MOSES, JOE ZAWINUL, ME AND MY MEMORIES

At 6 AM, before I went to bed, music and my memories floated in my mind
My headphones rendered Joe Zawinul’s “A Remark You Made” in amazing
Ecstasy—the live, orchestral version was all clashing, brassy harmonies, sax
And Jaco’s bass didn’t exactly play a soundtrack to memories in my mind’s
Slow wandering and resting—modulating between Joe’s so right harmonies,
And an afternoon at Almont Church Camp transport of tonal modes, moving
Me to holy moods lively, living memories, placing me playing Moses, as if
He had just descended from Mount Sinai and I held aloft two ceramic Tablets
Fabricated by Eric, fired in his own kiln with real Hebrew writing on them
And he wouldn’t let me smash them like the real Moses did and in a loud voice
I proclaimed the Commandments one by one as best I could remember them
On the sandy shore straggled with grass next the pond at Almont Church Camp
Man!  Those harmonies hit it!  Just guiding the tonal flow into the changes
Of Jaco’s heart-rending solo with the brass and sax of “A Remark You Made”
Ending a good night, musing, music, memories, me as Moses with the Tablets
Eric made and five or so children stood in a half-circle staring at who was it
Behind the white cotton beard, robe, standing there holding up two Tablets
Out of words and one of the five or so children guessed me to be that guy
Who sits on the porch afternoons listening to his Walkman, smoking cigars
Usually joined by a teen who didn’t quite fit in and later aspired to be a poet
And I dragged my attention away from the memory, sad that I’d abandoned
The stunning harmonies in “A Remark You Made” the sax, brass, Jaco’s bass
Fading in memories, back, half aware of the pleasant 6 AM before I fell asleep

ABOUT

And what about content?—As when we talk

To each other and don’t deconstruct our meaning

We talk about things to each other

And don’t use artistic language

About

Time was words were about.  I’m not so sure

Poetry is invested in about

About anything

I certainly have other interests

Than only words in themselves

As when I talk to others and don’t use

Artistic words

I try to use the best words to

Express meaning

And when I do it well, there is no explaining

Come to think, I guess I’m done

Writing words about words anymore

I certainly have other interests

Like writing

About

Some Cranky Aphorisms

If you have something to say, why not say it clearly?

If you have nothing to say, why are you writing?

A sequence of words, no matter how arranged, doesn’t always justify itself.

Art isn’t the deconstruction of meaning.

Perhaps deconstruction should be applied to itself.

ETUDE

I paint with words the colors of my moods

In language, I play the notes of my soul

With nouns and verbs, I construct structures of meaning

The script that is scene and act of my life’s issues

And if I am true, my words are yours

Poetry that is about language only

Means nothing to the ages

Word play, alliteration, assonance, rhyme and rhythm

Are scholastic toys unless vehicles of meaning

When dancing language denotes reality

Poetry is loved and lasting

LANGUAGE AND TRUTH

Your first written impulse isn’t always

The truth

And so revisions

Paring away distracting words

Imprecise words

Replacing the vague with

Clarity

Sculpting truth

Epistemology and What Words Are

Words are created by people;

They help us function.

Words have meaning only when

Our experience meshes with the origin

Of any given word.

Then there is the consideration

Of experience.

To Locke, experience is

Inner and outer.

The motions of our soul are inner.

The world we all share is outer.

Words created to mediate what is inner

Confront what is outer.

When they coincide,

We call it truth.

A preponderance of words from what is inner

That don’t coincide with words from what is outer

Is what we call a lie.

Linguistic processes affirm the art of epistemology.

And there is what we call truth.

For those who care.