poemimage

Where text meets image. Where the visual intersects the literary. All text copyright authors. Images copyright Steven McCabe. Your visit is appreciated.

Letters From Attica [an excerpt] by Sam Melville (1934 – 1971) & the Frederic Rzewski Composition ‘Coming Together’

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I think the combination of age and the greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time.

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it’s six months now and i can tell you truthfully few periods in my life have passed so quickly.

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i am in excellent physical and emotional health.

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there are doubtless subtle surprises ahead but i feel secure and ready.

Detail 4f15. Taken Aback

As lovers will contrast their emotions in times of crisis, so am i dealing with my environment.

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in the indifferent brutality, incessant noise, the experimental chemistry of food, the ravings of lost hysterical men, i can act with clarity and meaning.

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i am deliberate–sometimes even calculating–seldom employing histrionics except as a test of the reactions of others.

15. Taken Aback

i read much, exercise, talk to guards and inmates, feeling for the inevitable direction of my life.

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Sam Melville (Letters From Attica)

Above is how the spelling appears on more than one site.

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I narrated this text four years ago or so with professional musicians performing Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together & Attica.

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Sounding this text to the music was one of the most emotional things I’ve experienced: hypnotic, exhausting and exhilarating.

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Frederic Rzewski selected this body of text for his composition.

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A performance featuring narration by stage actor Steve Ben Israel with Frederic Rzewski on piano: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSuuwJFw4wU  The video opens in a new window so you can follow the text here if you wish.

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Credits and information about this recording: http://incessantnoise.blogspot.ca/2009/08/frederic-rzewski-coming-together.html

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Good Friday

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Jesus swayed to the music, grooving in the rain.

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Not yet a prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

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The rope he used whipping the parasites in the Temple

passed hand to hand.

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Like the very young, he also desired peace and love.

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The authorities posed him, for sport,

 in their carnival of madness.

carnival

Roll away the stone.

because ofbecause of 1because of 2

Before midnight.

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Before midnight,

a young artist storms the stage.

moon sun

Wearing red oak leaves,

 illuminating

the vast, glistening night.

casting

Unknown.

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Commingling with rain & shadows.

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Crying forth her gravelled composition.

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Melanie Safka performing Birthday of the Sun live at Woodstock (1969):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Bwz0idx7s

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Roll away the stone.

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Source material:

Christ’s Crucifixion by Diego Velaquez

*

Photograph of

Abu Ghraib prisoner

@ Wikipedia.org

*

Woodstock photo (detail) uncredited, found online.

*

I’ve digitally recomposed new images for non-commercial

purposes of commentary.

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aeroplane

f

Experiments at the Hadron Collider

were perhaps on my mind

as I digitally revised

the image of a crowd

observing an early flying machine.

various flights

The serendipity of the moment

was surprising.

I realized I wanted

to add text.

adventure-3

The first page I turned to,

in the first book I opened,

a paperback I bought for one dollar

many years ago

titled

Cinema in Revolution,

mentioned the word aeroplane

almost immediately.

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‘Generally speaking the character of the local people helped us a lot.

They are very sensible.

Nothing surprises them; they continued about their business

without paying any attention to the camera.

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They did all the market scenes themselves,

at our request,

perfectly calmly and amiably

and exactly as we wanted.

They are really excellent people.

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When we needed to collect a large number of them

 together for the final scenes,

the aeroplane served as bait.

We offered them trips in the plane.

Well, as I say, nothing surprised them!

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They saw an aeroplane for the first time in their lives,

and they got into it as calmly as might be –

a man must not show that he is frightened of anything.

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As for the monks, the lamas, it was even more simple:

they said that all this had already existed long ago,

only men had not considered it useful,

so had forgotten it…

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Pudovkin was very impressed by all this.

We made the film,

with a very strong feeling

for all its living material.’

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Interview recorded in Moscow (1965)

with

Anatoli Goloynya – Cinematographer,

Storm Over Asia.

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Page 149, Cinema in Revolution,

Hill and Wang, 1973.

Edited by Luda and Jean Schnitzer

and Marcel Martin.

Translated by David Robinson.

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As a result of the Khrushchev cultural thaw

Russians were able to see the work

of the Soviet experimental filmmakers

for the first time

since they were suppressed

under Stalin.

spectacle

Director Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 1928 film

Storm Over Asia 

can be found on YouTube.

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In 1848,

an archaeological expedition working in Egypt

discovered hieroglyphs of flying machines

at an ancient temple in Abydos,

several hundred miles south of Cairo.

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I do not claim copyright to the original image

of spectators & the flying machine

(photographer unknown).

I have revised the image to create a new work

for non-commercial purposes.

man in the moonhhm

SAINTS IN MY RAIN by Silva Zanoyan Merjanian

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I learned the rain in cursive slants

I learned 
lying on doubts

spread on the sacred and not

spread on my bed, my pillow, my exhale

the crust of every lie I loved

tainted with silver sliver of your tongue

frametriple

I turned that night on its back

after you went to bed

your streets indebted

to shadows of restless dreams

bruising on its replaced ribs

where trash collectors compress

disposed remnants

in the ruble

life’s severed limbs

an envy here

a longing there

a nothingness holier than my prayers

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and I add

that face without the lips

under the face with muffled shame

under the face I used to have

on heaps of unfinished poems

where a lemon tree and jasmine blossoms

promised mornings

colored and scented at my fingertips

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I learned the rain in every lie

in stammer of your pavements

where Saints gather in line at rock bottoms stacked

between my howl and a crow’s black squawk

wrists dripping prayers on St Rita’s solemn face

she sympathizes but says tonight she owns the ledge

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there’s always mad laughter at the foot of beds

where Saints sleep on their sides facing the drapes

that catch the city’s quieting breath

misting under street lamps

that catch impelled compromise

in bourbon shots and blues on a clarinet

as lonely as you

that time when you asked my name

sometimes I tell you

long after you’ve gone to bed

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Silva Zanoyan Merjanian is a widely published poet residing in Southern California. Her work is featured in international publications.  Silva’s  second volume of poetry Rumor will be released by Cold River Press in March 2015.

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‘Mythological Visions of the Nature of Time’ (William Irwin Thompson)

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In the post-Pleistocene period the glaciers retreated,

the seashore rose 300 feet,

the tundra turned to forest,

and the great herds disappeared

from Western Europe.

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 And gone with the animals

was the great ‘high culture’

of Ice Age humanity.

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It is not hyperbole

to speak of the high culture

of these hunters and gatherers,

for cave paintings like Lascaux

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are complex works that speak rather eloquently

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for the abundant leisure

and rich cosmology

of their creators.

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Primitive humanity devoted

most of its spare time

to matters of ritual and art.

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As a contemplative people with time on their hands,

they gave much thought to menstruation and the moon,

observed nature,

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constructed a calendar,

told stories,

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and painted hundreds of thousands

of images

on the walls

of the caves.

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As the Sistine Chapel expresses

the flowering of the culture

of the Renaissance,

so Lascaux expresses the flowering

of the culture

of the Magdalenians.

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In more ways than one,

the two great murals have much in common,

for they are not mere decoration;

they are mythological visions

of the nature of time.

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‘The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light: Mythology, Sexuality & the Origins of Culture’ – William Irwin Thompson

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A Golden Compass by Hafiz

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Forget every idea of right and wrong
any classroom ever taught you

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Because
an empty heart, a tormented mind,
Unkindness, jealousy and fear are always the testimony
you have been completely fooled!

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Turn your back on those
who would imprison your wondrous spirit
with deceit and lies.

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Come, join the honest company
of the King’s beggars –
those gamblers, scoundrels and divine clowns
and those astonishing fair courtesans
who need Divine Love every night.

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Come, join the courageous
who have no choice
but to bet their entire world
that indeed,
indeed, God is Real.

discsa windowin contemplation

I will lead you into the circle
of the Beloved’s cunning thieves,
those playful royal rogues–
the ones you can trust for true guidance–
who can aid you
In this blessed calamity of life.

blue montagetwin sketcha face

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

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Elevator

a

I read a quote by art critic Robert Hughes comparing painters: There is more death in a Gustave Courbet portrait of a trout than Rubens could get in a whole Crucifixion…

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Then I heard a song by an artist we saw in concert. Who spun magic, jewelled webs we fell into after chasing each other through twilight circumstance. Twilight and traffic.

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 The labyrinth ruled by Janus one level below.

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The shadows jousting on the street didn’t remind me of your fingertips, or your January dancing, or your honeyed cake.

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I didn’t make that joke in the elevator.

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Carried, like some tragic Pieta, into the stream. The playing of a wooden flute sounding in the reeds. My hands flat against your skin. The temperature slipping.

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Forbidden music within your temple as quiet and still as polished stones. Awash in the fragrance of whispered moments. As shiny as a silver bracelet, a tunnel, a hook.

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I’m not even sure I heard anything.

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Did such music ever exist.

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I’ve never wondered how my fine shoes, sewn of ancient parchment & soft as a silk purse, got so wet.

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Nor have I contemplated Gustave Courbet’s

detail d

Trout.

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Or the absence of all that is not

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Trout.

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While gazing into the eye of the fish,

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A future sun.

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Credits for original images: The Trout by Gustave Courbet, 1873. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958, based on the play by Tennessee Williams starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Skyscraper and Tunnels by Italian Futurist painter Fortunato Depero, 1930. Pieta by Michelangelo.

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I do not own the original images or claim copyright. I have created new images for non-commercial purposes of commentary under Fair Use provisions of copyright law.

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I Thought the Name of the Movie was ‘American Piper.’

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I thought the name of the movie was ‘American Piper.’

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Standing beside me in line was Enheduanna, Daughter of King Sargon:

night

A Princess, Poet, and Priestess from 4400 years ago.

writhing green

With a serpent coiled around her arm and holding a clay tablet

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Inscribed & encoded with cuneiform script.

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As tall as me and bathed in moonlight.

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I said ‘What are you doing here?’

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She said, ‘I’m not here for the entertainment.’

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We were suddenly engulfed in a sandstorm.

disc overdisc overdisc over

Vast, rolling hill-clouds of sand, engorged with heat, arose enclosing muffled sounds.

gravel floorgradient edge

A harsh wind blew into my eyes.

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I tried to grip her hand as she vanished and knew instinctively this was a mistake.

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My finger grazed her palm and the cut I received refuses to heal.

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I wake to find it encompassed within rings of moonlight. I wish I could say it was only a haze.

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I never did see the movie and from what I hear the screen was half-buried.

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Like a drive-in theatre in a snowstorm that stops all life from moving.

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Snow falling as white as moonlight.

garden

Melting and rushing water in the spring overflowing the oceans.

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Banishment from Ur

You asked me to enter the holy cloister,
The giparu,
and I went inside, I the high priestess
Enheduanna!
I carried the ritual basket and sang
Your praise.
Now I am banished among the lepers.
Even I cannot live with you.
Shadows approach the light of day, the light
Is darkened around me,
Shadows approach the daylight,
Covering the day with sandstorm.
My soft mouth of honey is suddenly confused.
My beautiful face is dust.

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Information and images concerning Enheduanna: http://www.transoxiana.org/0108/roberts-enheduanna.html

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Pied Piper (Public Domain) image source: Ginn and Company The Common School Catalogue (Boston, MA: Ginn & Company Publishers, 1906)

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Russian Orthodox Icon painted on wood: Artist unattributed (found on internet). The idea of using this image was inspired by the long history of Eastern Rites Churches in lands comprising modern day Iraq. A protective mother with her sacred child.

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 I do not claim ownership or copyright of the original images used as source material to digitally create new works of my own design for non-commercial purposes of commentary under Fair Use provisions of the copyright law.

snake song

Like the satire in ancient, Irish poetry this ‘whimsy’ I have concocted may express a darker indictment.

sprig and coindisc final designsprig and coingradient edge

 

& Walk

fish oils copy

Walk into this land of echoes, rising, from long disappeared passages &

old road

Pounding with the resonance of a single, surging heartbeat.

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& Step lightly into, like a fox beneath the moon,

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Or the hunting bird, balanced, upon a branch pulsing,

with bowl

& Heavy clouds damping electrical skies.

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& Shaking berries into a bowl,

dusk bowlbowl on linen

Sharing handfuls bed to bed,

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 A nurse tending to the wound.

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The rhythm of & clapping hands,

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Two Palms, pressing deeply & into a lover.

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& Feet upon a curving world, arcing night into day,

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Timelessly vanished into a pulsing desire & always

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Echoes dress the wound.

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A heartbeat washing the sky &

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A vanishing moon, poured into bowls & delivered bed to bed.

with bowl

& Walk pulsing,

skyward 2

& Walk always,

dusk bowl

& Walk into.

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Source material for digital collage:

Etching No 2. Soft ground etching by German landscape painter and etcher Franz Joseph Manskirsch (1768-1830).

Ancient Egyptian tomb art. Unknown artist. est. 2000 B.C.

Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, 1508-1512

Mesopotamian Incantation Bowl, 8th Century, photo Christies.

veil of

I do not claim copyright ownership of original images. I have created new images for non-commercial purposes of commentary or parody under fair use provisions of the copyright law.

with bowlfaded ampersand

 

 

Yes

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I did a drawing

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And decided to call it

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‘Yes’

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Because there are so many reasons

interaction3

To say

natural 3

‘No.’

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After an extended break I find myself slowly catching up with the many interesting posts I missed. A short while longer to finish some things (I haven’t really been taking an actual…holiday) and POEMIMAGE will be active again. It will be my pleasure to introduce you to many interesting poets and writers whose work I will be addressing visually.  As well I’ll relate some of my own ideas and writing. I need to complete my end of the ‘Blog Hop’ bargain after Richard Guest generously shared my page with his readers. Thank you for gracing this page with your presence.

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