Nocturne with a Line from Porchia

bureau

Nocturne with a Line from Porchia

Everything is nothing, but afterwards.
I rise and the moon disturbs the darkness,
revealing symbols, a few stolen words
on the bureau. Tomorrow I’ll express
my gratitude by disappearing be-
fore I’m found, which is to say goodbye
before hello, a paradigm for the
prepossessed. Compton tells us to imply
what’s missing, like Van Gogh or Bill Monroe,
but why listen to the dead before they’ve
stopped speaking? Unfortunately we throw
out the bad with the good, only to save
the worst. I return to bed, and the floor
spins. Nothing is everything, but before.

 

This first appeared in The Blue Hour Magazine in December 2014, and is also included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform. The line “Everything is nothing, but afterwards” comes from Antonio Porchia’s Voices, translated by W.S. Merwin. Porchia wrote one book in his lifetime, but what a book it was! Often described as a collection of aphorisms, Voices is so much more – each time I open the book, I find new meaning in old lines.

Vincent

Two Cranes on a Snowy Pine

snow

Two Cranes on a Snowy Pine (after Hokusai)

Who knows where bird
begins and tree

ends,

which branch shifts
snow, which bears

eternity. This, too, will share

joy,
elusive green

and breath,
with no thought

of flight

and night’s
fall.

* * *

“Two Cranes on a Snowy Pine” is included in my forthcoming chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, which is available for pre-publication order until August 11.

The poem first appeared in Panoply in summer, 2016, and was subsequently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Many thanks to editors Ryn Holmes, Jeff Santosuosso and Andrea Walker for this honor, my first such nomination.

See the woodblock print that sparked this poem: Hokusai

crane

Laocoön

GREEK COLUMN LINDOS

Laocoön

This figure of complexity
persuades a lingering

glance, the two-fold
inclination entwined,

horror expressed
in tandem, the sons’

limbs compressed
as the father struggles,

realizing true
sacrifice, the inward

grasp of storm and
wrath and serpent,

his face
echoing those yet

to come, breached
walls, a city in

flames, the cries
of warnings unheeded.

the_kelpies

Laocoön, through Virgil’s Aeneid, is the source of the phrase “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” The poem, which first appeared in The Blue Hour Magazine, was inspired by the sculpture “Laocoön and His Sons,” which resides at the Vatican. You might find Wikipedia’s entry of interest. Originally posted on the blog in February 2016.

The Utility of Poetry

Thomas Davis writes on the utility of poetry, using the recently published Indra’s Net as a launching point.

fourwindowspress

an essay by Thomas Davis written after reading the poetry anthology, Indra’s Net

When I was a teenager, determined to become a poet and writer, Look Magazine, one of the United States’ most popular publications at the time, wrote an editorial that denigrated the utility of poetry. A lot of decades have passed since I read the editorial, but its assertion that poetry had no real use in a world filled with the marvels of science and technology still stirs me to a passion. As I thought back then, what an exercise in the hubris of trying to stir up controversy.

Look Magazine, of course, has been defunct for some time, and while I was in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin at the Breadloaf Bookstore doing a book signing, Indra’s Net, published by Bennison Books (who also published my epic poem, The Weirding Storm, A Dragon Epic) came…

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Ode to Bacon

Ode to Bacon

How you lend
yourself
to others,

enhancing even
the sweetest fig
in your embrace
over coals,

or consider
your rendered
self, how it

deepens flavor
with piggish
essence, coating

or absorbed,
blended or
sopped. O belly
of delight, o wonder
of tongues,

how could I not
love you
and your infinite
charms, even

when you resist
my efforts and
shoot sizzling bits

of yourself
onto my naked
hands? I pay

this toll
gladly,
today and

next year
and all those
days to follow,

till the last piece
is swallowed
and our sun
goes dark.

Hyperbole
becomes you,
smoked beauty,
salted love,

and I shall never
put you down
or leave you
behind

on a plate
to be discarded
or forgotten,

unloved.

With thanks to T.S. Wright, for her challenge.

 

Sunday Compulsion: Ron Throop (Why I Paint)

Welcome to “Sunday Compulsion,” in which creatives answer one question: Why do I create? Here’s artist Ron Throop:

I began an expressionist career as an autobiographical writer, revering the American masters Henry Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Henry Miller. The latter would paint whenever the writing blocked his freedom. I too found this to be very helpful. When I write, I am tight. When I paint, I am light. Painting is never frustrating. However, writing is a lot like bricklaying. It is linear, and sure, there is a place for that in my psyche, but it must make room for physical play and surprise. I can express so much more in a painting, especially one with a pertinent title. Kenneth Patchen did this with what he called “picture poems”. He is worth looking up to get more of an idea about what moves me. For pay I worked many jobs in the restaurant business as a cook and chef. I also tutored at home both of my daughters until their teenage years, and then enrolled them in school.  My children came first, always, so my lust for expression (which is terribly strong), often sat on the back burner until it boiled over. In my early 30’s I began to nurture it into a regular regimen. Found a feel and haven’t looked back. No more line cooking for me. I am too old for hollandaise. 

 

 

 

“KI + 2S -> KISS” 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24″

I believe that words and images are easily connected. Text, like anything in a painting, can be used to promote the painter’s propaganda. Craft and ability have their place, to be sure. But please make me think. I do not want art that cannot make me think! I have a television for that. 

 

 

“James Mott, Via PTSD, Mutilates Young Henry’s Politics” 2014.
Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24”

 

 

I like titles. It gives me, the painter, the last word. You want to see something else and not be told what I am thinking? Go make it yourself. 

“Nothing But a Stranger in This World” 2017. Acrylic on paper, 11 x 15”

The process of painting can bring temporary untethered freedom, the future promise of practice, growth, self expression, liberation, eternity in an afternoon, trancing, the joy of man’s desiring, judgment, forgiveness, laughter, and a very content and satisfied melancholy.

* * *

Ron Throop (b. 1967)

I am a determined man. Unlike Henry Miller who arrived in Paris at the age of forty suspecting that he was an artist but needing six months of stimulation-by-poverty to prove it, I have known all my life that I am another one in a long line, both ignored and distinguished, to have the (mis)fortune of that mysterious element “X” inside me. I am forty-nine years old, a dutiful husband and father, and dedicated practitioner of acrylic painting and self-liberation writing.

I live in a cedar shake cottage along the shore of Lake Ontario. 

All days I wake up with a charged exuberance and hope that begins to wane with the rising sun. By mid-afternoon I accept failure as a routine chore of this modern day art business. This is good. It keeps me upright through supper and doing the dishes. At dusk, after a long day of wonder and work in the studio, I take dreamy walks with my wife down to the lake. I am so lucky to have life and love even if career success is a crapshoot each year I come closer to the big sleep. Oh well. I paint. I write. There is always posterity to think about. Then night and gentle sleep and another day of sublime torture.

I have hundreds of paintings like these for sale, all very affordable. This year, believe it or not, I have become an internationally known painter. I have shown work in Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia and Liverpool England. I am a practitioner of the modern movement called Stuckism (look it up please), and its founder Charles Thomson has recently written that I am a key figure here in the U.S. My paintings are colorful, lively, of the moment, and affordable. I could even make them more affordable if you like me.

I cannot get enough of paint. I am the art crazy old man at late mid-life.

To learn more about Ron and his art, visit these sites:

Ron Throop Art

Ron’s blog

Round Trip Stuckism

Stuckism Invitational at Watkins Glen

 

 

“Always Six Seasons at the Table for the Magnanimous Narcissist” 2017. Acrylic on cardboard panes in old wood window, 34 x 36″