I had thought to write a post, introducing a new character, the Prophet. Something utterly original, a new slant, a strange, effective beginning. But upon rereading the post, I could see that it was too obvious, too didactic, too contrived. And while Art is always “contrived” in a sense, it should never show that part of itself. It should never be obvious.
So, how to write a new series of “wisdom” literature? How to include a new kind of prophet, one who turns ancient texts upside down? Or, rather, turns Nietzsche upside down after he tortured the ancient texts this way and that. Turns Kafka upside down after he drove the Talmud meshugah. Turns Dogen upside down after he stretched and bundled and merged Indian Buddhism with Chinese Taoism. Turns Marx and Van Gogh and Freud into pretzels after they whipped class, nature and the unconscious into dynamite.
Carlos Fuentes passed away on May 15th, 2012, at the age of 83. He will be remembered by this avid reader for his novels The Old Gringo and The Death of Artemio Cruz, along with his wonderful short stories, especially those in Burnt Water. His non-fiction is also very strong (This I Believe & Myself With Others), and pairing it with Milan Kundera’s heightened the effect of both for me. Both men being advocates of the democratic voice in literature, with many of the same literary “precursors.”
Fuentes was one of the chief contributors and promoters of the Latin American “Boom,” along with José Donoso, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez and Juan Rulfo, his fellow Mexican novelist. It is not a stretch to say that without Fuentes and El Boom, writers such as Daniel Sada and Roberto Bolaño would not have the readership they currently, posthumously enjoy.
Spinozablue has new poetry, fiction and photography on tap for May. Valentina Cano, Emily Ramser, Christina Murphy and Ben Nardolilli grace this site with their poetry; Penelope Mermall with her fiction; and Eleanor Bennett with photography. Emily and Eleanor have something in common. They are both in their teens. Their work, however, along with those already mentioned on this fine May Day, combines future promise and present achievement.
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So, I’m reading The Three Pillars of Zen, by Philip Kapleau, and it’s kick-started all kinds of thought-trails. The book is quite good, though it lags at times when it shifts to interviews with adepts. Lags for me, because too many of the stories are similar. But, then I thought, so it is with life. We really do have similar tales to tell, when boiled down. There are patterns. Unmistakable. Our myths have patterns that echo across the world and … Click to continue . . .
I turned to stone
that Saturday morning.
It wasn’t slow.
There were no gasps
as my fingers dried like corn husks,
or as my hair locked in place,
never to feel the breeze again.
There was no time for that.
In one second, I was staring
out of eyes sewn to our walls.
There was no blinking.
I was alone,
staring out into a room
I could no longer shut out.
Softly, you turn.
Your face is a mask of ash,
drifting with the currents,
with my moods.
You peer at me out of cottonwood eyes
that reflect fires I’ve not yet set.
Cares I’ve not flung at you
like dirty clothes.
Stay like that.
Just like that, for an instant,
while I bring out
my words and boil them alive.
Eleanor Bennett is a very young and gifted photographer, whose art captures a stunning range of landscapes, people and other animals, along with the purely conceptual. It is obvious that she intuitively understands composition, drama, angles, lines, shadows and color. It is also obvious that she has command over her subject matter and a voracious interest in the world surrounding her.
The above is but a small sample of her work, which is best seen on her own website.
Eleanor says of her work and journey:
I started doing photography around four years ago. It was for a biodiversity project on recording the occurrences of nature in your local environment. I enjoyed greatly creating art in that manner. Everything was captured and preserved. I could collage and I could make portraiture with exactly what I wanted to frame.
I would cite Alexander Rodchenko, Rankin and Cindy Sherman as big
green is circuitous and certainly cubic, and you need ask
only Magritte, Beckett, or Monet for the certitude
that green has nothing to say of flatness, whether
horizontal or vertical or even in planes—nothing at all
as silent as the game of spring hiding behind blue winter
green—playing the complement of magenta and seldom
hiding from sight in trees and sprouts and stems
green—shining as an impulse in the new and yet to become
green—as the élan vital or the end of joy as jealousy
when the green-eyed monster claims its bounty in envy
green invites, cajoles, makes us believe in youth and rebirth
lingers in emerald seas and rivers of regeneration as the god
Osiris bids us to believe; but nothing gold can stay, as Frost
knows and eternity echoes—and nothing green can stay
before the endless fading to gold and eventual decay
I drop in late nights and sink into a place that settles round me in a hush and the sight of bent backs lined up at the counter soothes me some. The waitresses own a toughness that remind me of shoe leather and sweep past at a swift clip with plates piled in the crook of arms.
I sit in a booth looking out on a town where street lamps throw a foggy glow and passersby exchange a pocketful of words. In the wide expanse of glass my hair hangs limp and a ghostly face stares back. I’m no stranger to myself in glass, where I exist neither here nor there. Snowflakes float down and melt like salty kisses and the red neon DINER sign blinks on and off.
The waitress lands a platter of omelet special with rye toast, home fries and a thin slab of meat before me and overflows my coffee into a white … Click to continue . . .