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Month: December 2009

Long Day’s Journey Into White

Long Day’s Journey Into White

Monastery Graveyard in the Snow
Monastery Graveyard in the Snow

Millions of people drive during the holidays. To and from. Rarely just to. I drove through ice and torrents of rain south, then through a cloudy day north and into white mist and fog. The drive, something about the drive, and the time, and the strangeness of endlessly moving forward in relative terms, led to the poem below, and a work in progress:

The Trip

The vanishing point teases us
Tempts us with the power
Of horizons

So I tried
I really tried to outrun it

What exists beyond the V?
What exists?

How does it stay just beyond our reach
As we hurtle forward like a car?

Can we go beyond the center of the sky?
Can we trick what vanishes

Into the next phase
The next rationale?

I hurtle onward like a car
Hurtling through enclosed gray air
Through tunnels of trees


Not just like

Exactly like a car barreling down
A … Click to continue . . .

Words Meant to be Read Aloud

Words Meant to be Read Aloud

Hamlet and Horatio, by Eugène Delacroix. 1839
Hamlet and Horatio, by Eugène Delacroix. 1839


Below, we have some new poetry from Robert Mueller, one of our frequent contributors. Robert has a great sense of the potential for soundful poetry, for the music of language, its aural qualities. His poems should be read aloud, listened to carefully, chewed on a bit.

. . . .

Reading a bit of Harold Bloom on Genius makes me ponder the difference between talent and genius. As was his intention. An early quote:


Though Shakespeare is the largest consciousness studied in this book, all the rest of these exemplary creative minds have contributed to the consciousness of their readers and auditors. The question we must put to any writer must be: does she or he augment our consciousness, and how is it done? I find this a rough but effectual test: however I have been entertained, has my awareness been intensified, my consciousness widened and clarified? If not, then I

Click to continue . . .
Two Poems by Robert Mueller

Two Poems by Robert Mueller

Community Still

What can the Lords of Everything
about dull eccentricity complain?
A fine shill, which is to see kirtle
cock-eyed and expect its rounding up,
would cheer, would meet the sun.
And then at sacred hoops the banners
stream, and yet no historian
writes with finish the broken
horizon, and these Prodigals replay
their Herculean task unnoticed,
while grownups pass and joggle,
sniff and blow and jo, and shuffle, prattling feet.
Witness, at cost, the skipping girl:
She finds in a book honors
of wet cheeks and high ploys to relief
in bouncing from flue to pratfall; silvers
schooldays yet in stern lessons, polymath craze.
Or coal-boy, rougher than the dirty feathers
of his temperatures, dreams a leaf
and glimmers churlish in the post-tomtom clear.
That even nothing canters tail-flare
let the shorter race befall, and busy logs
go dancing with their dogs,
and frowning cats, the gentle rats — Dear Blood
it’s genius-wondered is homely bog.
Dear luscious … Click to continue . . .

A Christmas Tale

A Christmas Tale

“A Christmas Tale” is a strange piece of movie-making, but quite effective for all of that. It turns many conventions on their heads, and does so both with a naturalistic flare and innovative camera work. It is the story of an unruly, dysfunctional family, their squabbles and their secrets, with few, if any, resolutions. It’s not your typical holiday movie. It’s not even a typical holiday movie sending up other holiday movies. It seems without genre, though the director, Arnaud Desplechin, samples from other movies like “Funny Face”, “The Ten Commandments”, and Max Reinhardt’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. He sometimes points his actors at the audience to give soliloquies as well, borrowing yet again from Shakespeare.

Cancer is both a reality and a metaphor in “A Christmas Tale”, but is used lightly, strangely enough. Lightly, like a coat that can be taken off, even though it can’t be. The audience discovers, soon enough, that this family doesn’t play by the … Click to continue . . .

Battle at Arles

Battle at Arles

The Gleize Bridge, by Vincent Van Gogh. 1888
The Gleize Bridge, by Vincent Van Gogh. 1888

A poem in progress, after reading some more letters from the Van Gogh collection. Reminds me yet again how much he was able to fill his days to the brim. With deep thought, emotion, deep reading and seeking. He packed a great deal of life into his 37 years.


The Ear


It was not what he wanted
To lose a friend
Gauguin his brother in Art
Gauguin his kindred spirit

In the maze of being
For colors
For shapes and shadows

In the maze of youth
Trying on yellow houses
And more visits to brothels
Than previously known

Poor Theo

Saving the family
Exhausting himself and his resources
And dying soon after


Could not help his ecstasies

Vincent knew only how to seer

There is a cost to Art a cost

To the maker

Family and friends

And who can know as we stare
At the bloody metaphor
On … Click to continue . . .