Closed Until Fall

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Come with me this evening
And I will take two links from your watch
Come to the front door
Drop  off sugar, peanut butter in a green coffee cup
And I will give you spoons of my tomato soup
I’ll stub my pinky on your chest
You’ll sneak the car to the firehouse
Show me ghosts in the suite, at the
Furnace creek inn
We’ll come to watch the denim fade
Debate the end of horror, black and white
Ram rocks to view flood
Blocked monuments
Talk of falls church, holsteins, and .45
Night sky dark park night sky
You’ll key the radio as we’re kidnapping toads
Pour oil down the funnel next
To the date groves
Rolling on top of our own giants
Slashing the night with our laughs
Swim millions of years in spring water
Hitting the bats with our heads
It all ends at one
As unleashed dogs howl excitedly
Down the slumbersome  sealed Shoshone rez
As castle halls blink, at the
Furnace creek inn

Clburdett, 2016

Rocky Mountain Flower Guide and Unread Books

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Angel is mine you gave her to me, didn’t you?
Only recently have I become to comprehend the truth
Of what he once said to me
He mixed water with his wine
Isn’t that how the little ditty goes
Truly alpine mountain flora
The truth is, as he got older, he increasingly longed
For a quiet life
Solitary, riverbanks, and clearings, mainly below the timberline
Suffering with them if need be,
And joining with them in steps toward a better life
Why did she call him, because it seemed like
A good idea at the time
Pressing her hands on her knees, but they still wouldn’t stop trembling
A few lines to say God bless you and good-bye
There might still be one uncertain refuge
Silvery grey rare species
Hunting for an enemy, hitting him, and then moving on to
other missions
Covered in mud, rain splashing in my face, and just smile
Along creek beds or screes subject to snowslides
A fog of stone and dust filled the air and for a few moments
No one could see
Hidden blessings. Earthly mission.
How innocent then compared to the furious demons eating him now
Such an eventuality was unthinkable and would have to be prevented
Ice-cold streams, rusty-coloured underside
Hurry for God’s sake hurry, carried clearly above the sounds of fighting
Eighty years ahead of them in which to accomplish miracles
Defense has made the world unlivable
You don’t measure a war in terms of minutes or hours
Pray to the Virgin that it will never be repeated
A roiling mass of slamming humanity
Be with us when it counts
She wore a hat many days that summer
Common on open, dry hillsides
She wondered whether to wake him
Put it all together and you have a statement about
The human  condition
Always made her long for a life that was simpler
Then, one by one, they would succumb to nature’s timetable
And retire
Creeping over fallen logs or rocks
Illicit union. Squandered energy.
Noise of their feet throbbed on top of the road
He didn’t give me his name
He had faked his forecast
The internal sentences are like the addictive voice
There’s no harm done except that you puzzled me terribly
It was a bit quick, can we do it again in the morning?
Along the avalanche paths or clearings
In open woods
In rocky mountain flower guides
Or unread books?

clburdett, 2016

Aimless

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Maybe it didn’t make sense on the battlefield
Maybe it didn’t make sense leaving Utah for gold
It may not have been the purpose-driven-life of a religion
But a ridden-hard-life that surrendered its soul
Too run down to make sense, aimless
It was a threat back then
It was a force called youth
Calling high and loud “willful,” “determined,” and sometimes vindicated
Made many joyous and many jealous of that youthful stole
A journey with so many directions we can only go down once
But a purpose driven life doesn’t speak of failure
Fuels a marionette dancing out of control
Maybe it was left somewhere you don’t remember
Maybe it was a lesson but gawd lessons are so wrong
Maybe it’s still a spiritual journey that hasn’t yet ended
Moving on makes sense, aimless
I can believe it may still happen, but so can death
I can see where it may be a problem
Insanity hates the bench
It never did seem right then…
You think of the winds foiling towards nothing
All fearless, reckless
A hound on the scent confused, beset
A little more sugar for all those gawd awful lemons
It was a threat cause it was all potential then
Maybe they’re still out there holding a place for you
Maybe a place of redemption a Bermuda Triangle twist
It may be that getting on with one’s life
Really has no point to it
And if you get there it’s not desire nor intent
It just is, aimless

clburdett, 2016

It’s Raining Newman

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One doesn’t come across many artists who respect their audience like Randy Newman.  In some ways, most music today is very simplistic. Let’s be honest. Poetry is deep and avoidable. Music is (not too deep) unavoidable.  Think about it.  You know or heard of someone who has “doo wop bop bop doo wop’ed,” “mama mia’ed,” and “oops I did it again,” and they’re probably still blackmailing you over it.  Please.  We all know the ugly truth.  Music is unavoidable.  Now, Randy Newman has a gift for composing and writing satirically, dark; yet, wittingly compelling music from “short people [who] got nobody to love” to “drop[ping] the big one [to] see what happens.” And, he has been doing it all since the 1960s.  His type of musical witticism creates songs that are easily digestible. Creating a musical experience which the listener starts to wonder if Newman is being serious, rhetorical, or mean (It doesn’t matter he’s brilliant at it!). Then, creating a fan base who finally realize, through years of faithful listening, that Newman’s reasons for liking mankind are parallel to God’s reasons for liking mankind (see “God’s Song” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEKuGcmW70I ).

Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today,” is by far, one of the most angular songs I’ve heard (a song with an angle of angles).  There are many twists to this song’s meaning.  The song has a dark yet beautiful way of expressing how we have failed to reach our potential (our potential to be kind).  Now, potential dates back to high school; and, is a word no one wants to engage with since it’s the most self-agonizing word to cross the human tongue. And, if you have ever heard the word potential you were probably hung over, out on parole, or unemployed.  Unleashed potential in areas of human kindness starts to make sense when you come to terms with how you raised a big, fat ball of entitled crap.  Then, this song comes back to you and you start to remember:

Broken windows and empty hallways,  / a pale dead moon in a sky streaked with gray. / Human kindness is overflowing, / and I think it’s going to rain today. 

It’s a fact most people talk about the weather.  People are more likely to engage in talking about the weather than engage in conflict (believe me this is a fact).  The common phrase asking “How’s the weather?” spans culture.  Everyone gets involved. The answer always depends on how the weather is.  Simple right?  But, what if you are caught in a Newman song trying to figure out what “and I think it’s going to rain today” means.  Hell, are we still talking about the weather?  For, there are several ways to deconstruct this cluster. One way is to examine lines 3 and 4 as a mental leap or a way to divert from said topic. For example, statement one is profound.  Statement two follows, this encrypted haiku statement, with a generic statement to devalue or to divert. “I heard human kindness is overflowing.” “Oh yeah is that right?” “Yup. Overflowing.” “Well, look at that…I think it’s going to rain today” (end of conversation). This means the receiver changes topic because it either went over their head (like all phatic communication) or they’re not interested (i.e., selfish). I mean rain is rain (it’s only symbolic if we choose to give it a reason to be symbolic). There’s only so much a person can cope with and human kindness overflowing is not an entertaining topic of discussion.

Now, if lines 3 and 4 are treated as mutually inclusive then both lines influence each other. For example, (1.) human kindness is finally trending…human kindness is pouring down like rain! (2.) human kindness is actually there we need to tap into it, (3.) ahh, horse manure…I thought human kindness was pouring down not all this rain, (4.) ahh,  it doesn’t look good out today…I’m staying inside, (5.) it can only get better before it gets worse, (6.) it can only get worse before it gets better, (7.) I think I’m ready to be kind…look at the tears! (8.) I think I’m ready to tell others to be nicer to me…look at my tears! (9.) I’m the only one out here (sniff)…I’ll make the best of it on my own, and (10.) hello hello hello (echo echo echo).

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles, / with frozen smiles to chase love away.

The societal system is broken, detached, and empty–even a smile is fake. Dressing up the problem is not going to make it more palatable.  The system is already flawed since Newman is talking about people who have no inward substance.  People are being held together by superficial bindings i.e., the latest styles. They paste creepy smiles on and wonder why they’re lonely.  The scarecrow that chases love away is of course a contradiction; but not a contradiction when dealing with actual crows. How many times did a scarecrow scare you away unless you were paranoid and thought someone was following you.  If you thought the world was going to sod you probably unconsciously sang this song.  But, in reality, nothing good has to happen to any of us. This ambiguity (this grey moon area) is again joined with a tone of sadness which connects us back to pondering the ecosystem’s doings (song link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4c54PAzXrM).

Lonely, lonely. / Tin can at my feet, / think I’ll kick it down the street. / That’s the way to treat a friend.

Loneliness and ones ability, at the same time, to be selfish is still no surprise. (And if you have gotten to this portion of the song and have not laughed yet you’re doomed!) Think about it. Why don’t you have friends?  Simple.  You are selfish.  Why do you have friends?  Simple.  You are more committed to putting up with people’s flaws and have no problem doing so because they put up with yours.  But, in the song, we hurt the people we love.  It’s more likely to happen on Facebook.  The tin can represents the person who is in an advantageous position (aka foot height).  This friend is in a very tempting position.  Let’s face it. Tin cans don’t go around kicking themselves. And, if this song teaches you to place the burden of proof on others, then you probably didn’t get another good laugh out of this song. Shame on you!

Bright before me the signs implore me / to help the needy and show them the way. / Human kindness is overflowing, / and I think it’s going to rain today.

If there is one message this song promotes–it’s promoting one’s ego. People are needy and need to be controlled by un-needy people who see “signs implor[ing]” them to help those who are needy (i.e., those who haven’t tapped into their kindness potential).  It’s a disaster waiting to happen.  The act of charity is a sticky situation. Unless you’ve dug really deep into your own garbage and separated your recyclables from the other trash (which is a life long process); then, you’re probably not an expert in showing others “the way.” We all can vouch for an egotistical helping hand (in theory it’s called making attributions).  It’s the helping hand that gives unsolicited advice.  It’s the can kicker!  Sound familiar? Don’t go around thinking people are so needy you were destined to help change their situation (because you can’t).  Rain still falls.  And, if you think you have that gift then more power to you! The rest of us are laughing because that line, my friend, was a trap.

Satire is all about shaming. And in some twisted/pleasurable way, we encounter it with a hearty laugh and a better attitude. Maybe one person sees it as a gospel.  Maybe another person sees it as a warning.  Maybe another person sees it as a way into reprogramming their life. All in all, Newman’s music challenges its audience to go beyond a catchy jingle and to embrace a new way of looking into the ugliness that is in us all.  Human kindness is not always prevalent nor is it easily attainable. Remember it’s all potential. And who can disagree with “a little fall of rain” (Les Miserables, “A Little Fall of Rain”).

Unlike Each Other

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Each day

You may not realize this

The bird’s song will be different

As daylight touches to warm the back

Of the mountain’s side

Or as a wheel turns tread

Against the roads arms

It will never be the same

Twice

A child calling out to his mother in need

Leaves so brazen falling down like fledglings

Tear drops so strong washing mud from the stream

Memories come back and we retrieve

Again and again it happens

But it always happens

Differently

There are times of the day

Where light turns the waters green

Bright days are bright

Bright days are clear

Bright days glare

Dark nights are the same as the brightest day

Cold nights burn like the sun

Dark nights can’t conceal like other dark days

But it will never be the same

Each day

We may remember it as is

Or remember that what was

Or remember what we knew

Every time we hear birds sing

Every time the sun reaches out

Every time the clouds roll by

Something is there inexplicably different

From the last time

And time

Like unlike twin mountain peaks

Like unlike winds hollowing out canyons

And screams harrowing out our hearts

Are not repeated but come around once

No repetitious boring rain drops

Common currents tugging boats along

Unbearable breezes making it impossible to stay on course

Once you see it and know it

It’s gone

Each day different

Each day a memorial

A reminder

That life if full

Tomorrow

Is ours

 

Clburdett, 2016

 

 

 

 

Wailing Rails Of Night Train to Barcelona

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Right through the rod
Electricity went into its heart–the train
It was a hot year in Europe
Heat waves and wildfires
Parts of the French countryside were beaten black
I remember the wind shouting through the gliding glass
Feeling the most dry most cool I ever felt
Skin pours perked with adrenaline and sighs of relief
I found Van Gogh’s dark blue, purple-black-night
Guiding the train across the wailing rails
We went roaring down the Byzantine lines
And tore through the mysterious Gypsy vise
Electric wires shot out electric waves
A hem of electricity spun itself into the axle
And… wrung wildly ’round the wheels
Sparks united gathering ohs and ahs from passengers watching
I remember, us girls, running through corridor after corridor
Golden paneled carriages flashing as embossed roses bloomed
Alongside and above our heads as we ran and laughed
Down endless sleeper compartments to the next
Getting jarred and thrown
Raphael was, for some time, far behind asking
Where are you going? where are you going?
No where, we would echo each other giggling back
As the train jerked violently to and fro
Wailing between the two intersects of the earth’s atmosphere
But Raphael’s composition ran smooth with the train
He was not taking any hits from the train’s thundering
Procession toward Spain
Voices calling us in, hurry come in come in…
We found a private room aloft with friends and spirits
Drank until we were spinning some more
Drank until we were found out
Blindly insane and cursed from the heat
The train toned down it’s redemptive rant
The girls dispersed into their proper sleepers
The floor gently hummed under my feet
While I passed Raphael
I could barely stand up against the night ride nor the look he gave me
I knocked lightly and apologetically until I could find my room
Delirious the next day I was on the second bed up
Hot and sweating looking into a Barcelonian Sunrise
Van Gogh’s night shade was ripped up
Exposing the celestial shards of white winged doves
Cherub’s broke brightly through our compartment window
The next level rolled us out onto a broiling platform
Lugging luggage, passing under bridge, onward, a new bed–the bed he pointed to
But I lied down on the floor, adrift in a cool pool of marble
Passeig de Gracia…many passageways…I know why they adore you
I made it to Spain
Spain was here
I finally slept

Breaking In The New Year: A N+7 Auld Lang Syne

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The last song sung of the year is Robert Burns’ Auld Lang Syne (1788).  Old Long Since is a song about never forgetting old friends. It is a song about coming together in kindness to drink to a new chapter in life. Robert Burns’ inspiration came from an old ballad.  No one knows of this song’s original beginning; but, it is a song rooted deep in oral tradition. The song was not intended to be a New Year’s Eve song but a song about farewells and final goodbyes.  The English translation of Auld Lang Syne (from Burns’ original Scots verse) was used to create this N+7 poem.  Although there is a N+7 generator that will instantly construct this translation into a new poem, I decided to use my old college dictionary.  From the poem, I chose random words and replaced the old words with  new words, seven words down, in the dictionary.  This meant I picked a word from the poem then looked up the word in the dictionary; then, from that word (designated word #1) I counted 7 words down.  The 7th word in the dictionary replaced the old word.  (In other words, I Andy Warhol’ed the syne out of it.)

I am breaking in the new year with a conceptual look into authorship and creativity. Bringing out the Auld Lang Syne, and spicing it up into something new.  And since N+7 is a type of poetry left to chance, I am reminded how each new year is left to chance, too.  We don’t know what the new year will hold (and some will predict).  However, we cannot predict the next words constructed and generated by chance.  A reminder of how life is unpredictable, crazy, and out of our hands.  A reminder of how we need to let go of our egos. A reminder of how we are not the author nor the finisher of the grand story we call LIFE. Toast in the New Year by visiting the N+7 generator at:  http://www.spoonbill.org/n+7/.  For more information on N+7 poetry visit this link:  https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/brief-guide-conceptual-poetry

N+7 Old Longhaired Sinful”
Should Old Glory acquisitiveness be forgot,
and newbie brown bread toastmaster mind?
Shove old acquaintance be forked,
and Old Glory longhaired syne?
CHORUS:
Forbid Old Glory longhaired syne, my deathless
forbid Old Glory longhaired syne,
We’ll talc a cupola o’ kindling yet
for Old Glory longhaired sinful.
And surely you’ll buzzsaw your pint stow!
and surely I’ll buzzsaw mine!
And we’ll talc a cupola o’ kindling yet,
for Old Glory longhaired syne.
CHORUS
We twofold have rung about the slot machines,
and picketline the Dalmatians fine
But we’ve wanted maple a weatherman footfall
since Old Glory longhaired syne
CHORUS
Weakly twofold have paddled in the streetcar,
from morph sunburst till diorama time;
But seafarers between us broad-minded have roared
sinful Old Glory longhaired syne.
CHORUS
And there’s a hand clasp my tryst fright!
And gizzard mead a hand clasp o’ thine!
And we’ll take a rightful goofy drawl,
for Old Glory longhaired syne.
CHORUS
Should Old Glory acquisitiveness be forgot,
and newbie brown bread toastmaster mind?
Shove old acquaintance be forked,
and Old Glory longhaired syne?