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
Advertisements

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.

Postcard From Canterbury, Pt. II

Do humans with naked cultural souls now stroll

Around the black & white Mediaeval buildings

Seen on my card?

What do they carry in their hearts next to love?

If not mangled pride from the collective they come from

Does shame pump through their aortas instead?

Fornicating next door with love deemed pure?

 

More sheen on a miter than my mass-produced

Card, but it was kind to enclose it

To preserve an appetite for foie gras;

Disassociating it from postal-worker grime

For culture is appetite, a sumptuous one 

I’ll have time to bow among the greater masses

When remains of my carcass fertilize the soils like

The slain Bishop Beckett, until their extinction

Beneath the mighty empire of the car park

 

When the necromancers dig for my white bones

Re-animating them with more flippancy than Felix the Cat,

I can only hope an immortal soul

will rise within the cage of my clacking ribs.

Postcard From Canterbury, Pt. I

There was a postcard from Canterbury

Reclining in my postbox all morning

Observing the all-organic dew below

 

Slipped and mailed in

A birthday card envelope

Compiling mass-produced

Photographs in singular form

 

the enormous cathedral appeared

In great danger now

churchgoers in England

Ceased to exist after Darwin’s trials

 

Minions of the Humanities traded

Bishop Beckett for Samuel Beckett

Miter for mick, was it a good trade?

Oh wait, is the death of nationalism complete?

Thoughts of Tandragee

– To the heritage I will never connect with

 

Alone in my room, eyes staring at possessions

Large atlases, loaded with forgotten hints of artistry;

I pull a large tome off the shelf, unused for some time,

To gaze upon Old Ulster and think about the morning

One day when I will one day set foot in Tandragee

 

To take my noble place among the other mickish lice,

Reeling in dance and drink to the point of glee

With stomping flatfoots massaging the termites

Impossible to predict the the outcome with certainty

When I finally reach the small town of Tandragee

 

“Are there any Kennedy’s still around?” some murmur;

I couldn’t care less, for I am not one of them

I might ask for O’Hanlons, some ancestral cousins,

Drinks gallons of tea as we tie up the eons,

winter orchards bear much fruit for me in Tandragee.

 

I once thought the crunch of Tayto chips would suffice:

The old castle of the sept produces these in crackling droves

Apparently, as if processing will stymie future famines

A béal bocht knows no difference, lounging in the smelly peat.

Alas! Why does ‘flee’ have to rhyme with Tandragee?

Yellow: The Color of First World Poverty (Poet’s Respond Submission)

When the tomes of sado-masochistic carnality

Finally overwhelm the diligent Goodwill clerks

we soon see that yellow, of mescal and mustard,

unveils the urges of logic and reality,

urges even grey could not merely expunge with its

sticky red plunger, worn from overuse

soon those tiring of poverty steeped in relativity

have emerged, for such is the pain when

forgetfulness drowns the Prometheans

drowning in the socio-political deluge

of taxes and scorn,

for not all poverty manifests as money

 

The free market runs, even when it can hide

the socialists spurn their vaunted proletariat

journalists grip their thin microphone

reporting from cloud 8 direct to cloud 9

and in the patisseries throughout the arondissement mondial

the macarons, once so sweet and running with goo

turn brittle and hard and threaten teeth still intact

the yellow collar workers mourn wallets long emptied

it once bought them joys, precious food

saving their ability to love from the pangs of hypergamy

tax measures are attack dogs, colorblind, indiscriminate,

in their beady eyes, yellow and white are no different

the dog owners hug yellow vests with pats on worn backs –

such a harsh social construct,

for what is poverty in Foucaultien France?

“I’m rich, you’re rich, everybody’s rich!”

A hug a day keeps reality away

but now the embrace, garbed with polyester cringe,

has been broken,

so weak had it been from the very beginning

so fallible are stocks in faux altruism

 

The lower classes march upon the Champs Elysee

they prepare to redefine a nations concept of triumph

A genuine Bastille day, elating if belated as

deaf ears bypass luxuries gone up in smoke

the French of the highways faces the culture of Grasse

so many long years after Charles du Gaulle

the President looks upon an angry republic

no longer the marker of Moutarde Dijon

yellow has become the color of first world poverty.

 

 

Rattle Note:

Most of us have heard of the gilet jaunes protests in Paris by now, a city in which I was honored to live in for a year. There are many things one can say about the protests for better or for worse, such as the destroyed cars, but coming from a lower middle class background and understanding rural concerns I generally support the goals of the protesters alongside 66% of France’s population. I can’t claim to know about any sanctioned political left-right opinion here, but the news reporting on the matter interested me as it was a strange mix of shock over the destroyed cars and a sympathy I had trouble believing was sincere.

This poem is also an exploration of relative poverty, a concept that intrigues me and that I think is one of the core issues. It’s true that France overall is a wealthier country than most. But it doesn’t mean everybody is rich or even middle class. If the middle class in the 50’s and 60’s could afford a new car every year while these protesters have trouble affording even a full tank of diesel to get to work, let alone a single car, I personally find the term middle class misleading, or at the very least outdated. Thus my use of the word poverty. As ambiguous as poetry can be, I don’t think it’s improper for poets to call a spade a spade when the moment is opportune.

In short, this poem is a show of support and a call for intellectual introspection.

Poet, Writer