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Vulnerable

all my life
i've only thought of one thing
YOU

you are why i got an education
why i tried so hard to make beautiful things with my hands
why i got dressed up
why i learned to sing
and dance

why i never stopped trying to make a living
why i always went to the gym
and worked out to be diamond hard
why i was polite or inconsolable
why i ran seven miles a day
why i tried to be charming
why i could never stop playing with myself
why i got through James Joyce
why i learned
conversational hypnosis
neuro linguistics
magick
and
witch
craft

to invoke a spell
that would compel
YOU
to dance
the wiggle wiggle
naked
from hot rhythms
and slow melodic
sways
as i prayed
burning
blood red candles
during the darkest moon
for adorations
with endless masturbations
to your beautiful ass and feet
for tender red lipped mercies
kisses kisses kisses

because
you are beauty piqued
from your golden angelic head
soft silken hair
to your sweet pink arched feet
and twinkling painted toes
magnetized
to yank my eyes
cock boy sex toy
oh goddess glitter fuck
queen of heaven
all paradise any man needs

BUT
sometimes i couldn't have
YOU

and
it velvet crushed me
taught me hopelessness
broke my will
gave me fear
made me cry
shivering inside
tore my heart to smithereens
and twisted my in-nerds
like jagged metal
melting
as i spiraled
down
into madness
veins on fire
until inferiority dragged deep
suffocating me
shuddery
like
winters
midnight freeze
and howling winds
through
hollow
marrow-less
bones

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
love fear lose sex
Editing stage: 

Comments

I still want to know who she is. It seems you have someone quite specific in mind, but there are so many goddesses out there in every culture ..of sex, lust, poetic inspiration.

Does it matter who she is? For me personally, as a reader, it does. Who is this total
raison d'etre of your existence who you "sometimes couldn't have" which implies sometimes you did. Often just the title could be all the difference: "Lilith" , "Rati", etc.. This knowing this would create an entirely different experience of the poem as the reader can put the pieces together, rather than not really grasp this creature/goddess/destroyer/sadist character than obsesses you.

Lately I'm on a personal campaign- I believe a poem should somehow state clearly its "substance" and then be free to explore the endless inferences and meanings and surrealisms. Especially in the case of a "you" in the poem, I want to know who that is. How would it change the poem if you told me, the reader?
This is a very important subject to me, one I only discuss with poets such as you whom I respect. WDYT?

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Hi Mark, always appreciate hearing from you
On this one my friend ill push back a bit because in all honesty I believe specificity would undermine the whole idea of architype which this poem is partially about At 71 images of a few of those women conflate Suze Linda as vessels of goddess or Venus her self whether corresponding to Min or Astarte or a thousand other names be they Kabbalistic Hindu Greek Egyptian seems quite irrelevant to me in the context of this offering
The poem is about the impact of desire, attachment, loneliness; not a name
Who could she be but every woman I have ever loved or desired and couldn't have
She is iconic, archetypal of all cultures and human desire
She is beauty, silky sexuality from head to toe
She has legs feet hips breasts curves, symmetry, soft lips to kiss, etc.
She is emotional and sexual healing

The below Quote is from Alister Crowley
I thought id take the liberty to share it with you because it informs much of my writing

"The sexual nature of a man is his most intense expression of himself; his subconsciousness endeavors thereby to inform his consciousness of his Will… It is supremely sacred to him, and to interfere with its expression, or try to edit it, is an abominable crime.”

Best to you my friend
Z

author comment

why not call the poem "womankind" or something like that. Then I (reader) know your intent from the beginning and am invited to get right into the poem. I was thinking that "all women" might be the case, but the poem seems very focused, directed at a particular YOU, some specific goddess or priestess. "All women" just felt too broad.

Being now aware of your idea, I can enjoy the poem more. The abstraction within it becomes more credible.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Thank you my dear. Of course we know her by many and one
Love and pain yogas all of them it all happens with in us, is it not situational ?

Thank you,,,, for your supportive and so very kind comments; we share this view my friend

author comment

many memories of those I couldn't/shouldn't have had and some that I did anyways. I like that it could be anyone. Again, I find myself on the opposite side of Mark, but that is part of being the reader; we all interpret differently. Personally, I don't mind if a reader gets something unexpected or not even close to what I wrote. What matters for me, is that they got something out of it. Of course, when they totally get it, I am thrilled that I managed to convey my emotion and idea to the reader. You have a way of giving me the gist of a scene with just a line or two and that, my friend is what I'm talking about! ~ Geezer.
.

Comments and critique are a vital part of our community!
Critique or comment today!

cherished in our anthologies since the beginning of time that has opposite interpretations? What you are saying is that in literature a work can be called successful if the reader gets something out of it, even it's the opposite of what was meant. I think it's a normal part of the process to get unexpected responses from images in a poem, but not to get to miss the whole substance, or getting "close" to what was conceived in the writing.
The poet is free to ask questions of the reader, be they rhetorical, poetic, or even paradoxical. If the poet's intent is to confuse the reader, that's ok too. But I do not accept the premise that it doesn't matter what the poet meant, only what was received. If I interpret a poem written about love as about hate, the work to me is a failure.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

why not call the poem "womankind....The poem is not just about women it is a confessional about me ie first and foremost about the interior contours of inner emotional process of love and dealing with rejection when one is anchorless and desperately lonely i.e. vulnerable. I spent 16 long years essentially single being alone with only intermittent meaningful contact to break a hermetic prison of isolation The word You in this poem expresses my inner soul reflection because I am the subject while she the object, in my mind at least clearly iconic of femininity as indicated by the word YOU and not specific.

In other words what I feel you may have missed Mark is the I in the poem.

"why i never stopped trying to make a living
why i always went to the gym
and worked out to be diamond hard
why i was polite or inconsolable
why i ran seven miles a day
why i tried to be charming
why i could never stop playing with myself
why i got through James Joyce
why i learned
conversational hypnosis
neuro linguistics
magick
and
witch
craft"

I so appreciate the dialectic and convergence between the 2 of you, my dear friends
I would like to add a note about poetry broadly speaking, and that is a bit of ambiguity / abstraction / experimentation is part of what I find so tantalizing about poetry; a kind of mystique. Part of the art of writing poetry is that it can be at least partially unmoored from literalism towards atmospherics or subtle impressions like a synesthesia when a word becomes a taste, a color, emotional weather, a shadow, or point of light, sometimes inexplicably so
Don't those elements have meaning too? To me they are what give a poem its wings and in large part separate it from flat footed narratives

As for myself art remains a thin line between the concreate and the amorphic, between the foundational scaffolding of meaning and reaching for the stars on an ethereal ladder towards mystification and that in ether case may reveal the great power of language both in force and form
It seems to me the history of all art remains about breaking the rules of the normative, ditching rampant provincialism, embracing mutations transformations, retrogrades, etc. always in search of fresh expression and redefinition toward intellectual and creative ascendency.

Best Z

author comment

I'm sure you are familiar with Marianne Moore's famous poem "Poetry". I think among her many great points in the poem this one is relevant to this conversation:

"..When they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand:"

So the mystic has to be there. a poem needs to be many things to be a great poem.
If a portrait is painted with complete depth and control, but the subject would be seen to have one arm so out of proportion that it would reach the knees, it is not a good painting to me.
I try to read a lot of poetry philosophy and criticism, usually written by poets. The more I read the more I feel I should trust my own instincts as to what makes poetry work for me, and I have my preferences as we all do. I have no problem with the abstraction of images (I like them) but not with the abstraction of substance. If I cannot grasp the intent of a poem I have ceased to blame myself for being a stupid reader, I say the poet failed to give let me into it. If that was the poet's intent, to be vague and obtuse, as is the case quite often among amateur poets, I reject it; That is too fucking easy to do! Anybody can write gibberish and call it poetry. But to have an idea, a poetic truth that comes from the soul of imagination and expresses it in poetic form (using meter, sound, image, metaphor etc) is golden.
Most of your work fits that mold. You have a central theme, the release of erotic power, the breaking down of barriers to the libido, and the emotion comes through.
In this work, as I've said, I can't find the you, certainly not that the you IS you, nor the details you describe in the comments.
We poets have the luxury of starting a poem and going with wherever it will lead us as opposed to a sculptor with a chunk of marble in front of him- he better have an exact plan! This poem led you to where it exists, a list poem of accomplishes, desires, failures, and the whole of a life, really, with the title "vulnerable": "susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm: " I'm just not feeling it. That's not to say

suffocating me
shuddery
like
winters
midnight freeze
and howling winds
through
hollow
marrow-less
bones

is not great wordplay, word sound, and great imagery. Its just the poem is to me incomplete, like in the portrait painting.
I'm sure you find no offense in this, I feel comfortable enough in our correspondences to share my best take which helps me grow and explore my own relatonship to our art.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

I appreciate all you've said very much and I assure I'm not in the least put off; quite the contrary Your intentions are noble and good spirited aiming towards the higher and I'm always delighted to hear from you and thrive on your feedback and willingness to dialog is why I'm here. Thank you!!! always for your interest and willingness to work with me!!!

"..When they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible,
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand:"

Derivative works to my way of thinking do not make a thing unintelligible but tediously obvious

Personally there is much I admire that I don't understand, at least fully and understanding is not always fixed. Sometimes it is a process of slow assimilation, I think that is what may be meant by " a difficult pleasure" I must tell you while I enjoy the quotes I'm not tethered to them I think some one who may be an authority may offer an antithetical opinion to the one presented The below quote has always been valuable to me because it supports the idea of pondering that which may be only implied by a symbol or an enigmatic metaphor or something said that hovers on inexplicability and anti literal i.e. the force of abstraction, surrealism, stream of consciousness like a chain of events, or images which may only terminate in sensory experience.

Ex: the Russian avant-garde, color field painting, abstract expressionism, minimalism with their literary correlatives

"If you understand it; it is not art"
Andy Warhol ...I wouldn't want to be tethered to this either

Poetry has many vectors

anti-realism
sacralisation of art, which must represent itself, not something beyond preference for allusion (often private) rather than description
world seen through the artist's inner feelings and mental states
themes and vantage points chosen; use of myth, architypes and unconscious forces rather than motivations of conventional plot, w3hat many think of as substance

Not with standing your illuminated comment on substance; in my opinion the word "You" was the essential intent of the poem. In no way can I construe this as a negation of substance It simply was not about any one woman but as Ive mentioned the hunger for the feminine element in my life that was so sorely missed when I didn't have a woman's love in my life nor even a particular prospect
The substance and arc of the write is about desolation.

While I feel I needed to push back against some rigidity on this subject I also want you to know you have brought to me a greater focus towards writing with a more studied intricacy

I feel fortunate to have you share your thoughts and ideas; they definitely help me ponder, deepen and appreciate the art of poetry and my ability to write it.

Thank you
Best Z

author comment

After several hours of thinking about it...Plato preferred "truth" and "philosophy" to poetry to have understanding. My man Aristotle chose art as the highest form of understanding. So the argument is old, but still relevant. When I say "understand" I mean that the art, the poem, leads me to a "higher" understanding. It is understanding through the emotions and imagination. I don't want to comprehend a poem as science, as fact, that is not poetry, that is prose.
As Aristotle points out, good art must have good form. Poetry must have rich metaphor and language to enhance its poetic truth. For that the poem must be comprehensible or it cannot lead the reader to receive its gift.
Taking any great line of poetry..
"Especially when the October wind/ With frosty fingers punishes my hair..." there is immediate understanding. We can try to interpret this in prose, but will never attain the absolute understanding other than in poetics.
For me, the subject/substance/soul of a poem must be clear for the poetic truth to bloom. So in the act of reading a poem the imagination weaves with "meaning" while experiencing the sound and symbols of language.
Yes, there is that thin line between overstating intent (simplicity) and abstraction.
I think we both exist to walk that tightrope and try not to fall in either direction.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

The paths of Aristotle and Plato may not always be mutually exclusive Truth and art may be mixed
It almost seems like you are now making my argument now for the flexibility of the interpretive
You indicated in your comments about substance that in visual art the figurative only made sense if it where not distorted, yet Art tells us that Modigliani, Giacometti, Kokoschka, Francis Bacon, Georges Braque, Picasso, Condo, David Park and the list goes on, demonstrate quite the opposite.

"Especially when the October wind/ With frosty fingers punishes my hair..." there is immediate understanding. We can try to interpret this in prose, but will never attain the absolute understanding other than in poetics.

To use your logic I couldn't possibly be satisfied with this phrase because I don't know who the "My" is ……"My" is generic as is "You" They are both absent of specificity as in a name.

If you told me the name of the "My' do you think it would add substance in a relevant way?
I certainly don't? So if I told you that the You is Jane or Linda what difference could it possibly make?
Or are we misunderstanding each other?

Best Z

author comment

Danae. Locked away from men in a far away castle she is finally seduced by Zeus in the form of a golden shower (I'm sure you know all the paintings, esp. the Klimpt)
giving birth to Perseus...but that might be a different poem.

But I see your point and shall reconsider mine, I will one day come back to this poem, I printed it out and put it in my scrap book... my closing thought now would be the title.
Vulnerable is passive. this poem is 99% aggressive. Which is why it's a good poem.
You are writing from your gut the most primal of urges in the mating season, which for most of us primates, is always right now.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Danae. Locked away from men in a far away castle she is finally seduced by Zeus in the form of a golden shower (I'm sure you know all the paintings, esp. the Klimpt)
giving birth to Perseus...but that might be a different poem.

But I see your point and shall reconsider mine, I will one day come back to this poem, I printed it out and put it in my scrap book... my closing thought now would be the title.
Vulnerable is passive. this poem is 99% aggressive. Which is why it's a good poem.
You are writing from your gut the most primal of urges in the mating season, which for most of us primates, is always right now.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Thank you for that Mark. I really love our interactions; their honest intensity and the pleasure I get from your grasp and intelligence I've learned some important things from you not necessarily manifest in this poem which is about a year old

I always consider the source of opinions and in your case I take them very seriously!!
Its important for us to give each other challenges, to deeply consider each others opinions and considerations, to be honest, stand our ground or acquiesce when intellectually sincere, towards change from challenge and insight of each other

Gustav Klimt adore the work

Best Z

author comment

An interesting comment because there are poets who write a lot of stream of consciousness and those on the other side of the equation who thrive on the story and of course the middle ground which I think most of us occupy; or as mark referenced it, the dialectic between art and truth

Its an old dialectic that need not be if we would just realize there is room for both It is a kind of bicameral argument between the left and right brain or the ego and the id. We all have both and those who are right brained often thrive on the abstract elements and those left want the story line if we are talking purity Of course hopefully when god was passing out brains we got a decent helping
of both Also there is good stream of consciousness and bad, good narrative and bad
Personally like you I enjoy the surreal and disjunctured or abstract for great word play and stories delivered as flat footed narrative bore me to tears
Best Z

author comment

that you three have made my argument for me! Of course, when the reader gets the point and story told, it is a glorious feeling! However, as I pointed out, even if the reader takes the opposite stand on what it could possibly mean; they get something out of it and maybe will have conversations about what does it REALLY mean? ~ Geezer.
.

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