The Perspiration of Lake Patzcuaro

In

 

the dry

distance

 

ring faint sounds,

musical

and rustic;

 

antiquated

merrymaking

from Patzcuaro’s

drying shoreline,

 

strumming fingertips

pleasuring handmade

guitars crafted in

a westerly town

they call Paracho;

 

waterfalls splash within

the national park, air-

ing out Uruapan

dust particles begin

settling on vendors’

soft, cinnamon churros;

 

monarch butterflies test-launch

their freckled wings, moistened by

cooling dewdrops tenderly

precipitated on this

quickly evaporating

ecosystem, towns afloat

no longer; butterflies

 

of a different kind traverse the

gentle waters of the large lake,

laden with ample amounts of

freshwater fish later cooked with-

in embryonic gorditas

crafted near the base of the red

ruins of Tzintzuntzan whose bricks

remain serenaded by the

 

unconquered Tarascan language waft-

ing around the lonesome little pier

that longs for stable shores of rock, a

great eagle seeking the lost shallows

of Lake Texcoco, far to the east;

the great weavers and candy crafters

of Erongaricuaro watch their

husbands tuck their worn fifty peso

butterflies into freshwater docks

 

into their pockets as the stifling

heat, the clothes-drier of Arizona

lawns, the discomfort shared by enjoyers

of cold cola in Durango, begins

to bombard the textured moistures beneath

Patzcuaro city’s Tarascan soils;

the monarchs of Michoacan prepare

to migrate while pandering gringos near

Paricutin bear bleeping witness to

the perspiration of Lake Patzcuaro.

 

 

Update: March 1, 2020

Dear followers, friends and other honored guests,

As usual, updates are few and far between. But thankfully, the creative process is not. In addition to some projects I’ve assembled – “assemble” is personally a better word in my case than “complete” – I have achieved several important milestones I’d like to share:

  1. My first translation into another language (Slovak, the beautiful language of a nation with numerous talented and unknown poets)
  2. Becoming a paid poet (I used the money to purchase a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson)
  3. A finalist (albeit not the winner) of the Poetry Prize hosted by the good folks at Adelaide Literary Magazine
  4. The assembling of 4 chapbooks and 1 longer collection, all of them currently under consideration at various publishers; a fifth micro-chap will also be completed soon
  5. Incremental revelations as to the potential of my style, thanks in large part to the monthly prompt challenges hosted by the good people at Nine Muses Poetry
  6. A third short story approved for publication

It need not be said that these achievements, be they little or symbolically large wins, have taken my creative ambitions into new heights; cloud cover that once seemed as high as cirrus clouds now seems like fog, elevation-wise. I say this not to show how cool I am, but to share my excitement with all of you and have it be known that (knock on wood) even better news may be right around the corner.

I wish the same could be said about prose; despite the good news about a third short story being approved for publication, writing fiction has proven to be a tremendous challenge. It is clear that poetry is, and will probably always be, my strongest calling. This story was neither pre-planned nor pre-conceived: any and every synonym of preparation simply doesn’t apply here. It just came out of the pen, and shone as none of my other attempts have done no matter what I do. Evidently the output of worthy prose is something beyond my control, even if it’s thankfully not impossible.

As a small treat to reminisce upon how far things have come, I posted one of my older, unpublished poems from 2013 which you can read here. Titled “Far From Southern Lands,” it’s an experimental format I tinkered with that probably isn’t original but that I call the “Tzintzuntzan format,” after the ancient Tarascan pyramids found near Lago de Patzcuaro in Mexico. I have always maintained that it is a good poem with something to convey: but as the definition of “experimental” is highly subjective, it has naturally been difficult finding a home for this poem in a magazine and some block in my head makes it hard to assess what literary journals specializing in experimental, “avant-garde” poems are actually looking for. Some peoples’ experiments are other peoples’ conventions, after all. So I decided to post it here with all my other outliers. I’ve culled a few more poetic B-sides for the blog as well; hopefully you’ll see them pop up over the next couple of months, time permitting.

That should be it I think. Enjoy the month of March!

 

  • Felix

Far From Southern Lands

I

 

watch from

afar

 

seeing some

seemingly

sinister

 

snowflakes drifting

the distance from

Saskatchewan,

shuddering in

 

the blustering breeze;

the foreigners they

huddle beneath their

Nordic hipster scarves,

southern suns so far;

 

the trippers commence their

daily occupations

untying laces that

froze among the slush road

longing for alternate

Celsius conclusions;

 

quadrilateral quislings

quiver in cold quiescence,

fearful of Skadi’s brothers;

shivering inside Lidl,

they munch their leftover snacks,

frozen, stale sunshine from

a land of greater romance;

 

the shade of corporate constructs

militarily eager for

drafting impotent employment,

calmly consuming potstickers

within steel alleyways beneath

Shanghai’s modern metropolis;

ardent newcomers of the land

do not long desire that fate;

 

piles of unread books on the floor,

a Bear Flag caressing their sleek spines;

a tossers’ clothes garnishing the rug,

while unfinished cider imbues the

air with Norman odors until the

window opens; the entirety

of the recluses lifeless abode,

simmering in its transplantation,

breathing cold oxygen with relish.

 

why am I so different from others?

I am comfortably established here

in colder, snow-blanketed realms of Earth

where fireplaces come in different forms:

burning logs of wood if not vodka,

both overpriced, keeping bank accounts on

their defrosted toes even in summer;

as crowds shatter beer glass on Mexican

sands, I embrace the chill attending me,

lost in green forests far from southern lands.

– Poland, 2014

September Update

Dear all,

Now that a busy summer is over and a busier year upcoming (I’m starting a PhD), just thought I’d slip in a quick update.

I’ve been regularly submitting to the Nine Muses Poetry Special Challenge. While not usually a prompt guy, I find the paintings and pictures I have to write about to be a nice challenge and the fruit of this labor are a different specie from my “normal” poems. Click here to check those poems out and the others as well. I’ve also added the most recent ones to the archive.

In other news, micro-chapbook number four will be published soon, also by the Origami Poems Project. It will be called Restaurant Ghosts (The Bolesławiec Ruminations). Bolesławiec is a city in Polish Silesia well known for a ceramic pottery tradition that continues today, though the tradition is German in origin. More to come on that later.

Most of my time recently has been spent improving my craft and rethinking my poeto-philosophical direction. So the number of submissions hasn’t been considerable for that reason. But I plan to get back into the submission game soon. So despite the casual maintenance of this archive blog, it’s only the beginning.

Have a pleasant Autumn.

  • Felix

Happy Easter

Dear all,

The arrival of Easter has also heralded the arrival of some good news. Some of it would have arrived sooner had it not been for technical difficulties that kept me offline. But it is what it is.

First bit of news: a new micro-chapbook has been published, once again with the great people at Origami Poems. It’s called Bypassed Bohemia: Poems for Urzidil. The premise is regionally similar to the previous microchap, Twilight Ruminations from Czech Silesia, but the atmosphere is different as intended. In the era of sameness, not only in a single country but transnationally and even transglobally that little bit of regional difference is something to celebrate, not condemn. If in 100 years my poems are remembered, I hope it will be as a celebration of the difference that there once was. Even so, Bypassed Bohemia has an international streak to it that Twilight Ruminations does not have, or at least not in any obvious way. You can read Bypassed Bohemia here.

Johannes Urzidil was a German-speaking writer from Prague and a friend of Franz Kafka himself. Forced into exile by the war like many great contemporaries across Europe, Urzidil would coin the term ‘hinternational.’ The theme of dislocation is an important part of the concept. It is a universal phenomenon and a symptom of modernity. Even if we never leave home, globalization brings otherness into our lives and adds to our dislocation. Being ‘hinternational’ is, in my opinion, a natural reaction to us wanting to simultaneously be ‘global citizens’ (usually in a vocal manner) and at the same time maintain ties with our homelands (often though not always in a silent manner). Like a Russian doll, there is a large one that represents the international experience. Then there’s a smaller one inside, the ‘hinterland’ from which ‘hinternational’ borrows.

At least that’s my view of it. Either way, it’s a term that I think should be used more often in philosophical discourse.

Second bit of news: new poetry publications elsewhere. The links are on the submissions page. One poem in particular, published on Thirteen Myna Birds, will only be up for a short time as poems are regularly “etherized” on that blog e-zine. But once that happens I will look into using the Way Back Machine or one of those websites so that people can still view the poem later on.

As usual, plans are made and life interferes. But aside from my current working project, Mews for the Tarpans of the World, another collection, titled Night Journeys, will be worked on and completed soon I hope. As much as I enjoy micro-chaps, and I do, a larger collection or two will be nice to have out there.

Anyway, a very happy Easter. Enjoy the sunshine.

  • Felix

March Update

Hello peeps,

I hope everybody has been surviving the blustery winds of March with their hats nice and snug.

Some bits of good news:

  • New poem published this week by the good people at the Brasilia Review, link here.
  • A third microchap, titled Bypassed Bohemia, expected in the next couple of months. Dedicated to the German speaking Czechoslovak writer Johannes Urzidil.
  • AND short story number 2 will be published, most likely in late April or early May in the Paris/Atlantic. It’s called A Report to a Community College. (Kafka fans know what that refers to)

All of this news pleases me, but the short story news is particularly motivating. Perhaps a novel might be published in the future? It seems I have a thing for stories that are sci-fi in spirit (if not direct imagery, though that’s true too), bizarre in flavor and most soothing to me if they are reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Paul Bowles or Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. If they are indeed as strange as I think they are, a few of these stories are bound to find their way onto this blog. So eyes open, and fingers crossed for that working out.

All the best!

  • Felix

Burnt Manuscripts

Shuffled papers of yellow and white,

documents of a scrambled imagination

with debris from a class five brainstorm

are shoveled inside the iron furnace

alongside the briquettes,

black soot smeared upon it like

the abandoned slopes of Kilauea;

 

in seconds the manuscripts catch fire

the flames arise, granting Kafka’s wish

furthering Gogol’s goals;

 

reeling and jigging they were,

the flames tapping across the pages

consuming them to the soundtrack

of rumbling Chieftains tunes

keeping rhythm to a bouncing bodhran;

 

but everybody is better now.

 

The increase in temperature,

indicated by the Celsius thermostat,

helps prevent young girls and boys

from becoming ill;

 

no one will succumb to

a fatal pneumonia

during this cold winter

now that the writer has succeeded

in postponing an inevitable truth.

Poet, Writer