Tag Archives: writing

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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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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Werewolves—The Hounds of Hate


by Michael Dickel

One wonders if a group of people who have a fetish-obsession with alpha males overpowering beta males are really werewolves (werwolf, in German, a fort, a plan, an insurgency, ever a human?) rather than human beings. Perhaps they are devolved to pack animals easily confused by a gilded chair and spotlight glare. They seem to have failed to realize that the beta males fight over hierarchy, the lone alpha in each pack standing aloof and indifferent to their struggle.

The followers packed in the hall raise their hands in a familiar, evil salute.

The one in front mentions alpha males, before saluting his leader’s election.

In their poorly learned algebra: Power equals everything; morality, ethics, community equal nothing. They worship the square root of negative 3. No one, not even I, know what that means.

Some reject all leaders other than themselves. Even the one elected remains insufficiently aggrieved and enraged to take the reins. Wild horses run through them, disordering their imaginations with fantasies of powerful stallions. The stallions laugh at their inadequacies.

It begins with wordsthe werewolf singing the song of cancer cells—unlimited growth, spreading out, destroying all else, leaving nothing but toxic waste behind. When he howls “greatness,” he sings to spread deadly cancer in our midst. Unchecked growth. We must resist the cancer, gather our antibodies, strengthen our collective body of love and wisdom.

Whiteflies invade the green leaves and suck the plant dry. They excrete a honeydew of hate. They believe that they grew the plant. They want to be in charge of the plant, even as they kill it.

The werewolves will make Wolfland great again.

Afraid and weak, these werewolves bark, bite, howl, yip. If they didn’t run in packs, they would be nothing. That is why the alpha obsession raised to the power of fetish. They use terms from pornography. They are pornography.

What is pornography? Is it human? Am I / pornography / human?

The hounds of hate have been unleashed to the sound of trumpets. They turn against learning and research. The rich and powerful control them by remote signal. The rich and the powerful laugh and laugh. The hounds fight over the scraps. They get trumped.

Then the hounds turn on the rest of us, licking their sagging, blood-spattered jowls.

werewolfnazis-2

Werewolf Nazis-2
Digital art from downloaded web images
Werewolf image src / NAZI salute src


If you haven’t already, place your mouse cursor over the links and wait. You will see an excerpt pop up from that linked page. The excerpt inter-plays with this text. I’m not sure how / if this works in mobile platforms.


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Sunday brunch Tuesday | Kinga Fabó

Kinga Fabó presented in three languages—her own Hungarian, English, and Galego. Enjoy.

Kinga Fabó

Dracula Orchid


Kinga-Dracula-1-WEB
We didn’t choose each other.
We were locked together.
Watching his ugly face.

He looks back: I see myself.
Who is in which end of the cable
who is it that places me at his will?

This isn’t a game between the two of us,
this tug of war.
Someone’s pulling my strings from above:

once he pulls me, next he leaves me.
Smells the blood. Nosing around me.
The heat of the body. Steaming.

Can’t take it anymore. This distillate is too raw for me.
The beast wins out of beauty.
The scale goes off balance.

Two derelict puppets. Deteriorated.
Event in the greenhouse: behold.
The heart’s been stubbed.

(Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics)

 

A Drakula-orchidea


Mi nem választottuk egymást.
Bennünket összezártak.
Bámulom a rusnya képét.

Visszanéz: látom magam.
Ki van a drót melyik végén,
s ki az, aki oda-vissza rak?

Ez nem csupán kettőnk között játszma,
ez a meghúz-elereszt.
Valaki föntről is rángat:

hol meghúz, hol elereszt.
Vért szimatol. Szaglászik utánam.
Tüzel a test. Gőzölög.

Nem bírom már. Nyers nekem a párlat.
Szépségből győz a szörnyeteg.
Megbillen a súly.

Két gazdátlan báb. Elfajul.
Esemény az üvegházban: ím.
S átdöfve a szív.



Kinga-Lovers-1

Kinga Fabó

Lovers


You are free, said the stranger.
Before I arrived there.
Costume. I had a costume on though.
I was curious: what his reaction might be?

He closed his other eyes.
I’ll send an ego instead of you.
Getting softer, I feel it, he feels it too. Hardly moves. He chokes himself inside me.
Now I must live with another dead man.

It’s not even hopeless.
Not vicious.
Serves the absence.
Delivers the unnecessary.

(Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics)

 

Szeretők


Szabad vagy, mondta idegen.
Még mielőtt odaértem.
Jelmez. Jelmez volt pedig rajtam.
Kíváncsi voltam: erre mit tesz?

Behunyta a másik szemét.
Egy ént küldött maga helyett.
Puhul, már érzem, ő is. Alig mocorog. Belém fojtja magát.
Egy újabb halottal kell élnem.

Még csak nem is reménytelen.
Nem rosszindulatú.
Szolgálja a hiányt.
Szállítja a fölösleget.


 

Amantes


És livre, dixo o desconhecido.
Antes de eu chegar ali.
Disfarce. No entanto eu levava posto um disfarce.
Tinha curiosidade: qual poderia ser a sua reaçom?

Fechou os seus outros olhos.
Enviarei um ego em vez de ti.
Ao amolecermos, vou-no sentindo, tamém el o sente. Quase nom se move. El afoga dentro de mim.
Agora hei de viver com mais um cadáver.

É algo que nem sequer chega a ser desesperado.
Nem vicioso.
Serve a ausência.
Entrega o desnecessário.

(Translated into Galego by Suso Moinhos)


Kinga-wind-1-WEB

Kinga Fabó

Blow Wind, Blow


You sit me down. Make my bed. For me. For you.
For her. The way she swings around. Sways. Bows.
Let’s say: I’ll tell you. Let’s say: You’ll listen.

My dearest!
You congregant!
How should I use you?
I’m sitting right here and murmur.
I am sweet, you are sweet.

It was beautiful. Congregated. Used.
I should have done something to him.
There were many other
things. Things? Many?
It was winter, Hard. Un-
breakable.
There was a woman. A man. Insignificant.

(Translated by Gabor G. Gyukics)

Szél fúj. Fújdogál


Leültetsz. Megágyazol. Nekem. Neked.
Neki. Ahogy átlendül. Hajlik. Hajlong.
Mondjuk: elmondom. Mondjuk: meghallgatod.

Gyönyörűm!
Te tömörítő!
Hogyan használjalak?
Itt ülök és duruzsolok.
Édes vagyok, édes vagy.

Gyönyörű volt. Tömör. Használt.
Valamit csinálnom kellett volna vele.
És még volt sok
minden. Minden?
Tél volt. Kemény. Fel-
töretlen.
Nő volt. Férfi. Kis-semmilyen.



Kinga Fabó’s bio (below) ends with this: “In everything she’s done, Fabó has always been between the verges, on the verge, and in the extreme.” I begin with it, in discussing her work. She and I have been published in at least one anthology together (The Significant Anthology). However, we mostly know each other through the virtual world of Facebook. Our friendship began with a discussion of one of her poems, where I commented about just that sense of the poem, of being between, liminal. As I recall, the sea and its waves splashed through the poem.

The poems she’s shared here on my blog provide that same sense, of being on the verge of connecting and understanding that connections really do not connect us. The sense of the orchid as a lover, of a lover as a strangled ego, and the emptiness of a winter love affair all also convey something more—of our inability to understand the world, of our constantly standing on the edge, between what we feel and what we can articulate, what we sense and what is—on the verge.

I find her poems haunting, the themes philosophical (perhaps epistemological, or is that my projection?), the words spare but beautiful. It is a pleasure to (try) to read them here in Hungarian, one in Galego (Galician), a language I only vaguely had heard of before. The pleasure of the sounds, the pleasure of the poems, the pleasure of sensing the thinking and feeling person behind the poems—these all spark in me a desire to respond, to write, and, paradoxically, to listen quietly on the verge…


Fabó-TwitterKinga Fabó is a Hungarian poet (linguist, essayist). Her latest book, a bilingual Indonesian-English poetry collection RACUN/POISON was published in 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Fabó’s poetry has been published in various international lit mags including Osiris, Taos Journal of International Poetry (Mexico), Basho International Haiku Forum (India), Sastra Digital (Indonesia), MeArteka (Albania), ATUNIS (Albania), Eastern World (Uzbekistan), Knot Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Screech Owl, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear, Numéro Cinq as well as in anthologies like Beletra Almanako, The Significant Anthology, Resonance, Women in War, The Colours of Refuge, Poetry in Action, Poetry Against Racism, World Poetry Yearbook 2015, etc.

Some of her poems are often anthologized (e.g., Isadora Duncan Dancing). Others have been picked up at random from here and there and happened to be translated into Persian, Albanian, Tamil or Galego. One of her poems, The Ears, has among others six different Indonesian translations by six different authors.

She has also written on Sylvia Plath. In everything she’s done, Fabó has always been between the verges, on the verge, and in the extreme.


Kinga Fabó on Twitter
Kinga Fabó on FaceBook
Kinga Fabó’s Author’s Page
Download Racun / Poison for free from this Hungarian online library
The English translations of these poems originally appeared in Numéro Cinq

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coffee brews Wednesday


Michael Dickel

As he wrote Musée des Beaux Arts

Auden danced with Isherwood. He asked about a young man
who had caught their attention long ago in Berlin.
Brecht approved of their love; Gypsy Rose Lee kissed
their cheeks when she visited them on Fire Island.
Auden loved his suffering, embraced it in his bed
each night and held it close, making love with it
before he dreamt of flying toward the sun,
the smell of molten wax, the splash of water.
Just as the blue waves engulfed him
he glimpsed the amazing flashes of color—
yellow, red, orange, blue, green, purple—
of reef fish darting toward a bit of shelter,
smooth dark caves amid the sharp coral reef.

XIR3675

Pieter Brueghel, the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
Oil-tempera, 29 inches x 44 inches. Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels.

 


W. H. Auden, 1907–1973

Musee des Beaux Arts

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

 


William Carlos Williams, 1883–1963

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
near

the edge of the sea
concerned
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning


 

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Sunday brunch Tuesday


Michael Dickel

Deconstruction

I’ll take your hyper-inflated
phallus, ego-distended balloon,
id-fueled hot-air engine
that fills super-ego daydreams
to dizzying-heights of power—
and throw your craven, carved
wind on the fire of this year’s
revolution. Such a useless
log, poorly fit for fuel, and
barely at that, must burn
to ash before this dawn

comes, must rise in smoke
signals to call poets and
painters from themselves.
Then you can raise your
indistinguishable flags,
try to wave the smoke
from your eyes. We
will not be deceived—
we know who feeds
this all-consuming blaze.
And we will have

already come for you.
As you crawl out of your
wrecked ship of state,
we come for you.
As your cracked currency
drops from you, we come
for you. As you fall,
we come for you.
We come, not as you
imagine. With arms open,
we welcome you back to humanity.

Deconstruction-1-WEB.jpg

 

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Fog Poems

A couple of weeks ago, three poems of mine appeared in the June issue of The BeZine (the three also appear in this blog). My friend and fellow poet posted a link to the poems on Facebook, and added in a comment his own poem, Sonoma Fog, to complement the first of those three, Ground Fog. It turns out that he had been inspired to write it from David Rathbun’s poem, and today fog (poem 232), which he posted (with David’s permission) in the comments, as well. I very much liked reading the three poems together, and with the permission of David Rathbun and Mike Stone, I am now posting them together on my blog. You can read more of Mike Stone’s work on his blog

 

Fog-Alpha-WEB.jpg

Fog Imagery i
Digital Art @2016 Michael Dickel

 


Ground Fog


Michael Dickel
Hinckley, Minnesota, 2002

 

Where the heat of the day rises to meet the cool of the evening,
sometimes a layer of fog forms above hay stubble.
An oak that survived the great Hinckley fire
over a hundred years ago waits
while white mist diffuses behind it,
stretches up and over the corn, curls down to grasses
on the other side of the field, slides out to meet the beaver pond.
Fog erases so much as it echoes the remainder of day:
the red-tail that hunted rodents this afternoon,
a garter snake that sunned in the short stubble,
rolls of hay that dot the field,
my daughter
who walked out to sit and read
—all disappear in its cool insistence.
Hints of sunset still remain in the west—
where mist has not yet covered water,
bits of color reflect back from the clogged creek.
The dog and I stand still, listen to fog.
We scent the air. In the brush, a crashing sound.

 

Fog Alpha.jpg

Fog Imagery ii
Digital Art @2016 Michael Dickel

 


and today fog


David Rathbun
Poem 232, June 7, 2015

 

there is an oddness, isn’t there,
in giving taking it away,
our need like a birthmark,
or a stain.
the filling of a space will empty it.
there is an oddness, love,
an emptiness we might begin
to dry the cloth of fear.
armored, yes,
in nothing left to take?
or doglike in a pile
sacked in self and nose,
the bloom of fur in grey regard,
or heat,
heart beating singled beats.
or soil taking up the root
of ash that spread the mindless leaf
that spreads itself to sun,
or cold,
its seed left to the wind.
those far away will take their turn,
we do not choose our birth
or know our death,
just life,
the filling of the space between.
soft fog in senseless white.
the mountain cloaked is lost
or stolen into particles,
or space,
dissolved in mists of everything.
closed by walls, the whitened room,
fog stealing through ash trunks
to lay its weight in meadow grass,
disbanding sound
for inarticulate horizon.
here yet an oddness to this room,
not one thing from the window,
shrouds and gossamer,
our breath,
for this we still and wait.

 

Fog-Gamma-WEB.jpg

Fog Imagery iii
Digital Art @2016 Michael Dickel

 


Sonoma Fog


Mike Stone
Raanana, June 10, 2015

 

You find yourself between night and morning,
Can’t sleep anymore.
You boil the coffee
And hold the steaming mug with both hands
As you stand on the old wood porch
Watching the grey fog roll down the mountain
Toward you like an avalanche of ghostly silence,
Insistent like an unrepentant memory of childhood,
But gentle, timorous,
As it nuzzles against you.
It moves into the house
Almost consciously through every room,
Sniffing the bed,
Looking for her.
You want to tell it she’s not here
But the fog swallows your words and,
Anyway there is no one to hear them.

 


Mike Stone’s blog

 

Fog-Beta-WEB

Fog Imagery iv
Digital Art @2016 Michael Dickel

 

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