Saturday, September 17, 2011

Passive Aggressive

In a pale blue sky, the moon's a hook
for the ships of memory to moor to.
On this beach, Myrmidons drive Mercedes.
The anger is passive aggressive,
expiating vain resentments
in varicose truths whose only promise is death
by neglect, neglect by apathy,
apathy by email link.

in the plane trees birds hunker down
for storm. lightning frightens my chihuahua,
though he ventures onto the porch
during a lull, drawn to the thing he fears most
like an actress in a grind house movie,
doomed well before she dies. And we watch,
fascinated by the mechanics of extinction.

I'd axe blood's root and
rip the needle of life from my veins.
But I've trained the armor of self
too long on the kill zone in the brain,
decimating days with a careless look,
decimating cities with secret glee
just to see their dead flicker
from the tv screen. The zombies
of our paranoia populate worlds.

My Helen sleeps in her tower, watching
dreams of demon lovers. Their passion
for order and calm stokes her desire.
She wants to be seen on both sides
of the door, inside and out, a page of music
slowly torn in a cavern of dream,
never seen. The silent foot falls
in the room filled with lost needs.
Silence begs release.

Fireflies bejewel the oaks near the spring
whose waters liquefy the night. Anonymous
along the suburban road, its grove of stone
bench, shaded pool, and Spring house
evoke the numina that have no name.
I knew a man in a desert town
who swore by water and the ditch
whose veins fed mountain gardens
and apple orchards. His lore
of sunflowers, commune fires and a
rider on a white horse ignited
the daily apocalypse.

An endless loop of words speaks in tongues
in the vacant lot. The voices trace
the grammar of rage. Dreams betrayed,
hearts torn live from their nest and burned,
the horror of their atrocities an unbidden
guest at the altars of remorse.
Confession will come. It will come.
With the cruel logic of karma, sin
and guilt define new skin, new blood.
Embrace the fire that refines what once
arose from ash born to return to ash.

copyright 2011 Charles David Miller. All rights reserved.

22 comments:

  1. Very captivating imagery and wonderful usage of words!
    Enjoyed reading this one Charles :)

    Loved this line - "Embrace the fire that refines what once arose from ash born to return to ash"

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  2. heck...tight images and tight emotions charles...you're so good in capturing streams that i think run beneath the surface in each of us sometimes...and we won't allow them to dive up...I'd axe blood's root and
    rip the needle of life from my veins... think that's my fav...

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  3. whew..intense in imagery and in message...like the refining fire in the end...malachi 3:3

    The anger is passive aggressive,
    expiating vain resentments
    in varicose truths whose only promise is death
    by neglect, neglect by apathy,
    apathy by email link...ha...nice progression in that...

    the mechanics of extinction, nice turn of phrase that as well...

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  4. Wow! Again. Your work, crazy. Deep, images, pensive. mixing ancient with modern. Great!

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  5. intensely capturing my minds eye in the drift... i felt the float of good fiction and ate up every stanza like a rabid cow... chihuahua is a great word... did you use it because its a great word or do you actually own one...after reading this i was expecting a Rotweiler or Doberman :D

    nice work charles - a V enjoyable read...

    S3 floated my boat to Noah :

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  6. all good, "
    Myrmidons drive Mercedes.
    The anger is passive aggressive,..."
    pretty much drags you into the rest of it. well done.

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  7. Fireflies bejewel the oaks near the spring
    whose waters liquefy the night.' love this line Charles - but what lovelyn images and thoughts weave - striking images plunge into deeper layered meaning that reveal like opening petals of a flower - karma good or bad reflects the journey - great piece - hgs lib

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  8. This is breathtaking, literally, I'm drawing a deep breath about every four lines--a reflective and visual opening, a painting of the quotidian suddenly disrupted by the spray paint of storm, and that lyric and stand out fourth stanza--just ungodly beautiful...and the preceding one made me picture the passive aggression of a video game where one wields power over pixelated millions, and it all means nothing. Then the superb denouement of the close with its finely wrought sculpted philosophies. Fine writing and possibly one of your best I've ever read.

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  9. this one throbs with life, as all the veinous matter within. most beautiful! ~jane

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  10. Rip the needle of life from veins.... Yikes, very vivid imagery.
    This is so deep, and intricate. The zombies are truly out 'there' now, aren't they!

    Gripping read Charles.

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  11. Charles, I think I can literally feel you pouring yourself into this. There is no room for critiquing, just a complete immersion into your words. This is the rendering of a poet's soul laid bare...there is no favorite line, no catchy phrase that steals the spotlight...this is just, quite simply AWESOME!

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  12. Just happened to note Tash's comment and she articulates well my thought...the cohesiveness of the whole. I do like how you use the mundance to express the somewhat esoteric.

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  13. This is the real thing, Chaz, poetry of the heavy duty variety, words that grab your wrists and jerk you into your chair, lulls of loveliness punctuated by knuckles behind your knees; like the line /the silent foot falls in the room filled with lost needs/--the piece is so good, so rich, it makes most of us wish we were better writers, more skillful; like you.

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  14. The everyday is mythic; the quotidian apocalyptic--wonderful poem! My favorite line: "a page of music slowly torn in a cavern of dream, never seen."

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  15. Charles -very beautiful - I can't pretend to understand it all, but of course am snagged by certain lines and images, and then what also came to mind - Eliot:


    If there were water
    And no rock
    If there were rock
    And also water
    And water
    A spring
    A pool among the rock
    If there were the sound of water only
    Not the cicada
    And dry grass singing
    But sound of water over a rock
    Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
    Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
    But there is no water


    k.

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    Replies
    1. K, the Eliot quote is interesting in this context, given the kind of WasteLandish images in the poem. I must say though that Eliot never crossed my mind when writing this. I would confess to a vague allusion to Pynchon and crying of lot 39. The water images were associated in my mind with the idea that here's water, which no one knows now where it originates, though in other tmes/places everyone coukd be saud to know where the water comes from. There's even a hint atbthe Hopi idea of the Sipapu, especially with reference to numina etc. I guess the best I can argue in my defense is what Harold Bloom calls the anxiety of influence, or at least the notion that in a culture immersed in texts, thise will infiltrate one's thoughts/fellings/imagination in unseen ways.

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    2. Hi Charles - I didn't think it was a direct reference, but I was conscious of the wasteland aspect and that beautiful gleam of that water mid-poem. Of course, you are tapping into something quite universal though you are so wonderfully specific in your particular details.

      Thanks also for your kind comments. k.

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  16. Really cool write Charles. The style of tone and story-telling feel is amazing. Allusions are always fun in poetry and you put some really clever ones in here, incorporating them in some really nice lines

    like an actress in a grind house movie,
    doomed well before she dies. And we watch,
    fascinated by the mechanics of extinction.

    I'd axe blood's root and
    rip the needle of life from my veins.

    My Helen sleeps in her tower, watching
    dreams of demon lovers

    Are but three of the many really neat lines in this one.

    Thanks

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  17. ...Myrmidons drive Mercedes...
    ...apathy by email link...

    enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed!

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  18. apathy by email link and chihuahuas
    torn music pages
    helen sleeps in the tower
    a rider on a white horse
    ignites the daily apocalypse
    varicose truths
    and vein fed mountain gardens
    the grammar of rage
    an unbidden guest at the altar of remorse
    confession and ash
    sin and guilt define new skin
    ash born to return to ash

    There are so many images in your poem and about 10 poems in one poem with so many religious reference It is so tempting for a collage poet to deconstruct these .I apologise in advance for yielding to my intrinsic weakness of deconstructive poetic urges:)

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