Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ion

undershirt overcoat in the vale little not big glade cut from the town with a blade run through by the train not on the vale but in it or under is better for worse far worse is than eyeless is the dirt like the worms making new friends at the funeral . that , is enough they welcome him in friends make a fence with their bodies won’t let him out ! this is your hole , forever like a door open like I’m sorry like I miss you like the lid closing with the smack of a kiss that sounds underground a subway somewhere simpers )


Let me add a few words about this strange new prose poem thing I have been playing with lately. This is a poem for Ion (pronounced yawn) Drimba, my friend and coach. He died in Brazil in 2006 and is much missed. I have attempted to (with the exception of internal punctuation such as contractions) use punctuation only as a verbalized part of the poem. So when you encounter one sitting strangely separated off from the phrases, please say what it is (for instance ! exclamation point , comma and the like). They have no other function in this poem, in reality. There are some natural rhythms here and some caesura that is unavoidable and I’m confident you will find them as you read this out loud. That, unfortunately is the only way this strange poem will make any sense at all. It might seem a little confusing (strange rhymes lost without the perspective that lines and stanzas provide, alliterative phrases that are inherently awkward) at first but let the parsimony principle be your guiding light and all will be delightfully murky. Enjoy!

These are the Friday Five words used:

kiss
train
fence
vale
simper

16 comments:

paisley said...

well russel.. i have given it three readings.. and i am still having a bit of trouble enunciating... isn't that weird how the brain works...

i think the idea of the prose form,, the rhythm built strictly by the flow of the words and the spoken punctuation is very intriguing.. i may even have my hand at one..

did you create this or is this an established form of some kind??

lissa said...

delightfully murky - that would describe this poem/prose. delightful to read but a little murky in its meaning.

When I read it, I seem to know where to break, of cause it helps to read it more than once and reading it out loud would probably help too

I kind of like the idea of not writing according to the standard, it free so much so that you end up creating something ultimately different and unique.

I really like the last line -I miss you like the lid closing with the smack of a kiss that sounds underground a subway somewhere simpers

Michelle Johnson said...

Russell, this is a unique poem. When I read it the first time I was getting a feel for this new style. After I read it the second time I think I understood this poem to be about someone lost to you with no return. I love the symbolism and the unique style that brings this poem to life. I am sorry for your loss.

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day.

tumblewords said...

Interesting form, for sure! I read the piece a number of times, each time picking up a little more coherency. Not that coherency is required! Very descriptive imagery. Nice job...

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Paisley! This is a bit of a new form I guess. I don't think even James Joyce took it this far. I think a lot of indebtedness heads in that direction, however. I hope you do give it a stab. It is rather difficult to make this form work. I wish you much success with this and look forward with great eagerness to see what you can come up with. Thanks for coming by to comment and be so kind with your words.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Lissa! Murky is the word! Definitely read it aloud, several times, if possible, it is rather malleable.

I spent two years forcing myself to stop depending on punctuation for syntax. I know I still have a lot to learn about that but it brings me back, closer to the way language worked before it became distributed soundlessly. That soundless form is a great and interesting area too. But I really wanted to find out more about this part of poetry.

I did not intend to create something unique (if that turns out to be true) I was just following the direction my lessons were taking me. I had a sense I was kind of in some kind of new stuff when I couldn't find others who were working on this. If you find other, please let me know, I am really interested to know what others are doing with difficult questions.

I really started to set that last few phrases up in the idle word play at the beginning. I didn't realize it of course until I started working over subsequent drafts. I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to let me know that.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Michelle! Thanks for challenging us to work on our poetry. I think what you are doing is brave and necessary. I'm glad you enjoyed this form which is probably rather new. I have promised myself to learn about podcasting so that, in the future, I can read things like this for others to hear.

Ion was a friend and a fabulously talented man. I will never forget his support and friendship. He taught me about lots of things that went far beyond fencing. I was extremely privileged to know him and enjoy his kind affection.

I'm pleased you found this interesting and, most importantly, something that could be enjoyed. Thanks for your kind words.

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Tumblewords! Thanks for those kind words. You are right, coherency in not the main point of a thing like this. I believe very strongly that what I write should be more important than me (I know myself but, really, people should concern themselves with things a lot larger than me and my small issues).

I like your use of the word descriptive! My theory of poetry owes a big debt to people like Jack Spicer who said we are here because we can take dictation from the things that are important, not because we are the big deal.

Thanks for taking the time to read this humble fare and saying nice things about it.

Pat Paulk said...

Interesting form and unfortunately very real to me right now.

Russell Ragsdale said...

I grieve for you Pat. May the pain diminish. Thanks for the comment.

Gerald Galindez said...

honestly russ,

im very impressed.
i got the idea right away.
... i like the wormy thing,...
sounds special to me.... because its one of a kind,

~_^

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Gerald! Your a cleaver fellow and of course you picked right up on this. I'm glad the wormies tickled your fancy and thanks for the happy comment.

Gerald Galindez said...

i like the flow of each line russ,
its steady.... bringing you to an unpredictable but powerful ending...

... Originally yours russ,

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi Gerald! I agree with you that flow is critical in a form like this. Glad you are enjoying this. Thanks for the gracious comment.

iamnasra said...

I loved it ... I hope you are well ..Its been awhile for me in here

Russell Ragsdale said...

Hi sweet Nasra! I am glad to see you. I am well, thanks. How are you doing? I'm glad you liked it. Congratulations, I see you book is sold out and will have to do another edition. Stay in touch.