Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jean Cocteau

"A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses."
Jean Cocteau
July 5, 1889 –October 11, 1963

Preamble (A Rough Draft For An Ars Poetica)

by Jean Cocteau


A rough draft
for an ars poetica

. . . . . . .

Let's get our dreams unstuck

The grain of rye
free from the prattle of grass
et loin de arbres orateurs




It will sprout

But forget about
the rustic festivities

For the explosive word
falls harmlessly
eternal through
the compact generations

and except for you


its sweet-scented dynamite

I discard eloquence
the empty sail
and the swollen sail
which cause the ship
to lose her course

My ink nicks
and there

and there

and there


deep poetry

The mirror-paneled wardrobe
washing down ice-floes
the little eskimo girl

in a heap
of moist negroes
her nose was
against the window-pane
of dreary Christmases

A white bear
adorned with chromatic moire

dries himself in the midnight sun


The huge luxury item

Slowly founders
all its lights aglow

and so
sinks the evening-dress ball
into the thousand mirrors
of the palace hotel

And now
it is I

the thin Columbus of phenomena
in the front
of a mirror-paneled wardrobe
full of linen
and locking with a key

The obstinate miner
of the void
his fertile mine

the potential in the rough
glitters there
mingling with its white rock

princess of the mad sleep
listen to my horn
and my pack of hounds

I deliver you
from the forest
where we came upon the spell

Here we are
by the pen
one with the other
on the page

Isles sobs of Ariadne

dragging along
Aridnes seals

for I betray you my fair stanzas
run and awaken

I plan no architecture

like you Beethoven

like you
numberless old man

born everywhere

I elaborate
in the prairies of inner

and the work of the mission
and the poem of the work
and the stanza of the poem
and the group of the stanza
and the words of the group
and the letters of the word
and the least
loop of the letters

it's your foot
of attentive satin
that I place in position
tightrope walker
sucked up by the void

to the left to the right
the god gives a shake
and I walk
towards the other side
with infinite precaution

Above is a one of Cocteau's erotic drawings.

And below we have another one of the many forms of art, Jean Cocteau has indulged in. Here is the only decent clip I could find of his first film, Le Sang D'un Poete, or Blood of a Poet. Filmed in 1930, please CLICK HERE for a bit more information on the film.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Suicidal Poets

Word Use in the Poetry of Suicidal and Nonsuicidal Poets

Shannon Wiltsey Stirman, MA and James W. Pennebaker, PhD

Suicide rates are much higher among poets than among authors of other literary forms as well as the general population (1). This phenomenon has variously been attributed to the types of writers who are naturally drawn to poetry as well as to the features of poetry itself. For example, there is retrospective evidence to suggest that many suicidal poets have suffered from some form of depressive disorder throughout their lives (1, 2). Poetry, it has been argued, may be a particularly appealing medium by which to cope with the unpredictable episodes of mood swings.

Full Article

or for an abbreviated version:

Scary Place

sometimes getting straight to the point is best.

In honor of all these suicidal poets. lets take a look at some of their works.

Suicide Off Egg Rock
Sylvia Plath

Behind him the hotdogs split and drizzled
On the public grills, and the ochreous salt flats,
Gas tanks, factory stacks- that landscape
Of imperfections his bowels were part of-
Rippled and pulsed in the glassy updraught.
Sun struck the water like a damnation.
No pit of shadow to crawl into,
And his blood beating the old tattoo
I am, I am, I am. Children
Were squealing where combers broke and the spindrift
Raveled wind-ripped from the crest of the wave.
A mongrel working his legs to a gallop
Hustled a gull flock to flap off the sandspit.

He smoldered, as if stone-deaf, blindfold,
His body beached with the sea's garbage,
A machine to breathe and beat forever.
Flies filing in through a dead skate's eyehole
Buzzed and assailed the vaulted brainchamber.
The words in his book wormed off the pages.
Everything glittered like blank paper.

Everything shrank in the sun's corrosive
Ray but Egg Rock on the blue wastage.
He heard when he walked into the water

The forgetful surf creaming on those ledges.

October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963

Suicide Note
Anne Sexton

"You speak to me of narcissism but I reply that it is
a matter of my life" - Artaud

"At this time let me somehow bequeath all the leftovers
to my daughters and their daughters" - Anonymous

despite the worms talking to
the mare's hoof in the field;
despite the season of young girls
dropping their blood;
better somehow
to drop myself quickly
into an old room.
Better (someone said)
not to be born
and far better
not to be born twice
at thirteen
where the boardinghouse,
each year a bedroom,
caught fire.

Dear friend,
I will have to sink with hundreds of others
on a dumbwaiter into hell.
I will be a light thing.
I will enter death
like someone's lost optical lens.
Life is half enlarged.
The fish and owls are fierce today.
Life tilts backward and forward.
Even the wasps cannot find my eyes.

eyes that were immediate once.
Eyes that have been truly awake,
eyes that told the whole story—
poor dumb animals.
Eyes that were pierced,
little nail heads,
light blue gunshots.

And once with
a mouth like a cup,
clay colored or blood colored,
open like the breakwater
for the lost ocean
and open like the noose
for the first head.

Once upon a time
my hunger was for Jesus.
O my hunger! My hunger!
Before he grew old
he rode calmly into Jerusalem
in search of death.

This time
I certainly
do not ask for understanding
and yet I hope everyone else
will turn their heads when an unrehearsed fish jumps
on the surface of Echo Lake;
when moonlight,
its bass note turned up loud,
hurts some building in Boston,
when the truly beautiful lie together.
I think of this, surely,
and would think of it far longer
if I were not… if I were not
at that old fire.

I could admit
that I am only a coward
crying me me me
and not mention the little gnats, the moths,
forced by circumstance
to suck on the electric bulb.
But surely you know that everyone has a death,
his own death,
waiting for him.
So I will go now
without old age or disease,
wildly but accurately,
knowing my best route,
carried by that toy donkey I rode all these years,
never asking, “Where are we going?”
We were riding (if I'd only known)
to this.

Dear friend,
please do not think
that I visualize guitars playing
or my father arching his bone.
I do not even expect my mother's mouth.
I know that I have died before—
once in November, once in June.
How strange to choose June again,
so concrete with its green breasts and bellies.
Of course guitars will not play!
The snakes will certainly not notice.
New York City will not mind.
At night the bats will beat on the trees,
knowing it all,
seeing what they sensed all day.

November 9, 1928—October 4, 1974

Love And Death
Sara Teasdale

Shall we, too, rise forgetful from our sleep,
And shall my soul that lies within your hand
Remember nothing, as the blowing sand
Forgets the palm where long blue shadows creep
When winds along the darkened desert sweep?

Or would it still remember, tho' it spanned
A thousand heavens, while the planets fanned
The vacant ether with their voices deep?
Soul of my soul, no word shall be forgot,
Nor yet alone, beloved, shall we see

The desolation of extinguished suns,
Nor fear the void wherethro' our planet runs,
For still together shall we go and not
Fare forth alone to front eternity.

August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933

Untitled (English translation as well as Original in Russian)
Marina Tsvetaeva

I’ll conquer you from any land and from any sky,
For the forest is my cradle and it’s where I’ll die,
Because, here, on this earth, I stand - only on one foot,
And because I’ll sing for you - like no other could.

I’ll conquer you from any epoch, from any night,
From any golden banner, from any sword in a fight,
I’ll chase the dogs off the porch, toss away the key
For, in this night, a dog is less loyal than me.

I’ll conquer you from all others and from that one too,
I’ll be no one’s wife, - you’ll be no one’s groom.
I’ll win the last battle, - hush! - and pull you aside
From the one, with whom, Jacob fought all night.

Till I cross my hands on your chest, - I’m cursed! -
And until that day, you’ll remain - just yours,
This is why your wings aim for the upper sky, -
For the world’s your cradle and it’s where you’ll die!

Я тебя отвоюю у всех земель, у всех небес,
Оттого что лес -- моя колыбель, и могила -- лес,
Оттого что я на земле стою -- лишь одной ногой,
Оттого что я тебе спою -- как никто другой.

Я тебя отвоюю у всех времен, у всех ночей,
У всех золотых знамен, у всех мечей,
Я ключи закину и псов прогоню с крыльца --
Оттого что в земной ночи я вернее пса.

Я тебя отвоюю у всех других -- у той, одной,
Ты не будешь ничей жених, я -- ничьей женой,
И в последнем споре возьму тебя -- замолчи! --
У того, с которым Иаков стоял в ночи.

Но пока тебе не скрещу на груди персты --
О проклятие! -- у тебя остаешься -- ты:
Два крыла твои, нацеленные в эфир, --
Оттого что мир -- твоя колыбель, и могила -- мир!

Translation by Andrey Kneller

8 October 1892 – 31 August 1941

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And finally Brautigan

My Tribute to Richard Brautigan
Dear Colby,

Once in San Francisco our breath was dripping of whiskey. I found myself watching you put on a record, while reading me Richard Brautigan poems. I was so very happy.
Affection is vibrant and endless, of course.

Thank you.


now for some of my favorite poems.

The Moon Versus Us Ever Sleeping Together Again
by Richard Brautigan

I sit here, an arch-villain of romance,
thinking about you. Gee, I'm sorry
I made you unhappy, but there was nothing
I could do about it because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would have been different
if you had stayed at the table or asked me
to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with

Boo, Forever
by Richard Brautigan

Spinning like a ghost
on the bottom of a
I'm haunted by all
the space that I
will live without

by Richard Brautigan

Do you think of me
as often
as I think
of you?

Gee, You're So Beautiful That It's Starting To Rain

by Richard Brautigan

Oh, Marcia,
I want your long blonde beauty
to be taught in high school,
so kids will learn that God
lives like music in the skin
and sounds like a sunshine harpsicord.
I want high school report cards
to look like this:

Playing with Gentle Glass Things

Computer Magic

Writing Letters to Those You Love

Finding out about Fish

Marcia's Long Blonde Beauty

The Galilee Hitch-Hiker
by Richard Brautigan

The Galilee Hitch-Hiker
Part 1

Baudelaire was
driving a Model A
across Galilee.
He picked up a
hitch-hiker named
Jesus who had
been standing among
a school of fish,
feeding them
pieces of bread.
“Where are you
going?” asked
Jesus, getting
into the front
“Anywhere, anywhere
out of this world!”
“I’ll go with you
as far as
said Jesus.
“I have a
at the carnival
there, and I
must not be

The American Hotel
Part 2

Baudelaire was sitting
in a doorway with a wino
on San Fransisco’s skid row.
The wino was a million
years old and could remember
Baudelaire and the wino
were drinking Petri Muscatel.
“One must always be drunk,”
said Baudelaire.
“I live in the American Hotel,”
said the wino. “And I can
remember dinosaurs.”
“Be you drunken ceaselessly,”
said Baudelaire.

Part 3

Baudelaire used to come
to our house and watch
me grind coffee.
That was in 1939
and we lived in the slums
of Tacoma.
My mother would put
the coffee beans in the grinder.
I was a child
and would turn the handle,
pretending that it was
a hurdy-gurdy,
and Baudelaire would pretend
that he was a monkey,
hopping up and down
and holding out
a tin cup.

The Flowerburgers
Part 4

Baudelaire opened
up a hamburger stand
in San Fransisco,
but he put flowers
between the buns.
People would come in
and say, “Give me a
hamburger with plenty
of onions on it.”
Baudelaire would give
them a flowerburger
instead and the people
would say, “What kind
of a hamburger stand
is this?”

The Hour of Eternity
Part 5

“The Chinese
read the time
in the eyes
of cats,”
said Baudelaire
and went into
a jewelry store
on Market Street.
He came out
a few moments
later carrying
a twenty-one
jewel Siamese
cat that he
wore on the
end of a
golden chain.

Salvador Dali
Part 6

“Are you
or aren’t you
going to eat
your soup,
you bloody odd
cloud merchant?”
Jeanne Duval
hitting Baudelaire
on the back
as he sat
out the window.
Baudelaire was
Then he laughed
like hell,
waving his spoon
in the air
like a wand
changing the room
into a painting
by Salvador
Dali, changing
the room
into a painting
by Van Gogh.

A Baseball Game
Part 7

Baudelaire went
to a baseball game
and bought a hot dog
and lit up a pipe
of opium.
The New York Yankees
were playing
the Detroit Tigers.
In the fourth inning
an angel committed
suicide by jumping
off a low cloud.
The angel landed
on second base,
causing the
whole infield
to crack like
a huge mirror.
The game was
called on
account of

Insane Asylum
Part 8

Baudelaire went
to the insane asylum
disguised as a
He stayed there
for two months
and when he left,
the insane asylum
loved him so much
that it followed
him all over
and Baudelaire
laughed when the
insane asylum
rubbed itself
up against his
leg like a
strange cat.

My Insect Funeral
Part 9

When I was a child
I had a graveyard
where I buried insects
and dead birds under
a rose tree.
I would bury the insects
in tin foil and match boxes.
I would bury the birds
in pieces of red cloth.
It was all very sad
and I would cry
as I scooped the dirt
into their small graves
with a spoon.
Baudelaire would come
and join in
my insect funerals,
saying little prayers
the size of
dead birds.

For more information and selected works, please click and enjoy: Richard Brautigan

January 30, 1935 – September 14, 1984

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Getting Personal

Postcard above taken from: PostSecret.

I frequent this blog because it is clever. sweet and makes me smile. This postcard in particular hit a little close. It is my favorite.
It's personal.

I connected with whoever wrote it. I would have not made a connection if I had not read it online. I often argue that I wish the internet never existed. Today I found out why. I never really knew how to properly express my thoughts when presented with an argument. A reoccurring trouble of mine. The other end almost always would make one of their main points about "connecting" Connecting to who exactly? My final statement is this: if a computer screen is what it means to connect or make connections then we are more disconnected then ever.

random "personal" thought.

and further more:

new notebooks. Written by Sujeylee

a new clean sheet
crisp and blank
it smells untouched
then it begins with tiny flutters of vacant orifices and sinking in we say: I have nothing to offer being me (diminutive silent observer hit with gasping unknowns)

i do believe that hope is a series of sounds creeping into ears at night
causing stirs in slumber airs

shift and struggle

writhing various body parts remind us we are still attached and alive
it opens and it shuts and continues until we are unable to tell the difference
sweeping floods, chilled waters dreamt up by something fleeting
too simple
we are not attached

i am saying this because i do not feel it
it is always with excuses, explanations and glances something we are suppose to believe, yet completely out of physical grasp
full of simple banality (this i know, but it does not make it untrue)
a constant battle between the generations
all i see are muted colors, desperation floating into trees like ghosts and my sallow reflection thinking i can make it perfect with time

another false concept to slide around
i resent it because it feels like waiting

wading in its tricky comforts. wait and breath. another reminder. i am indeed attached.