Tag Archives: Michael Dickel

Ozy Variation 1 | Word-play

Pop Ozy


Michael Dickel

Variation one on Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I, who stand half and tell which the hand—
(oh my, look, nothing of the lone met)—
said: sunk, a wrinkling, yet on the name,
on, besides that, a traveler, two.
The shattered lip, its survival mocked.
Pedestal is my remains, a colossal level
from vast desert visage and sculptor-stamped.
These Ozymandias works, round wrecks, sand—
antique. And nearby, lies, sneering—well, of words,
those kings. You, the boundless stretch of land. Trunkless,
they, whose passions appear mighty, decay,
and, far, legs frown on, cold (read lifeless).
The hearts of kings bear away the command,
things that despair. On stone, sand fed.


The poem above uses the words of Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley, re-arranged and with some slight variations in form. Below is the original and some discussion of how I constructed the variation.


Ozymandias


Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command ,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


The table below shows how I divided the words. I then used the words down each column from left to right, in order to construct my “variation.” I mad slight changes, for example, in the first column, six rows from the bottom through the first row of the second column (marked in blue), the words go “And “My Look Nothing of The lone met.” The third line in my variation, which uses those words, reads: “(oh my, look, nothing of the lone met)—”

If you are so inclined, you could use this table to go through the words of the original Shelley poem and compare them to my poem to see how I built the variation.


I	met	a traveler	from an 	antique	land			
Who	said:	Two	vast	and	trunkless	legs	of	stone
Stand	in	the	desert.	Near	them,	on	the	sand,
Half	sunk, a	shattered	visage	lies,	whose	frown,		
And	wrinkled	lip,	and	sneer	of	cold	command	,
Tell	that	its	sculptor	well those	passions	read		
Which	yet	survive,	stamped	on	these	lifeless	things,	
The hand	that	mocked	them	and		the heart	that	fed;
And	on the	pedestal	these	words	appear:			
"My	name	is	Ozymandias,	king		of kings:
Look	on	my	works,	ye	Mighty,	and	despair!"	
Nothing	beside	remains.	Round	the	decay
Of	that	colossal	wreck,	boundless	and	bare
The lone	and	level	sands	stretch	far	away.

What do you think? Is my variation poetry? Can one construct a poem using matrices in this way and still be writing poetry? I have applied a similar matrix approach to the first of the three parts of my cubist poems in entangled form to arrive at one of the other parts. See an example here (and see if you can figure out the second transformation I use to arrive at the remaining part). What do you think?

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that other night when


Michael Dickel

dark crunches down
behind some planet
waiting to jump water
puddles seize land masses
swallow rivers flatten
mountains freeze lava
until we surrender willingly
to its subversive seduction
embrace folds contours
planes of existence
dimensions of imagination
suppressed memories
and skip over
an impossible sea
to an unknown continent
over remote tributaries and
beyond shadow peaks
until we burn with cold

that other night when
Digital art
©2017 Michael Dickel

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Wet Egret | Poem


Michael Dickel

Head hunkered down into shoulders,
an egret scurries across a muddy road—
desire for a different wilderness.

Wet and Cold
digital art from photo
©2017 Michael Dickel

Digital art posted on Instagram, FaceBook, and Twitter (via Instagram).


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Teaching that (in)famous “Poetry”


Michael Dickel

(apologies to Marianne Moore)

Her (dis)like of poetry showed through
her pure contempt while reading it. She thought
high interpretation of the unintelligible half poets
elevated an autopsy to a false revery for birth, and
that all the academics criticize what they understand
would be detrimental to their careers. She wanted
a genuine toad, not a prince, an imaginary secret
garden, no flowers, a raw poem eaten, savored,
complete with a belch after gulping beer.

Abstract amphibious poetry
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

My students hate the image of an autopsy,
don’t like to consider births except in the abstract,
think if someone says “poetry,” then, poetry.
What use definitions, declinations, nuance
or inflections? Metaphors just hide the truth,
what matters comes out straight and clear.
Who cares about red wheelbarrows,
blackbirds, or pigeons, for that matter?

And certainly, they argue, we don’t dislike
all that we don’t understand.


Poetry Month begins, meaning we have arrived at

…the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. (T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland)

To begin the month-long poetry celebration here, I decided to post this poem, both about teaching poetry and about one of the most famous poems “about” poetry, Marianne Moore‘s poem, “Poetry.” Follow the links above to learn more about Marianne Moore, to read what others say about her poem, or to read poems I have alluded to here. During the upcoming (Inter)National Poetry Month, I will post more of my poems, poetry written by others, some reviews, and whatever else poetry-related comes along. I will also be lead for The BeZine‘s (Inter)National Poetry Month issue, coming out April 15. I’m a contributing editor, so I will be both editor and contributor.

What do you think of poetry? Do you (dis)like it? Can you live without it? What was your experience with poetry as a student? Did it help or hinder your appreciation of poetry? Do you read poetry? Write poetry? Leave a comment… (Yes, I know the image has a frog in it, not a toad.)


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I Dove In | Hybrid Flash

Who wants to dive in? The monstrous conversations firing missiles and bombs across continental divides require your opinion now. Drop everything. Don’t think. Write your opinion!


Michael Dickel


Dove-In-Cubism

I Dove In – 1
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

Of course, that ad attracted my attention.

I wanted to leave my thinking cap in the brain-washer and drain my commonsense down the tubes; but the tubes turned into transistors and some chipped silicone took over the flip way I looked in the house of mirrors—interactivity leading to the monkey house on steroids, where advertisers don’t care about credibility, so long as you get with the click and join the cliques to which, of course, I would not want to belong, if they would have someone like me.

So, I figured the eight ways to solicit the attention of the ad-meister who wanted to hire a blogger—oh web-logger clear-cutting the civility forest into another barren desert chorus, eroding the floor until walking becomes treacherous and only traitors run away, seeking search-engine optimization.

Yes, I would love to be your dog…loving you is easier than rolling off a log…how much do you pay per posted blog?

I dove in.

I longed to fly missiles with alternative-facts and drop bombs across cyber-real fake-towns, across continental decisions divided—creating rifts with precision and dancing opinions on the heads of pins and needles, stitching together movie-scenery reality with microwave-ovens turned into spy-cams.

I Dove In – 2
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

It’s these special effects that affect our specialists, analysts of their own opinions and promoters of their sponsors’ narcissistic promotions.

I got the job that required me to not have evidence.

Cheesy gee-whizzes and long lists of coprolite anomalies, combined with contretemps dissent and troll binges of corporate-lite bridges, to rally the choir and preach to the troops—singing ditties, theme songs, and jingles jangling the long roots of the fake news.

Writing opinions I felt so free to despair, disparage, and dis-repair, all in fortississimo dissonance. I dropped everything—and everything dropped me—while I wasted away and waited for my just-desserts.

But I’m not any richer at a fiver per pitch, so the pitcher on the mound, on the way to a no-hitter, decided to leave town with a pitcher of beer.

Unpaid, tired, fired again, all my friends lost and me feeling lame…

I slid out of my gutter, stooped over I walked to the end of my talk with a stutter. The social meteors mediated my vacuity, and I consulted with campaigns, if they paid a large gratuity.

I Dove In – 3
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

It didn’t matter the theme, it didn’t matter the cause, I marshaled their resources and sent them off to Oz. The pawns moved the game, but the fans gave them fame, shouting and yelling without any words, “follow the gold-brick road.”

I came to the opinion that time chimed for warlords, loot fell to soldiers, and the boot landed on the bugler’s throat. But the consultant collected fees, no matter who died.

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Chai equals eighteen

Double life


Michael Dickel

I mention an image that for some days now has been mounting in the sky of the revolution…Chantal’s image is circulating in the streets. An image that resembles her and does not resemble her. She towers above the battles.

—The Envoy in Jean Genet’s The Balcony

Your lost lover becomes a martyr—
a new revolutionary cause—
as the judge, an abandoned father,
conceives the child’s anarchistic calls.
Balconies crack, begin to falter
while the white rose petals start to fall,
and the soft dust now rises up to
cloud our bishop’s visionary realms.
So you saunter down to the twelfth bar.

It’s not very far for you to go—
down the road to the mausoleum,
where knowledge no longer wants to flow,
and wisdom the police chiefs promised
evaporates in blue cloudiness.
My forlorn lovers take one last look,
executioners seal sacred books,
and we dream that time will return us
again to where Chantal’s dance began.

We slip on ice in larch swamps covered
by fog, which obscures the histories
unfolding Irma’s worn tapestries—
lies of the victors, lies of the lost.
We change the general’s blank dance card,
then drop three photographers’ needles
into a heavily falling snow.
Your martyr turns into a lover—
an evolutionary lost-cause.

An old father begins his judgement
with many anachronistic flaws.
And Carmen’s petals flake slowly off
like snow melting in a beggar’s tale
of the freed slave’s magic midnight sun
where my desire has never failed.
And the rose petals? The bruised petals
from the flowers you took the envoy
cover the gravel under your feet.

At first, people were fighting against illustrious and illusory tyrants, then for freedom. Tomorrow they’ll be ready to die for Chantal alone.

—The Envoy in Jean Genet’s The Balcony


Note: In each of the two days I have been working on the poem above, the ones just before I am posting it, exactly 18 people visited this blog. The poem has four stanzas of 9 lines each, for 36 lines (double 18), not counting the epigrams from Genet. Each line has 9 syllables. The total number of syllables is 324, plus the 36 lines, equals 360—the number of degrees in a circle. Chai, Hebrew for life, equals 18 according to gematria. So, 36 lines, double 18, is double life. Or, perhaps, a double life. Genet may offer a key element to this equation.


double-life

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Jerusalem’s Garden — Hybrid

Jerusalem Imagined and Recalled


Michael Dickel

א — Aqsa / Dome of the Rock / Temple Mount | Digital art from photo | ©2017 Michael Dickel

א
Digital art from photo
©2017 Michael Dickel

Jerusalem perpetually escapes the present. It slips into strong recollection—memory with all its failings constructing histories and narratives in dusty layers under and around every stone chipped by human hand. Human-hand made narratives, full of political failings, slip Jerusalem into side pockets.

And Jerusalem also slips, paradoxically, into a weak, almost-timeless desire—imagination with all its lust polishing each dreamed-of rosy-limestone stair and wall to perceptual perfection. The desired Jerusalem, the imagined Jerusalem, the recalled Jerusalem, recollect Jerusalem into a cacophony of dissonant and contested cries.

Rabbis long ago understood the multiplicity of Jerusalem and wrote of Jerusalem below and Jerusalem above—meaning physical and spiritual. They have been taken to mean below as this world, the present, and to mean above as the spiritual realm, the world-that-is-coming—which could refer to heaven or could refer to the future: mundane, redemptive, or apocalyptic.

I take the words to mean Jerusalem imagined (above) and recalled (below), desire imagining Jerusalem and faulty images memorializing Jerusalem piece by piece, piecing themselves together to build this city that dissolves the present with its creation.

This garden I now write from also slips from the present to reside in a dual-space of a strong past and weak future, of an almost-absent present, of memory and desire, of recall and imagination. Like Jerusalem, it exists only in the mind—like the real toad’s imaginary garden, a thought-experiment generating genres too slippery to grasp.

And since the toad’s garden exists only as a mental construction, let it slide now into Jerusalem, along a stone path from one cobbled road in the Old City to another, an opening on the west of the alley suddenly revealing the garden, a glimpse of possibility unanchored by actuality.

I have imagined it there, for the moment, so that I might recall it here in this text, something abstractedly vague as the toad croaks then splashes into its reflexivity, a mirror-pool of psychology and absence, a mere pool of sociological and political ambivalence.

White jasmine flowers trumpet from their dark shrubbery, arching over the entrance from the alley, nearly hiding the portal as it covers the East wall of the garden. Oleander stretches up the wall that encloses the North side of the garden. Bougainvillea stretches up the South wall. On the West, trellises of grape vines. Nearer the ground, short hedges of neatly trimmed lavender and rosemary border the square garden. These all strive for a square of clear blue above, the imagined Jerusalem.

Now, in autumn, only the shrubbery and herbal hedges bloom. If it were spring, narcissus would be blooming. In winter, cyclamen and anemones. In summer, planted annuals—petunias, marigolds, sweet alyssum. The tended grass remains green all year.

In the center of the garden grow two trees. A lemon tree wants to spread its reputation as the Tree of Life, but January fruits give it away. Next to it grows a tired olive tree, knotted-trunk peace-symbol. Its green fruit reflect glimmers of light.

At a distance from the trees sit four benches, each with its back toward one wall.

This garden does not exist, even while my mind sits in it, watching, waiting. I think I possess this garden, but then the toad’s trigonometric pool appears, just in time to disabuse me of foolishness. I don’t occupy this garden. It occupies my mind.

I am not alone here.

On the bench to my left sits an old woman. She has a basket of grape leaves next to her today. Some days she brings fresh dates, golden, unripe. Others, her basket holds za’atar, a spice mixture sprinkled with sesame seeds. She murmurs praise for her produce.

On the bench to my right, an ancient-looking man sits reading a book, most days. I cannot tell if he holds the same book every day or a different book. He doesn’t know, either. He reads it, pauses, mutters, cocks his head as though listening, and then continues to read.

Across from me a woman occupies the remaining bench. Her two children play in the grass in front of her. She watches them and smiles, but her eyes seem not to see the garden as they search some other place, subtly creating silence around her.

I think about what to write here. My children play behind my bench.

Four people have come to this space for generations. Each lays a claim on it. The four forget about the toad and its reflecting pool. They forget about the gardener, the people who live behind the walls that enclose the garden, or whatever may thrive beyond. They remember living here for thousands of years. They imagine living there now.

The four people reflect a me and you that do not cohere. We fall asleep here, and never leave. The dream unfolds.

There is no garden. There is a garden.

There is a Jerusalem. There is no Jerusalem.

I live in Jerusalem.

jerusalem3web

Jerusalem Imagined and Recalled
Digital art from photos
©2017 Michael Dickel

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