Monday, August 28, 2017

Mike Zone writes

Muse and me

Whenever I read Pablo Neruda… 
I really want to fuck
not make love… fuck 
United Fruit Company, Love Sonnets, Machu Picchu 
with sea foam drenched hands
flaming volcanos - ash eyelids fluttering 
onto the descending sun of January days
devouring grapes planted on that perfect clay body 
ready for the kiln - but never fired
always remade 
my parasite eve - the gasoline of a divine orchid odyssey
nocturnal creatures guided by the moons and star 
our lips pregnant with storms
in the fog of it all, we’ll get tired 
in the wine colored sea (possibly drown)
so maybe I’ll read some Whitman 
get lost on the road, showing up at some stranger-chum’s door
bread and sunflowers in hand 
“Oh hidey-ho!”
the mocking birds are calling 
won’t you join me on a tour
of the railroad wilderness and bus stop blitzkrieg? 
bless the hobos, drink with Christ, burglar with cats
quantum cats and birds! 
the immortal reality of it all
probable hunting and bargaining 
prefer the lust of raw wind
and tranquil desolation 
be humbled by company
stay mindful for thieves in the guise of fellowship 
flower eaters  bread stompers
“Hey, what’s up Blake, 
have you caught your quantum tiger-tiger
by his many tail?” 
the spheres sure know how to fiddle…
sometimes the muse is kind - she holds a cigarette 
I’d give a legion of my eyes to the cherry
for the borderless sanity of mind out of mind
 Retrato de Pablo Neruda.

Retrato de Pablo Neruda.-- Oswaldo Guayasamin


  1. To avoid his father's disapproval of his poems, from the nid-1920s Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto began calling himself “Pablo Neruda” after the 19th-century Czech poet Jan Neruda, whose short stories published in 1864 (“Arabesky”) featured erotic motifs (though these sexually-themed works were not included until after his death in 1891) and was declared a “traitor to the nation” in 1871. He began writing poetry at 10 and, encouraged by the head of the local girls’ school in Temuca, Chile, the 1945 Nobel laureate Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga (“Gabriela Mistral”) , he began publishing his work at 13. By the age of 20 he had established an international reputation through his 1923 publication of “Crepusculario” (Book of Twilights) and 1924’s “Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada” (Twenty Love Poems and A Desperate Song), which did not see a second edition until 1932 but subsequently became the best selling poetry book in the Spanish language. (He won his Nobel Prize in 1971.)

  2. In 1927, out of financial desperation, he entered the diplomatic service, eventually succeeding Mistral as consul in Madrid, where he befriended writers Rafael Alberti, Federico García Lorca, and César Vallejo. The Spanish Civil War, especially Lorca’s execution by forces loyal to Francisco Franco, caused him to become a Communist. Then he was appointed special consul for Spanish emigrants in Paris, responsible for transporting 2,000 refugees to Chile. In 1940 he was named consul general in Mexico and arranged for jailed painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, who was involved in an assassination attempt against Stalin’s rival Leon Trotsky, to obtain a Chilean visa and to stay in his own private residence. He wrote poems like "Canto a Stalingrado" (1942) and "Nuevo canto de amor a Stalingrado" (1943) and won the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953. In 1945 he read poetry to 100,000 people at Pacaembu Stadium in São Paulo, Brazil, in honor of Communist revolutionary Luis Carlos Prestes, and was elected to the Chilean senate as a Communist; he officially joined the Communist Party of Chile four months later. The next year he served as campaign manager for Gabriel González Videla, who abandoned his leftist coalition after his election as president and issued the Law of Permanent Defense of the Democracy. In "Yo acuso" ("I accuse"), a dramatic senate speech in 1948, he read out the names of striking miners and their families who were imprisoned at the concentration camp at Pisagua. Threatened with arrest, he went into hiding for the next thirteen months, finally fleeing to Argentina in 1949 and then used the passport of the cultural attaché to the Guatemalan embassy, 1967 Nobel laureate Miguel Ángel Asturias, to travel to Europe. Pablo Picasso arranged his entrance into Paris, and Neruda made a surprise appearance at the World Congress of Peace Forces. He returned to Chile in 1952 to support the election of Chilean Socialist Party candidate Salvador Allende and remained there the rest of his life (except for many foreign trips and a stint as Allende's ambassador to France from 1970 to 1973). In 1970, Neruda was nominated as a candidate for president but gave his support to Allende, the first democratically elected Marxist head of state. Returning home after his Nobel speech in 1971, Neruda, at Allende’s invitation, read to 70,000 people at the Estadio Nacional. In 1973 Augusto Pinochet, supported by the US, led a military coup that ended with Allende’s suicide with an assault rifle. Pinochet dissolved congress, suspended the constitution, and began kidnapping, torturing, and murdering thousands of alleged dissidents. Neruda, planning to fly to Mexico to form a government in exile, was in the hospital suffering from prostate cancer; he died 6 ½ hours after an injection to his stomach, 12 days after Allende’s death. Pinochet refused to allow his funeral to be made a public event, but thousands of grieving Chileans disobeyed the curfew and crowded the streets. In 2015 the Interior Ministry acknowledged an internal document that “it was clearly possible and highly likely” that he was killed as a result of “the intervention of third parties.”

  3. Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs,
    when you surrender, you stretch out like the world.
    My body, savage and peasant, undermines you
    and makes a son leap in the bottom of the earth.

    I was lonely as a tunnel. Birds flew from me.
    And night invaded me with her powerful army.
    To survive I forged you like a weapon,
    like an arrow for my bow, or a stone for my sling.

    But now the hour of revenge falls, and I love you.
    Body of skin, of moss, of firm and thirsty milk!
    And the cups of your breasts! And your eyes full of absence!
    And the roses of your mound! And your voice slow and sad!

    Body of my woman, I will live on through your marvelousness.
    My thirst, my desire without end, my wavering road!
    Dark river beds down which the eternal thirst is flowing,
    and the fatigue is flowing, and the grief without shore.

    --tr. Robert Bly

  4. In his poems, prose, and letters Allen Ginsberg mentioned Walt Whitman and William Blake more frequently than any other poets, especially in terms of his own view of the poet as prophet. By the time he was 17, 1943, “something shook me loose from the authoritarianism of the culture and from the authority of Columbia [University]. I think it was the jailing of a friend, who I loved, who knew Jack [Kerouac] well. And then also I was interested in … Whitman, and I had met [William] Burroughs by then, I was getting teaching from Burroughs that included Blake.” In the summer of 1948, after masturbating in his East Harlem, New York, apartment, Ginsberg was iding with a volume of Blake when the dead poet’s voice began reciting “Ah Sun-flower! weary of time, / Who countest the steps of the Sun: / Seeking after that sweet golden clime / Where the travellers journey is done. // Where the Youth pined away with desire, /And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow: / Arise from their graves and aspire, / Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.” A dozen years later, in “Psalm IV,” Ginsberg could still vividly remember Blake’s “great brain unfolding” and his voice “reciting in earthen measure: / the voice rose out of the page to my secret ear never heard before.” In “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” while driving across the American Midwest in 1966 he invoked Blake as “the invisible father of English visions” and called “all Powers of imagination / to my side in this auto to make Prophecy.” In the “Village Voice” in 1968 Ginsberg wrote, “By the late ‘40s of this memory century the people I knew best and loved most had already broken thru the crust of old reasons and were dowsing for some supreme reality … Blake had called ‘O Earth O Earth return!” centuries before, echoing the ancient gnostic prophecy that Whitman spelled out for America specifically demanding that the steam engine ‘be confronted and met by at least an equally subtle and tremendous force infusion for purposes of spiritualization, for the pure conscience, for genuine aesthetics, and for absolute and primal manliness and womanliness.’” In the liner notes to a 1969 recording of Blake’s poems set to music he asserted, “the soul of the planet is wakening, the time of dissolution of material forms is here, our generation’s trapped in imperial satanic cities and nations, and only the prophetic priestly consciousness of the bard -- Blake, Whitman or our own new selves -- can steady our gaze into the fiery eyes of the tygers of the wrath to come.” A decade later he called himself a poet “of prophecy, part Blakean inspiration, part ordinary mind from Whitman -- that is to say, the poet who speaks from his frank heart in public speaks for all hearts.” In 1973, in “Who,” he still recalled his 1948 epiphany: “From the Great Consciousness vision Harlem 1948 buildings standing in eternity / I realized entire Universe was manifestation of One Mind -- My teacher was William Blake—my life work Poesy, / transmitting that spontaneous awareness to Mankind.” In 1979 Ginsberg visited Felpham, where John Milton had appeared to Blake. In 1992, in “After Lalon,” he could still write, “It’s true I got caught in / the world / When I was young Blake / tipped me off.”

  5. One of his best, and best-known poems, “A Supermarket in California,” written in 1955, the centenary of Whtman’s “Leaves of Grass,” Ginsberg mused,
    What thoughts I have of you tonight Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
    In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
    What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

    I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
    I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
    I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
    We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

    Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
    I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
    Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
    Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
    Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


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