Saturday, June 5, 2010

The theater is self-contained

and then self-enclosing, like an oyster shell
pink ribbons and flesh-colored brilliance
reflecting on the inner wall,
sudden darkness once the shell
has closed. The origin of the world
may never be found, locked in a mass
of tangled ropes, swaying with the tides,
a prisoner of our dreams, a captive
of our senses, how can I nurture this life?
Where you feel the pulse racing
through a tiny muscle in your neck,
the wheel keeps on turning, it turns
until it stops. Childhood spliced
into fragments, the records tossed
into a vain shoebox, opened irregularly
and easily forgotten; outside a parade
sweeps past the suburban block, girls and boys
hold hands, french-kissing in the crowd,
parents sulk in the heat, holding flags.
Above all, the clouds pull apart like taffy
and the center reveals a satin hue,
it's nighttime and my devotion to these spectacles
is constant and mad, as if I'm viewing
my own poor imprint on the world.
I carry home a banquet and pry open
the door, flies emerge from a carcass
I never knew I had. Unreason dresses me
in the morning and I'm weighted down by
superstitious charms, I don't even have to travel
to hear sermons for what I'm after;
delusion wears a costume of elegant ties
and writes verse in an empty cell.



caprifoglio said...

Another beauty! Are you publishing your work in other venues too, i.e. professional poetry organizations and their publications?

Lethe said...

Nope . . . I prefer to just publish on my blog . . . I have this stance toward publishing that . . . is sort of content with self-publishing on my blog . . . all I really want is a couple people to read my poems, that's what gives me pleasure, sharing it with people . . . . I put all my finished work into e-books, and eventually I'll have a bunch of e-books that can be published traditionally if there is a demand for them.

Thanks for your interest! It's really inspiring to me.


caprifoglio said...

Well I understand what you mean, I've been in that mode for a while, but now that I'm "middle-aged" I've reached a point where I feel it's time to share with a larger audience. And as I've done everything for my own pleasure for so many years, and will continue to do so, to do things the conventional way will be more of a side thing in my mind -- perverse thinking, isn't it? Anyway, one day you may reach that point too.

Lethe said...


Can you share some of your poetry with me?

caprifoglio said...

I'm actually a visual artist (in hiding for now, as I like to say). But I love poetry and literature (and music, etc etc etc). I've recently been rediscovering poetry through the Academy of American Poets' website. Saying a lot with few words, I can relate to that. It's such an old art form. These people blow me away with how they use words -- there's no waste. You can tell they just love language, and they were born to express themselves with it. Most of all, you know they went into that field because they were compelled to, and I've read that some of them (like mothers, for example), really don't expect to earn a living doing it, I mean it would be nice but... they have to do it whether or not that ever becomes a reality. I could go on, but I won't, because I just started this long reply with a statement about saying a lot with few words -- LOL!

Lethe said...

To appreciate poetry, it takes a certain sensitive type of person . . . most people do not relate to poetry . . . so I think it's wonderful that you have this capacity . . . I'm still curious about your work. Do you have a website?

Jonahh said...

A felicitous 'stage' for an eternal desperation I'd say, I really love this poem, it pulls me in. To me, it opens a separate, somewhat chaotic, very emotional dimension, a pretty familiar one...

"...delusion wears a costume of elegant ties / and writes verse in an empty cell." I see this as a hopeful conclusion, since an 'empty cell' is all yours. It's rather phoenixian.

Very inspiring, thank you.

Lethe said...


I appreciate you reading and of course, admire your own poetry . . .

As far as this poem is concerned, I see it as a sort of departure from what i normally write, which are very concrete and clear poems that can be understood rather immediately.

This poem on the other hand is difficult and more of an experiment. I'm venturing into a more abstract territory, although the emotion is clearly a central element of the poem. The "desperation" is a focus, I would say.

I don't know if I'm able to pull it off with this poem. Recently I made a small revision and now I think the poem concludes better.


Zen said...

When I read your poetry, I have this image of tree leaves falling down in a rush, leaving behind the last branch:

"I don't even have to travel to hear sermons for what I'm after;delusion wears a costume of elegant ties and writes verse in an empty cell."

Like a climax of a fast-pace violin orchestra.

I wrote a mini poetry in reply, I hope you like it.

Take care + regards,

Wept the Autumn Wind
and all, hundred-thousand
cherry blossom petals,
rains upon the ground.

In awe and admiration,
I observe this change of season.
Oh, heavenly orchestration!
How did you become?

My own self dies
as I realize
that "I"
was never there

Beautiful is
the heart that appreciates,
the eye that sees
the world as is.

Lethe said...


What I love about our relationship is how different we are, how different the lives we lead are, and yet how we both can relate to each other . . .

I like how you describe my poetry, both as a fast-paced violin orchestra, and as a tree whose leaves shed immediately.

Your poem is also beautiful and I would like to respond. I don't think you're characterizing me or my poem here, but nature as you see it, which reflects the Buddhist doctrine of no self.

Clearly from my writing you do not think I reflect the world "as is" but rather I reflect the "suffering" that is so commonly discussed in Buddhism. And I think this saddens you in a way that I'm am trapped in my own suffering and express it in my writing.

Your poetry is really getting quite good. I know you have written poems that embody Buddhist beliefs, and I see a definite development since the last ones I read.

Though our experiences and points of view differ greatly, it's wonderful that we can appreciate each other as individuals. Of course, this goes against Buddhism, the idea of a separate self. If we were to talk on Skype some time I'm sure I'd debate with you for a long time, and we'd probably reach little agreement, because the bottom line is we are two different people, living two separate lives, and Buddhism is only a theory. Not to upset you, but that's based on my own experience of life. As you know, I studied and practiced Buddhism for five years, and then regressed into my current "misery" but life isn't that bad because I have the true expression of myself which is art, which is poetry, which is writing.

The Buddha of course would say that this is a sad consolation, and I guess it is . . .


Zen said...


I don't want to turn your comment trail into a buddhist discussion and leave the focus on your poetry.

You and I are as different as two rivers from two separate continents. Yet you and I are as similar as one river to another. We embrace life as is. Together we are part of this world. That is what is said in Buddhism, it's no different from common sense, really.

Your poetry and writing never saddens me, there is honesty, vigour and energy in there. One man's poison is another's medicine. I appreciate your point of view thoroughly and honestly.

When I write that poetry, I am just continuing on the image of the tree with the falling leaves that bubbles up when I read the last line of your poem. Funny how that works isn't it? It's that ascending->climax sensation (fast-paced violin orchestra) that I get when I read your poem from beginning to end.

I also like its FORM, without spaces - how it intensify and nearly suffocates and the myriad of images and events that runs through the words and then - the final statement.

That sensation gives me the falling leaves image, so as I like so say : "while the soup is warm, drink it" :) and so I wrote the response to my experience (literally). I'm really glad that you enjoyed it.

Regarding development in my poetry - thank you very much. I have never intended to write poetry that embodies buddhism beliefs, but I have always tried to write poems that embody my belief in buddhism. That is, my expression of my life state as I experience it at that moment. If it has developed, it is a confirmation of my development.

I am so glad I responsed to your comment in twitter. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It has been a while.

Now on buddhism - the idea of separate self does not go against buddhism. Don't try to think that there is no self. That attempt in itself is a trap. Buddhism teaches the importance to be able to see things differently, similarly and together. A Buddha would smile if one would have a chance to see this conversation. You are closer to the truth than you think you are. All individuals who seek to express their soul through writings and arts are. (At least in my experience)

Anyway gotta to go to work now. Take care, lethe.


Lethe said...


You are such a stellar individual! I'm really amazed by the people I've met on the web and you're definitely one of them. So I do hope we Skype chat sometime. Not video, just a call. I'd love to hear your voice and get an impression of you that is not mediated by typing keys and waiting for responses.

Also, never worry about going on in my comment section. The way I see it the comment section is like a wall. Write as much as you want on whatever you want. It's a good place to thread a discussion.

Also, I just wrote a poem that is positive and hopeful. It's a complete 180 degrees from this poem. So please check it out and let me know what you think.

One more also, send me links to your poems when you publish them. Let's stay in touch more often. I want to learn about you through your writing.


carmelita said...

As you know I've been away and ctaching up since my return, as you know I take time to read and re - read before commenting.

I find this is a very good development, in general I think you are right to try out new forms and new styles, your voice is now more nuanced, not single.

And look how much commentary this one has generated! More please.

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