Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ealain Ar Son Ealaine (anachronistic credos to reconstruct the creative "now")

(For a variety of confusing, conflicted, and convoluted reasons that I'll spare you from here, several of my recent research endeavors have been bringing this poem that I wrote a couple of years ago to my mind a lot lately. I thought that I had posted it somewhere shortly after it was written, but a cursory search of google says that I'm mistaken. This piece was one of a pair (drastically different from each other) that I wrote for anonymous submission to an academic poetry journal that I was working for at the time. In keeping with my initial guess, this one was rejected in favor of the other, which was said to be more realistic, grounded, and relatable... which provided further proof of the point that I was trying to make with this one in an appropriately ironic way... which I was obviously greatly amused by.)


The breeze blows in
The experimental surreal
The swirl of my pipe-smoke
The mingling, crumbling,
Crushing of crumpled, living
Leaves, to sway and swing in
Non-notes, artificial harmonics,
To add texture to the silence.

None of this is more real or
Pertinent than the
Dream that I had last
Night... something about
Espionage, switched ID's
In the restaurant where I
Work, in big-backed
Red-vinyl booths with
Pernod bottles on the
Shelves, "Anisette," a smaller,
Softer version, a more
"Truthful" femininity,
Something far more "real,"
If "reality" and "truth"
Could be given more
False "faith." But from that
Draught they've drank enough.

When your footing fails,
And your senses are seen to be
No more than merely what
You sense, "Construction" and
"Conceptualism" render
"Content" entirely inconsequent.

Activity falls to the
Dagger of intellect;
All disciplines would quake and
Cower if they realized that
The ones that prove their
Umbrella could make their
"Important" findings obsolete.

Empirical studies suggest,
Based on what we understand,
The best of the research-
Methods that I have no
More than anyone else,
Or less, the plinking,
Plopping, fizzing, bubbling,
Test-tubes of all the
Chemical concoctions we can
Understand (which are none),
Besides what happens in
Our own heads, concludes,
That this is all that matters.

A false construction
In a dead language,
Of a nineteenth-century
Slogan, fitted around a
"Real life" growling version
Of a giant plaster lion
At the front of an emerald
Building in a city
Built for the construction
Of fabricated grime
Demonstrates this well.

When the activist "realities"
That Gautier and Poe spoke
Out against are demonstrated
By our daily lives to
Not exist, their credos adopt
More fervent strength and meaning.

Anachronistically, of course.
I am well aware of my
Ironies and contradictions,
And these themselves will prove my point.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dirty Jobs; a retooling of the term for the stay-at-home-circus-set.

“That’s a pretty
Dirty job, isn’t it?”
I heard a woman a-
Cross the way with a
Vicious case of
Couch-ass say to
The mover as he
Hoisted her hideous
Blue-leather sofa
From a second-story
Slider... And it made me
Think.

What has a “dirty job”
Become? I mean, it
Could be argued that,
In the present condition of
American Capitalism, any time
Green paper or false credit
Changes hands a job is
Being done that is, on
Both ends of the exchange,
Inherently “dirty”...
But that’s an argument for
Another debate, and I will
Thus leave it, for now, in the
Periphery...

As I was overhearing
This, I was knee-deep in
A critical-essay dense with
Requisite references, realizing
That I was about to
Engage in a career as a
Professional Name-Dropper.
Realizing it is apparently rather
Uncouth to begin a piece of
Writing without the required,
However unrelated and irrelevant,
Quotes from Greenblatt, Jameson,
Frye...

I was in the middle of
Thinking aloud, “What the
HELL does that quote have to
Do with this essay?!?” when
My speakers shuffled to a
Song from one of my own recent
Records; that someone had
Lately described as reminding
Him of the cacophony, the
Layers and spirals of sounds,
Of standing in the middle of
An airport tarmac, without earplugs.
(I think it was intended, and
Thus taken, as a compliment.)
And I recalled my meticulous attention
To the texture of the dirt on the
Beat, the cloudy veil to
Mask my voice, and remembered
That this was “dirty” on
Purpose. I had worked hard
To make it such. Ok, then, let’s
Break it down a
Bit.

We work with... words,
And noise, and visual
Images (both tangible,
For their own sake, and
The combined construction of
All or parts of these thing...)
We’ve become, of
Course, compulsive
Multi-taskers, obsessive
Interdisciplinarians...
We are expected, at the
Same time that we,
Even more, expect
Ourselves to be,
Minutely specialized,
While being, at the
Same time, back-
Breakingly diverse...
We all become
Jacks of all
Trades though
Masters of one
Miniscule detail of
How to pull all of those
Together, to
Construct from it
Our individual
Microscopically
Diverse
Niche.

In most cases, our
Parents weren’t circus
Performers. Even when
They might have
Been artists, critics,
Musicians, whatever,
They would never have
Thought to jump
Through the flaming
Hoops we douse
With oil and light
Ourselves.

Can you look at me with
An “honest” twenty-first-century
Face (whatever that might
Mean) and tell me that
These aren’t “Pretty Dirty
Jobs?”

The difference I see,
However, between this and
How that term was used
In the past is that,
Unlike, for instance, the
Garbage-man (except, of course,
That rare yet somehow
Commonplace specimen that
Takes such perverse pride in
The beat-to-shit and disregarded
Stuffed-animals that he tacks to
The grill of his truck)
Is that we REVEL
In the dirt, it’s rather
WHY we do the jobs,
Instead of a hinderance
From holding them, as it
Might be for perspective
Garbage-men.

“Isn’t that a pretty
Dirty job?” the
Woman with the
Couch-ass said to
The mover, as they
Watched me sitting
On my patio, rabidly
Scribbling in the
Margins of my copy of
A cumbersome anthology
Of the complete works of
Milton...


Bernard P. Provencher LeVautour (w/ S.W.S.)- Dirty Jobs (poem)