Blame it on the poet Anthony Wilson

July 12, 2013

Blame it on the poet Anthony Wilson

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Haddaway, What is Love

Blame it on the poet Anthony Wilson. He writes in his blog, today, about Love. Holub’s Love. Read it here: Falling in love with Holub’s Love.

Anthony’s blog post and Miroslav Holub’s poem (that Anthony shares with us) inspired me to look again at a poor attempt I made many years ago – a poor attempt to reflect on Love. To live up to Love. To drink upon stars.

And looking, I smiled, because there is some good advice in that mess. And, ironically, I cannot count the times when such seemingly sound advice was unheeded. In friendship. In romance. In faith. In pursuing, perfection – whatever that means.

And that is what I want to share with you, today. Laugh (or smile) with me at my own chagrin. And TRY, try, please try… not to take the foolish half steps that I keep on doing!

Thank you, Anthony.

Drink upon the stars

by Stan Faryna

As far away as the stars

sparkling like champagne bubbles
above lonely country lanes.
As close as a flame’s lick
that promises to consume
an eager moth – instantly.
As sweet as Casablanca –
fragrant lilium beckons
us like the Lotus eaters
of Homer.
Like a grassy
path in want of wear –
some warn it’s runs the minefields.
Dares us to walk barefooted
across the broken bottles
of our reckless, past license
and hot, spent cigarette butts.
Our demons, tall as mountains,
may hide behind blades of grass
but the feet that run, fleetly,
naked, innocent, fly freely…
Oh – how they fly!
Half steps, however, break hearts
as easily as shale cliffs
crumble under a foolish foot.
How often have foolish feet
carried me by the half steps
across the slippery slopes
of pride and ingratitude,
down the broken, rocky lanes
that terminate abruptly?
If love is a fearless path…
If love is a fearless path,
let us go there, fearlessly!
Let us drink upon the stars.
Stan Faryna
12 July 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

How to write bad poetry like a nobody

April 28, 2013

How to write bad poetry like a nobody

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Andres Segovia, Asturias for Spanish Guitar

The poet blogger, Anthony Wilson of the Lifesaving Poems blog, writes today about his encounter with Michael Symmons Roberts’ poem, Ultramarine. His blog post is here:

Michael Symmons Roberts’ ‘Ultramarine

Anthony’s post reminds me of my first encounter with the same poem years ago. Roberts’ Ultramarine provoked questions about life and death, self-reflection (not to be confused with navel gazing), and [gulp] a necessity to write – to write (bad) poetry.

If a poem does that to you (like what Roberts’ Ultramarine did to me) – it’s good poetry.

When I say I do bad poetry, I say this not out of false modesty in anticipation of future praise. But I do say so with the lingering shame of those many, many letters of rejection taped to the bedroom wall of my younger Patsak self.

Nonetheless, I share my prose with you (below) – that you can get a feel for how not to write poetry. Also – I share this to share my self with you. Perhaps, Johnny too will discover it someday.

“Nobody” is everyone, a person without accomplishment, and also a reference to the Odyssey when the cyclops, Polyphemus, asks Odysseus for  his name. – in case you wondered about the alternate title.


Cerulean Blue

or A Self-Portrait of a Nobody

I knew him well, better than you. Knew him
like a warm wool scarf wrapt around the face
on a cold January morning stroll
along Spuistraat, passing Magna Plaza.

I knew the hidden smile sweeping the street
with tassels of saffron, burnt umber, thyme,
gold, sandalwood, dark plum and a little gray –
the man wasn’t as tall as Tom Baker.

And the scarf had stretched beyond twelve feet.
Knew him like the dull pain – its claws gripping
his ankles and its teeth burying into his calves
as he left the Willis on South Wacker –
an exhausting, inescapable friend
that persecutes, tries and tests your patience.
There were times he couldn’t take one more step
down a fragrant spring path in Cismigiu
and he would linger with a cigarette –
as if he meant to. And maybe he did.
I knew him like a Solomon searching
for a perfect blue – cerulean, in fact.
Ultramarine may be a misadventure
like forbidden, swollen areolas,
like a shuddering gasp of completion.
With someone that does not belong to you.
Does anyone?! Ever belong to you?
Cerulean is ubiquitous – not cheap
like kitsch (to be displayed) in a Florentine curio –
not even a cabinet adorned with angels
or six winged seraphim gilt in gold.
But he had tried anyway. Wouldn’t you?
Cerulean is effervescent, sweet, fleet
like light glinting on an artichoke’s crown
in the afternoon gardens of Monticello
or the first, unsteady flight of a robin.
That’s how I knew him. A cerulean blue.
Like the old dog that still chases his tail –
going round and round in twirling, whirling,
unabashed circles like a dervish
in prayer; like a twister on the sea,
moving over the face of time and space,
blinking like the light of a distant star
that prevails against the darkest of nights
and is gone when you take a second look.
Like a nobody.
That’s how I knew him. Did you know him too?

Stan Faryna
28 April 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Recent blog posts:

Beauty, Come and Get Some

Freedom is Solid7

Season 3 Finale of The Walking Dead

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When your best is suck. And other social media DOHs

February 5, 2013

When your best is suck

And other social media DOHs

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
Among the many splendid things to be received from the blogosphere and elsewhere is… beauty.
Yes, beauty. It glitters greater than gold. It shines brighter than diamonds. And no amount of cash can make a slave of it.
Recently, Anthony Wilson, one of the bloggers I follow with much enthusiasm, shared a poem by Galway Kinnell. The title is Saint Francis and the Sow.
Wilson also writes wonderful things. He shares beauty with us. Writing about the goodness of sharing poetry, the blogging poet bemoans the lack of poetry shared.
My hunch is that the social contract we forge with each other when sharing poems, whether in person, or on email, or on blogs, is vastly underrated as a mechanism for cultural transformation
Like most complaints, it is a gentle call to action. It is one that spoke to my heart. Thank you, Anthony.
And reading Kinnell’s poem that Wilson has so generously shared on his blog, I wanted to share it with you. But for reasons different than Wilson’s reason.
I want to share Kinnell’s Saint Francis and the Sow with you because when our best is suck, when our ambitions, broken promises and failures are a mountain of dirt, we are the sow. As pigs, of course, we may not be deserving of pearls. Just as Christ himself has said. Matthew 7:6
But as Kinnell’s poem reminds us, even a sow wants, receives and is uplifted by blessings. Beyond it’s intelligence and comprehension. More importantly, beyond all its apparent ugly.
And I was uplifted and blessed. It is my hope that you shall also be uplifted and blessed by this poem below.
Stan Faryna
05 February 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

Saint Francis and the Sow

Galway Kinnell, Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2001)

The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and

blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.