Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13, 2009

Beneath every stone, a darkness waiting in line to suckle sunlight

We all have our ups and downs on journeys, but it's usually the downs we remember because of
the scars they leave and pain we feel. Allen Ginsberg wrote incredible poetry inspired by William Blake, that will be remembered throughout the ages, but his inner life was tortured by a lack of love and permanence. Jack Kerouac, whose books inspired a new generation who believed they could recreate the world into a peaceful eden, was a closet Republican who drank himself to death and brought into the world children, like his daughter, Jan, whom he literally ignored.

"I shambled after as I've been doing all my life, after people who interested me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."

- Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Most art is born through pain, even comedy. The great comedian, WC Fields, died from alcholism privately in a small private psychiatric ward in Pasadena, California. Jonathan Winters was in and out of mental institutions several times. James Taylor, the folk singer, was no stranger to mental wards due to his penchant for heroin. Two other famed folk singers, the last one I'd met and talked to, Tim Buckley and Phil Ochs killed themselves due to writer's block. Ernest Hemingway shot himself, Vincent Van Gogh suffered from depression and a mental order some claim to be bi-polar disorder, once cut off his ear, only sold one painting in his lifetime, and eventually shot himself. Poets, Sylvia Plath, Sarah Teasdale, Vachel Lindsay committed suicide at the height of their fame.

Goodbye, my friend, goodbye
My love, you are in my heart.
It was preordained we should part
And be reunited by and by.
Goodbye: no handshake to endure.
Let's have no sadness -- furrowed brow.
There's nothing new in dying now
Though living is no newer.
Written in his own blood, and given to a friend the day before he hanged himself.
~~ Sergei Esenin, Russian poet, d. Dec. 28, 1925

Shiki, was no stranger to pain, living out his short adult life in his bedroom, writing haiku and tanka inspired by what he saw through his window and what he'd remembered. His final poem:

our loofah is blooming
here's a dead man
totally clogged with phlegm

Tr. Eiko Yachimoto

Basho lived in a self enforced poverty, having divorced himself from the samurai heritage of his elders, lived out the rest of his life as a wanderer/poet . . . perhaps an early day Kerouac, practicing Buddhism, enjoying a glass os sake, some say he was a pedophile, a womanizer, teacher, writer . . . yet one who is considered the father of Haiku even though others before him wrote haiku.

People who experience great pain and anguish, both genetic and experiential, in their lives, coupled with a cultural memory indigenous to their own bringing, have much to draw upon in terms of artistic expression. Artists oftentimes are considered odd, out of sync, eccentric, because they couldn't if they wanted to, be a sheep.

The Wonderland Amusement Park, the stopover for artists and other creative people, who live in and have experienced a world far different than most, is open . . . a park of mirrors, nightmares, shadows, the equivalent of taking LSD inside of an echo. Enter at your own risk. Bounce back and forth from life to hell in an endless circle.

is this a
child, searching for his
mother's breasts?

sicker then
picasso, sculpting
paper goats . . .
a woman's psyche?

mad hatter . . . .
sipping tea with a

shattered, the
anger deep inside
my bowels . . .
i wanted to hate her,
still the wind's dervish

no light . . .
dawn and dusk, travel
through me

the look on
your face the night i
knocked on the
door and told you
to return home . . .

i can't watch
the sun rise with a . . .
nonchalant moon

you looked out
the hotel window . . .
and became
a car passing
through wonderland

the lack of
light in your eyes . . .
leaving winter

i joined you
five times today . . .
in the feelings we
felt the morning before

no time for
day, a poet fleeing

fleeting, the
thoughts bouncing between
bells, an echo
determined to
make me crazy

a parrot?
an echo caught between
canyon walls?

i stretch
my wings and sleep,
moored in mud . . .
too much pain, caught
in the dragon's breath

this dark cave . . .
i sigh at what could
have been stars!

i pass between
moons wearing a cloak
of words . . .
a soldier, a lamb,
wading in mirrors?

unmoored, where
would i fly to, the
same two holes?

tall trees . . .
a calliope
of dirges
a shot? a knock? my
grandfather's breath?

i make love
to you through moons . . .
fighting fear

warm mud . . .
what am i, a limb
wearing an
egret's feathers,
stalling winter?

clothing . . .
a time to wander through
speechless trees?

i help you search your
womb for a
child that isn't mine . . .
a long winter

madness . . .
seeing through the stone
buddha's eyes

robert d. wilson

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