Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You Will Be There When You've Been There

You Will Be There When You've Been There
L. Edgar Otto Jul.28, 2010

One day you will miss the sea
your blood drawn and settled down
into your foothold space in crystal city

Only in your dreams will your longings
dwell two places at once, your heart
transparent in its nakedness

As light goes deep into blue forgetfulness
far from the city's colors, your center and
all connections to others and long life

Until in the violet death you make your own light]
answering the decaying dusty scud of rain
warnings to be seen, your ghostly magic inferred

That all opaque in secrets, isolation the greater threat
than the weathered vulnerability of our souls.

* * *

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't Molest the Monkeys

Don't Molest the Monkeys by L. Edgar Otto

The gods are all powerful for as the saying goes: "children should be seen and not heard." A comment they deliver at certain times, most of the time, when they do not want to be interrupted with child's questions and when they are really preoccupied with their adult monkey business.

Children are sort of invisible then. Civilization in the time of the cult of Santa Claus protects and presumes their innocence, at least in the mainstream with public if not private family affairs giving the belief lip service. So some if not all children have a great amount of time they must devote to listening. Consequently they understand a lot more than the adults give them credit for. Sometimes what was not understood as children they recall in exquisite detail when they awaken into the experiences of their own adulthood.

Of course there can be misunderstanding, the wholesale belief in the lies adults tell them, and false or cloudy memories born from the wide world's terrifying things to fear and thus they cling to superstitions. How to live when adults in rituals seem to have gods of their own invoked in curses which the child laughs at but would never dare repeat or in slurred and comical words from communion with the forbidden wine. How long does the child keep a secret, or shared secrets acknowledged, "in the know" understanding he is honored to protect his younger brothers from the fact beyond the cartoon worlds of magic that reindeer cannot fly?

At the Lafayette Zoo in Norfolk there is a cage of monkeys which I recall as a young child that had a sign saying "Don't Molest the Monkeys." Being somewhat precocious as the eldest sibling and feeling a little more civilized than my fisher folk grandmother I knew I could ask her, somewhat teasing an answer from her as if the question was a natural young child one, what the sign meant. Of course it got laughter from her and my aunt and they eventually said- "well, it means not to bother the monkeys- we are not to feed or throw things like peanuts at them." Now one should realize that many things were not said directly in those times and as a child I vaguely understood that some words had a lot to do with sex, something we seemed to ignore when it was talked about. You see, for years the word screwdriver never crossed my lips! Not around adults anyway. But going to public school there were a few fisher folk terms I did not realize were taboo. You see, Virginia is below the roach line and occasionally our houses and apartments would get an infestation- it was even worse when the neighbors sprayed their apartments with a flint gun. The roaches fell of the ceiling into my father's TV dinner and he would cuss and say- "there are so many son of a bitches crawling around tonight!" Or when I asked him about the what I now know is the more juvenile of the species that looks considerably different than the adults- he said, "if you see one smash those Bastards." So, in school when they showed us some pictures of pests and asked us what bugs were these I raised my hand and said, "Mam, the long one is a son of a bitch and the short ones are bastards." She turned white and I was sent to the office while the kids who could not hold it any longer burst out in laughter.

God's Creation Undefiled

God's Creation Undefiled L. Edgar Otto

Let us sing again as did he poets of Araby of old of the zodiacal light

A chorus to the rising waxing neap of dawn, and isle at zenith,
then the ebbing waning falling twilight

Perhaps a game of chess, symbolic generals with covered faces,
war like love not cloaked when lovers breast to breast embrace

Gentle our touch in blindness, dry well nadirs to be filled
with cometary rain and desert light reflected on the smokey
ocean's clouds that guides us through the work of climbing up

We pilgrims toward and down from the vaporous dunes and
clotting blood of scripture thirst, high mountains

Only to sing atop and no further at eclipse or think to drink of and
crave our lover's lips, carefree songbirds in youth or dotage fading
one same sky song standing on the empty quarter without water
oil or dust

Ten thousand years no guarantee- but not to rust, survive, leave our mark
footprints on plots of sand until time and space unmeasured finds
Love again and the birth in evening of the awakening stars...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Near Phoenix Park on the 4th of July

Near Phoenix Park on the 4th of July

An experiment of fireworks over the building next door over my shoulder:

The wires like strings get in the way unvarnished the secular and sacred towers pointing outward from the ground of earth. Here facing North from water street on Adam's balcony across from the Nucleus cafe and Racy's coffee shop.

Rain On the Window Screen

Rain On the Window Screen

Deep into the changing light with the depth of rain and depth of field. Part of seeing is sorting things out with attention to what you see as well as light in its interplay of polarization- that is if we want information and metaphor from the object of our viewing in the flesh and well as heart.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Making Sense of My Pattern Image Counting Crows

Making Sense of My Pattern Image Counting Crows

L. Edgar Otto
July 3, 2010

For awhile when you were little
your would avoid your image in the mirror

We wrestle with our twin in two places at once
while everything not us is empty other

Torn away from the suckling womb not fills
with loss in both the child and mother

I gazed at my reflection in the windowpane at night
startled so to scream a boy my age looking back at me

Making faces not my own of how I looked reversed
to myself my smiles and brow, grimaces seen from the world

I brought her rag doll flowers to appease her ghost
of evil that lurked behind her clown face lipstick

She called me pathetic in worship of her ravens
sent them to pluck my scarecrow straw for her nest

* * *