Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Blogpost of Albion Moonlight

There are so many writers and painters and musicians and artists of every stripe that have profoundly and irrevocably affected me. It would be impossible to even imagine a me that isn't shaped by art. I suppose I can see hints in my family past of what I could be without the billions of words... but they're subtle and fleeting glimpses. Not really me at all. I've been tied to words and paintings since I was conscious, and that's just a fact of my being. I like to imagine that it's been thoughtfully and reasonably, and it isn't just indulgence in cliche. Flaubert lamented that mass media would replace thought, and we would become parrots of ideas regardless of content. I hope I've avoided the worst of that, but I guess I can't exactly know. I'm a prisoner of my "received ideas," as he would possibly put it. And even in quoting him perhaps I fulfill that dangerous prophecy.

Nonetheless. The art and artists are a part of me, and I accept it even while acknowledging I'm largely powerless to change it. Especially as I near 40.

And no artist has affected me as profoundly as Kenneth Patchen.

That is not to say he's the greatest, or the most important. He's not. He's not even, like Robert Duncan or Ronald Johnson, one of the poets who altered my perception of how poetry is understood. But he's the poet who most resonated with my own idea of a life lived in art. He, like me, was inexorably linked to his one lifelong love. He was largely unrecognized during his life, but continued to create and communicate in his work. Unlike me he lived in pain and relative isolation. But even that has served as a lesson for me. I resisted the temptation, strong at times, towards misanthropy that many artists succumb to. I also had children, which provide a perspective and a joy that helps a person to find some solace in human company.

After all is said and done, I'm still more Kenneth Patchen than anyone else. I'd prefer to be a Peter O'Leary or Ezra Pound as a poet. But I'm KP.

Enjoy Lawrence Ferlinghetti's amazing elegy to him below. Hopefully someone as awesome as Ferlinghetti will someday see fit to honor me with such amazing words. But I'd take a sincere thumbs up if you're offering. Even a manly nod of approval!

An Elegy on the Death of Kenneth Patchen

A poet is born
A poet dies
And all that lies between
is us
and the world

And the world lies about it
making as if it had got his message
even though it is poetry
but most of the world wishing
it could just forget about him
and his awful strange prophecies

Along with all the other strange things
he said about the world
which were all too true
and which made them fear him
more than they loved him
though he spoke much of love

Along with all the alarms he sounded
which turned out to be false
if only for the moment
all of which made them fear his tongue
more than they loved him
Though he spoke much of love
and never lived by ‘silence exile & cunning’
and was a loud conscientious objector to
the deaths we daily give each other
though we speak much of love

And when such a one dies
even the agents of Death should take note
and shake the shit from their wings
in Air Force One
But they do not
And the shit still flies
And the poet now is disconnected
and won’t call back
though he spoke much of love

And still we hear him say
‘Do I not deal with angels
when her lips I touch’
And still we hear him say
‘0 my darling troubles heaven
with her loveliness’
And still we hear him say
‘As we are so wonderfully done with each other
We can walk into our separate ‘sleep
On floors of music where the milkwhite cloak
of childhood lies’

And still we hear him saying
‘Therefore the constant powers do not lessen
Nor is the property of the spirit scattered
on the cold hills of these events’
And still we hear him asking
‘Do the dead know what time it is?’

He is gone under
He is scattered
and knows what time
but won’t be back to tell it
He would be too proud to call back anyway
And too full of strange laughter
to speak to us anymore anyway

And the weight of human experience
lies upon the world
like the chains of the ‘sea
in which he sings
And he swings in the tides of the sea
And his ashes are washed
in the ides of the sea
And ‘an astonished eye looks out of the air’
to see the poet singing there

And dusk falls down a coast somewhere

where a white horse without a rider
turns its head
to the sea 


Shahana Khan said...

Very nice

Anonymous said...

Hey man. I've somehow stumbled on your personal blog which is, in my opinion anyways, a meeting of fates (considering the vastness of the internet and acknowledging that a personal blog isnt filtered by google in the same way, say, "Ebay" would be listed, being one of the first results because it can be monitized for profit. Anyways lol I'm not side tracking but wanted to establish that I went many pages in on my search to finally arrive at an answer I felt gave me some new thought to crunch on). Okay so my first Google query was about pretension because I'm so frustrated about where "the line" is between being an overconfident and arrogant ahole who thinks they know sooooo much opposed to being someone who doesn't take their ideas seriously and lack a sense of credibility to they're own ideas when really they may be on to some knowledge extremely significant or potentially helpful to others, EVEN if they're the first one to think about it or bring it up. The article I read of yours was called "Labels, Meanings, and the Secret Pretension of Self". It is an amazing article. It doesn't give any concrete answers, unlike all the other results I found on google which attempted to answer and left me unsatisfied, but simply the questions it forced the reader to ask themselves was enough to spark my interest in the author. It had more of a philosophical approach in the thought process. a
At the end of the day all these words of text on the internet or in books or anything really are just- gateways into the mind of another which transcend time and aren't limited to a single lifetime. So yeah, after reading that one article, from the WAY it was written and the quintessence of it all, it made me interested in what else this person/author has to say! So then after that I find THIS amazing article.... and all I can say is that now I feel a lot less lonely of a person in this world, in general, because I know that someone else (you) is out there thinking in similar ways, even if not verbatim to my own thoughts and opinions. Its a wonderful feeling that you've inflicted in me, and I just wanted to say thank you for voicing your thoughts and sharing with the world. Your blog IS important. Your blog DOES affect people for the better. I can attest to it. That poem has literally restored my sanity and I would have never found it if not for you. So once again, in the most humble way possible, I appreciate you and thank you. Keep doing what you're doing :)