‘The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.’- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dent Dutton, 1955
I brought you lilacs and ashes
wrapped in paper milled from early mornings and blind starlings.
On the paper were written a million words
that when translated sickened and when spoken disappeared.
I touched you and grew old but was reborn in the lilacs.
You gave me caramels and sickrooms,
wide verandas where ghosts sang madrigals with sisters of the moon.
You gave me the world's most beautiful door but kept the key.
Your skin was sweet on my tongue, but my tongue became a road to nowhere.
In the ditches there were lilacs, on the hillsides, marigolds.
I wrote you a million poems and grew leaner with each stanza.
You said, "Come in! Come in!" from a dark hall that narrowed into nothing.
Such was our love. Such was the starling with its injuries,
hiding in the lilac ditch. Such was the silent book,
the radiant rose, the bright marigolds on the coffin of time.
The moon makes me remember and I cannot forgive
its ruined face
like a Japanese lantern at the canceled wedding of joy and misery.
Hello everyone, this time our list comes from a man who requires no introduction, Leonard Cohen. Specifically, this list is taken from his songs. At some point I plan to make a list taken from his poetry as well.
Please use at least 3 of the 20 words in an original poem of any length or style except haiku or haibun. There are other venues for those. Then link, visit others, and enjoy. This prompt stays "live" through Friday.
In the course of everyday life, we all have those days that stand out, and stay with us. One of those, for me, was a Sunday spent at a friend's house when I was in my early 20's. I was nosing through their record collection and ended up borrowing two--It's A Beautiful Day by the west coast band of the same name, and For The Roses by Joni Mitchell. I already had Miles Of Aisles and loved it, but it was this new one (to me) that really made me a fan for life.
She's gone through many iterations, from folkie to jazz, but always her music is original, catchy, and intelligent. From That Song About The Midway to Two Gray Rooms, her music moves me and becomes part of my life.
Here are 20 words taken from a selection of her songs from different eras. Please use at least three of them in an original poem, then link up, visit, and enjoy. Last week's fun aside, please refrain from haiku or haibun; there are other venues for those. Thanks! Prompt stays "live" through Friday. (Word list is located after the linky.)
On the set of the submarine movie, famous actress Natasha Krinkova is having an argument with the director. He says the other actors have complained about her three pet porcupines, Fremont, Lodi, and Malibu, who accompany Ms. Krinkova everywhere, including the cramped quarters of this undersea adventure epic.
"The fucking things stink," gripes one of the other actors, a man known for playing kindly uncles and benevolent bosses, but who could curdle milk with his off-camera personality.
"They're wonderful, gentle creatures," protests the famous actress, tilting her chin as she did in Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire, a meandering detective yarn in which she played an extraterrestrial hooker.
"They should be shot," says the kindly uncle actor.
Yesterday was Fremont's birthday, though it's unclear how she knew. She set up streamers and had a concert pianist pop out of a giant birthday cake to play the Beatles ' Birthday for the rodent as it sat there twitching its nose like a palsied bunny with very sharp fur.
"Go play in traffic," sneered the kindly uncle. Fremont raised his quills. Lodi had an accident in the radar room of the submarine set. Malibu wouldn't come out from under a pile of Natasha's kimonos. The concert pianist segued into Octopuses' Garden.
Ms. Krinkova demands that the porcupines be written into the submarine movie. The kindly uncle shoves Lodi into a storage hatch and turns the latch. A fire breaks out in the torpedo bay, which is actually made of painted cardboard. There is panic and the sound of fire extinguishers. Somehow, the actress playing Lieutenant Mitford gets quills in her ass. There are tears and accusations.
Watery Grave is never completed, and sinks the production company. The director's drinking gets worse. The kindly uncle actor wins an Oscar for his work in a subsequent film entitled Lassie In Space. Natasha Krinkova sells her gowns from the musical Chiffon Switchblade and uses the money to set up a trust for Fremont, Lodi, and Malibu, but unfortunately, Lodi wanders off somewhere and Ms. Krinkova sees to it that the nanny never works again. This series of events is hotly debated on line at Am I The Asshole?
quill is sharp but pliant
porcupine enjoys cherry blossom
but stinks like dumpster
(Excerpted from Hollywood Haibun: An Anthology of Japanesque Poetry From The Shelves of The Screen's Biggest Stars by Babs St. Argent, Pompano Publications, 2021)
This week's word list is taken from the volume Forty Stories by post-modernist story writer Donald Barthelme. He was an odd duck, and so I naturally love him. When I was just a teenager and eager to get away from my relatives on a family trip to Denver, I went bowling and then to the book store, showing, I think, an admirable knack for prioritizing.
In that book store, I found a paperback collection entitled Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts written by guess-who. The stories were all set in the present, with normal characters like husbands and wives, employees, and so on, but the situations they found themselves in, and/or their reactions to same were skewed, impossible, and often howlingly funny. My eldest brother, whose taste runs to thrillers and Harry Potter, declared that I had wasted my money, further endearing Barthelme and his odd characters to me. (On a subsequent visit to Denver I bought my first Grateful Dead recording. That time, no one was there to pan my selection. Whee!)
The story I remember best from that first (for me) Barthelme collection was one about a man who felt he wasn't climbing the corporate ladder very expeditiously, and so to show his will and determination he became a Human Fly and began climbing a skyscraper using bathroom plungers to stick him to the glass sides of the building as friends and acquaintances shouted encouragement along the lines of "asshole!" Gosh knows why all that resonated for me. As the years have gone by, I have continued to love both Barthelme and the Dead. A friend of the devil is a friend of mine, or something like that.
What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new original poem--no haiku or haibun please--and then simply link, visit others, and enjoy. The prompt stays "live" through Friday.
Spellcheck suggests I replace "haibun" with "halibut." Okay, no halibut either.