Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prose Instructions

The little guy remembered a day in the city, just feeling the pace of the space, and the Moment when the Whole Vision, large as it was in his life and mind, had to be spilled out into the ear of an overtaxed, distracted Person with Resources while they were together in an elevator. Yet he was unable to speak at first, burdened by an accumulated history of debt, unpaid bills, scraps of paper with momentary worries scrawled on them, little accounts of dollars of the days when there was no flow. But now there could be flow. The Scouts had scouted, the Puffers had puffed, and the Agents of Talent, now scouted and puffed, were out there in the thick of it, representing his agency in the offices and hot tubs of the Decision Makers.

Please rewrite this sentence to include more concrete details.

Maggie Johnson had gone to Pine Hillock Community Players' Hall to see Mike Peasely perform in "Harry Pothead and the Quisling Unicorn". After the performance she went backstage, via her connection to the Theater Director, with a proposition for Peasely and his parents: she wanted to schedule Mike's audition with Harvey Grapejuice of Trillium Films for the upcoming Rachel Lodestone movie Suburban Shark Tank. Peasely and his parents became very excited about this chance for success. Dreams of adoring audiences, endless travel, good food, new technologies and fantastic interesting and wealthy friends to jaunt about with were now projecting themselves onto the silver screen of the Peasely Family imagination. These magnificent images began their parade the instant Johnson uttered the words "eighty thousand dollars to sign". The next day Johnson went to see Aaron Billings, Grapejuice's secretary and casting director. They met in his office. They talked. Aaron had met Maggie before and enjoyed their witty conversations about other casting directors and talent agents, especially Julia Richmond, that bitch, and Jerry Clinkslip, the biggest whipped poodle Billings had ever met, you know, that one time, at the industry convention in Las Vegas. After lunch (they hit it off that well) at Khan Dogs, when the waiter dropped the bill onto the table and Johnson elegantly swooped it away, Billings gave the exact hour, minute and date for Mike Peasely's audition with Grapejuice.

This sentence has a lot more detail, but it still doesn't have what people really want: the engagement of the senses. Please rewrite this entire scene in order to engage the senses.

The little guy sensed things, but couldn't give them much attention. Only this: now that the landlord had finally turned on the heat, the piles of clothes sitting on the radiator had dried and begun to fry. This caused the otherwise airless room to fill with a smell somewhere between cooked cotton, burnt armpit, and melting plastic.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy 99th Birthday, Kennth Patchen

Born in 1911 on December 13 in Youngstown, Ohio.

Kenneth, you are an old soul. I think of you not at all dead in 1972, but still here, three years older than my grandmother (who died this past August at age 96), continuing to make picture poems for social causes and protests across the globe.

I'm sure you continue to draw new word-animals across all the bounding walls of heaven, and William Blake stops by now and then--to comment, approve, criticize or applaud.

Your heavenward drawings peep out, wiggle to life, sit down with you and all the assembled company to share big plates of tumbling, saucy spaghetti.

The poem below is the concluding section of "Childhood of the Hero" from Patchen's book Orchards, Thrones and Caravans. Patchen published this book with his friend, and brief roommate, David Ruff in 1952. Ruff was Holly Beye's partner, and they had just recently moved from Greenwich Village to San Francisco, and encouraged the Patchens to move there as well. He lived at this time in the North Beach section the city, where he met and mentored Lawrence Ferlinghetti, convincing the young poet to use his full name on all his work (and not "Lawrence Ferling"), and gave him two big books of types to use with his soon-to-be City Lights press (did Patchen get these from Laughlin's New Directions shed in Old Lyme, CT?). It was the dark age of McCarthyism, then. The picture poem above is from the famous portfolio Glory Never Guesses silk screened by Frank Bacher and colored by Patchen in 1955, also called "Handwritings for the Wall"



Childhood's days passed in their headlong sparsity, like hundredforapenny balloons.

Yes, childhood! Opinions might divide around it, like scoffing ancient water around a new-made boulder, still would it be necessary to remember the bit-of-thisness, -thatness of it.

When things are going unblemishedly, much can be borne. On the nightstand beside his little bunk, festooned by the shadow-ribboned hair of first one candle then by its replacement's, reposed, in a battered, fly-embroidered frame, a photograph casually torn from a newspaper. Every evening the hero addressed himself to the monastic countenance of the gaunt, ink-faded horse therein depicted:

"Morning, Senator. How be ye this day, eh?" It is true that the answering voice was almost totally lacking in modulation and resonance; but nevertheless it did manage to convey a certain underlying heartiness as it replied: "Get me out of here! Get me the hell out of here!"

(Collected Poems, 436)


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Video Failure


I tried posting some short films here, but they wouldn't load.

Local news: I'm writing a play. Reviews of Ed Sanders' recent 2 volumes of selected poetic works have appeared in Boog City #66, a New York City poetry newspaper. How many poetry newspapers are there in the world?

I will continue to try loading these films.

Works for Celery Flute: The Kenneth Patchen Newsletter are strongly encouraged, especially serious, analytical, thinking with eyes and mind attuned writings about poetry and painting. Poetry and visual art. On December 13, Kenneth Patchen (d. 1972) will turn 99 years old. It is hoped that next year events can be organized for a Centennial--in New York City, Warren, OH, Cleveland, OH, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. You can email me all questions, works, thoughts at inksaudible@gmail.com

I'm asking patience from those who have sent me work, essays, images and poems for the Newsletter. I will soon respond, edit, and set up issue 5. With the cold weather, I will be working more on some delayed projects. I'm also begging Patchen Collectors out there to send unpublished images, manuscripts or letters for publication.

anyone for a poem? New poem! My poem.


Explanation was its own reward
this secret fact of the text
to effect a capture by way of undress

slight shame that was exhibition
soft inner core of the crisp exterior
the washing machine an apt view