April 30, 2013
Don’t plague the butterfly
blessing the lemon bush
it’s like pushing a ballerina off balance
or stealing a bushel-full of tangelos
working to be ripe.
As intent as breath
cancer takes us
from the ones we love.
Truth waits for us to discover
Justice has her eyes covered.
Chaos harbors the scales.
Hectares of ash move out with the waves.
Heart travels through Chaos,
from life to peace,
freedom from fight
On the day you die a roadrunner steaks across the road. We rent a canoe and laugh too hard as we remember how to row. We set out for some place to say a prayer and a sandy shoal to rest and picnic. I think of Giovanni and Nicholo in matching life jackets and bucket hats on the empty bench between us. We discover a halcyon cove where the birds loll on marooned branches. I place my hands over my chest stare up into the sky and weep. Jane recites her poem
Please take this shy Spanish girl
whom they say you resemble
and ride with her, here are the field poppies
damaged by night, here your blue slumber, your horse.
Take this prayer, which you must surrender
in order to understand, as in moments when you are reduced
to the truth. When you are ready,
the beasts will be there. Let silence go through your heart,
the mild horse your blue one
already stirring toward morning, where it will be white.
While she recites I think of you in your final hours. I hear Chris Cornell singing “all night thing.” A lone heron watches us row back to the dock.
I pledge to see you, dear one. I will repeat you, your brilliance, the mode of your brow. Countless gestures impart understanding. Like a child fighting sleep we move towards closure. I will shrink into a bawl then open as you flower through time, loving, ardent, with the capacity of your spirit to give.
Denise Marie Franco b. December 18th 1967 d. March 13th 2013. In Denise’s words,
“On this Thanksgiving 2012, I give thanks for the wonderful life I have lived and the wonderful life I continue to live. I am blessed to have two wonderful children, and a wonderful man who light my world and fill my life with love on a daily basis. I am blessed to have a wonderful supportive family, and amazing supportive friends. Friends I consider like family! Friends I’ve known most my life (you know who you are) , and ones I’ve met in recent years, all who add substance and peace and love to my world.
Thank You… because I feel very fortunate!”
The slideshow is composed of photographs taken by Denise. “Blue Nude” is from Jane Miller’s Many Junipers, Heartbeats. The image above is of a poem I wrote several years ago. Brian Watson found it among Denise’s papers and read it at her memorial celebration in Malibu California at the Nicholas Canyon Chumash Village.
from JAKE LEVINE’S Collage Of All 348 Of My Failed Loves Combined Into One Meditation Loosely Located In Gate’s Pass Concerning A Sunset And Its Vague Relationship To My Relationships But Also Dreams And An Angel For Mayakovsky’s Immortal Soul
October 6, 2012
BTW I’ll be taking requests- So, if there is some writing from here or published else where you would like to hear a recording of let me know by commenting on the piece you would like to hear or commenting here or if you are a contributor who would like to send me a breif recording of your contribution (3min or less) email me a voice file!
September 11, 2012
HI, I’ll be presenting for Trickhouse Live at Casa Libre W/ Deanne Stillman Tuesday, September 18 7-9 p.m. $5 Suggested Donation
Trick House Live is an integrative arts series that brings together people working with words, images, sounds, videos, and a variety of performances. The series serves as a venue for visiting artists to interact with local artists and for the borders between genres and mediums to be permeable. Trickhouse Live is a physical world extension of the online cross-genre arts journal, Trickhouse.org which is based in Tucson.
Deanne Stillman is the award-winning author of Mustang, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2008, and the cult classic Twentynine Palms, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001 which Hunter Thompson called “A strange and brilliant story by an important American writer.” Her latest book, Desert Reckoning, is based on her acclaimed Rolling Stone article, “The Great Mojave Manhunt.” She is a member of the core faculty at the UC Riverside-Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Creative Writing Program and currently divides her time between Tucson, AZ and Los Angeles, CA.
I make poems and visual art. You can view a portfolio of my visual art at valyntinagrenier.com. I hosts Back Room Live, and blog at Harriet Homemaker and Life Long Press. The photo was taken by Richard Siken at LIVE @ LIV, thanks Richard!
December 25, 2010
With rain, asphalt’s scent punches hard. Out there, isolated, one crawls toward earthen clutch, swaying high grass too sharp for language. When I say “one” fold in to me. When you read “is” I mean “to leap.” Wind, implacable metaphor, insists against all, love, so we must keep close. O where may the untouchable rest? What place hope in this palace of the real? We’ve grown so swift even thrice-great Hermes cannot slip our velocity. Light peels image from thing, demands pixels from trees.
Our old magic is condensed to avarice,
bondage and longing, to a slavish gaze.
September 25, 2010
Years ago, Stephen Malkmus sang: “Can you treat it like an oil well / When it’s underground, out of sight?” I think of these lines now in relation to the writers I have the pleasure to present here. The texts by these two poets and two fiction writers operate explicitly within underground or experimental aesthetics, attuned to their place within a rich tradition of countercultural expression.
I have chosen these writers because their work inspires me. But I also like the idea of having their texts share the same digital space. I’m hoping the juxtaposition of poetry and fiction will be as enjoyable to the reader as it is for me. I am also very conscious of creating a possibility for interaction between American and Venezuelan experimental writers.
The two poets have provided sequences of texts that can be read as single works, with each poem being the equivalent of a chapter or episode. I have translated the two short stories included here from the Spanish originals. In the short stories, the reader will find imagery and situations that can only be fully appreciated through the lens of poetry.
Carlos Ávila’s short story “The Antichrist” is a rewritten (radically edited) version of a text included in his first book. The young narrator manages to keep his wits during an extreme situation, thanks partly to an invocation of the anarchic spirit of the Sex Pistols. Ávila’s direct, plain prose sustains beautifully evoked images that startle us.
Micah Ballard’s sequence “Let Us Wake Rifles” opens with an invocation of poetic ancestry, so as to lead us through a gallery of visions imbued with elegance and charm. Ballard’s language is a classical slang, as though the phantoms he conjures were at ease and thinking out loud. (“I learned to mix the languages / & do it in code”)
Dayana Fraile’s short story masterfully narrates an encounter between two generations late one evening at a bus stop in Caracas. Her prose is attuned to the minor details that can bring people together, how friendship can spring from misunderstanding. The story is also a fascinating glimpse at the way subcultures evolve as their participants age. The reader will note a vulnerability that her characters might not be ready to acknowledge until they meet.
Sunnylyn Thibodeaux offers a sequence called “As Water Sounds,” which comments on our contemporary landscape of permanent crises. But the poet doesn’t merely lament or critique this unfortunate situation. Rather, she assumes an approach to language that reveals a complete faith in the magic of poetry (that is, song) to heal and reconstruct. “The Silent Spaces of Utopia Parkway,” indeed.
Guillermo Parra (Cambridge, MA, 1970) lives in Durham, NC, where he writes the blog Venepoetics. He has published two books of poetry, Caracas Notebook (Cy Gist Press, 2006) and Phantasmal Repeats (Petrichord Books, 2009). His poems, essays and translations have appeared in 6×6, Fascicle and Papel Literario, among others. He is currently translating the complete works of Venezuelan poet José Antonio Ramos Sucre (1890-1930).
June 27, 2010
from faster, faster
When he became an American citizen a black man from Chad renamed himself “Samuel” after Samuel Smith. Now he’s avoiding eating sugar to lose weight. Overheard: considering all the places money goes we should put rock stars on our bills, not Presidents. Put Mick Jagger on the $20. But we want to think of money as clean and so we do. Read the rest of this entry »