Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Callithump Parade


Since I've been run down and not feeling well of late, making it a bit difficult to see the world, to read, never mind write (and converse, OY!, forgedaboudit!), I'm going to attempt to dazzle you, first, with some original photography; second, with more original photography; third, with engaging video; and fourth, with, well, more engaging video.

Part I
This is what I call the prelude to the Arrival of the Martians at Barnstable Harbor. They are coming, you know. After all, we did invade their extraterrestrial territory. They are due in three weeks or so, just in time for the grand callithump that is known as Halloween. (Now you believe me—don't you?—that I am quite ill.)

I'm posting this particular photo because, unfortunately, I will not be in Barnstable for Halloween and therefore will not be able to offer photo-documentation of the actual coming, or landing, of the Martians. But rest assured, the above is honest evidence that I was, indeed, in Barnstable Harbor for the psychedelic Martians-are-coming prelude. (I'd better warn my mother-in-law.)

Part II

While in New York a couple of weeks ago, I met (I'm using that term loosely, although I really do think, er, believe, that I met) U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003) Billy Collins  at the Brooklyn Book Festival, as well as the Pulitzer Prize-winning, U.S. Poet Laureate (2011-2012) Philip Levine. Seated directly in front of me, he was, Billy Collins. Eyes penetrating my glazed, hazel irises. We shared a smile. A wink. A...

You don't believe me, do you? Here, another photo—taken just before the shared winks:


(OK, well I practically met Billy Collins.)

Part III

But, let's get back to the Martians for a moment. Here, in this contemplative poem, Billy recites the derelictions of certain Martians with whom we are familiar, Martians whom, without thought or, sometimes, expression, land on, and feed off of, our verdant, selfless earth, often forgetting to reseed:


(The young gentleman seated beside Billy Collins is Ishmael 'Ish' Islam, New York City's 2012 Youth Poet Laureate. He may be one of those Martians, though, I think not. See Ish, the award winning poet and producer, here, reading his poem Daydreaming at the Voting Booth.)

Part IV

And now, to round off this shivaree, one last reading by Mr. Collins, inspired by the poem Drinking Alonewritten by Li Po, whom we might also describe as one of those self-indulgent Martians:


Beware the Martians. Do not, under any circumstance, let them drink alone! (Or just plain drink.)

35 comments:

  1. love this... ahhhh, something for the other side of my brain today. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chrissy- Glad to be of assistance to that other side of the brain! ;)

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

      Delete
  2. as we say in the sirens of titan, send us more martians!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love those Martians, eh, Billy? ;)

      Delete
  3. They're giving you good drugs with your illness eh Jayne?
    Feel better quickly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ru- HA!! I guess I've some pretty potent throat lozenges! I'm much better, thank you. :)

      Delete
  4. It's a beautiful photograph. I love the colors and textures of the field.

    I'm sorry you're still not feeling well. I hope you feel better soon; best stay away from the Martians

    Winks count as meeting someone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank, Leonora. I'm having a little fun with my photoshop applications and Instagram. Keeps me entertained! The Martians, it seems, I cannot avoid. ;)

      Delete
  5. Hope you will get better soon. Gorgeous photograph.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sabine. I had a little (weeklong) flu-like thing going on, but I'm feeling a whole lot better now. :)

      Delete
  6. Oh, I LOVE that poem to the seventeen year-old girl! I've had conversations similar to that with a few of "my girls." You're so lucky you got to go see that!
    I hope you feel better soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nessa- Anyone who's gone through this phase w/their kids can relate to this, huh?! I had a grand time in Brooklyn. Got to see Collins and other poets, as well as Joyce Carol Oats, Colson Whitehead, Bernice McFadden. Who I really loved hearing from was Brooklyn's Poet Laureate Tina Chang. She was fantastic, so sweet, and wonderful poems! Much, much better, thank you. :)

      Delete
  7. Hope you're feeling better soon there Miss J., as for the poesy i refer you to Witold Gombrowicz's essay Against Poets, he basically sums up how i've felt about it for the last 10 or 15 years and if i could stop getting so wonderfully stoned every night i might actually write my own piece, almost pulled myself off the couch to do it last night but it was so pleasant gazing out the skylights and ogling the stars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a bad cold, Kono, probably from the 4 hour train ride to NYC. I wonder if you set poems to music--would you feel the same way about poetry? I mean, what are songs? I'm not familiar with Witold Gombrowicz, but I looked him (and Against Poets) up and it seems the questions he asks of poets could apply to any writer, as well. I'm still not sure what his argument is, but maybe I need to spend a little more time w/it. And you can't write stoned? Heh, well, I like to write after I've had a glass or two of wine (it doesn't take much these days), but come to think of it, I usually trash that stuff afterwards. I usually can't remember what I was thinking when I drafted it. ;)

      Delete
    2. Ah i was waiting for that Miss Jayne, for the record most song lyrics are shite without the music, the music sets the mood and brings the emotional resonance to the table, when you read lyrics without the music most are sorely lacking but when you add the music, magic... take Jeff Tweedy for example or David Berman, while i like their lyrics and songs i can't stomach their poetry and though WG's question could apply to any writer it's the poets who are particularly guilty of this... and i lie, i write under the influence all the time it's just sometimes that influence keeps me from doing anything... now go eat some chicken soup and get some rest.

      Delete
    3. Bob Dyland and Neil Young. Collecting their poetry since the age of 13. That is just a fraction of the songs/music out there that illustrate what happens when you mix melody with pure, rich and meaningful poetry. ;)

      Delete
    4. I've done it, i've read both Dylan and Young and without the music it still lacks something, now maybe it's just cuz i'm used to the tunes but in the end all this modern poesy is still to precious and dull... and my favorite Neil Young usually involves the sound of squealing guitars and no words at all, besides you can't dance to poetry ;)

      Delete
    5. Kono- I wonder if I could pick you out of a crowd in Philly next weekend. Drats, you're not in Philly, you're in the Burg! Drats, you're not in the Burg, you're in... Oh, well, I'm in Philly next weekend but I have this feeling that I would instinctively be able to pick you out of the crowd. I don't know, maybe it's that... Oh wait just a minute my friend (she says after two really nice glasses of Cab), wait, wait, what about Bukowski??! Did he not write poetry?

      Ok, this is not Bukowski, but (speaking of music/lyrics/composition/what not) look up: G.C. Waldrep Archicembalo. What is serialism? I'm afraid this is the film with the burning sheep in it. Again.. Described as an acerbic, whimsical and deeply intelligent fusion of poetry and music, I am now wishing I knew what the secret history is. Surely, there's a secret history. To everything.

      Right now Max is strumming The Boxer and I want to yell at him to go to bed. But he's just too darn good at strumming. ;)

      Delete
  8. I'm hoping you feel better soon. Sending you good thoughts and warm hugs!

    I love your photography. Seems like the Martians are dancing around the tree. Who knows? Maybe they dance. That could be fun!

    Love the seventeen-year-old comparisons in the poem...haha. Very funny!

    Thanks for sharing both readings! I enjoyed them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for those thoughts and hugs, Loree. I've bounced back, and am ready to get out into this gorgeous autumn day!

      The To My Favorite 17-Year-Old High School Girl poem is hysterical. I particularly love the lines We think you’re special just being you—/playing with your food and staring into space. Too perfect! I am in the throes of witnessing my children commit adolescence, so I completely relate! ;)

      Delete
  9. I hope you are feeling better today! After all it is October and a Beautiful Fall day, just perfect for a Hike. This should cause you to perk up and have all the energy you need to do what you wish. Thank you for sharing Billy Collins. May you never drink alone unless you wish too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, much better, Gary. Actually, when I wrote this piece (prior to last Thursday) I was feeling awful, but to be honest, I was better by the time I published it. ;)

      Now, I think I'm going to take that hike today. (And maybe have a glass of red to two. ;)) Glad you enjoyed Billy! :)

      Delete
  10. ah, lucky, lucky, jayne, to have been so close to billy (how close, exactly??? did you touch him???) and philip levine (i recently read "A Story" and "Gospel"). sounds like this year's festival was a good one.

    dear jayne, i hope you are on the mend......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mignon- I was in the second row, first chair in the row at the center aisle, so I had a great view. The room was not so large, so it felt like an intimate moment, and it was wonderful to see him in person like that. Philip Levine was fantastic, too. He commented on how his recent readings have all been sober, and therefore boring, but he was anything but boring. if you're interested, I have a video of him reciting Black Wine, which I'll upload soon to my Youtube channel (I'll try to put it up later this weekend). He's a sweetheart.

      I wonder if you (or anyone else here!) will be attending the AWP Conference in Boston in March? I was just reading about it. Seamus Heaney will be there (along w/lots of other great writers/poets) and I don't want to miss that event!

      Delete
  11. Dear Jayne,
    I'm a bit worried: do you mean 'run down' as in having no energy (bad enough) or as in 'having a car crash'? Hope the first...
    I like your post! The famous people one loosely meets (Husband wrote in one of his essays, that a trait of 'fans' is that they believe that their idol looks them into the eyes - while they are sitting in a crowd). But you were so near, so I believe you.
    Isn't that great: on my blog www.burstingwithhappiness.blogspot.com I have Li Po with just that poem too!
    I wish you strength and getting better soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Britta--ha, that's funny! With the translation, I can imagine "run down" being interpreted as a mowing over of someone. But no, run down in this case is, yes, low, low energy. But I've recuperated from what was a flu-like illness and feeling good now.

      So true about fan traits. When you see a famous person in the flesh you do have this feeling that you've had your own little intimate moment with him/her--especially if it's a close encounter and you are looked right in the eye. ;) I'd love to read your husband's essay on it!

      Delete
  12. What a thrill to see/hear Billy Collins. I might never see him since I am waiting till all the famous people visit Floyd. We have had our share of names, like Barbara Kingsolver, Jackson Browne, Bill McKibben, and VP Bidden.

    I especially liked the After Li Po poem. And your set up and photo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colleen- I should think all those famous people and brilliant artists would be flocking to Floyd! You do get your share, I know, and I'll bet you're on Billy's list, as well. One visit to Floyd and he'll be charmed-- I bet he'd be inspired to write a poem. :)

      Delete
  13. Ah, Billy Collins. I'm sure you're not dreaming, and he winked right at you. How could he not, writer to writer? I can only dream from afar (from my very first blog): http://rainingacorns.blogspot.com/2011/01/sailing-alone-from-song-to-song.html

    Who else could possibly have written these lines:

    It seems these poets have nothing
    up their ample sleeves
    they turn over so many cards so early,
    telling us before the first line
    whether it is wet or dry,
    night or day, the season the man is standing in,
    even how much he has had to drink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, Susan--square in the eye. A little writerly wink it was. I should have known you'd beat me to the punch writing about Billy. Glad you discovered him--he's worth following a long way.
      That was a great post of yours, BTW. :)

      Delete
  14. I love the picture of Barnstable Harbor, such movement and joy I see in the colors. Seems I cannot stop taking picutres of the beach here in Maine. I am sure my Facebook friends are tiring of them. I think I have to take them to prove that I am actually here. I understand your need to take them. Get well soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never tire of the harbor, Bill. And fortunately I have family there. (Whom I've warned.)
      Your Facebook friends are jealous. ;)

      Delete
  15. This was fun. I'd like your doctor's number. I'm feeling a little iffy myself;)
    I'm not sure what to be more impressed with, the martians, or Billy winking at you. I'll go with Billy, after all there is only one of him and plenty of martians.
    You're not contagious are you? LOL!!
    See you tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leah- Oh, I hope you're feeling well now....
      I was impressed with it all--Billy, the martians, everything--quite a show! And it was so good to see you the other day! Safe travels back to your warmer homestead and stay well! :)

      Delete
  16. Just flashed by to say hello, Jayne! ;)

    ReplyDelete