February 9, 2002
O trumpetman, unswallowed song
your yellow-down bluesound dogface to confound,
sing sweet what you knew aloud,
sing your very funeral shroud-
the death of you, you know?
Known to now.
O saxman written on your reed
history shades of black and awhile,
purr the pregnant, poignant prose and call me home.
purple-rich tone at home and roam
you're ash in the kingdom
rubbed to sooth word-struck wounds
O drummerman solid boatsman mighty armed
steadfast slip over cymbal stream and
scythe in your hand, you can.
back bone of a notion
spine of the time
fertile ground for the sound.
Breathe as the trumpetman breathes.
Blow as the saxman blows.
Beat as the drummerman beats.
--A poem I wrote in college, I should look up the season. I think the instructor (Peter Richards) thought it was about the best that I produced that semester, but to me it seems a bit contrived. The discrepancy between other people's idea of which poems of mine were best and my own is one of the reason I consider myself mostly a prose guy.
Incidentally, I found a stash of old papers and things I had saved, so there will probably a bit more of the selfindulgent navel-gazing on this site for a while. I'll try to keep it lively.
Quote of the Moment
"If you could understand it, it wouldn't be poetry."
--Online Propaganda Newsletter of Adam Green(1 comment)
May 14, 2002
ObjectsMy life is my hand
The whorls of my fingers...
or a map-
My hand, my life, holds a novel,
pages smelling of the book's history;
words smelling of the book's birth-
textured like green polished stones
Found ArtHe is brilliant, yes, but evil. So evil I
despair of comprehending him. This man
doesn't want to murder his father and
possess his mother: he wants to murder God
and posess the cosmos.
EchoAll voices told me "no"
a chorus with the tides
like a mute echo-
echo, first hope
of sun and dirt
a single hope
set in the cliff-face
written in ancient script
chisled with tools
of steel sinew muscle
bone clay stone flesh
There is nothing more to be said
There is nothing,
more to be said.
nothing more to be said
--things I wrote in my poetry class with Peter Richards at Tufts University (found on a dot matrix printout) Not sure what I think of them now...a bit gimmicky maybe. "Found Art" was taken verbatim from a Usenet post, later I used it as the basis for Unspoken, you can see some other things I've written as well.(1 comment)
September 5, 2002
I hate quiche
but what I hate
the most is feesh
rots in a bag
smells so bad
it makes me gag
not fit to eat
why do folks think
they're such a treat?
two big eyes
they stare at me
they always stare
but never see
constantly take a bath
that is what
makes me laugh
for as they bathe
all night and day
then what the heck
makes 'em smell that way?
|--Kirk Israel, published in my High School's annual literary review, Eucuyo '90. They must've liked it, they closed the review with it. If I'm feeling masochistic I'll post the poem that opened the review, also by me.|
September 9, 2002
i often wonder
what exactly is the difference
between "good" poets and "bad" poets
two lines, like a ticket counter--one labeled GOOD
and which one am i in
and if it matters
for while everyone it seems
would like to be "good" it seems
that the "bad" poets
have a better time of it
they can write for
greeting-cards and get money
or write advertisements
for if you measure
a poet's relative ability
by how he can change lives
the "bad" poets win
using little sing-songs
that run through your mind
and that make people BUY!
that is why and how the "bad" poets
change your life
AND "good" poets
usually aren't really good
until they're dead
chilled and rotting
what good does
it do you then?
--Kirk Israel, published in my High School's annual literary review, Eucuyo '90. This is the poem that I threatened to use here when I kisrael'd this other one, surprisingly used to open the review. Its only saving graces come from the way it rips o...I mean, reflects the cadence and attitude of Don Marquis and his "archy & mehitabel" works, which I was (and still am) very fond of.(8 comments)
December 22, 2003
I want to write about those times when I was happiest;
those times when good fortune seemed to alight on my shoulders
and the sky was smiling down on me with a grin the size of the world.
(When asked what had satisfied him most in life,
Man Ray -- photographer, painter, sculptor, innovator --
said "...I'd say women".
...I'll say women.)
High School summer nights;
heels over head for the German girl--
--my last simple love. Late nights outside
the home of her host family...
(Maybe I broke one heart to get there.
Maybe not. In either case it was worth it.)
...leaning, pushed up against the cinder wall that
was still releasing the heat absorbed in the day.
standing, leaning, but legs splayed,
the German girl standing between them,
leaning in close herself.
Kissing, and kissing, and kissing, and kissing.
In a month I'll notice she stops closing her eyes
but now, this moment: I was happiest.
Years later. College.
That beautiful girl with the curly long dark hair.
So assured. Sitting in that white and black
director's chair. Her shirt off. Leaning back.
Those beautiful breasts. Knowing a dozen guys
on campus whose envy at that situation could
knock down the walls of that brave little dorm room.
Thinking that this time could be the time
it was going to work, was going to stay working.
Her leaning so far back, letting herself melt into that moment.
That cheap chair would break in minutes.
And that damn carousel of a romance would spin away
from me by midterms. But that moment: I was happiest.
Finally. Years after college.
A midwinter escape to the Jersey Shore with
you and some friends. (The Russian chick, and
her husband, but they're a different story)
Together the four of us had run away, just for
a short while, a break from the workaday life,
But more than that, I thought all the old cycles
had broken. The old patterns of finding and
loss washed away. I tasted some salt from the
ocean water. I wrote a heart and our initials
in the damp sand. My college drinking buddy
and I had found something more in each other
and I thought that was all there was to find.
It was a moment, a moment that held the end
of needing other moments: I was happiest.
Now, this moment.
You say that you're leaving.
Maybe I don't understand why.
Maybe I understand all too well.
Kundera wrote of poetic memory. That's what I inscribed
in his book that I gave to you: "to finding a place in
poetic memory". But I thought...I thought it would be
more about being poetry. Less about being a memory.
Maybe we'll each find more times, other moments.
Maybe I'll be happiest again.
I don't know and I can't know
but right now I miss you more than anything.
April 16, 2004
Sorry for yesterday's entry, it was a bit content-lite and self-indulgent. (I know, completely unprecedented for this site.)
Somehow that sign I took the photo of went away...I've got to call the Real Estate folks, I know they were sending someone to put it more firmly in place, maybe something went wrong...
Here's one thing I was working on, a little teaching program for 2600 Cookbook called "milquetoast the ghost". I think he's one of the cutest 8x8 monochrome sprites I've ever seen, especially when you press the button to make him go boo...
Political Quote and Article of the Moment
"And the credibility of the United States is incredibly important"
--Bush Jr...in Trust, Don't Verify William Saletan cuts him a little slack for his frequent misuse of "incredible" ("illiterate, is harmless", as when paired with "credibility") but then rips into him for the contradictions inherent in his outlook. Did you hear that clip of Bush stammering when asked if he's made any mistakes? Not being able to admit mistakes, even in the "mistakes were made" dodging-sense, is a huge character flaw.
Poem of the Moment
And then there's the one you write
that makes even you laugh.
You never want to see her again.
You don't want to see her handwriting
on a letter. You don't want to come home
and see the little yellow light
flashing messages of regret.
You don't want to pick up the phone
and hear how much she's been missing you.
Couldn't you meet for a drink?
Not any more. Maybe in a year or two.
All you want to do now
is draw a line under your life
and get on with the past.
Do you make yourself perfectly clear?
You sign with just your name,
a businesslike touch
which makes even you laugh.
--Hugo Williams, "All That". Modulo gender and technology choices, I'm thinking that's about what Mo's feeling now.
Link of the Moment
I was going to post this around Valentine's Day, but it was down, maybe it got swamped with traffic...The Kiss "is a place to talk about kisses. Specifically, it's a place to talk about those kisses that mattered - the kiss that made an impression that stuck with you long after the kiss itself was over, the kiss that you still remember all the details of, the kiss that you still think about sometimes." Cool reading.
Q+A of the Moment
Brooke followed my instructions and has answered some question trios of her own, including ones I asked. I know the "copy this into your journal" instruction works better on LJ, since everyone there has their own journal, but did any other kisrael.com question askers follow suit somewhere?
December 17, 2006Poem of the Moment
been down these roads
a long while now
saw a lot of friendly faces
working it all out
too many times
i've been finding easy gravy trains
making those gravy train angels
sweeping our arms
facing the sky
laying down by the side of the trail
--A rough recreation of a "Paul Simon lyric" I read in a dream last night. The most memorable part was the idea of making "snow angels" in gravy, and how that plus the "gravy train" was a metaphor for taking romance too casually, and too much for granted.
It seemed a lot more meaningful in the dream.
September 8, 2008
"C'est la Vie!"
"this should not be!"
more stoically; philosophically--
"C'est la Vie..."
--a poem I twittered the other day; I'm trying to use "C'est la Vie" as a bit of a mantra to preempt or quench these little bursts of frustrated outrage I experience on a regular basis.
Such a pleasure of autumn, to kick back on a Sunday afternoon or night, put on a football game you don't care about, websurf, maybe sleep...
New favorite dumb car name: the Nissan "Murano". Because "Idiota" just didn't scan.
a massage can have a message, but a message can't have a massage
J.Brown:"You don't have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got- Don't turn it loose, 'cause it's a mother."-best drumsolo advice
Nice, got a ticket for tonights soldout-record-breaking Red Sox game! (Why do I never have my Sox hat or sweatshirt when this happens...)
Kevin S points out that soldout-record-breaking game SOUNDS cool, but people at the next night, or the next, etc etc, will have it too Prince on the piano riffing on "So High" - at 18 minutes it's longer than I'd put in my music collection, but it's good.
Accept the things you cannot change:
the bleating clock,
the nightly go
--dog leash in tow--
around the block,
a longing stare
and X-ray eye,
and the niggling fact
that things will stay
roughly this way,
to be exact.
Forgive the things you cannot have:
the supple bod,
a nicer pad,
long chats with God,
an older name,
your peers' respect,
the oll korrect,
a sense of ease
in your own skin,
a lighter burden
The life you'd swap for on the train
is much like yours
though it appears
So, why this pain
that shorts the breath
and spoils your health?
You grow serene--
not yet, but after
your will resigns
a few more times
with heavy laughter.
--David Yezzi, "Acceptance Speech" published in The Atlantic
LOL Trump. Why is public radio playing his VP like its news not propaganda? Also I love how he says he's going back over the years to look at the Middle East, starting with Clinton, and some how skips 2000-2008? LOLOLOL, Republicans.
"Pokemon Go is also terrific if you enjoy having your workday constantly interrupted by imaginary bats, like Hunter S. Thompson."
So I've been noticing more music missing from iTunes :-( Luckily I have both some old archives and even the mojo to parse out what old stuff might be missing, but it's a super-pain. My devblog: parsing itunes Library.xml into json
1. Man, it was a long year! The stuff at the beginning of the year seems so long ago. (Seems kind of weird I've only been going out with Melissa for a year and half or so.)
2. Arguably, there's too much band stuff :-D I mean it's important to me, and photo/audiogenic, but maybe I should start favoring less repetitive stuff...
3. I think I might start posting these seasonally rather than monthly. I'm wondering if 30 seconds is too short but 6 minutes is too long - 1:30 seems like a decent time, and I tend to think of the year in seasons anyway (meteorological not astronomical - fall being Sept Oct Nov, Winter being Dec Jan Feb, etc, not based on solstice / equinox etc)
"These Dunkin Donuts drink carry trays seems like they should be useful for something - I think there's a lifehack for them? Like you put in seedlings in them?"
"Yeah, that sounds like such a lifehack thing. You know what's another lifehack? Don't spend your precious time and energy making seedlings."
--Melissa and Me
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I've shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I'll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that's a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
--Maggie Smith, "Good Bones"
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less travelled by, Tripped over a branch, and broke my nose -- I hear America singing, and doggone if someone's not flat. One of the tenors, I think. -- Open here I flung the shutter, when with many a flirt and flutter Traversed that curs'd bird from the week before I shot it dead, and then it drop upon the floor Now, the Raven 'nevermore' -- Two roads diverged, but the one I wanted to take had a detour sign on it, dammit to hell. -- A rock sat in the woods, thinking, for many years, of many things. Realized God and His plan How to perfect life for plant and man but it was a rock, and rocks can't speak so it had to keep it to itself -- an ant crossed the sidewalk in its busy little industry i saw reflected the laws of god and man 'enough of this' I thought and crushed its tiny head--I had been searching through old scanned school papers for these, when I found them in a one of the PalmPilot journal entries I slapped on my website, in a 1997 memo called "Old Poems", so I think they date back to college or high school.
I'd been thinking of the rock poem a lot. One way of framing arguments I have with my conversation sparring partner is that I tend to focus on the surfaces things, or more specifically the interactions they can have, while to me he seems obsessed with how things really are through and through, in a deep interior way. It's interesting that as far back as 25 years ago the idea that interactions and communications are what give interior lives meaning.
That sparring partner also trotted out the psychological figure of the puer aeternus, eternal adolescent. The fact he considers the label absolutely damning while I think it's, I dunno, incomplete but descriptive, and with it's pros and cons, speaks to the other parts of the profound differences in our outlooks.
(Also looking at the latin phrase it reminded me of 1997 The New Yorker reviewed the Blender of Love (there really was a lot less going on on the web back then) and I had to look up what "puerile"meant when describing my editorials. I was mildly offended, but hey, it's The New Yorker and they cut it with "somewhat".)