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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Are these Poems, Poems?

Often not - they haven't been composed. They're energy, sometimes focused, sometimes not, sometimes coherent, sometimes not.

Did I want to hear the meaning?

There is no 'the meaning'. Yes, I did want to hear what she was saying, but never at the cost of forgetting what else she was saying.

Most of all I wanted to hear her sing.


Poems have rules. They're rituals themselves, parts of rituals as offerings, and themselves are ritually composed, and rule driven.

Now let's not get upset by my use of the word 'rules'. Rules are grammar, that must be followed, else 'the thing' won't work. In this sense grammar appears to be result-driven, and to the extent that language-forming needs a grammar, to this degree the very first ritual is result-oriented.

However 'result' only has context within a small subset of something larger. If we are speaking of the Muse, that communicative face of the All, then she doesn't need to be result-oriented. You do. I do. We need a grammar to sort out what she says!

We're having a face to face conference with an emotional, super intelligent, super-knowledgeable foreign leader with an army that can squash us and ours like bugs any moment she wants. We are speaking with this all powerful person/personification, but the problem is we don't understand what she's saying!

We communicate back in a polite way that we're having problems, and, 'Would she supply some assistance?' A grammar would be nice. Indications of how to comprehend what she's saying.

This is exactly what happens. When you don't understand, ask. Simple. She always responds. Today in the car I was thinking, 'Should I go work at the studio?' - it's been awfully cold there. How did I get my answer? At a stoplight I read part of the sign for the old Forest Theater, blacked out by another sign in front. It reads . . . "REST".

She is Kali. Baba Yaga. She is many things. Takes any form. Becomes a fish, then a bird, then hare then a roebuck.

Don't confuse my writings about ritual, or ritual context, with poetry. The ritual doesn't make the poetry. It creates a setting for poetry. If you want storks to land on the roof of your house there are things you must do. The ritual setting for writing these poems, transcribing them, was little more than a 'workplace cleaning', for opening pathways that listen, and honor.

Fleeting poetry's not mine, or yours,
My poet's fee's as . . . a listener.


The subtle 'rules' of poetry may not be verbalized with everyday language. What I refer to as 'rules' of poetry, are hidden. Poetry's a mystery, yet as language-formers, we want to understand the grammar of mystery, and so we study, by listening, and by honoring.

That which gave us poetry also makes dogs dream at night. It makes the weather. A universal grammar's at work everywhere, in everything. It may be filtered, you may become 'tuned' to it. It can speak to you, or to a horde or locusts. We're talking about fractal interaction with nature. If we make the right small adjustment any future path may be changed. Any.

Through this sonic medium, the greatest ancient poets were able to directly address the forces of nature, converse with them and influence events. A famous Irish poet killed a rat that was defiling his lunch, with a burst of language.

This is important. Whereas most rules are spelled and taught with language, poetry isn't. Ultimately poetry is an exercise of pre-linguistic rules, rules for making language, taught to us as it were, by a parent.

Again an abstraction. That which teaches us must be as a parent. The Greeks called her the Muse. She's much older than the pagan gods that followed her, or the male God Zeus, who stole the sound of her name. Her cults were taken over in a mad of shift of power, after the invention of metals. She continued to speak, but her messages were blurred.

Honor your parents, . . . Poetry is the Mother of all language.

She sings me the way to sing . . .

There are rules for making steel. Imagine the rituals that were employed for steel making! Serious stuff.

Yes there are rules, particularly if you're working with primitive technology, with iron ore, wood-charcoal, and clay. You need rules, otherwise it won't work. Years of rehearsal. A story to go with every step.

The first rules of metallurgy were not written in copper, or bronze, or steel. They were spoken sequences.

This sounds like an almost stupid statement. Of course they were written or spoken in language. Ah, but metals, and clay, and painting, these are all media as well. Each has its own language. You can't program a computer without language. You can't drive a train. To drive a school bus you need driving language. I'm not speaking of the instruction book in the glove compartment. I'm talking about all the activities, not just verbal or written, but physical, mechanical, economic, associated with driving, from filling up at the pump, to signaling, to using 'car' language instead of 'body' language. All of it is language.

We went for words based on sounds that came from our mouths that are part of our bodies. Our arms and legs have influenced how we write. Letters! We might have developed sparks from our fingernails instead!

Spoken and written language as it turns out are antecedent to every single unique human development. We are the language animal. Writing followed, not to gloss over it. Another massive leap, taking thousands and thousands of years to develop.

Ironically, the prime exception to this was Vedic culture. A primitive system of writing had actually flourished briefly in some parts of Iran and the Middle East at a time before oral ritual culture, i.e. Brahmanism, took root in northern India. Fritz Stahl describes the tradition that entered the subcontinent, a method of teaching the training and harnessing of horses, and construction of lightweight chariot wheels. This was at a time before people knew how to ride. Horses were just being domesticated. Ritually based, this new method of teaching was an oral instruction set, that could be passed on, and so it spread. Written cultures that actually preceded the Rig Veda were not sufficiently advanced to allow for the spread of this advanced method of instruction. Making a spoked wheel is quite a technological feat. Rules must be in place. Writing couldn't handle the job. Wheels up to this point were massively heavy. The engineering of lightweight chariots pulled by horses allowed the Aryans to conquer India. [cf. Fritz Stahl, 'The Vedas']

The rules for baking a cake are not written in flour and eggs.

The rules for coding this blog are not writtent in HTML, rather in something closer to English lol! The blog itself, is coded in HTML.

Rules for language, i.e. grammar, are conveyed in a less evolved language. The new language is a translation, from a larger system into something smaller and more sharply focused. A lot of ore becomes a small amount of sharp steel. With the translation, there is a commensurate increase in expended energy. Entropy decreases, but we're getting off track. My point is that both are intelligent systems, and that language is a translation tool for a realization within a finite system of intelligence.

It is a movement towards consciousness, towards realization. Much is lost.

The closer we move towards consciousness, the less we remember the darker warmer space that consciousness came from.

A poem is a rocket, shot from a black abyss, burning as it goes.

A poem burns in you as you read it. It burns behind you . . . and it burns out. You resume life. Our consciousness is so finite. We forget almost everything.

What if we were to take the journey the other way . . . away from consciousness, towards the dark? Towards total memory, which cannot, by definition be conscious.

At some point you have to turn back. She's Kali. The signs are there. Consciousness is a gift. It is what makes us, defines us. We need it to exist. Go to far, you perish.

So we don't go all the way to her. But we can get close enough to hear her! The survival of annihilation is addictive. Poetry is addictive.

The Muse was the one who inspired language. It was important to make offerings to her, to shoot a rocket back. An offering. A poem! 

Poems are Offerings! Throw your poem down a river in a bottle! Write it on bark on trees. Spell a wish out in pebbles, close to the tides. 

She's inspired by this, and returns gifts. She forgets nothing, knows everything.

Consciousness is the gift of forgetting!

The gift of forgetting encodes many meanings. What you forget determines what you know. Since all matter and all existence is connected, we potentially can fuse with the all, and know what she knows. But we won't have specific consciousness of it.

Krishna said to Arjuna, "Look into my mouth." What did Arjuna see? He saw all existence.

What you are not conscious of determines what you are conscious of. Consciousness is a narrowing of focus that allows for concentration. Forget the right things and you can know anything. The future. Any one's past.

Poetry led to divination. One could lose consciousness, dive down, search about, and come back up  gasping for air, clutching treasure.

Where did you get it?

I got it from Her! 

Good lad. You're learning.

True poets learn to sort the mumblings of a semi-conscious mind, deep in participation with something massive, and form it into sounds, then words, sometimes sentences. These early poems were oracular in nature, as nature.

The 'Muse Poems' are drum beats from nature. Some were poems right away. Others have been difficult to translate. They bump along like wounded genes, even though I've posted them here. I know in the end what seem like the worst poems now, will actually sing the most clearly. For now they're bits of stuff, calling itself poetry, a lot of words in many cases. Some fall back into the subconscious under the sheer weight of their own blundering noise. If only I had the right filter.

While they're above ground . . . I work on them. I read them. I stay true to their sound . . . I try to let them sing.

Cumbersome words have a habit of staying in one place . . . until they break in the current, and float downriver like everything else.

She swims beside me.


Are they poems? You decide.

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