Old 05-20-2015, 05:33 PM   #1
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RIP Franz Wright

Franz Wright, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet and son of James Wright (also a Pulitzer winning poet), died last week at the age of 62. Here are two of his poems:

Thoughts of a Solitary Farmhouse

And not to feel bad about dying.
Not to take it so personally—

it is only
the force we exert all our lives

to exclude death from our thoughts
that confronts us, when it does arrive,

as the horror of being excluded— . . .
something like that, the Canadian wind

coming in off Lake Erie
rattling the windows, horizontal snow

appearing out of nowhere
across the black highway and fields like billions of white bees.

Rorschach Test

To tell you the truth I’d have thought it had gone out of use long ago;
there is something so 19th-century about it,

with its absurd reverse Puritanism.

Can withdrawal from reality or interpersonal commitment be gauged
by uneasiness at being summoned to a small closed room to discuss
ambiguously sexual material with a total stranger?

Alone in the presence of the grave examiner, it soon becomes clear
that, short of strangling yourself, you are going to have to find a way
of suppressing the snickers of an eight-year-old sex fiend, and feign cu-
riosity about the process to mask your indignation at being placed in
this situation.

Sure, you see lots of pretty butterflies with the faces of ancient Egypt-
ian queens, and so forth—you see other things, too.

Flying stingray vaginas all over the place, along with a few of their
male counterparts transparently camouflaged as who knows what pil-
lars and swords out of the old brain’s unconscious.

You keep finding yourself thinking, “God damn it, don’t tell me that
isn’t a pussy!”

But after long silence come out with, “Oh, this must be Christ trying
to prevent a large crowd from stoning a woman to death.”

The thing to do is keep a straight face, which is hard. After all, you’re
supposed to be crazy

(and are probably proving it).

Maybe a nudge and a chuckle or two wouldn’t hurt your case. Yes,

it’s some little card game you’ve gotten yourself into this time, when
your only chance is to lose. Fold,

and they have got you by the balls—

just like the ones you neglected to identify.
There is never a question of what to paint but only how to paint.
The how of painting has always been the image's end-product.

—Robert Ryman
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Old 05-23-2015, 12:58 PM   #2
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Bees of Eleusis
By Franz Wright

Unless a grain of wheat goes into the ground and dies, it remains nothing but a grain of wheat.
—John 12:24

The ingredients gathered, a few small red tufts of the dream spoor per sheaf of Demeter’s blonde wheat, reaped in mourning, in silence, ground up with the pollen and mixed into white wine and honey. These stored forms of light taken under the ground. Taken by mouth. First those who by birth hold in secret the word; then placed on the tongues of the new ones, into whose ears it is meant to be whispered. Word murdered, forgotten so long ago, placed as a kiss on the lips of the soon-to-be-no-longer breathing who mean to enter death with open eyes, with mouths saying Death, what death? We have no word for it in our country where the bride of a brighter oblivion reigns. Not the purple-haired god but the child queen, the raped girl, come back from the dead hand in hand with the child she conceived there, returned in a resurrected virginity, wind through green wheat. Present-day site of a minor refinery in Christ. Although by the tenth generation already the children of light (“in their dark garments”) had trampled and smashed and generally raped the two thousand years of this precinct and its holy meal, intolerable mirror. Men who’d designed and bowed down to a law derived from the sayings of one who appeared here to say that the law is abolished, it is too late, all that is over with. Men who bungled their way through the next eighteen centuries before finally descending into the earth themselves, and what they found there they used, and we thank you for destroying the destroyers of the world. And here at the end this is as good as any other entrance to the underplace, journey of the fallen leaf back to the branch, to the bees of Eleusis among olive blossoms, untroubled among crimson wildflowers. Four thousand years later: same flowers, same bees.

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