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  November 2004
Columns
volume 2 number 4
 
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  editor at large
Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
Nonpareil: Ursula T. Gibson, poetry editor of Poetic Voices
  editor at large
Marie Lecrivain
The Nature of Poetry: Velene Campbell, editor of Abalone Moon
  essayist
Stosh Machek
my muse speaks
  reviewer
Francisco Dominguez
Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Vol. 2
  reviewer
Marie Lecrivain
Holly Prado's These Mirrors Prove It
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Laura A. Lionello
Aire Celeste Norell's Cracked Pavement & Plastic Trees: Our Gifts To Future Generations
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Marie Lecrivain
L.A. Writers Recommend...
 
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Stosh Machek November 2004
   

 

my muse speaks

...yea, verily;
the sufis advise:
"when you come upon truth,
say not; 'i have found THE truth,'
rather say instead;
'i have found A truth',
or; just
shut
up"

† † as I lay abed on a recent hot summer nite, sneezing into a large volume of kant, i was visited by my own personal poetry muse 'berato', who arrived, as was her usual M.O., in a wisp of smoke smelling of opium & lilac.
† † she perched herself upon a large pile of dirty laundry in the corner near the mattress & lit a small cigar.
† † "lissin kid', [she often called me kid], "in spite of what you might stumble across in the writings of dusty old europeans, poetry today is not what it always has been."
† † "how can that be?', i asked, '"for isnt the observation & celebration of beauty, as an order transcending specifics & therefore all instances of subjective feeling, the standard by which any writing, sculpture, or painting, is adjudged as art?"
† † ...the muse smacked me solidly upside the head with the flat of her hand, smiling sweetly.
† † ''thatís for using the word 'adjudged'. no fuzz-nuts, i'm afraid the drivel you just spouted is part of an out-moded ideal."
† † she pointed to my faded vinyl window blind & an apparition appeared upon its cracked & filthy surface:
† † a plumber wearing dingy brown cartharts was sitting at a greasy lunch counter. he swallowed a gulp of beer & burped, then turned to us & said;
† † "plato's ideals were plato's; they donít pay my rent, or float my boat."
† † with that, the apparition vanished.
† † "you know", said the muse, polishing her fingernails on her toga, "ultimately, beauty is a construct of the human mind, & is therefore subjective to humans & NOT truly universal. after all, earth could be the ugliest part of the universe for all you posers know".
† † "so the appreciation of beauty in & of itself is not only valid definition for what constitutes art or poetry?", i ventured cautiously, wary of another crack upon my cranium.
† † "did i stutter?" she asked arching an eyebrow. "the way you humans see needs to be constantly updated".
† † she pointed again to the window blind where a vision of a lab coated scientist appeared. he pushed a thick pair of glasses up the bridge of his nose & said; "the more we find out; the less we know", & shrugged sheepishly. the vision disappeared & the muse flicked cigar ashes on my rug.
† † "ideas of beauty change from culture to culture, from century to century. these changes are generally driven by the youth as old farts cling to old modes. granny hates the way kids these days talk & dance, & her granny felt the same way, & so on. academia & other establishment poobahs hear the wind blowing now & understand it later.
† † there have been & will be too many ideals of beauty to make it the sole standard for what art is & can ONLY be for the history & future of the human race.
† † the purpose & definition of art is more than upholding a standard of beauty. in fact, what i came tonite to lay down to you is the concept that art & poetry ought to be, among other things, the inspiring of new modes of perception in the observer & the thorough shaking of old ones"
† † "so what constitutes poetry?" i asked
† † "pay attention", she said, leaning forward & grasping my chin in her hand with a vise-like grip,
† † "poetry is word/craft & word/art.
† † craft is being thoughtful, clever & deliberate, & showing style. art is bringing together elements that shake-up peoples perceptions, & offer new perspectives, ultimately inspiring the audience.
† † it's not just about meter & lyricism & upholding an antiquated ideal of beauty.
† † "what about the differences between written poetry & performed poetry?", i asked, hoping to not to piss her off by changing the subject.
† † she curled her lip & furrowed her brow. † † "a good performance can smooth out mediocre writing, blurring it to the point where one can no longer trust that which one hears or, in some cases, trust that they're hearing anything at all. a performance poet is someone that disseminates poetry by performance, period. if you're reading it out loud, you're performing it. but before its performed, it has to be written. so all poetry must start, & ultimately stand on its merits there on the page. what's done with it after that is just window dressing."
† † "so... what is...poetry?", i asked, flinching & wincing, as she raised her hand again, then took a long drag off the cigar
† † "lissin close bean brain; a poem is: a literary endeavor of celebratory or descriptive expression, written with the aim of moving the audience thru its modes of expressed perception, & perspective"
† † "yes'm", i offered.
† † "now don't ever make me hafta fukkin tell you this again", she warned, & poofed away in a vapor of purple smoke.
† † i tossed kant into the corner & picked up a dog-eared copy of bukowski's 'mocking bird wish me luck'. i wondered if i had any more beer left.

copyright 2004 Stosh Machek

   


Stosh Machek


author's bio

    Stosh Machek is from Chicago, where, he is fond of saying, "Poetry gets written like car crashes, and then read like houses on fire." Before moving to L.A. three years ago, Stosh would read his poetry to enthusiastic and/or drunken audiences at venues around Chicago three to four times a week. He was a regular reader at Weeds, Floetry at the Subterranean, and The Green Mill. He also ran a couple of his own poetry venues: Wednesday Nites at Cafe Bolero and The Poetry Thugs. Recently, Stosh has been hosting The Brand Booksop Poetry & Stories Reading, a showcase venue at the Brand Bookshop in Glendale, CA.
    He claims that his father was a cinder block, his mother was a ragged Freudian impulse, and that his grandmother was a stewardess on the Luftwaffe.