INTRODUCTION..........................................Michael R. Collings Remembery II - Sightings over Vistas to Remembery..Michael R. Collings POST SCRIPTUM Copyright information and author's Internet address.
Author's Note: These poems are intended to mesh with the first Remembery sequence, published as the April 1995 online-issue of Ygdrasil, as did the first poems, these simultaneously explore the twining of past and present, image and imagination, public and private, self and society. These poems also explore manifestations/permutations of the sonnet as form and as metaphor, ranging from the strictly metrical to loosely, almost haphazardly syllabic, from close-to-perfect rhyme to consciously distanced slant rhyme and analytical rhyme. As do all poems, the Remembery sequences originate in the mind and memory of the poet; this is not to suggest, however, that the poems are the poet, nor that any of the memories herein contained have not been subjected to various changes--one hopes, to improve them as poetry while distancing them as history or autobiography. Still, the emotional and psychological journey suggested here has resulted in the poet--in this person, at this point in a particular life. If any aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, one-time neighbors, long-lost school-chums, or other participant and/or peripheral characters in the ongoing odyssey of the poet's life recognize themselves and take umbrage at my distortion of strict fact, my apologies; this poetry is meant to heal and strengthen, not to hurt. But along the way to health, there may be sometimes a necessary pain. Michael R. Collings
REMEMBERY II by Michael R. Collings Sightings over Vistas to Remembery Sightings: Seagulls Yesterday I heard a distant seagull Cry and, glancing skyward, saw dream-white Touched with charcoal-ash arc above [ ..., ] small, Deft sounds of feathers ruffled air. Too late I focused--by then it had diminished To a fluted cry, brief echo against Unbroken blue. [ ... ] Too late, it flashed Once more, so far removed it seemed to test Remembery--a flash, a moment's grace Urging plaintively beyond a linen World. [ ...and gone..... ] It carried into time, space, Eternity a single fading glint That I shall now encase in brittle glass, Immure in beds of browning, bitter moss. Sightings: Pelicans From shore, the rock hunched white and sodden, drowned By whorls of spray, softened to mottled greys-- After-sunset-pearls. Something moved. Down They dropped, black kernels knotting darkness, day's Tears--dark-on-white--plashing against bone-rock, Skull-rock craning up, around, enticing Waves. They dropped, spiraled, settled on the back Of that single white-washed promontory Half-a-hundred yards beyond dull cliffs. One, Then two, then four--they singly stroked the wind To find each place of settlement--alone, Disparate on the rock's rutched arc, they dined On half-digested fish. This year, four eggs, Bone-china-thin, lay shattered in stick nests. Sightings: Swallows I watched them whirl--an indeterminate rout-- Beyond the lintel, flared feathers flashing Silver-and-grey, seeming-black beneath clouds Piled up offshore before invading The Coastal Range. I watched them swirl and hurl Themselves on invisible currents--twist, Arc, pivot, rise, and fall in immeasur- Able rhythms that avoided close-massed Bodies of fellows diving for similar blobs Of mud to build quaint nests. I watched them hook Against rough stucco, press minute daubs Into their growing shells, then wing back Down--their numbers swallowed half the sky. I did not watch this single swallow die. AMNESIA Our Birth is not a Sleep or a Forgetting, As Wordsworth said, but more...and less--not Sleep But deep unConsciousness preluding Dreams and Visions in the darkened Deep We now transgress. Nor Forgetting (which Implies Remembery in this mortal State) but strict Amnesia--'not-Remembery'-- Extended through long, dark, and lonely years; Amnesiac unConsciousness more clearly Satisfies parameters of this earthly Life--more so than mere sleep or merely Forgetting. We do not know who, or why, Or how, or when we became of Earth-- Remembery begins its painful Birth. In the Old House on the Farm I've never seen the place where I was born, Do not remember ever seeing it, Though vague images of woodwork, brick, and stone Persist. A Maternity Home, she called It on the few times that I asked. She wouldn't Volunteer. So I have appropriated A new birthplace: logs hand-hewn, chipped gray grout, Age-softened splinters bearding warped door jambs. Inside: smells of cobwebs mingled with untouched Dust and threat of spiders--two cast-off wicker Funeral-baskets--an old crank telephone That sputtered random sparks--a Maytag washer Wringer-less, chipped and gray--a memory-maze Still echoing my mother's new-born cries. From the Porch we watched, she says, school children trudge rough-graveled roads (not paved, not yet-- our subdivision still too new), clutching books and bags and Howdy-Doody lunch-kits-- waving as they passed, she and I, who would remain at home until raw afternoon returned empty kits, and books, and children wild for play. Each morning we watched wave on wave of children pass, she says, smiled and waved until their last departing feet transgressed the corner lawn and disappeared. We rose, she says, and dusted off the concrete dust and went inside, where she deferred her daily chores until she'd dressed me for the day in male attire. Stringing Buttons Stringing buttons--hunched on the worn pine floor, Its planks velvet smooth from half-century Of hands scrubbing, polishing--musty air Warm with subtle gossip, whispered words we Youngsters ignored.... We strung buttons on hanks Of time-greyed cotton-thread and squabbled for Favorites: foil-backed glass; glossy jet, ink- Black-deep; mock turquoise; hand-cut bone, smooth, clear-- While hour on hour grandmothers stitched staid quilts, Wove intricate lines with white cotton strands Through patterns pieced from scraps--old aprons, shirts Sunday dresses faded and worn breath-thin; Our cotton threads coiled in the button box-- We never cared that none had end-thread knots. Scars Fascinated and amazed, we watched white puffs Of popcorn spring from husk-dried yellow kernels Skittering in oil at the bottom of Grandma's popper--watched with lust almost carnal, Hot-intense, for savory soft flesh Exploding its sparse hardness. With a quick laugh I leaned further forward--closer--felt a flash Of flame--there, gone--and saw a yellow-edged, rough Leaf lying dead on my wrist. I plucked at it.... Even yet, the forty-year-old pain's enough To burst Remembery and overwhelm; but Now the wrinkled scar beneath my stiff-white cuff Fades under crosshatched marks from intervening Years...scars over scars...measurements of meaning. Elegy Three months of my sixth summer sleep below Sage stones that clatter slopes from Chimney Rock, Sweep into shallow fields where, summer-slow, Wheat carpet-spears await fall's winnow-rake Three months of my sixth summer lie with her. Dead, she laughs no more, nor weeps, nor sets Aside the ripest tart-sweet berries in their Stone crocks, or ice-chilled cream, or stream-crisp cress. Three months of my sixth summer died when she, Too, slept. I missed her. Tears that threatened storms Have dried, aches smoothed. And only years have eased The loss--as spring still thaws, or summer warms. Three months of my sixth summer sagely rest-- An apple's brown-bossed core returns to dust. Cutting the Tree Dad cut the fir and bound it, that late October, Limb-tight and stiff against the northern wall Where strait Montana sunlight could not seer Thin needles, crust bright greens to dust-brown hulls-- Then set it in a dinted, rusted pail, With moistened sand to feed its sap, and left It there. The first snowfall threatened, fell-- Shrouded limbs and trunk and tin--and cleft Green with ever-shrouding white. On Christmas Eve, he brought the tree inside and snipped Hemp-twine. We breathed our disappointment as The fir stood, limb-tight and stiff, narrow-topped; But--oh! The wonder that next Christmas morn-- Exquisite breadth of branches, light adorned-- After Spring Rains Billings, Montana--1958 Malibu, California--1998 Back then...when roadbeds crested concrete Banks--and flood-tides asphalt-black invaded Clipped, pruned lawns--and wooden rowboats swept Inundated four-way stops to rest embedded Against tall five-foot stoops--and sluicing mud Remained behind to tantalize young steps As we slipped back two for every yard we made-- Back then...cascading rains meant school would stop, Grass gleam unmowed, weeds tower proud, unpulled-- And nowhere in Remembery reside Black-bitter images of faces paled At damp-drowned cellars, foundation walls awade With weeping cracks--at threatened dissolution As sudden as a cliff-slide's deathward motion. Bluebottle Flies Sentinel in Grandma's Attic With grey and heavy hmmmmms, a fly again attacks the window's dust-baked pane; its wings, two gyrous blades, distress stale air to feign a rush of breath. "Tik-thump!" Glossy weight bows rippled glass, and ancient apple trees abrading splintered sills curve shadows, cut thin fracture lines distorting buds and leaves to knit-purl death. I slip the ancient lock to jamb, tiptoe backward down dust-graven stairs. That grey-toned hmmmm becomes a sudden pain-pent breath. I wait. Unslip the lock. Shiver past the door. The fly--a scrawl of dust in Dust. Along the ledge, bluebottles crust-- Black filings flung to time's magnetic lust. Peach Jam That day our peaches ripened all at once, Sheening gold in woven bushel baskets; "An ox-in-the-mire Sabbath," Dad announced And we pitched in with juvenile racket, Stuffing quarter slices into wide-mouth Mason jars because whole halves seemed too vast To fit; pouring syrup--boiling, frothy Gold; giving rings a sturdy final twist; Then mashing bruised peach tags and broken bits Into the work-worn grinder Mom brought out Each summer just for jellying; licking Fingers stained peach-gold, unspeakably sweet.... We passed on church that day--a rarity-- And yet the hours seem draped in purity. From the Porch she watches silently as I wobble down our block--ten houses per side, each house replete with its ante of DNA reserved for future decades to proliferate--she watches, I wobble side to side, slowly, far too slowly for a twelve-year-old returning from his first (and though she doesn't know it yet, his last) stint as catcher for the Little League. She watches, arms folded, face turned slightly, as she has watched (will watch) in photographs-- detached, unfocused, there but not a part; she watches but does not see red blood crusted on my face, harsh pain-filled eyes 1,000,000 Counting to a million, stomach-sprawled, he scritched number after number on his roll Of butcher paper spread across our floor. Night by night, the paper's essence increased by hundreds...thousands. Smiling patiently, Indulgently, she glances down at him, arms knotted at her breast. His eraser mars a misplaced number--scowling at the beast he scritches on and on. Kitchen-bound, we three scrub ragged rings from plates, wash pans, drop milk-glazed glasses into hot water, prod wrinkled fingers across smooth flatware, grease- encrusted. We work. He scritches numbers. We work, clean up, endure silent hours to slumber. Sparkle Sparkle-sparkle--gutter-light flashes once, twice. I crouch above a thick inch-layer of dirt raw from spring thaws, focus two excited eyes on glistening stones, calculating their worth-- sparkle-sparkle-sparkle--not in coin or cash but in sheer loveliness as slick root-beer glints wink at me, beg a home. I pick them up, crush them in my palm, quite overcome by their glanc- ing sparkle-sparkle-sparkle--and rush to soothe angular facets with soft cloths and polish. The parents see, watch, take the bracelet with smooth, practiced grasp--Don't waste precious time so foolish- ly--and let me know, down through the depths of soul, this is not a bauble boys should wish to own. Sleeping Out Beneath box-elders that by day rose striped And mottled under thick umbrella-crowns..., That wove stark summer's heat through leaf and twig And dropped cool shadow to the waiting ground; By night...by night rhapsodic melodies Of all imagined trysting-songs breathed warmth And whispered from the trees like memories Not wholly understood that triggered mirth And subtle fear as I, cocoon-tight wrapped Against pre-dawn dew, prayed for solemn sleep To wrest me into dreams of iced, sweet grapes That burst their bitter skins against my thirst.... Vagrant winds caught ripe dandelion heads, Dispersed in random darkness lonely seeds. Because Your Sister shows no love for notes, the organ will be yours when you grow up. By right it goes--always has--to the old- est daughter; but in your case you may step into her place because you love music," she said, and did she know the forty-year- long breach she would create and did she reck- on in the damage done to him when she equated him with her, son's love with daughter's heritage, let him know without words how valueless his soul, how beneath contempt she held his heart and did she doubt an instant that she spoke but simple truth, gave him a gift...destroyed him at the root Magdalene
Two walking baths. Two weeping motions; Portable and compendious Oceans...." --Richard Crashaw Home breathed silence. Kitchen walls strained to hold stale breath. I burst in. I could barely keep my heart controlled. I heard my mother weep a stifled, roiling groan that shattered cold across my spine. Her grating weeping tolled Death--father, perhaps, or husband--some pain deep as darkness, cutting dark. But how could she weep-- weep for Dag Hammarskjld?* Dag Hammarskjld, for pity sake! This woman who neither spoke of politics nor Congan tyranny, nor drew a piteous, quavering breath for any's loss, nor trembled in a cloak of tears before or after that long day-- not even as she stood before my father's death. [*Dag Hammarskjld: Swedish diplomat and Secretary-General of the United Nations, killed in a 1961 airplane crash while on a peace-keeping mission to the Congo.] To Eat a Peach O'Halloran--fat, red-neck wrinkled like a gross of Montana winter scarves--reeks his laughter, stands, and punches at his class with an unlit cigar. Three o'clock recess. Joey Kattenhorn (hawk-thin at thirteen) disappears into the john, blocks the door with one shoulder, changes jeans for red gym trunks-- first to imitate brash high-school football hunks who jeer through the diamond-paned cyclone fence. He dares to change and play baseball in shorts, sharp ridges of his stomach bared and tan. I escape O'Halloran--escape and run... Maybe I can sneak into the John before Joey, watch him strip, wish that I could dare. It I do not know its cause, its time or place, Beyond a faint apprehension in old Photographs and slides. I see in her face-- Half-turned away from us--something lost, cold, Severed from her own throbbing flesh. It grows From photograph to photograph, hardens, Congeals lines of criticism, flows Unspoken through tight lips. Iris gardens Reflect its presence...absence...distance. She Stares outward and beyond, locked in herself, Locked out beyond herself, enclosed, no key Remaining that can call her back. The shelf On which she stores her core lies dead and dark; It has consumed her--harsh and cold and stark. First Job Molestation rings harshly in Remembery-- frightens even now, rusty and obscured; back then, the word did not yet ring with pain. and no, it was not quite ... but something close. I remember new white jeans, tight, stiffer than seemed comfortable--my sleek red bike pumping toward a row of shops--storeroom shelves where I stood stacking boxes of new shoes. He showed it. I did not know what it was. He called it a dance-belt, explained its use. "Try it on." I glanced toward a screened-in alcove behind the silent racks of shoes. I might have taken it if some hand unseen, had not rung the hidden entry-bell. * * * * * When he returned, I was hard at work stacking boxes--empty, full, I did not care, the job was mine. Later, he came back. He did not try again. Instead, he talked of nervousness, tense muscles ... relaxation. He rolled the small machine across my shoulders, down my sides, along child-thin ribs, murmured as he worked. He touched, and smiled a secret smile. The hidden bell rang again. He left. I stacked boxes, numb and shaking, until he closed. "It won't work out," he said, stripping a handful of dollars from his wallet. "It just won't work." White pants. Bicycle awkward against thin thighs. I struggled home. I never spoke the ugly word. Because the Father was not home the task fell to her that hot July afternoon with triple-digit temperatures to blast heat-ebbs and -flows She stepped outside to find him grubbing in rank weed-beds by the fence hands flickering in and out among stems segregating weed from soil with danc- ing fingertips He stood She stared at him allowed her eyes to drop His followed hers She did not see hot flame-beneath-tan spot his shoulders neck and cheek but mother-sure spoke on You have no business wearing shorts- that-short-that-thin-transparent when you sweat The heat within surpassed the sun's own heat sure burn Just Like Beethoven , they said (at least all but one were right to that degree--the one referred to 'Mozart,' but I will give full credit for coming close)--as if to shame mute agonies for deafness--as if mere comparison of me to Beethoven would suffice to...somehow...help recover equilibrium and pride in playing an instrument that I will never hear completely--dead upper ranks of flutes, diapasons, trumpets--as if to share my skill with his and find the vaster truth that while we may divide deafness and loss, his talent was of gold--but mine, slick gloss. After Diagnosis and I remember her at eighty-five, wiry, white-haired (...no surprise, since she had turned from starling-black to startled white before she had seen twenty-four...)--that day, though, all thoughts of dark-haired, smooth-eyed youth had long since died into the oblivion of white-, and vague-, and gentle-slide to death (...still nine bland years away...)--but that day--then-- she huddled close to her yellowed page, one hand, age-spotted, vaguely trembling over one smudged lens, obscuring froth-white eye. She strained to cipher hieroglyphic scrawls. She moaned one time, bewailing cataracts and years. At fifty, I now understand her fears. Gardening Taken as an Act Of Compassionate Service Seventy-five--but more by several Decades now of lassitude, of wasted Energy dispersed in weaving webs well Girded against strains by iron-fisted Time--seventy-five, she holds tenacious Grasp on her small plot, her one-fifth acre, Overlooking in-laws, grandchildren gracious Enough to work, root out weeds from ochre Soil--seventy-five, she haunts strong hands That tidy edges, hawks at prey on knees Crusted with mud, her words descend, turn, wind Silk-strong filaments intended to freeze Forever matriarchal bonds intact-- Each blade of grass meticulous and correct. Lying Hand-Crossed in Her Satin Box Lying hand-crossed in her satin box She falls mock-peacefully asleep at last. Her hair, pincurled and stiffly white (bleached phlox-- Crystal crushed in her winter-storms least blast), Glows albino in our silent, muted glare. Her cheeks lie sunken, dark-dry-wrinkled clefts, Dead earth twisted at an earthquakes core-- Her fingers, useless dust for Time to sift. She lays in wait for Eternity. And we Dry tears, sigh fears, retrain long-pented joy To solemn reminiscences until Guilt-haggard, we bury her in the lee Of a box-elder bole and--suddenly, shyly coy-- Separate, to follow out her will. My Eyes Stayed Closed An Essay on the Fine Art of Poetry Sublimating Life I woke this morning several times--each time a surfacing from tether-dreams to taut realities. My eyes stayed closed--my soul engrossed in silence, vividness, and light. The first time, I heard silence--no jitterings, no ringing singing clattering--just silent dreams beyond the reach of random sound. My eyes stayed closed--I chose the dream again. The second time, I saw colors--clear forms, smooth shapes, sounds and sights combined to cradle me in reassurances. My eyes stayed closed--embracing dreams. I face the world half-deafened, -blinded, -aged-- and wish myself again into Remembery. Michael R. Collings
All Poems copyright (c) 1998 Michael R. Collings Michael R. Collings can be contacted at: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Come one, come all! Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and learn from all. A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. Even a chance to be published in a magazine. The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin Board Systems. We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking. Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created. Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede
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. REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . POEMS TO A GOD WITH SWOLLEN FEET (1998), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to the respective authors and orders will be forwarded by Ygdrasil Press. YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an issue to cover disk and mailing costs, also specify computer type (IBM or Mac), as well as disk size and density. Allow 2 weeks for delivery. Note that YGDRASIL MAGAZINE is free when downloaded from Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site at http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.
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