Archive for March, 2012
Earlier this year I acquired two books from my lovely blogsister Ghadah Alkandari at PrettyGreenBullet.
One was to keep…the other to collage.
Here I asked my dear friend Bassemah, of Palestinian origins, to respond to one of Ghadah’s drawings.
She chose this one.
We spent an afternoon doing art in her warm San Diego home, playing Cuban and French music…I would love for you to have been there, Ghadah!
And to listen to the two of you speak Arabic *___*….
To Happiness by Carl Dennis
If you’re not approaching,
I hope at least
You’re off to comfort someone who needs you more,
Not lost wandering aimlessly
Or drawn to the shelter of well-lit rooms
Where people assume you’ve arrived already.
If you’re coming this way, send me the details
—The name of the ship, the port it leaves from—
So I can be down on the dock to help you
Unload your valises, your trunks and boxes
And stow them in the big van I’ll have rented.
I’d like this to be no weekend stay
Where a single change of clothes is sufficient.
Bring clothes for all seasons, enough to fill a closet;
And instead of a single book for the bedside table
Bring boxes of all your favorites.
I’ll be eager to clear half my shelves to make room,
Eager to read any titles you recommend.
If we’ve many in common, feel free to suggest
They prove my disposition isn’t to blame
For your long absence, just some problems of attitude,
A few bad habits you’ll help me set to one side.
We can start at dinner, which you’re welcome
To cook for us while I sweep and straighten
And set the table.
Then light the candles
You’ve brought from afar for the occasion.
Light them and fill the room
I supposed I knew
With a glow that shows me
I was mistaken.
Then help me decide if I’m still the person I was
Or someone else, someone who always believed in you
And imagined no good reasons for your delay.
“To Happiness” by Carl Dennis, from Unknown Friends.
The task of art is to transform what is continuously happening to us, to transform all these things into symbols, into music, into something which can last in man’s memory.
That is our duty. If we don’t fulfill it, we feel unhappy.
A writer or any artist has the sometimes joyful duty to transform all that into symbols. These symbols could be colors, forms or sounds. For a poet, the symbols are sounds and also words, fables, stories, poetry.
The work of a poet never ends. It has nothing to do with working hours. Your are continuously receiving things from the external world. These must be transformed, and eventually will be transformed. This revelation can appear anytime. A poet never rests. He’s always working, even when he dreams.
Besides, the life of a writer, is a lonely one. You think you are alone, and as the years go by, if the stars are on your side, you may discover that you are at the center of a vast circle of invisible friends whom you will never get to know but who love you. And that is an immense reward.
A Moon Over Berkeley
[We Became Art for a Moment]
There is no need to seek her
For she is the Moon
Her stunning face hangs over me
Never lets a night go without
The ache of her beauty
Do you see the small star by her?
Her shadow is cast over the city
Like Brunelleschi’s cupola over all of Tuscany.
The heaviness of her copper lies
[in my mouth]
She hides under train tracks and asphalt
She peeks from our longtrodden alleys
She’s under and above me.
I have to see about a City
-I said to him-
The way others go see about a Girl.
‘The city is a girl’ he replied.
They wrote about us
We became Art for a moment
Part of the city like streetlamps
A collage of colors
Red for San Francisco cars
Mustard like her scarf
White, my fedora
Red was our debaucherous light
Her crisp apple shirt matched paintings
[gray as planes]
In Buena Vista park we laid on the grass
Fed mosquitoes and waited fairies
I crafted stories on Bechtle’s California suburbs
Stories of quiet misery and afternoon beers, for her…
Blue for too many train tickets
We sat in a room full of patterns
Under brilliant suns we walked
To the edge of Sunset.
Faded too early in the streets of Janis Joplin
Among Tibetan jewelry stores,
Earrings and beads,
We found minstrels and poets.
Lemonade and Mate,
I told her about the weight of flowers
Narrated the geography
Of my broken heart.
It is night again
And I still choose my dandelion poetry
And being on time.
San Diego, March 7, 2011