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words refuse to unfix themselves | poems

silver lines the bottom of the fish pond.

gary lundy

where two men gather their equated absences into palpable congruence. exquisite bare shoulder camera eyed.

whatever to say when a truth bars entrance. a stomach muscle eye. solitary entitlements. rules expanse of introspect thought.

affair of deciduous longing. the want to corrupt what remains out of control. to glide easily into familiar narrative.

where you once stood. i seek conclusion. not particularly of the absent love. but the more which equates freedom with left lost.

you absorb his words. lie among hidden articles.

gary lundy

substitute want for desire. enormous spring sunlight. tulips slow blooming.

he wanders alone with his dream of happiness. a fiction to be sure. but enough of one to provide glimmer hope.

a young invisible child. say three. plays among dandelions. a field not far from home. what does life account for after all. a brush stroke here. there. a few words follow. memorable or not.

in a dream you envision a growing misstep. your body swelled. cold damp tears. woman plays guitar. sings into probable future. i would follow were i able. yet words refuse to unfix themselves from each heavy laden page.

right now this only works. if they don’t line up. two lips the child repeats. unoriginal although for the first time. new. to no one in particular.

introducing an unexpected narrative.

gary lundy

so that when i read it’s you who springs from the page.

yet the i remains remote and inaccessible. no matter how hard he tries. buds near their blooming moment. movement even though it snowed yesterday.

you tell me you follow a thread throughout my writing which is definitely my life. wherever we find ourselves. nor even when in japan. and in love with a precious man. his left wrist is in a cast. fingers thus protrude.

you recognize that he will in all likelihood die first. wrapped as you are in coat and pajama bottoms. why might you not be able to look at me that way. a synthesis of denial.

people sound out their displaced need to tell a truth. like left over love.

wipe your lips clean. it burns when the steam rushes onto the floor. light blisters the retinal display. remove all possible enormity.

try as he might he never quite recovers.

i hear my mothers voice as i speak with you. a singular morning with coffee. a heartfelt pain close enough to attach paper clips.

when he would begin with gentle skin touch. i would roll my minds body full of grace.

a lost seagull lands in a bowl and bathes. outside. while a dog watches perplexed.

As I wrote the last time I published some of his poems heregary lundy and I have known each other for decades, which is almost forever. We met at a philosophy and poetry conference in Canada and have been inseparable since, mostly online. Through those decades, we have continued to converse  poetically and philosophically through the personal.

His first book, When Voices Detach Themselves (Is a Rose Press), delves deep into personal space and comes out with cultural revelations. His most recent book, Heartbreak Elopes into a Kind of Forgiving (Is a Rose Press), dives even further, if possible, into the heart of matters, uncovering the space for forgiveness and a desire for continued connection—even from deep within introspection. We feel the power of pausing in order to understand how the outer world shapes us, especially through the ideas of relation/ship and loss.

gary headshotThe three poems that appeared last time played on memory, nostalgia, and longing—the delusions of what we take as granted and the cracks and splatter of a glass of wine shattering on the ground of that false sense of knowing. Here, in the three poems above, we have some of the same mood, but accompanied by a sense of narrative connecting loss to longing. In the last of these poems, the voice of the poem addresses another: “you tell me you follow a thread throughout my writing which is definitely my life.” The other person, a friend in a cafe, perhaps, has been talking about the speaker’s writing—and we also sense this thread in the three poems, a sense of his life. The sense is fragmentary, which fits the poet’s view, as expressed in the second poem: “what does life account for after all. a brush stroke here. there. a few words follow. memorable or not.”

The brush strokes of these three poems provide a sketch, suggestive and powerful in its expression. And these strokes, memorable as they are, give us, as readers, a view of the human condition. It is not “joyful,” but it has room for the “fiction” of “happiness” and, in the end, room for the brush strokes of connection that appear throughout gary’s poetry. It is, in the end, the most human of connections—not romanticized, but, as reflected succinctly in the first line of the first poem above, a connection “…where two men gather their equated absences into palpable congruence.” (The specificity of that poem requires “two men,” but gary’s poetry taken as a whole implicitly says “two people” with full gender inclusiveness.)

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gary lundy’s poetry books can be found at Independent book sellers through Indiebound.

Photo of gary lundy from his book Heartbreak Elopes into a Kind of Forgiving @2016
Digital artwork ©2017 Michael Dickel

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Filed under Digital Art, Experimental writing, poems, Poetry, Writing

New projects underway

I’m taking a short rest from posting the experimental writing series for a promotional post. I have two new projects—one decades under development, the other a few days old. Also, while I’m at it, I have a couple of recent publications to mention as well. Call this self-promotion.

is a rose press logo

is a rose press

Project one is a new poetry / contemporary press that three colleagues and I are preparing to launch. For now, books will be by invitation only. After we get up and running, iron out any bugs, learn more about what we’re doing, we will probably change that policy.

The first official publication will be gary lundy’s when voices detach themselves. This is an amazing book of short poems that are also a single work, exploring relationship, meaning, connections and (dis)(un(connect)ions). As Donnelle McGee (Shine, Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012) puts it:

The remnants of love and fragmented voices shape the narrative of Gary Lundy’s when voices detach themselves. You will be enthralled with Lundy’s lines. Each line constructed of images that breathe vulnerability onto the pages of a narrative that brings you in close to the voices of longing, and even closer to the voices and bodies trying to find harmony amid discord.

We have the cover designed, the inside laid out, and we’re ready to purchase our ISBNs and assign the book to one. Then we’ll go to press. Schedule will be to send out review copies soon and an official launch later this summer. Check out the press here, on our blog / web page. It’s new, too, so many pages just have the logo, but there is some content and it will be changing daily. Or weekly. Something like that.

gary and I have been talking about working together at publishing contemporary poetry and writing for two decades now. It’s time we actually did it, don’t you think? With Valerie Déua and Rebecca Knots on board to help, we might actually do something here. We all hope something interesting and worthwhile. Stay tuned. Read more about the beginnings.

Po[a](es)[thet](it)i[c]s Un(der)gournd(ed)

Po(es)(it)is Un(der)ground(ed)

Po(es)(et)is Un(der)ground(ed) is about as long as I was allowed for the name of a new online “newspaper,” actually a news aggregate service that I have set up to follow certain feeds using filters. I’m trying to capture online activity—from conventional journals and news sources to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter feeds—related to contemporary poetics and poetry.

The first edition is now up here. Right now the filtering is perhaps a little broad, so related topics is wide enough to include non-poetry books, literature, reading links. It’s okay, though, I think. The paper will “regenerate” every week, Tuesday, 9:00 am Eastern U.S. time. I’ll go through the automated edition sometime shortly after and editing out unrelated material. I will tweak the feeds, filters, and priority for inclusion as much as I can in the coming weeks.

I hope that if you’ve been reading my blog and enjoy the full range of the posts, that you will go to this project, share it in your networks, and even “subscribe.” If you subscribe, you’ll be notified once a week, when the new edition is ready.

The title, as represented by the logo, can be read several ways in variation / derivations from Po-aesthetics to Poetics to Poiesis (possibly without the ego i) // Underground or Ungrounded or Ground or Grounded. po (a) (es) (thet) it is (alt. ics) un der ground ed. Have fun kneading your own combinations and versions. And feel free to include Greek, Spanish, French, Russian…Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese…Tamil, Anishinabe, Diné

Hands kneading bread

Two pieces in the most recent Drash Pit

The most recent issue of Drash Pit, which will remain up online through the summer, includes a poem of mine and a short essay. The poem, Following, responds to the theme announced in the prior issue, “bread crumbs.” The editor derived the theme from a piece I wrote for that issue, so I can’t complain. The short essay, If We Turn Down the Noise, reflects on the relationship between narrative and hope, with a Jewish flavor to the mix. If you read them, I hope that you like them. If you like them, I hope that you will share them on your social networks.

Next post

I expect to be back to the experimental writing for the next post. If you’d like to be included in an upcoming experiment, leave five random or free-associated words, comma separated, in a comment here. Thanks.


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