Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Breakfast is not ready

We give the illusion that it comes to plate
Venus-like full blown and assembled
From the sundry stuff that
Is only a step or two away
From the garbage bin. When
Monster mercenary minstrels gyrate
Their ancient Greek hips Elvis-like at
Sounding boards of internal and
External music – the larder to
Barter for some oddly personal hymn
In the hopes they can
Recall the loss

And the gain for shekels
Or worse, pride. How to
Give up that daunted dare
We stare in to solid emptiness
Hoping that we’re not
There like ghosts in a
Mirror, especially a concave one
(convex is better
For purposes of company)
Keeping what we like
Discarding the rest
As one would an interloper
In the bedroom of our love

We cannot say the self
For fear other will hear
But we can talk of nothing else.
To the muse: bad girl,
Where have you been?
Would you like some
Breakfast? She says

You are all in the same boat
A reed basket floating down de Nile
That we entered right after birth
Leaving our family for a better
Life, doomed to wander forever
After the anger of hot youth
Ends the privilege of childhood
With the sad truth we will never rest
Never see home again
We will go through death’s door before our own
But after all the peace of home is
An illusion. One which we hold so
Dear because we fail to truly see
That the park is a battleground
On which we can rest while the
Plants and trees fight it out for the
Sun killing anything around them
With deadly shadow. Which when
The darkness of doubt falls over the
Plate with its ordinary and
Strangely questionable goddess
The substance of tangible illusion
Utters that dangerous word the
Self which is now so plain to see
And naked on the plate and
Painfully absent of vines and leaves
And all the figs, or perhaps an
Apple in the mouth making it
Tough to breathe because we didn’t
Want to talk about it anyway. So
I asked my father, seeing the ripe
And rotten fruit: is this
What you wanted me to eat?

22 comments:

angel-A said...

Hi Russell!
I'm happy to see your new poem.
Will leave it for my breakfast.
Have a great day :-)

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi my angel! I didn't have it finished this morning. Now it is pretty much complete! Thanks for stopping in, enjoy and a great day to you too!

angel-A said...

Russellllll! Please!! I beg for a cue. This poem is like a puzzle for my mind....

fear, clarity, power and old age -
this what Castaneda calls the biggest enemies to become a man of knowledge.

http://www.prismagems.com/castaneda/donjuan1.html

for some reasons, your poem stimulated the same feelings like Cataneda's writing did to my mind .... it feels gender and age sensitive... :-)

am i wrong?

Roger Stevens said...

I like that poem. Plenty of meat on it.

Bartering at the larder, eh?

So - how's tricks?

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi my angel! Didn't mean to make you work so hard! Think of the poem like a music video: with a central theme (implied but not immediately fully disclosed), a fast bunch of eclectic images, a narration for each image (or group of images), and a closing disclosure of the full meaning.

Sometimes the images and their narration will strike a highly personal response in you, don't be afraid to read into this poem using feelings and ideas of your own. Also don't be disturbed if it changes for you somewhat with each subsequent reading. The poem operates in a frame which I have created for it but there should be lots of room for the reader to respond in a very personal way with images, feelings and ideas. Relax and enjoy, my sweet!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Roger and welcome back! How were the kids? Glad you enjoyed the poem. I'll have to drift over your way today and see what's new! All's fine with me. We just started summer term at the university where I'm a visiting teacher. Taught a new class last night (it's morning here) and friday there are two more new classes. I'm looking forward to it!

angel-A said...

thank you, Russell!
you are a great teacher!

Gama said...

Inspiration for my mind ;-) I love it!

gulnaz said...

wow, this needs to be read again and again. the muse has returned to your arms in a rush! :)

the illusions that you write about are there but sometimes those illusions are imperative, it seems. there is touching fragility here.

hey you are a good teacher, liked the way you explained poetry here.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Some wonderful immages particularly like To the muse: bad girl, Where have you been?
Would you like some
Breakfast? She says a brilliant analogy muses and indeed insperation are just like that

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi my angel! Vyi ne ponemaete kak ya rad kagda vseu lucha stoboi! Slava Bogo ya magu nimnoshka pamooch tebya kagda hatetye. Thanks for your simply great words!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Gama, I'm glad this was good for you! Thanks for the kind words, your comments are always greatly valued!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Gulnaz, Wow what great comments!!! I always feel if I have described something accurately about life, there will be a sensation of touching fragility about it. Glad you enjoyed my little explanation!

Russell Ragsdale said...

A great big thanks Sue! I was tempted to leave that part out but I couldnt resist! Don't want to take credit where it isn't due though: the muse's comment is the story of Moses paraphrased from the bible but your absolutely right it is the same dynamic whether it is God and Moses or the muse and the poet. I glad it worked so well for you too!

angel-A said...

privet Russell!
Vash Russkiy prosto ocharovanie!!!
translation: Russell's Russian is charming! I can't help smiling, it cheers me up!!!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Spasceeba moi sladtke! Translation: thanks my sweet!

Roger Stevens said...

What do you teach then? Cooking? Poetry? Or just life.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Roger! In answer to your question: I'm a visiting teacher in the World Languages progrm (in my particular case ESL or English as a second language); the University (called KIMEP) has also requested that I will do University-wide intermittent English Literature Lectures. My next scheduled lecture will be on Shakespeare generally, with a focus on King Lear. We are also discussing the idea of a mini creative writing program for the advanced students where I will teach poetry and essay writing forms.

In my own days at the University I was a student poet in the creative writing program. I studied English literature as a part of that major and my period was the Middle Ages: Chaucer, Langland, and the Miracle Pagents (all in Middle English).

Additionally, of course, I've been a professional chef for about 20 years. Nowadays, I usually only do consultations for restaurants and hotels but I have a long term love for the kitchen!

I can understand why such diversity of interest is a little mystifying. But, hey, I never promised to be ordinary.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Russel you are quit definately not ordinary more extraordinary!! Is that how you spell it?

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Sue for the great compliment! I find you extraordinary too!

angel-A said...

a mini creative writing course in Almaty with Russell as a teacher -
i'd enjoy it greatly!

Russell Ragsdale said...

You can be my favorite student!