Reddy finished his dissertation last year ( 2008), a study of digression in 20th century American poetry, a topic near and dear to his heart. It took him a long time to hit upon his topic because, ironically, he kept changing the subject of his project. Who does Reddy claim is " the father of digression " in American poetry?
well... there is a puzzle for you...along with the soft gee...
His most recent collection of poetry, Voyager, has been described as a region of radical unlikeness where inspiration and disorientation travel hand in hand...
sounds like a rabbit hole I might want to explore.... in good company!
When thinking was fun without drinking
and loving was living without
I knew the arc of the back of the cat.
Now I know nothing of that.
"It's the last words, the true last? Or it's the murmurs? (The murmurs are coming, I know that well.) No, not even that. You talk of murmurs, distant cries, as long as you can talk. You talk of them before and you talk of them after. More lies: it will be the silence (the one that doesn't last) spent listening, spent waiting (for it to be broken, for the voice to break it). Perhaps there's no other, I don't know. It's not worth having, that's all I know. (It's not I, that's all I know.) It's not mine. It's the only one I ever had? That's a lie: I must have had the other, the one that lasts - but it didn't last. (I don't understand.) That is to say it did: it still lasts. I'm still in it. I left myself behind in it. I'm waiting for me there. (No, there you don't wait, you don't listen.)"
How can I move across this space?
I start with a dot not a line
the dot I'm standing on;
from the dot I extend a line towards the unknown
may be illuminated
I cast off my moorings I lean into a wild tenderness
I know it's just
I embrace the tempest tempting and tempering my soul
the end --
the only dot there is...
I'll go on...
that I might remember a story of every scar
assign to me a body
that I might hurt
the only way to say would be
attribute to me a body
that I might care
enough to miss you
and miss you enough
ascribe to me a body
shaped by moments
so time with
into my craft
author me a body
that I might write
of smoke & spark & flame
graceful dawns , easy waking,
dreamscapes, lifescapes, oceans, shorelines
ascribe to me a body
that I might die
as my last thought
wonder even now if what i
felt was jealousy or envy... i
'm still unsure
neither most likely fear most likely
lonely most of all but i
'm pathetic enough to want you
to notice me some scrap of tenderness i
want to impress you
and your gaze and attention
how do i
get across this space when shadows are the colour of bruises
& the dots feel more and more like tears
my heart knows that i
deserve all that i
Sad to say, my eyes are open*
revenge is a dish that is best served cold.
* with thanks to Jon, June, 08.
Jane has a love-hate relationship with Joy. This is not a metaphor...or an irony. Here is the message Jane sent Joy the week before:
$ick!! phone i$ off. $orry. i'll w@tch 4 u @nytime pm $@turd@y.
Joy thinks Jane has lost it until she remembers Jane telling her that she can't get the letters 'a' and 's' to work on her computer which is too bad they seem like important letters for lots of words. Whatever. Joy gets it. She parks in the driveway...it feels like it is too late already but there was no way to call just show up & hope for the best. The dogs go freakin' wild as soon as Joy touches the gate. The back steps are flanked by two stone sculptures, a seated hippo on the left and a fat placid buddha on the right ...it's like a shit altar ...there's no way I'm making this up, man... Joe flings open the door...aw, f@#k, man... you're not Jack! Joy stares him down he holds back the dogs on straining tangling leashes but their paws get into the shitpile. Jane pushes past as best she can, giddy with freedom, shoes flopping she slips and steps in the shitty goo that's smeared all over the step but follows Joy like a woman on a mission you can't track that shite into the car, Jane... I'm sorry ....
Jane throws her shoes back over the fence. Just go...she says, dragging herself into the car, I'm good. She struggles to pull socks over her gnarled toes as Joy backs out. She's wearing a man's shirt, green with stripes too big her hair is a mess., skin clammy, breath coming in gasps and pants. OUT...at last. Jane finally crumples, collapsing into the seat. Joy just drives.
How about we go for a coffee she says after a time... I know a place where we can sit in the car and watch the water... maybe listen to the birds ...or nothing, Even better. Joy gets them coffee. They sit and watch grey birds and grey water and grey sky. Jane sobs I'm so f#@&ed, Joy..I mean, I paid the rent but Jack's got all the rest I can't even buy cat litter. I got cash Joy says. I'll give you some. Will; not might. This is an important detail. Everything is quiet except for sips, swallows and gulls. Jane gazes over at Joy. Can we get some tylenol on the way back?
and I can't ever do justice to this unnamable madness of povertybullshiteverydaysorrow.... I want it to go silent, it wants to go silent, it can't.
Dear Teacher Satan... without whom we would have never been able to employ our free will, and surely we would have remained imprisoned in our childhood paradise without ever tasting the vastness of being like God.
i start with a dot not a line
the dot I'm standing on
from the dot I extend a line towards the unknown
may be illuminated
I cast off my moorings I lean into a wild tenderness
What's the sea like once you let go of that rope?
The form is the vessel, as Rumi says, to hold the meaning
forgot what I knew
cast my soul
let it be
closer to human
nothing in word
fails to tell
who could tell
call them poetry
someone get it
that damn phone
probably for you
I'm not home
how it goes
both one and the other
knell of bells
scent of pepper
white whipped wind
see ser so
de door busses in kerhoe
nor Silly, dem is ducks!
Cows and trucks.
will not be coaxed into a plot *
wielding my sword of indifference i
that you can do without
that must be how it goes i
don't ( wouldn't ) need much of an imagination if i
have (had) (a) memor(y)ies i
would have truths and lies and silences
* with thanks to Hopper's story with the brief ambition to be
I hear you
ink on the headlights
dark and ticking
stained and dangerous
out of focus
out of time
I was reading through interiority/exteriority/unnanable and I did some research on Samuel Beckett....so, I thought I could add an artwork linked to the second last line of the text ....'I can't go on'. I've attached a painting that I did in 2005....
I hope I'm understanding the project correctly but you can let me know if it's inappropriate :>
thanks and hope you're having a good day!
this work of art is a perfect match to that sentence... 'I can't go on.'
the posture of the body... the 4 right angles dominant in the painting... connoting stillness... the fact that we don't see any legs... and that the character's back is to us... all reinforce this theme of 'can't go on'...
but i see the last sentence of the text inherent in this beautiful art work too: 'I"ll go on.'
to me the bare body signifies a kind of birth... or rebirth... and with each birth comes a path on which we go on...
so happy you took part in Jon's project...
so honored you shared your precious artwork...
so excited i could step in it...
lots of love
There is a danger in a plot.
Nor should you be coaxed into character.
Once you create a character they require a lot of attention.
Right now there is enough.
There is the narrator.
There is the reader.
Both of us surreal to the other.
Both of us unimportant.
So when I tell you the story that I'm going to unfold just keep that in mind.
None of it's real at all.
Think how the narrator never experienced anything.
Think how the reader experiences something all their own.
Together we will look for the first time at this particular set of circumstances.
This may or may not lead to a story.
joe drove to the humane society and got a pet rat. he named the rat pixie. pixie is a stupid rat. this is an important detail. joe and jane have conflicting sleep schedules. this is an important detail. jane is exhausted by mid -evening when joe usually smokes a joint and takes some E. joe passes out and hours later wakes up in a panic screaming for jane to find pixie. jane squeezes her swollen fingers inside a hole in the couch and gets pixie...just like that. she can think like a rat i guess and figures pixie is stupid enough to get trapped inside the couch. pixie races around in the delirious dance of an ex-con. jane does some screaming of her own pixie is your rat what the hell were you thinking... tottering under my own skin and bones ...jane can't be doing this shite...ok so they understand each other. another day another night ....justin, josh, john, jessie and joe smoke some joints and take some E. more hours later josh's stoner moans of horror wrench jane out of sleep and drag her to the bedroom door jane he says spike's caught a really big mouse...i don't know, man....
jane shovels pixie's guts and carcass into a garbage bag and sobs hersslf back into some kind of agony induced coma I can't be doing this shite. joe ventures out and brings back more essentials you know how it is, man, you run out ya gotta get more... hey...he says to jane i got us another pixie...
j is just after i and what is between noise and i .... pain and madness...or everyday life
They say what they do
The cord they cut though
Can't be sliced through
Unseen strings s......t.......r......e.....t......c......h unbreakable fabric
--from Beckett's Catastrophe.
& was 12 the first time she learned to become dead ...
Francis was a man of god; her first...
Thursday evenings' choir practices are the hunting ground...rooms buried in the warren presided over by St. Anthony, the last sentinel, this man of stone, protector of travelers, nomads and lost souls
sees nothing, hears nothing, feels nothing
cursing man cursing god
his arms hover in a gesture
that will never begin
i am wary...
i have not been so permeable in a time
and the wild is as lovely as I remember it
i ride the tides of moon and ocean
no need of a mouth
the words are everywhere
i am waterbug
i am smoke
i am a shy girl in a strange plaid coat
that used to be a blanket
2) a pickled-herring beard?
3) a forgotten embarrassment?
4) an exquisite harassment?
5) 700 piercing riches?
6) a kiss from Buster Keaton?
7) never-ending discourse?
8) a 12-pack of frozen humility?
that the word hat comes up more often than
time in the text, but strangely never as just hat
the hat shown in this photo was a gift from Fern
not what I was before
not writing poetry and lofty lines like someone is ever going to read them, or using the comma or spacing for full stops
I am what I am
I left my home many times and wandered this land
no clue where I'd come from
turning in the crisp air and around that highway through Rockie Mountain House
or was it scrawled on the door of a toilet in Dublin or was it
I am what I am
a grain in a sea of sand
hand in hand and had
I am what was left over from a rhyme about revolution and the way that things could be if there wasn't a Geneva Convention and the protection of prisoners and all that bollocks
where the high water mark shows on the strand
I am what I am
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
-- from "The Waking", Theodore Roethke
What is that thin line between one thing and the next? What makes this prose and that poetry? Why is his language better than mine and why does he say things more beautifully than I? Is it because he isn't asking questions? Is it because he is not asleep?
the hand stays there for a long time... in midair... pointing... to nowhere...
that was a scene in a film i watched long long time ago... think it was The Suspended Step of the Stork by Theo Angelopoulos, if i'm not mistaken...
But that's not the part of the story that really interests me -- the reality of it or whatever. I'm not interested in the cops and the rain and the thunder outside. I'm not interested in playing chess. What I'm interested in is the dream I had the night before the evening I found myself in the coffee shop, and what about it I wrote down. If only I could remember. All my troubles would melt away. I must have left that pad of paper somewhere. How will I ever find it now?
at me in the dark
waiting for them
to stop watching
so I can flee this space
and find relief
swinging and swaying within beneath above
millions of fish
they swim towards me teeming parting fluttering i
feel them glide past
furiously invisible i
see them below me as a cloud of movement and i
don't need to see
or hear to feel or sense and even when i don't i
tilt up at them i
am within and they are all around i
am all around and they are within
i am a baby i
just left my ocean i
am now just making sense of this big
but it seems i
have lots of time
I sum up. (Now that I'm here it's I will do the summing up, it's I will say what is to be said and then say what it was. That will be jolly!) I sum up: I and this noise. I see nothing else for the moment, but I have only just taken over my functions. I and this noise. (And what about it? Don't interrupt me, I am doing my best.) I repeat: I and this noise. On the subject of which (inverting the natural order) we would seem to know for certain, among other things, what follows: namely, on the one hand (with regard to the noise), that it has not been possible up to date to determine with certainty, or even approximately, what it is, in the way of noise - or how it comes to me, or by what organ it is emitted, or by what perceived, or by what intelligence apprehended (in its main drift). And on the other, that is to say with regard to me (this is going to take a little longer) - with regard to me (nice time we're going to have now) - with regard to me, that it has not yet been our good fortune to establish with any degree of accuracy what I am, where I am: whether I am words among words, or silence in the midst of silence (to recall only two of the hypotheses launched in this connection). (Though silence to tell the truth does not appear to have been very conspicuous up to now. But appearances may sometimes be deceptive.) I resume: not yet our good fortune to establish, among other things, what I am (no, sorry - already mentioned), what I'm doing, how I manage to hear (if I hear, if it's I who hear), and how to understand (ellipse when possible, it saves time) - how to understand (same observation), and how it happens (if it's I who speak - and it may be assumed it is, as it may be suspected it is not), how it happens (if it's I who speak) that I speak without ceasing, that I long to cease, that I can't cease (I indicate the principal divisions: it's more synoptic). I resume: not the good fortune to establish, with regard to me (if it's I who seek), what exactly it is I seek, find, lose, find again, throw away, seek again, find again, throw away again (no, I never threw anything away, never threw anything away of all the things I found, never found anything that I didn't lose, never lost anything that I mightn't as well have thrown away); if it's I who seek, find, lose, find again, lose again, seek in vain, seek no more: if it's I, what it is (and if it's not I, who it is, and what it is).
the other foot the untied and dangling
she held his foot
cool to her neck
her disobedience meek and craving.
Meaning Units and Strong Words
There's a story for you! / That was to teach me the nature of emotion (that's called emotion): what emotion can do (given favourable conditions), what love can do. (Well well! So that's emotion! That's love!) And trains, the nature of trains. And the meaning of your back to the engine, and guards, stations, platforms, wars, love, heart-rending cries. / (That must be the mother-in-law: her cries rend the heart as she takes down her son. Or her son-in-law? I don't know. It must be her son, since she cries.) / And the door? The house-door is bolted: when she got back from the station she found the house-door bolted. Who bolted it? He the better to hang himself? Or the mother-in-law the better to take him down? Or to prevent her daughter-in-law from re-entering the premises? There's a story for you! / (It must be the daughter-in-law: it isn't the son-in-law and the daughter, it's the daughter-in-law and the son. / How I reason to be sure this evening!) It was to teach me how to reason, it was to tempt me to go, to the place where you can come to an end.
in my dream it was still twilight and as I reached the first bonfire
I thought about how one of the cops must have known that I was talking about them already
even if it wasn't true
they were sitting outside in the real world waiting for coffee
I was inside away from the rain and lightening and I took a book out of my backpack
when I saw in the light of the fire that I wasn't the same color anymore
life seemed so much better in the midst of that beach and that ocean and that fire
but it came to me after a time that I should move on
in my dream it was as though time had opened up
it was twilight for hours
the police car pulled up behind me and I asked the two cops what they'd like in their coffee
both of them said black
this was either before or after they shot me
I don't remember
my memory is a bit vague
the night before I'd had a very strange dream and it clouded my thoughts that day
it was twilight and I was standing on a stony beach at the ocean
beneath a cliff face looking down the length of the strand
there were three bonfires
equal distances apart above the high water mark
I began to walk towards the nearest
sound of the gull
chatter of beach rocks in the tide
but then I'm a wanted man
it wouldn't do for me to go around telling everyone what I looked like I think I was reading Faust or something anyway it doesn't matter there was thunder and lightening outside and I was just as happy to have the cops come inside and get me if they cared that much and I wanted to write about a dream that I'd had, and I don't know why I thought to write it down but I'll tell you nonetheless.