gave me the idea of dancing shoes. i went back a few days later and thought: "what a crazy assed poem!! save this one because it is so rudely brash."

and now here i am sending it to professionals for their review. who would have guessed?

for the longest time i considered "ode to my coelecanth" a crowning achievement. but anymore when i read it, enthusiasism of that kind lacks. once "marrow" was completed, i was utterly enamoured with it--the asian man it is about doesn't turn many heads.......other than mine. again. and again. and again. his shy cleverness stops my heart everytime.
now-a-days i am most enthusiastic about "the aerodynamics of jellyfish". i keep finding deeper layers to it each time i re-read it. SO many layers.

anyways, thank you elko for piping in.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 2:06 am
by rubygirl
As usual, I need a bit of more time with poetry - to read your poems one by one on several ocasions. I think I am finishing them at the most appropriate time - it's so late into the night that it's almost morning and the only human presence I can sense (well hear) now are the people cleaning the streets. Perfect time for poetry reading! <!--emo&:P-->Image<!--endemo-->
So, I must say Marrow is my favourite by now - closely followed by Sparrow. Very closely. Oh, even their names rhyme, how lovely that is <!--emo&;)-->Image<!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->I think I know the mind of the war-time presidents
regretful indulgences and obligations
but I’ve no bomb to drop…
save the delicate autistic world I’ve created.<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->
This verse I particularly enjoy...
The longer ones - ode to my coelecanth and phylum Cnidaria, I confess, are harder for me to get into. Maybe it is the abundance of words; maybe it is the abundance of images - but they somehow distract me from the emotional focal point. These two poems sound to me more mentalistic( <!--emo&:unsure:-->Image<!--endemo--> well, not sure if there is such a word, but still - that's how I'd describe them). Thought provoking, but not so grabbing on emotional level.
The combination of modern and hmm, more "traditional"(meaning met more often - sorry, couldn't think of a better word <!--emo&<_<-->Image<!--endemo--> ) imagery is a thrilling artistic decision - the neurons co-existing in one sentence with herons; their "unexpectancy" can make your mind wander; and poetry should really open newnand newer roads for the wandering minds.
And instead of good-bye, for my wondering mind: I've been meaning to ask you, Chicken, how did you come yp with this particular username?

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->I am a numbered chicken
Processed, inoculated, and growing fat.<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->
With this verse I started wondering again. (You don't have to tell me, it's just silly curiosity on my part).

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 3:22 am
by chicken
i must confess that i am an avid video gamer. when i play, chicken is always my gaming "handle" or "tag".
my main gaming pc is a Shuttle (brand name), which is a very small rig. they are affectionately known as "toasters" in the gaming world because of how small they are. when i was getting some help assembling the rig (i always build my own pc's any more), i flippantly told them it was not just 'a toaster', but a 'chicken toaster' because in my crazed little mind i thought it was just the right size to toast a whole chicken. so i chose chicken as my gaming name for that, and because far too many video gamers select names that are far too self-inflated (like "the reaper" or "raging knight" or "deadly viper"), so i thought it rather hilarious that among all those 'scary' names, one would see simply chicken. <!--emo&:D-->Image<!--endemo--> rarely do i take myself that seriously. <!--emo&;)-->Image<!--endemo-->

and now there's over 100 students on campus who call me chicken. rather silly, but cool nonetheless.

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 3:27 am
by chicken
<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->So, I must say Marrow is my favourite by now <!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->

that one is SO fun to read aloud!! i get maniacally animated when doing so!!

but i've yet to really get a grip on how to orate sparrow. what voice tone to use, what volume, the clarity of annunciation, etc.

poety is meant to be heard aloud, always read poems aloud to yourself.

just like music, it breathes life into the words.

[edit] ruby, take the time to go back and start unraveling the jellyfish piece. i think that once your mind becomes familiar with the images, the old testament/evolutionary/catastrophric/prophetic themes start to swim around in your head for a strange innoculation against the futility of life, and the glory of futility itself.

PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2005 5:01 am
by Still Ill
I love your story about your name and that your known around campus as simply 'chicken'. It's amazing all the usernames out there, let alone in the gaming world. How true about the bigshot names, though. This is a though I've had before: a new band culling a name from some site with clever usernames!

Don't know if I could try reciting poems aloud. I don't even sing in the shower. I guess I try to hear the author's voice in reading, whether a poem or a story. Especially if there's a connection, like a favorite author, or an accent. In my mind I could orate it with all the elements you described. Hope that makes some sense.

PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 3:08 pm
by chicken
we had our last LAN party on 4-29 with almost 90 people in attendance, it was awesome. this time we had students drive from the 'main campus' in manhattan, KS to attend. about two thirds of the way through the event i was outside chatting with a couple students when a group of kids from out of town come up and say: "so YOU'RE chicken!! man, i wish we had faculty who played video games with us, that's very cool."


and believe it or not, several faculty on campus know this well enough by now that when the students mention chicken, they know it's actually me. HARRR!!! that cracks me up....PhDs in english literature and physics and engineering know that "chicken" isn't always "a chicken".

when you read poetry aloud, you have to start considering where your breaths go and soon discover that the line breaks in a written poem do not always represent what you think they do. often they are merely stylistic for visual presentation. the jellyfish poem is a good example of that, when reading it aloud the third stanza is actually one long rambling sentence with no break whatsoever.

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 11:11 pm
by Noonan McKane
Top verse, chicken. First class. I don't have to wish you luck.

I wish I could rattle that kind of thing off the way you can.

Your things are descriptive, involving. Yet not overly wordy. Rhythmic, well paced, but succinct, still 'there'. Do you get these quick? Do you scribble? How long?

I can do this kind of thing. Just. Only just. When I plan to do it, however, I fail.
I plot, plan, scheme, draw out, scale down. Nowt.
I zoom in and out and I get f**k all.

When I've managed to write what I reckon is a proper poem I've sat down and written it in one go, and finished it with practically no idea where it came from.

What's the secret? The secret of control?

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 1:19 am
by chicken
noonan mckane-
i don't think your writing style was made for poetry. i read what you had to say about my rant on heros and such regarding sports and academics. what you had to say was fleshy, like a man in his prime, like a 'full-boned' woman in bed with you during the dark wintery nights.

i don't scheme all that much a'tall. i become posessed by The Muse and i rush like a lunatic to my pc to get it documented. then i go back and edit two, maybe three, and on an out-side chance, four times. usually i get it on the third edit, and that's simply scratching out words that aren't needed (that and finding more precise words...i use my thesaurus FAR more oft than my dictionary).

just as much, my writing is not made for fiction or anything of the like. i'm far too sparse to make any sense whatsoever in that regard, whereas you are. and believe me, i've tried my hand at such---and come up profoundly short-handed. if a book ends at page five, it ain't a book, eh? heh.

i once read about the difference between mozart and beethoven. beethoven would work and re-work and re-work until he had the perfect piece. mozart would make a mad dash to get it written before he lost it. i think, in a way, that's you and me my friend.

man alive, i've got to get overseas to enjoy an ale with you groovey peeps. <!--emo&;)-->Image<!--endemo--> seriously, the forums with predominately american people are all about who's ego can hold the most, and it disgusts me. this place is a strange home, where people seem to be educated and literate and morally present.
if i haven't lately, hats off to you elko for brain-storming this wondrous child.

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 8:45 pm
by Noonan McKane
OK, chicken. Thanks for that....I think!

So, am I Beethoven or Mozart?

I see what you're saying though mate, and I probably have to reluctantly concede that you're right.

I do tend to chip away at my prose; keening it and fiddling and altering until any spontaneity is long forgotten.

That's the thing, though. I CAN phrase things, can describe things and disclose things off the top of my head, but I can't conceptualise. Drives me mental.
As I said to you, the odd time I've managed to compose 'a poem', it's been a total freak. Chance in a million. I've been pleased with the result, sure, but feel strangely dissatisfied; removed and remote, as I don't feel that I'm entirely responsible for what I've written!

The way you 'ran with the ball' with the 'weed growing through the waste' notion is a prime example. You tucked that up so nicely, the whole deal: 'John Q Commonweed' was a brilliant payoff. I can make metaphors like that all day long; I would really struggle to build such a brilliant platform, however, as the one you did. You brought it out and you brought it home. THAT'S what I'm talking about. Takes me about 600 and odd words to be that concise!

Oh well. We is what we is, I suppose. For a long time I just about had myself convinced that I was a poet, trapped inside the body of a columnist.

Maybe it's time I got to grips with the fact that I am, in fact, a columnist who would get a whole lot more work done if he took a tumble to himself and stopped trying to be Samuel Taylor Bloody Coleridge!

PS: Noted your comments re my 'rant' about the emergency services. Hope you didn't take any offence over these, as absolutely none was intended. I was just still in rampantly furious left-wing crusader mode! There's 'no debrief for the officers', after all!


PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 12:44 am
by chicken
no offense taken for i was able to read into your words what you truly meant.

i've oft thought of being a shrink for the fighters of fire. or the fighters of crime. what an honoring job that would be!!

[edit] you are beethoven, i'm the absinthe-soaked lunatic of a mozart.

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 1:01 am
by rubygirl
<!--QuoteBegin-chicken+May 5 2005, 03:26 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (chicken @ May 5 2005, 03:26 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->
poety is meant to be heard aloud, always read poems aloud to yourself.

just like music, it breathes life into the words.

<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->
I've always done so in fact - I've never been able to sit and read poetry like I do other things - I feel some instinctual need to be alone and to read it aloud to myself, nothing of it gets to me otherwise.
And I will take some more time with Jellyfish.

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 1:23 am
by chicken

phylum Cnidaria

(quite honesty, i've no clue how to properly pronounce that....which matters little, in this cyber-world.)

i certainly hope that you unravel that work again and again and again. i urge you to think wide and deep, to let your imagination reel like an innovative anti-gravity wheel.

and to all you folks who have helped me along my way...i'd gladly wrap my trailing tentacles with yours so very very ever gently........thank you all....and particularly elko who has given me an ocean in which to swim/float/loft/dream.

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2005 2:02 pm
by chicken
<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->So, am I Beethoven or Mozart?<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<<insert tarzan font>> ug, you beethoven, me mozart. <<end tarzan font>>

<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->Oh well. We is what we is, I suppose.<!--QuoteEnd--></td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'><!--QuoteEEnd-->i think this is one of life's harshest things with which we all grapple. it is a bitter lesson to learn when one's self-imposed dreams come crashing down in shatters and shards. in the end we are healthier because of it, but boy howdy oy is a rough thing. it is always better when the autobiography matches the biography, eh?

this one kind of gets at this entire notion, just a different context to tell the story:
<!--QuoteBegin--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE </td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->“Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will turn vegetarian.â€