Posts Tagged ‘Poetry


having a coke with you — a pause for a frank o’hara moment

having a coke with you


pretty pictures, a defense

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

So wrote John Keats in 1819 in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” one of the five ‘great odes’ written that year.   Ever since then, those two lines are perhaps the most argued & debated lines in English poetry; their meaning & intent disputed by all the great writers and critics that followed.  If one considers Keats’ statement valid, and one agrees with his idea of beauty (symmetry, elegant, pleasing visually) one then consigns much of the modern arts (visual, aural, written) to the dustbin.   So, in response, many have stated that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ which allows them to neatly sidestep Keats’ proclamation.

You do have to admit though, that sometimes a pretty picture is a valid form of expression or that an eloquent turn of language, in its setting, is, in and of itself, beautiful (and thus truthful) at that moment of its existence.

If truth can be found in beauty, and the definition of beauty is large enough to encompass all time, all things then the simplest, prettiest, most pleasing (and its complete opposite) to any one viewer/reader/listener would fall to their own taste.  How can we (or anyone) condemn that?  All of us are entitled to our opinion regarding what we consider beautiful & meaningful & inspiring & eloquent & soothing & thought-provoking & restful & pleasing.

Isn’t their enjoyment, regardless of your opinion of their art/book/music, as valid as yours?  Of course, it is.  Beauty & its individual meaning is only accessible via the life experience of the viewer/reader/listener.   Yet at the same time, as humans we still share a common thread of understanding and passion, a uniformity of the mind if you will that allows us to appreciate & viscerally connect with that which we are unfamiliar with & perhaps afraid of or disdainful of (disdain–the first defense of the sycophant & pedant.)

It’s true that there is art, music, literature that I find abysmal, but I applaud & encourage those whose taste runs counter to mine; for finding their truth, their beauty where they can, when they can & how they can.


dead crow on the freeway

the crow did not want to die in such a public manner

but death came up behind it and batted it out of the sky

it fell in an elliptical spiral, hesitating from the updraft

of the cars speeding by on the freeway below then plummeting

and hitting the pavement between two lanes with an unheard thud

one wing standing straight up in a avian salute

feathers splayed, shimmering & shivering in the rush of the hour

a juaneno headdress headless & heedless

the crow knew the time had come for death, its good intention

to fly to the sheltered grove of trees, close, as the crow flies

& find a quiet bower to rest & pass what time was left

with a caw/a preening/a settling of scores

as many animals do & arrange his still life a la chardin

(a rabbit recently found dead & curled around the base of the

fountain in our yard on a bed of withered leaves & dried flowers

a palette of taupe, pale pink & cream)

death, with its timepiece & schedule, laid those plans aside

& passengers & drivers never noticed the crow or its fluttering

feathers, a funeral cortège of speeding cars, save for one or two

quick realizations of what had come to pass perhaps nodded in

sympathy or at least a visceral understanding of a life brought still.


the road not taken

Robert Frost (1874–1963).  Mountain Interval.  1920.   1. The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,/And sorry I could not travel both/And be one traveler, long I stood/And looked down one as far as I could/To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,/And having perhaps the better claim,/Because it was grassy and wanted wear;/Though as for that the passing there/Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black./Oh, I kept the first for another day!/Yet knowing how way leads on to way,/I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence:/Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.


black adonis

The black Adonis stands in the
Golden doorway awaiting his lover.
Impatience flickers, a rose petal
Tongue flutters in a velvet sigh.

An apparition melting into the colossal darkness
Bathed in auroreal amber incandescence
Silhouetted/the mythic shades of desire,
Details a blur of incomprehension as the light
Within pinks a palm, flashed this way
Flat ivory tusked nails flip a light,
Exhalation, smoke wraps its gray silken
Hair around his Taurean neck and dissipates.

Impatient and needful, the murmur of
Ancient chants, the psalms of his demands,

His death, his birth are waves breaking against the shore, water tongues ululating against the hardness of the land.

Marmoreal musculature/neck/shoulders/arms/fingers/
Torso/waist/thighs/feet fell those who honor him.
He walks in the heat of the moonless night
Current coursing through the skeleton, the muscle,
The sinew; sparks radiate from his smile, his glistening hair,
The sweat sheen of his skin details a crown of



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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