Three Poems by Philip Jason

Through the Roar of the Sun, I Hear the Tiny Yelp of the Other Stars

I lay myself on the ground
like one of your shadows.
There is a tincture
to help you see
through the shading.
Pour some
into your glass and sip. It tastes
like the quietest star.

The ground is not a suitable place
to leave your shadows. They
remind me of bodies broken by
a long inquisition; they look
like an incomplete stain.

On Plato’s cave wall, there is
graffiti. It says
“Justice is a grain of sand
that sinks the less fortunate
of two resting scales.”

Everyday and the Half-Hall of Poetics

I was recently reminded of the importance of grounding the reader in the poem, of setting the stage with variations of specificity, so he or she can lock onto a certain place and time. To see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the landscape in question. This, I agree, is useful, even necessary in some cases, but I didn’t always feel that way. When young, brash, drunk on my own sense of the power of art, I wanted it to soar, and take the audience with it, to lift them out of (and above) the quotidian. It was the job of the artist, I thought back then, to be oracular, to help point the way to a beyond yet to be imagined, to break on through, as Jim Morrison once sang.

New Additions, and More on To Ramona

Spinozablue welcomes new poetry from Glen Armstrong, and an essay about Bloomsday by Sylvie Jane Lewis.

Writers tend to write about things they know. People they know. Places they’ve seen, or imagined, or dreamed up. There’s a “knowing” of sorts in the imagined as well. Typically, however (with exceptions), they don’t invent characters based on just one person from their life-world. They do composites. They mix and match traits and visuals, events and backgrounds, with various highs and lows, drawing on years of experiences . . . joyous, comical, and tragic. There may well be one friend or lover in the foreground of the Idea, but dozens likely jostle and push for their own special place in the imagination of the artist.

To Ramona: Cover by Sinéad Lohan

“Whatever happened to . . . ?” That’s a question we sometimes ask about an artist who seemingly disappears. Of course, if they haven’t actually left this earth, they haven’t really disappeared at all. They’ve just chosen another path, another way to spend the remainder of their days on this planet we call home. They’ve just decided that, despite their early success in this or that artistic field, they didn’t like who they were back then, or the sacrifices they had to make, or the people in that world. They likely found other things that bring them joy, without all the baggage attached.

Time Shelter, by Georgi Gospodinov

On the individual level, nostalgia for a past that never was can be harmless. And it’s a choice, generally speaking. But when this takes the form of a national movement to dwell in bygone times, that is no longer the case. And when an entire union of nations goes that route, existential threats are likely just around the corner. All too often, a deadly repetition of existential threats takes imminent shape. In Georgi Gospodinov’s Booker Prize winner, Time Shelter, the individual, national, and international mesh, mingle, and explode, along with personal and mass memory loss.

Gospodinov’s excellent, thought-provoking novel is the proverbial genre buster.

Fall Paintings, and More Thoughts on Simplicity

We’re on the edge, as always. There is always a move toward something, even if it’s inertia. More or less. There’s really no way to be perfectly still (without an iota of change), though some mystics might argue that point. They might argue (ecstatically) and their argument would cause changes of some kind — inner, outer, future.

It’s very simple, really. We can’t fight transformation into another state. We can’t fight becoming, though many of us work hard at being. Just being.

Of course, there’s a world of difference between seeking motion for motion’s sake, and seeking quietude for the sake of .

Glen Armstrong: Poems

In the Midst of Irrational Things

I do my best to connect, to feel the drift, continental or otherwise.

Oneness with nature requires abandon. The wind takes me by surprise. Birds explode in flight.

The pace is different than expected, within barely moving panels (think trees) life accelerates
(think monkeys.)

Think for a moment.

The hero uses thought like a hammer, then a scalpel. They call him Doctor So-And-So. The
villain comes and goes as his thoughts do. He is known as The Mist.

(All thought is parenthetical.)

I do my best to get out of the house now and then, to read a magazine that becomes another kind of house.

Sylvie Jane Lewis: A Day in the Life of Dublin Town

Bloomsday in Dublin and the Cinematic Unreal

This piece was made possible by the Tom Parkinson travel writing grant, awarded by Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

On June 16th, 1904, James Joyce’s hero Leopold Bloom sets out on a voyage of the glorious mundane. Ulysses (1922) traces Bloom’s steps across a single day in Dublin, now known as Bloomsday. The text elevates the everyday with allusion, the most prominent being the novel’s Homeric structure. Among other things, Bloom eats breakfast, buys soap, shits, goes to a funeral, gets drunk, and goes to bed. Nothing spectacular happens, but the text is itself spectacular, alive with siren song and fireworks.

Poetic Additions, and Thoughts on Simplicity

Spinozablue welcomes poetry by Hilary Sideris, Dave Shortt, and Nick Weller.

Simplicity in the Arts and in life is a strangely complex thing. Reputation, history, and timing all play a role in the discernment and appreciation of that simplicity. More often than not, our unconscious plays an essential part in the acceptance or rejection of said work or moment, both in what we bring to the table and what we think about the artist/person in question. Our food and drink choices, the weather, and a host of pre-encounter experiences also mix and merge within the dizzying sea of background elements to shape our responses — to the Arts, to each other, to our ongoing journey through this one and only Way.

Hilary Sideris: Greek Poems

Apocalypse Lake

Nikos drives me in his taxi to the kafeneio
where I sip elliniko kafe, try not to listen
to the Doors: “This is the end, beautiful friend.”
I took a walk, I tell him, but didn’t find the lake
formed when the local mine shut down, a crater
filled with rainwater. Monks built a monastery there,
awed by its alpine charm. Nobody swims.

“Yes, apocalypse is a good thing in Greek,” he laughs.
“It means uncovering.” Ah, revelation! I’ll look again
for that aquamarine expanse I read about online,
the gaping scars in the worked face. For now
I tongue the hole left in my mouth by a surgeon
whose sutures will disperse, a place I’m not
allowed to touch with pick or brush.

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