Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This is NOT poetry

Tea and Oranges
There is no new poetry, there are only new poets. Excited wild wide eyed innocents and morose maudlin mopers, alike and as if new, continue to splash additional tattoo-like thoughtful art ink letters (flotsam really), to wash upon the sand skin shores of blank crushed vegetable pulp. Hieroglyphics. Flying kites. Fishing lures. Bread crumb clues from wayward mind meanderings, forming words strung together, or scattered; painting pictures to resonate in our mind’s eyes, whose sole purpose is literary terrorism. Once arms are taken up there is no about face.
The telephone party line of life making a call to the imaging thesaurus of our thoughts, dreams and, crystallizing faith, fomenting feelings……………. Ideas, credence and beliefs signaled in so many curves and angled lines; so many words; so many pictures. Language. Squiggles. Star analogies hung on the Christmas tree of the indigo night sky; the prickly cosmic hitchhiker stickers giving them importance, meaning, value and merit; hung in the endless infinite otherwise vacant heavens with the moon shining like pattern baldness on a geezer’s pate. There is no new poetry, there are only new poets, guerilla word soldiers armed with loaded language, sniping words to be fixed together, reminiscent dots interpretively connected forming the images that reverberate, vibrate, resound, echo, resonate, explode, catch fire, create light, significance and substance. Boom.      
Thousands of thoughts and feelings; these are heartset dulcimer strings that have always been a little out of tune, strum them; these are the fruits of our Johnny apple trees, pluck them anew like emotional fruit, sometimes ripe, sometimes not. We open our minds and accept the call, stringing the feelings and experiences of past present and futures born in pain and nurtured into comfort with the milk of fancies, desires, visions, dreams, hopes and fantasies fed by the world around us within us without us. Nowhere to go that we haven’t been that isn’t there until we arrive. Willing or not. One plodding, skipping, racing heartbeat hoof in front of another. In the beginning was the word.
An emotional New Orleans gumbo served up to our mind-senses is a flavor of what has already  been recognized, identified, made out, tasted already digested known.  Learn that we already know that which is not already known. How do we know not know? Learning nothing new, anew, somnambulating into a greater wake-fullness. Wiser than we think dumber than we look. Newness. Newness:  the old shirt that we find at the bottom of our awareness laundry pile. Whatever doesn’t register we picture, envision, make up, visualize, imagine. Confusions of grandeur. What color is red?
Reading poetry brings to
Mind, the joyous gathering
Of sea foam, humid August
 Nights under the sly Orion
Constellation, wearing SPF 50
And gossamer Shadow glasses.

Martin Block is conducting the
Orchestra on the volcanic shores
Of The Make-believe Ballroom
Washing your cares away with
Oil slick tones extorting all his
Shoeless children to come dance.
            To be read again and read it again to fathom, digest and get intrinsic meaning from the words poured forth, spread out and condensed in bite sized form and fashion, tid-bit teasing surprised poultry into pausing mid-road to find rhythm or rhyme, dancing beach tar queen, smoky sloe eyed, sandal-footed wordsmith courtesan; beckoning, one step ahead of our stumbling ability to keep up. A treasure map. That crab stepping pirate leaving hints and allegations that whisper “I know and you do not, repeat after me, repeat after me, assess, dissect and leave no more informed than when you took up the task; you knew the job was dangerous when you took it.” Solipsitically speaking, the significance exists only as the meaning was implied and not as you imagined.
            Selfish writer expounding Kindness
            Compassion charity truth and love.
            Cloaked nuances of sex and power
            Hide agendas in shadowed rhetoric
 Placate me not with false promises.
Come clean villain expose your lies
Serpents swallowing tail’s testimony line
By line X marking the spilled ruby blood
Spots at the foot of the umber innocent’s
 Crucifixion turning into self immolation
Disguised as sheaves of sleeping grain
Prestidigitation of the written wordsmith
Now you see hidden meanings now you don’t

The ingredients remain constant, the only constant is the change, the only change has slipped between the cushions of your consciousness and you search for the meanings of poetry as for nickels and pennies to buy another pack of Lucky Strikes. The poet is the devil daring to mesmerize, confuse, tantalize, puzzle and perplex; rebuke him, oh Lord, we humbly beseech you.  Damn their nickel dickering soulless word excursions nebulous cumulous cloud illusions; I recall cold comfort from cheerless climes. Mona Lisa smiles, stumbling blocks, stepping stones, a lead down the garden path, over the river and through the woods. In the beginning mine eyes saw the glory and now the expressions become another jambalaya served up by pensive Polymnia for Orpheus her son, who reposes in the dirt yard playing with rollypollies. Pray she slakes his mind’s thirst, satisfies his hearts desires, watch his soft lips repeat the food of words meanings: the moon and sauerkraut; for better or for worse and to Hell and back if you really care.
            The bard then takes pity with meter and rhyming
next eases our plight mastering tempo and timing
Our simple mind’s eye comprehends easy relevance
Because truth be told there’s no strain on intelligence
As ditties likewise recited from youthful awareness
Reveal evidence of poetry’s magnanimous fairness.

Grown jaded and graying into ill-tempered maturity
still savagely take pleasure from youthful obscurity
words crooned hypnotic while on soft knees seated
sing song sweet narratives blurred lessons repeated.
And pity the fool who blind performs (when they can)
The arabesque that starts “there once was a man…”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Separation Anxiety

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Separation Anxiety
“There’s no more room! There’s too much stuff!!
  I’m a born collector, I collect stuff; and if collecting stuff ever became illegal, I’d  have to plead insanity. I’m crazy about collecting! (stuff).  Accepting this seemingly harmless addiction as a fact of my life have, enjoying living with it, and loving it; I’ve never considered a support group nor an intervention. I ‘m at home with my obsession. “Too much of everything is just enough” I say. My life and living spaces reflect that sentiment; I resemble that remark. America (the world) is full of us collectors but, unfortunately there is a down side to our lifestyle: what happens to all of our stuff when we go away?
What happens when we get sick, leave town, get pinched, evicted, become incapacitated, decapitated, hop on the bus (Gus), go into a facility, take it on the lam or die from bad ham.  What happens to our stuff? What happens is that someone else has to deal with it.
“Not me!” I hear you say “nothing and no one will ever separate me from my stuff!” So, okay, tell me: is your job that secure, your home life that stable, your finances that protected? Is your health, surroundings and way of life immune to harm (or bad ham)?  It’s fine to live with an optimistic attitude; but you know, sh*t happens and your support group is only as strong as their finances, health and well being. Truth be told, we’re all one step away from the loss of the independence that is crucial to the custodianship of our belongings.
Bob is my friend. He is no longer able to take care of himself. He is at the mercy of the public health system and has no one to take him in, give him support and/or assist him in his daily life. Bob has an apartment full of stuff. Guess who Bob calls? I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t Ghostbusters.
To get into Bob’s house I need his keys, I need a note to the landlord, I need to get past security. I’m thinking that Bob is going to move back, I spend time cleaning, straightening; hell, I even construct new shelves for his stuff. It’s looking like that won’t be the case and now it’s up to me to handle that. This cannot happen over a weekend; get rid of his stuff, stuff that he has lovingly collected and stuff that (mostly) no one else wants. To take charge of his responsibilities, make sure his affairs are settled, creatimg order out of the chaos that he’s leaving behind is work.
A**** and G**** were my landladies when I lived on Dauphine Street. They had lived in the house since childhood, they grew up in the streets of the French Quarter, went to mass at the Cathedral, shopped at Matassa’s, their husbands were waiters at Antoine’s. G***** was sent to a nursing home. A**** never came back after Katrina. Their apartments were emptied and their personal effects put into trash bags and left on the curb for the evening garbage truck. A crocheted tissue box holder, a ball of twine collected from the restaurant, a bottle of holy water, a report card from their child’s second grade class. Landfill. Up for ridicule. The tree that their father planted in 1955 has been cut down. The building is now condos. It’s as if they had never been born.
John’s mother committed suicide when she was twenty-seven and he was three. He and his little sister were raised by their Dad in a house by the beach. His Dad was an engineer and John became one also. John took his own life at twenty-seven. His kid sister kept the photo album of John’s (and her) baby photos. She lived a long life.
I found the photo album at a thrift store, after she passed; they were about to throw away the photos and sell the album on its own. I have the album (with the photos) and John (and his sister) will live with me as long as we can hold out. Eventually something will happen to me and my stuff will have to be dealt with.
I love my stuff; my stuff anchors me here, keeps me connected to my home and environment. Willingly. Someday I will go away (see above), and my things, that I’ve collected, that help my sanity and stability, will no longer have a home. I tend to anthropomorphize my belongings and as much as I am going to miss them, I know that they’re going to miss me as well.
Sadly, I think that I’d better stop collecting stuff and maybe start letting go of some of what I have. I can call it ‘downsizing’ or maybe just easing the burden that I would place on whoever has to, someday, clean up after me. Perhaps it would have been better if I had not kept so many possessions. Maybe I’ll do it because I've been given a lesson by those that have passed before me. Stuff is just stuff, after all...................Or is it?

Writer's picks Spring 2015

Writer’s picks 2015
Phil Lamancusa
The ‘other’ Best radio station: WTIX FM 94.3
            “Today’s music ain’t got the same soul; I love that old time Rock n’ Roll!” Mention Public Radio and listener supported ‘Guardian of the Groove’ and I’ll say “I love them both!” However, get me putting screen on the door, cutting back banana trees in the yard or driving across town to pick up my Girl and you’re gonna hear a bunch of TIX. (Casey Kasem on Sunday. Word.)
The best taste of New Orleans: Destination Kitchen Tours
            Got company coming?  Send/take them on a culinary tour with stops at local food vendors and guides that can fill them up with the history and traditions of our city’s iconic culinary culture. Put your money where your mouth is and get satiated! The walking/eating tour takes three hours and is filling in soul and stomach; BTW: tipping is appropriate and appreciated. Tell them Phil sent you. .www.destination-kitchen.com 
Best place to take the tots: The Children’s Museum

            So, you’re having a good time, your friends are having a good time; the kids need a good time. Three floors of unadulterated kid’s stuff to do, see, touch, run, skip, dress up and play, play, play! Hours of fun and a gang of young adults to pick up after them. A play restaurant, food store, story time, hideaway spots, art, education and much, much more. 420 Julia Street 504-523-1357