Tag Archive: poetry


Weminuche Wilderness Image Credit: David Chamberlain

Weminuche Wilderness / Image Credit: David Chamberlain

Sappho’s disastrous god
devoid of love and sorrow
wept not upon the metrons of her tragedy

His moonglow blindness
to her ornate melodies
rapturous abandon of polyphonic ecstasy

Her enduring wilderness
echoic lingering metaphors
gestalt harmony of a vision pale

Sunlit peaks preside over pulpwood coffins
effigies lit by Apollo’s fire-licked arrow
fed by the inexhaustible breath of Aeolus
burn filigreed epitaphs to her bright star

Notes: This was written for Victoria’s excellent prompt on patterns at dVerse Poets Pub. The poem makes allusions to Greek mythology, Christianity, the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado where some of the peaks include Eolus and Sunlight mountains, poets John Keats and Sappho, and patterns in nature in its exploration of the recurring historic theme of the oppression of women and their expression. Together these allusions create connections of meaning, explicate the contrafacture and intertextuality inherent in poetics and religion/mythology, and indicate a deeper layer where we encounter the patterns that undergird the psychological entanglement we experience in our engagement with poetry, religion, and culture. It also demonstrates a pattern of themes within my own poetry.

Redon’s Black Pegasus 1909

I ascended to Olympus moments after my violent birth at Perseus’ hand. Watching as my mother’s blood still pooled in the virile sea foam. Redon painted me black, as if every cell was kissed by the dark snakes of my mother’s Underworld. Purified by Zeus every hair and feather flashed prismatic white. I became a creature of the sky. I vowed with my first thought to be wild, unrestrained imagination in flight. My wing words would transcend the song of earth, achieving the sublime. But all this was long ago, before I saw her. She was my soul, my golden bridle, my incomparable Sappho. The music of her poetry lured me earthbound, taming me.

an imploding singularity
awash in Dionysian pleasure
counterpoint to my Apollonian spirit
she expands and contracts to infinity
in fractals of complexity
my inward vision turns
to embrace her

she arcs in spiraling parabolas
a bloom on a beautiful morning
within this vale of soul-making,
temporal and inescapable,
all must be endured
an intoxicating creative tension
birthing poetry

Redon Pegasus

Within the sphere of our epiphanal love, gentle waves broke upon feverish shores. She called me divine, beckoned me close but was overcome with feeling and fell mute, trembling. My spirit deprived her eyes of vision and my thunder overwhelmed her ears. I was the cloud bearing fruitful rain, imagination in all its real powers of elevation. I was the bridging symbol. Together we spun the synthesis of polarities with equal dignity. I vowed to bear her to the celestial heights. There, transformed to stars, our ill-fated forms would no longer cause our suffering.

as we rise she slips
caught in gravitation’s pull
heart shatters as I cannot
break her fall

fragments of her legacy
are buried in pulpwood coffins
(burned by papal decree)

the bow and the lyre
torn apart at the hands of the gods
we are forever separated

I was granted
constellation’s majesty –
from my unfathomable heights,
dream world of eternal ideas,
a lone feather falls
to anoint her earthly tomb

Pegasus 1a

bone. spirit. blood. hoof (and wing). right ascension 23 h. asterism’s geometry. points in the northern sky. declination +20°. heartbeat transmuted. Einstein’s Cross quasar (new chambers of the heart, detached). encompassed in a canopic jar (supermassive black hole). quadrant NQ4. fusion’s glory heaven’s prize. area 1121 sq. deg. (7th). creative waters vaporized (extrasolar HD 209458 b) . unity and multiplicity. depth psychology paradox. Stephan’s Quintet collides.

Notes: You can find out more about Sappho here: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/318 and read the myth of the Pegasus at these sites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegasushttp://www.pegasusproducts.com/myth.html. The subtitle comes from a painting by Christopher Le Brun which is at the Tate: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/le-brun-dream-think-speak-t03454. Please join me today for my first time hosting Meeting the Bar: Critique and Craft at dVerse Poets Pub http://dversepoets.com/2012/10/04/meeting-the-bar-postmodern-prose/ today at 3ET. I’d love to see you there!

Daedalus & His Muse

Olivier de Sagazan

Olivier de Sagazan

for David Chamberlain, Jr.
(inspired by his series of
Labyrinth poems)

here in the wilderness
encountering my fierce nature
thoughts lignify into woodcuts
thousands of barren landscapes
inculcating a melancholic picture

odd trees with finger thin branches
veiled in snow, grasping at the sky
painting blue stars in an empty heaven
I mourn what is irretrievably lost
something raw and enigmatic
written in my cathexis of longing

awash in an inaccessibility of meaning
I writhe sideways like an angry cobra
forming chalk outlines of the labyrinth
liquid mind streaming in slumber
an emulsion of ether, untethered

sands around me shift, amnesiac
creating fragments of identity masks
that reveal dreamtime spent in a desert
chasing my Minotaur shadow

there in the darkness I meet a Seer
who prophesizes my true nature
chained, I walk with two spirits
sorrow and pain expressing
nightshades of unborn ruin

I am merely the center-point
King Theseus of this lost tribe
ragged wanderer in exile
painting symbols in blood
a sediment of iconography
upon the walls of history

until Ariadne arrives like a mirage
finds me in the dreamworld maze
haunting the zero hour, engaged
in games of ritualistic sacrifice
and deftly cauterizes my wound

her sacred arts of magic
secure my inerasable love
offering an orgiastic thread,
triune passport to paradise
a string of beautiful words
creating an utterly pure tale
to reconstruct the mythic life
of my glorious and terrible wings

Wikipedia Commons

Wikipedia Commons

In memoriam for Dave King

‘I am writing a novel
in which no one speaks . . .
every one of my characters
moves like a shadow . . .
As of now, chapters ten,
and to a lesser extent,
maybe, eleven,
seem quite unpenable.’
written by Dave King, excerpts
from WAR AND PEACEfulness

I. Alasdair MacIntyre and Isaiah Berlin will engage in a civilized debate of moral philosophy and value pluralism in the divinely lit library of the hereafter

while it seems improbable
that the two will ever
arrive at the Answer,
hidden within the firestick,

their agreeable natures
ensure a kind exchange
and mutual respect
(as ours did)

II. Postmodern experimentalism encounters a fine intellect and a dashing wit

not only did he meet the bar
he vaulted it rather spryly

III. Anything can happen

unfortunately, it often does
cancerously and suddenly

IV. Stendal, Joyce, Hypatia, Riker, and Woolf toast his life by writing an eternity of allusions

words are like magic,
scintilla, igniting the soul’s spark
Plato’s divine spark longing
to unite with ever more
transcendent forms of beauty

Hypatia approaches the door
only those who’ve transitioned
may enter, opening a gateway,
releasing the fiery cries of seraphs

(I will meet you in the liminal
threshold between your faith
and my fractured metaphysics)

her radical eye encounters his pneuma
perhaps a whisper of which
will live a little here in the poem
as an act of remembrance

V. The consummate performance artist mourns the poet

you walked alongside us
desiring a dream of arctic skies
and ice floes captured in verse

now silk enrobed traces of your artistry
float by, a music, ever passing
as your gentle voice is lost to the wind

Book with Wings by Anselm Kiefer

Book with Wings by Anselm Kiefer

‘The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable
in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things
in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.’*

I exist in the abstract vector (impure) space
between the mortal and the divine
within this night of broken glass
where there are no mutually exclusive states

in a profound paradox encapsulated
by a series of spectral lines
superluminal small heavens (within)
embodying the nature of light

restless remnant of a tattered whole
(oracle) of four dimension spacetime notation
carrying a universal wound of broken stories
in my native tongue, mathematics

imaginary world of leaden transformation
an enchanted map leading me on a path
between genius and madness
antimatter colliding in a book with wings

(space & time)/(momentum & energy)
coexisting potential alchemical matrices
uncertain relations in superposition
oscillating ash of solitude and union

*Paul Dirac

Fortune One

let’s make a corporate baby
white collar sex crime to
become Gods of limited liability,
conceptual artist creators

launch a Kickstarter campaign
to attract early angel investors
book him his own reality show
with a recurring cast of characters

imagine a secret R&D department
Google’s gonna solve death
but who’s covering life
in 24/7 high def wish fulfillment

he’ll command the stage with all
the rights & privileges of a real boy
Enron asks us: ‘Why, asshole?’
to explore what it feels like

(from the inside) to be wealthy,
entitled, and largely immune,
reliving every boy’s wet dream:
to be the King of Versailles

join the nouveau-riche yacht club
arrive in style in a Embraer Phenom 300
he’ll be the top of his Ivy league class in a
burgeoning (oc)cult of accumulation

we’ll reenact hostile takeovers of legend
(exotic dancers will party at the mansion)
he’ll cum on fraud-laden, creative,
quarterly reports until he just can’t do it anymore

sparking corporate espionage in far-away places
off shore accounts to sink a nation
(all in the name of performance art)
super star risk takers of global proportions

Radical Eye

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

he creates an underground black book
covert artist communication device
white, grey covers with adventurous
distribution (psst- gallery goers)

‘wanna incite the subversion
of state power?’ only eleven years
in prison – hooligan tactics to
counter sanctioned criminal acts

Sichuan earthquake topples tofu construction
in a cover up of her seven happy years
child victims dismembered by indifference
mauled and devalued into a state secret
making mourning subversive

police beat propaganda into the skull
of a poet’s son who turns technology
against them – fuck the motherland
this revolution will be twitterized

in Beijing, Mao Chow the cat opens a door
but never closes it behind him
slinking through a surveillance state
exhibiting an uncooperative attitude

a ghost passes him on the street
whispering the names of children
in an act of remembrance

Sun Feast

Jade werejaguar mask of the Olmecs

Jade werejaguar mask of the Olmecs

mercurial volcanic ash
disintegrates the constructs
of permanence,
scarring the landscape

wind collides with the world tree
marking the cardinal directions
we are shaken about
beaten by life and one another

untethered from identity
in the borderlands of cyberspace
I became a shape shifting supernatural,
an apparitional avatar

arboreal hunter, spirit guide,
constellations imprinted upon my pelage
I prowl the numinous threshold
to the home of the spirits

ravens guard the branches
draw the edges of death
scream warnings and watch me
bloody my pelt on thorns

wounds of my animal form
create caves to the underworld
I am wise and foolish, powerful and weak
never capable of being otherwise

psychic scars form the light
witnessed through the veil
I reveal my ancestors and progeny
my dream time chameleonic nature

jungle dwelling dangers
find exorcism in expression
liberate my vulnerability
inspire your intentions

you coax me from the treetops
dispel my debt of gratitude
salve my Godsmitten paw
unite us in shamanic ecstasy

Jaguar (public domain)

Jaguar (public domain)

Less Intense: Equally Effective?

mixed media visual journal by Anna Chamberlain (sticker is from a Listerine bottle)

mixed media visual journal by Anna Chamberlain (sticker is from a Listerine bottle)

my depth of processing
a sensitivity to subtle stimuli
creates emotional reactivity

being overly aroused –
not as fun as it sounds –
contributes to my
vastly nuanced nature

an innate trait
hardwired into my
nervous system
makes me different
I live in a CAPITAL
letter world

full of bright lights and loud noises
a shock and awe campaign
against my nerves
a life of too much stimulation

I need time alone
to recuperate from this
strongly empathetic,
intuitive existence
this overactive conscientiousness

introversion encounters
my complex inner life
I’m moved immensely
by music and art
these creative gifts
of my active imagination

I chastise myself:
don’t cry at road kill
feel love with casualness
develop thicker skin
focus less on others
BE NORMAL FOR FIVE MINUTES

I engage my copings strategies:
overachieving (an understatement)
because I don’t want to be criticized
walking on eggshells (tightrope)
because I am deeply affected by your moods
project a veneer of self-assurance (pretending)
because I want to be like you

yet I cannot be other than I am
so this intense, responsive,
O-V-E-R-W-H-E-L-M-E-D
(highly sensitive person)
will have to become empowered
by naming this state of being,
become emboldened by its truth

If you’d like to take a psychologically valid self-test to see if you’re a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) you may do so here.

Transmission Lost

Fallen Angel by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981

Fallen Angel by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1981

Music by David Chamberlain, Jr., poetry by Anna Chamberlain, and the lyric ‘all we ever wanted to say was chased erased and then blown away’ is from the Janelle Monae song, Many Moons. Hit play above, this is a spoken word piece.