that was and is /now gone…gone….so still …the fragile shards of some unreasonable flower from half empty pockets torn from old coats ….entwines and blooms so there still this vibrant pulse ….the fleeting skein of some dense architectonic memory….always leaving, yet inside the vein beneath my skin and at twilight you are still there too and leave a card beside the wall on a scattered table….the pulse, the pulse….that I think is….though also ….gone….
For Lou Reed (1978)
fragile unreasonable flower old full-length black autumn coat with pockets dogeared post card against a wall drifts from a scattered table books letters notebooks bloom inside the entwined half-full shards inside this midtown Manhattan SRO hotel
In the cold In the cold vibrant twilight In the cold vibrant In the twilight In cold twilight
Robert Frede Kenter is a 2020 pushcart nominee, poet, visual artist, editor and the publisher of Ice FloePress. Currently living in Toronto, work is published widely, incl. Floodlight Editions, Cypress, Burning House Press, Anthropocene, New Quarterly, Grain, Prairie Fire, Going Down Swinging, Fascist Panties, Cough, Fevers Of. The hybrid, Audacity of Form (2019), is available from Ice Floe Press.
Check out Robert’s latest book “Eden” with Floodlight Editions.
Eden is a selection of hybrid pareidolia poetry which glides within abstract visions. Robert Frede Kenter’s mirrored shards dangle inside sensory gardens. Smoke encircles words communicating raw politics and myth through jazzy vibrations twinkling in the shadows. Kenter’s poetry contorts paint, collage, drawn figures, photos, and found text. This imaginative collection, along with his other works and collaborations spanning more than three decades, solidify his place in the experimental poetry scene.
andy, andy, where have you been
there's a war in the hall
of hell on earth
i used your golden telephone
to alert our lonesome god
could not be completed
it got disconnected
when you left the scene
i think it was the first time
when the bullets hit their mark
but failed to put you down for good
you only died a little and
you dug the corset anyway
andy, andy, do come back home
tell god we need you here
i can't get him
on the line
while you're at it
Bio: James D. Casey IV is an artist, award-winning poet, author of seven poetry collections, and founder/editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press. His work has been published in print and online by several small press venues and literary magazines internationally.
La Voce dei Poeti, La Catena della Pace international poetry contest gave "Warriors of the Rainbow" by J.D.C.IV a critic's choice award in 2016, and his poem "That'll do Pig" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by New Pop Lit in 2019.
James was born in Colorado, grew up in Louisiana/Mississippi, and currently resides in Illinois.
Founder/Editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press.
A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with J.D. Casey IV from Cajun Mutt PressEIC: David L O’Nan is the Saturday Feature on Cajun Mutt Press with old storytelling poetryhttps://cajunmuttpress.wordpress.com/2021/10/15/now-available-from-cajun-mutt-press-12/
Three poems by Peter Hague from his new book: ‘Summer With The Gods’, which will be available in paperback and hardback. 184 pages 73 poems.
The backbone of Peter Hague’s work seems to be at least in-part, driven by an intriguing autobiographical investigation – part confessional, albeit developed with imagist coding. Much of this ‘search’, as we may call it, is based on the endless cycle of proactive yearnings for the simple truths about life and the role that reason and understanding play in our thoughts, as well as in our daily discoveries and awakenings. One thing is certain though, he manages to inject into his work a constant newness of unfailing excitement.
Mission and Beyond
My solitude is manifest in a cold corner of the Moon.
I am limp in a crater; abandoned in black and white –
weak and tight amongst the seminal debris
of a rain of stone. The horizon seems too close here
and space appears more dangerous than on Earth.
It is bigger and more valuable – uncomfortable too,
where the mood of infinity
calms the rattle of local chaos.
It is an immense cave,
stacked like a warehouse full of stars,
and with me, a dim workman on the loneliest night shift,
looking for orders to assemble and despatch.
Playing that ignorant game of efficiency,
with its worn rubber-stamp.
We are allowed to forget the other, tormenting present,
even if we still harbour a nightmare past.
But for all my authority with wires and beams,
I cannot play them far enough
to span the common sense
of this boundless brain of space.
I feel more alone here with each silence –
as empty as Lee Harvey Oswald
in the Schoolbook Depository –
down in the restroom, drinking Coke –
trying to look natural – as someone shot the President –
as if he ever could look natural, with a face like his –
a face chosen for guilt.
He was conscripted by suspicion itself
to look through the square window of his alibi
and wait for the police to bestow brief innocence
upon his awkward head. Just as I look now,
peering through a culpable visor that hides my truth –
both suspected assassins
expecting a light debriefing back on Earth.
Oswald was not a natural man,
as I am unnatural here,
in the dry Dallas, Texas of the Moon.
No one knows if I shot out the sun,
or claimed this shadowed crater for its creeping cold,
but I will be blamed anyway if the mission fails –
“I am a patsy.”
Mission Control are drinking beer and champagne
and celebrating a victory which is all their own –
happy their precocious rocket worked at all,
with its overrated technology of tin cans and fire.
I have lost everything by coming here.
I have lost my way. I have lost my keys.
Though I may have found the meaning of austere.
I am losing my faculties too –
I am a shivering loon on a derelict moon
in a spacesuit sealed with glue.
My memories have leaked past this polymer skin
and filled a virgin planet with their unique plague –
making an atmosphere of suppressed guilt
or at least something irresponsible and vague.
And although it may seem to register
as weak, or vacuous, or impossible to measure,
I can barely get my breath above this pressure.
I cannot see a single thing in a suddenly laden air –
it is like a fog to me and weighs me down,
tired as Ophelia, beneath a watery film –
almost clear, but undeniably there.
I have tried my best, as we all must.
I have tried to swim in this dry dust.
I have attempted to photograph my presence here,
out on this unforgiving, bony limb.
I have tried to crack my helmet
and make my mind go dim.
In light of this, I have decided to explore
the value of my own existence –
a gross deviation from the scientific mission,
but the Moon is not the stone on which
this corporate adventure shall be written.
Earth’s guidelines seem so rigid and futile here –
a plan, emphatically briefed, but never discussed.
In truth, it was little more than a rude intention
to take some snapshots and collect some dust.
I am going to push off this planet now
with the easy gravity of my new frogs’ legs.
I am defying my superiors and going on –
to search for the remains of God instead.
(c) Peter Hague 2021
My house is like a ship.
It creaks as I walk in its bowl of wood –
especially at night,
in the sea-quiet atmospheres
that fold thick and deep;
that haunt the air of plastered walls –
these sheer cliffs, painted white.
The journeys I make
are simple, yet profound.
One voyage takes me to a lower floor
to find a ship I hear-tell has run aground.
Its captain replaced by blesséd bone –
a shipwrecked sailor, swimming home.
And behind the noise
of all this wood and wave and stone...
I am a splash,
that otherwise makes no sound...
the last, lingering thought
of a persistence, unbound.
(c) Peter Hague 2021
The Importance of Clouds
I could attempt to disperse the clouds
but clouds do not listen to lesser gods –
self-proclaimed gods, who rule by chaos –
yet prove weak and powerless
when countering the manifestations of clouds.
To transient clouds we are conceited meddlers –
scribbling fools seeking majesty in poems.
Or some other improvisation of impatient thought
that turns our rutted cogs a measure.
Clouds do not move aside for poetry,
they are the scenery of its highest domain –
shifting or still – glorious or dark –
without clouds, we would not have found
our breath of words –
these fleeting animations we must name at once,
using reflexes forged in the hearts of the ancients.
It is an aura of sound without formal structure;
a synthesis of moods, seething in rapture;
a momentary recognition of glimpsed potential,
lending brief clues and mysterious epithets
to the vague identity of fleeting gods.
And that is where poetry ignites into song –
with playful clouds full of words and faces.
All looking back with liquid stirrings,
The blue sky and sun are intruders in this
and have never been part of poetry at all.
They are a skulking happiness, hidden in vagary;
a deluded world we cannot connect with;
a lingering place where all time waivers
and the parched dictionary slams its words shut.
It is an iron mouth in futile meditation;
a proven stage for the thinking of nothing;
a distraction of belongings and soothing heat.
It rubs its lotions of desire and silence
into the accepting canvas of our translucent skin.
This is the silence of sun and beauty –
an easy page, neither turned from, nor begun –
the host of paradise in one long sigh,
parching our living entity into a husk.
The sun and the sky are a lasting covenant,
hiding behind the cloudy words of night –
when the smoke moves aside for the poetry of stars,
revealing the eloquence of our darker terrors.
(c) Peter Hague 2021
A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Peter Hague
Here is the amazon link to Peter's new book:
Melodic Virtue has been featured in Rolling Stone, SPIN, Los Angeles Times, Paste & Pitchfork for the work they’ve accomplished ever since Aaron Tanner began what was a Graphic design company that now also puts out very interesting “photographic history” of some of the best bands of the last 40 years. These coffee-table books have rare photos, behind the scenes looks at the bands, set lists and so much more. Melodic Virtue also has a wonderful web page with merchandise and check out which books are currently available and see the awesome bands such as Butthole Surfers, Pixies, and Ministry. Aaron also has a history of working with Ween throughout the years. Aaron is also a wonderful musician himself in bands such as Stationary Odyssey and Off-Ox (check out their music as well)
These lovely poems reach out with straining hands to touch the infinite, to press between the pages of a book a moment in time, to capture forever a thought that might stray across the frontal cortex of any person’s racing mind. Or perhaps a lazy, resting mind, as when you’re surfing the internet eager for distraction. The attempt is usually successful, as in ‘404’, which invites us to see the failures of community as it exists online, a place of fear and foolishness where people resent connection before they find the fractured peace they secretly desire. In this experimental poem, Maskery alternates between a more conventional poetic diction and snatches of computer code, suggestive phrases (“HttpResponseMessage Get / (string connection))” that draw you into the authored, mechanical realm lying between everyday utterances written in cyberspace as part of a flame war held any morning of the week in Atlanta or Abu Dhabi. The internet “decays” but “I don’t exist without” it seems, the poet reflecting on the ephemeral by trying to nail down fleeting instants that disappear in the ether as soon as they come into stuttering existence.
A disconnect also exists in ‘Do not enter’, a monologue by a person meeting a visitor at the door. The invitation appears sincere although there is a sign on the door telling people to keep out. Why has the visitor come? It’s not clear. There are no clues as to how this person decided it was apposite to knock – though life is like this, isn’t it? – but what he or she hears should, perhaps, reassure. Questions are raised and some are answered but the sense of foreboding that rests once the poem ends suggests that something is amiss.
This dislocation is repeated in poem after poem, for example in ‘make me’, which is, again, about the internet. Here, in a few words, Maskery tries to understand – and to communicate to the reader – something about its allure, but while the outlines of debate are defined there exist by the end of the poem – which is not long – more questions than answers. What is virality? How does this rare exposure help us to become more completely ourselves? Or is that not the appeal? Perhaps the answer lies in the message of the previous poem, ‘Prayer’, which is addressed to “gods of the ephemera” so that “sins may be sold” (if they could be, we’d all be rich) and “let us devour” the body “sacred / scarred” that we worship.
I really enjoyed reading these digestible items, and the collection often veers off into the inexpressible, as in ‘i’m so sorry, it’s just’ where it’s never clear exactly what the narrator is talking about, just “one sweetness / one beauty” “residue / from its grind / smirching / the smell of small things” though “why / pretend all is well” in this world of destruction and release, of small things broken apart and devoured (looking back to ‘Prayer’) by anonymous crowds of people (looking back to ‘404’)?
Surprises lend their appeal to the chorus of sorrow Maskery unmasks, so in ‘Thread’ the message is thin but eloquent, a single phrase written down to look like a pair of threads – perhaps a strand of DNA encoding our identity – that sit upon the page like flags flying above a parapet on a windy day.
The waves of the lines are enticing and strange. In ‘Beginnings’ an uncommon enticement reveals the outlines of desire, a moment rendered in words like a synapse firing, “The first time we meet the shock / is there but small” and the poet goes on to lay out in miniature the universe of the mind that that instant unfurled. This is a masterpiece of expressive competence, a very strong poem that unearths worlds that are normally buried in the vast wildernesses of memory. As I read I started to recall things that had happened to me, a night when I was maybe 21, a day I went to a party in Double Bay, various times that happened in my life – so long ago – arose to conquer my attention in the flickering present where images combine with the pulse of the computer screen to reveal the mind’s frail existence in all its broken lightness and sorrow.
So the positive dwells in this collection of short poems – many are one page long, some are two pages long – alongside the negative (see especially ‘Networking’), the euphoric (see for example ‘Art’) with the base, the high with the low, the thing to be celebrated with the pain of despair. I was struck by the flexibility of Maskery’s evocative voice, its ability to accommodate a range of ideas and to give utterance to an array of different feelings. This is a memorable book.