pure waste (revision)

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pure waste (revision)

Post by riverrun » Fri Sep 27, 2019 2:04 pm

a stone goes through stained glass.
the surrounding still life on its micro
cosmos barely breaks the pipe dream
made of thousand-year slumber within
the smooth debris while shards of glass
accuse in vain the integrity of yore;
heavens and edens from the window edges
arise from the never-spoken-fake crystal,
somewhat complicit and solicitous like all
metaphors of men and their passive voice,
thus so adrift in their deliverance, as well all
that set forth and seems endless: upon hiatus,
between vacant eternities or blatant antithesis
that simply solve as the wind blows or upon
the lesser twilight which never fears
the peaceful abyss nor its pure waste.

then I go back to the first verse.
the stone, the subject of action,
disappeared half-asleep within
the exhausted fable of riverside
and nearby towns. the stained
glass, the direct object of act,
just got lost behind the door.
it still shines its second rate
opposition. the verb once upon
a time primal and unanimous,
now mumbles same synonyms.

slowly other events will creep in:
the nigh mist comes without witness,
the next morning still seems out of reach.
out there, this always translucent category,
allows this forever-foreign-legion treat
while streets amplify the urge for farewells by
centrifugal force, thus inherent within verses
that belong to men or under the hood of cars
and even in the seamless sky of faltering
ones and their unique and discreet manner.

then again I go back to the first verse.
the stone, the subject of action,
now wears any exoskeleton, to
already absorbs the dharma and
drama from slums and districts.
the stained glass, unrestricted object
of some act, reborn on sunken routine
without when nor where or even why:
repetitive roses wishing their bloom
don't understand the Victoria Amazonica
beneath deaths. and the verb, which
one day was primal and unanimous, now
became slave of these brahmin remains.

but don't worry I won't bore
you with my disenchantment
beyond overtime because we
still have too many things to
leave untold.

Obs: Despite that aforementioned difficulty with breaking lines (cultural background, the familiarity with the parlance, etc ...) I didn't particularly liked some imagery here. The idea is quite straightforward: that some waste is needed - or maybe some ways to waste it are. I would like some suggestion if possible. Thank you.
Last edited by riverrun on Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: pure waste (*revision)

Post by bjondon » Wed Oct 02, 2019 10:09 pm

Hi river,
I like the title, it's both a paradox and a term of abuse that might be applied to the stone throwing vandal. It's also the kind of phrase that might be latched onto by people trying to justify or incite racism.
I like the formality of the recurring image of the stone going through the glass and this circling around 'the verb', but I'm finding it difficult to get to grips with what is going on here.
Initially I think the reader is being encouraged to see the stone perhaps as the intervention of 'art', the glass as the establishment, the old order but this seems more like a red herring, a false or at least only superficial reading.
I am getting used to your poetic strategy of entangling startling, crystalline ideas within this semi-garbled hybrid language of nonconsensual syntaxes and grammars. My impression here is that the language is clearer but the ideas much muddier and oddly repetitive, but that could be just my failing faced with a series of intentional defiances of conventional constructs. This combined with the shockingly surly sign-off of the last stanza (in itself a sort of stone thrown through the reader/writer pact of collusion) makes it unusually challenging.

Nevertheless(!) … I will dive into S1 (perhaps my perplexity of some use)
L1 is clear enough (given the spotlight on 'the verb' it could also be read as 'would go' like a proverb).
Then we launch into the first third of this stanza long sentence which makes more or less straight sense apart from this word 'debris' … 'the pipedream made of thousand-year slumber within the smooth debris' - grammatically this phrase can only be referring to the remaining unbroken glass. 'smooth debris' is a nice correlate with 'pure waste' - perhaps both are describing the whole culture, but I can't work out the significance of the seemingly artful way we are being logically wrongfooted by anticipating the description of the shards. I am wondering if 'smooth debris' is something to do withsub-atomic particle smashing experiments. Am I heading down the paths you intended, but simply not far enough?

I like 'heavens and edens'
Not sure if you need both 'frame' and 'edges' in L7
I like lines 9 and 10, but the one you query 'arise from the never-spoken-fake crystal' is indeed strange . . . the repeated ' from the' seems like just a confusing echo; I get the hyphen between never and spoken but I'm completely thrown by that triple conjunction. It's a good example of my frustration here - simply leaving that line out would be the obvious solution - I can't see what it adds, can't fathom its intent other than a sort of booby trap, yet you have specifically drawn our attention to it. Is the request for help part of the poem?
Arriving at 'pure waste' again is quite sattisfying after this tortuous journey. There is a great world weariness verging on nihilism.
'which never fears the peaceful abyss nor its pure waste' has a dangerous deathwish air to it . . . but then -

S2 'I go back to the stone and the glass' - it's a nice switch of tone and emotion, pulling back from the 'abyss'
This time both the stone and the glass are described in oddly similar terms (exhausted/half-asleep) … an interesting confusion of subject and object perhaps threading back to that earlier 'debris' debacle.
I do like the idea of a half-asleep stone.
Despite your studied indifference to linebreaks, the isolated 'stained' on S2L5 seems well calculated.
That line - 'just got lost behind the door' - is unexpectedly dismissive and again quite confusing (is this the intact stained glass window, its projected colours or the broken shards?). I quite enjoy the whole bait and switch effect here - the build up leads you to expect some sort of significant comparison with the stone but instead just this dying fall.
So we have the subject and the object

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Re: pure waste (*revision)

Post by bjondon » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:29 pm

Coming back after the break it is dawning on me that this is about information theory and entropy.
Each cycle of stone/glass/verb some sort of complete lifecycle whether of an individual organism, culture or star system.
It may have been your comments at the end about the 'need for waste' and ways of 'wasting waste' that helped me here.
Information is only valuable when it is discreet and chunky - the more undifferentiated and 'smooth' it becomes, the less meaning it has - the difference between signal and noise.
The wide references you draw in here make me think of artists, poets, scientists creating value by making connections, interrogating the world from all angles - 'what is this?'. Knowledge, culture becomes chunkier as meanings are progressively teased out . . . or the opposite - it can be smoothed out by cliché, conformism, compromise of scientific method and independence, the direct destruction/distortion/suppression of knowledge - the burning of books. But does the breaking of the glass represent breakthrough, creative radicalism or artistic vandalism, a wilful reduction of valuable signal to noise? The regular wrongfooting of the reader in establishing which is subject and which object seems to me intentional, a holding of both positions simultaneously.
But to go back to S2 - 'the verb once upon a time primal and unanimous now mumbles same synonyms' - this is great stuff - it seems to advance the notion that in our culture we can no longer distinguish between these two agents - the establishment/the revolutionary - who is acting on who? - everything has become subsumed under a strange aglutinising lethargy.

Your rose at the end takes a bit of flack simply for reiterating its 'sunken routine'. Given the variety of roses, the vast rosacea family, the creative churn and evolution of informational DNA this seems a bit harsh . . .

I am reading the transition in S4 of the stone, now with 'any exoskeleton' - to signify whole new varieties of strategy to create value/meaning - and the glass, now an 'unrestricted object' - to signify the removal of limits and ranges of cultural sources, of valid arenas for exploration and performance. The roses are this symbol of the dead self-replicating culture, incapable of imagining the grand possibilities of the giant lily Victoria Regia. (Am I being too outlandish here, given its more common name of Victoria Amazonica, seeing a direct local reference, possibly to the cultural/industrial latency of Brasil?)

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Re: pure waste (*revision)

Post by riverrun » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:41 pm

Wow! I'm at work right, very busy lately. You deserve a better answer at weekends (and I'll definitely reply). Really pleased by all your comments.


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Re: pure waste (*revision)

Post by riverrun » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:33 pm

First of all thanks for your patience and very detailed criticism. It pleases me a lot. In this post I ll concur with what you realized: there's indeed some incongruity with the 1st stanza (the one who presents the problem) and the others (specially those that sends us to the 1st "then I go back to the first verse.") it's not good something it's matching and I think it'll make clear what I wanted after you read this. But what I wanted was to make stanzas that would repeat the first stanza like a perpetuum mobile, an echo. but it didn't work out as you noticed, specially in some imagery (I didn't like the rose metaphor either).

In the 70's two important poets here in Brazil, Vinicius de Moraes and João Cabral de Melo Neto, close friends, fought a very tasty aesthetic dispute that probably took place in other parts of the world in different times as well. Vinícius de Moraes, diplomat, was a classical / romantic poet at the beginning of his career, but he tended to popular culture at the end in a sui generis manner (immersed in Afro-Brazilian culture), including being one of the most important composers of Brazilian popular music. Joao Cabral, also a diplomat, began his work in a classical way, but never approached the popular in an unrestricted manner as Vinicius would do -- the popular aspect of the Northeastern coutryside in João Cabral was highly stylized, even formal. So much so that there is a famous passage in the debate between the two friends in which Joao Cabral asks Vinicius: "So Vinicius his poems only know are made of only one gut, the heart?" In which Vinicius would answer: "I'll make songs out of your "cerebral poems".

This funny and little dichotomy between two leading Brazilian poets has long made me understand that there is always a fundamental poetic imbalance in poetry: between heart and head, between emotion and reason, and so on. It has to be that way because poetry is always a tendency, a clinamen (Lucretius) in its earliest sense ... Poets trying to embrace both are unbearable because hybrids (we can see these attempts on Goethe's Faust -- Part 1 very different form Part 2) ... And the laws governing a text (even more so in poetry) are demanding with their own cohesion. Thus it is practically impossible for a poet to write like Rilke and in the next stanza write like Mathew Arnold without lose its particular aesthethics intricate with meaning as a development of an author's work (and life).

Any image close to us generates this kind of dichotomy. Heart X Mind, Emotion X Reason has now become a cultural commonplace but every commonplace is always a symptom of something deeper. All this unraveling will reach the very epistemological roots of dialectic as the matrix of the Western Canon. I will use the simple example of the poem; of the stone passing through the window glass. If it happens by accident, with no one around to notice -- in the event of any rubble from some ruined building -- that event will seem to us ridiculous, useless, prone to some void and oblivion. And nothing else. We must not forget that the whole existentialist novel of the 20th century is based precisely on the emptying of action and the subject of action as we can see in Albert Camus and Jean Paul Satre. In contrast, if we take Romanticism, especially in its Sturm and Drang phase, there is, on the contrary, an over-repetition of hyperbolic images, an emotional inflow of recurring events, as in the image of unrequited love. We could, from the point of view of Romanticism, imagine that the Stone through the window meant something broken, a relationship, a marriage, or even one's heart. It is not uncommon to make such metaphorical associations in Romanticism.

So we have on one side the same image that, if we use little, tends to a horizontal oblivion. And on the other an overused image that leads to its vertical waste. Hence came the idea of ​​my poem. Is there pure waste, a certain way of waste words (and poetry) beyond oblivion or overuse? There is something valuable to me in the spontaneous inattention of Zen-Sufi yogis and children, because there is no concern for them about the center of any image, they are not concerned with their forgetfulness or neither they focus on its reproduction. There is a beautiful landscape of indifference "inside" them.

I'll do the corrections you suggested. I loved the Victoria Amazonica, very elegant.

Best Bjondon

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