Home for the Haunted Holiday

It is Christmas, not Halloween,
That’s the most haunted holiday,
The tree’s glittering ornaments,
A constellation of gravestones
Marking times, places and people
Long since gone, or freshly buried,
Every gathering attended
By hosts of invisible guests
Whispering their stories and songs,
Meals visited by the spirits
Of generations of women
Returning through their recipes
In flavours of ginger, cocoa,
Molasses, cinnamon and cloves.

AGG20141225

Step Away from the Buddha: brief notes on reading and response, and on salvaging Haiku (and Two Haiku for April 22)

John Mackenzie is in fine, fighting form here, bitch-slapping Buddha like the little bitch Buddha is, and producing two fine poems in the process.

Mumbling Jack

Spring is here, and, with it, a volume of Japanese Death Poems (compiled by Yoel Hoffmann) sent to me by Andrew Griffin. This book sat on my shelf for a few weeks as I gradually overcame my distaste for the prominent placement of the Zen word* on its cover. I took the Death Poems for a coffee and a walk today, sat outside in the soft spring wind and started reading the Introduction. I’m glad I managed to get by the whiff of Buddhism seeping from it.

*I consider Buddhism to be a fatuous and flatulent religion, right up there with Deism as a gaseously thin and useless theological exercise, explaining nothing. I suppose I should resign myself to the inevitability of people farting it into discussions of science, fact, life, and console myself with the knowledge that its redolence is momentary and is always swept away by the…

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Magnolia Palinode (and process notes)

John Mackenzie, ever ready for a poetic challenge, took up the concept of a palinode with alarming grace and ease.

Mumbling Jack

The other day my friend Andrew,  of the fine tankawanka blog, brought the concept of the palinode to my attention. I hadn’t heard of it before that. Basically a palinode is a poem in which the poet retracts something said in an earlier poem. (Not that I ever, ever, ever feel any need to take anything back, or, as Andrew put it, “Of course, neither you nor I have ever said anything in any poem that would need recanting.” ) I don’t know how many of these I’ll ever write, but it’s a fun exercise that can serve to force a person to step aside at least from their normal or habitual perspective—and that is invaluable in maintaining the freshness needed in writing.

I’ve attempted retractions of two recent poems in this one. I’ll link to each post in the poem.

Magnolia Palinode

Less than
stars in the sky
or…

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Starting Tomorrow on Mumbling Jack: A Magnolia Love Poem Death Match Series (notes on structure and process)

John Mackeznzie’s experiments in form, very interesting for those interested in the writing process.

Mumbling Jack

Last night at work I was writing another goddamn magnolia cinquain, and I started wondering how it would work as a tanka if I tried to approach the subject and image from a barely slightly different place. So I did, and I saw the work that I had done, that it was good, and I called it the Magnolia Love Poem Death Match: Cinquain vs Tanka. In fact I liked it so much that I started working on two more tries at pitting cinquain and tanka against each other on similar subjects. I’ll post all three in the series over the next three days.

These are great fun to work on, especially since I like playing with form and in form. And especially, too, because the brevity of both the tanka and cinquain forms lend themselves very well to a couple of my poetic bents: quick image and expression…

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Two Cinquains To Open May

John Mackenzie celebrating the 5th month with a 5-line poetic form, the cinquain, with links explaining the form and related forms.

Mumbling Jack

Got the idea of writing cinquains today from this blog, Visible Poetry: Aesthetic Acts in Progress, that my friend Becka pointed me to this morning.

And so I went walking with the idea rolling around, and found that the magnolias are finally blooming here. Ended up by the harbour where I managed to get the cormorant poem I’ve been wanting to write forever.

Now, who knows? Since May is the fifth month, I may make it Cinquain Month here at Mumbling Jack.

Two Cinquains To Open May

1. May First

Today
the magnolia
buds are cracking open
at last, a slow blush of petals
spreading.

2. And at the Harbour

Narrow-
throated, constant,
hunger skims blue water
on a cormorant’s black wings, long
thin strokes.

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My Deathday— E’s Voodoo Doll from the Future

Close-up-Eavan's-Voodoo-Doll

Under the magnifying glass, the loving details of the voodoo doll from the future can be seen.

 

Birthday-Card-Cropped

My Dear Andrew: Happy Un-Birthday! It pains me to tell you it might be your last. I have come across items sent to me from an unknown date in the future that hint at your sad demise. It is my fervent hope that by sending you these items today, you can fight off the tragic death they imply. God speed. XOXO, E.

 

Marking-Makabre--Voodoo-Doll-Order-Form

Thank you for shopping Making Makabre, Purveyors of Quality Death Kits since 1929. Dear Saggyscrotes4u, Please find your customized death kit, made to end the life of Andrew G. especially for you. As you prick the likeness with the enclosed cursed pins, please read aloud from the text provided. If death does not occur within 24 hours, please wait. Death will come, on demon’s wings. NO REFUNDS. Thank you for your continued patronage.

Instructions-for-Voodoo-Doll

Instructions: Read text aloud while pricking the likeness with the enclosed cursed pins.
Death Call for Andrew G.
To prick the prick
Each needle fixed
Upon a dormant organ’s hatch.
A line of fire
Through brawny brier
Lights epaulets of silken thatch.
Tortured rotting,
Languid clotting,
Decay and Reek the final match.

This year I decided to do something different for my birthday; I decided to celebrate my death. The end result was an incredible evening of poetry, song, storytelling, drawing, conceptual art, chocolate cake, laughter and a whole lot of love. Over the next several weeks I will be posting the results.

To see all the posts to-date, click here

To go to the My Deathday main page click here

My Deathday— Andrew’s Felinesque Demise by Catherine Matthews

Griffin Evil Eye

Catherine Matthews imagine a Griffin meeing a feline- and fellini- esque end.

andrew’s felinesque demise
by Catherine Matthews

eyes, fixed,

legs splayed as dislocated wings,

barbed penis unsheathed, careful climax sharpened to screamed
withdrawal

red tufted feathers spitting
from between blue beak, slightly parted, paper thin,
crushed sheet

This year I decided to do something different for my birthday; I decided to celebrate my death. The end result was an incredible evening of poetry, song, storytelling, drawing, conceptual art, chocolate cake, laughter and a whole lot of love. Over the next several weeks I will be posting the results.

To see all the posts to-date, click here

To go to the My Deathday main page click here