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Posts Tagged ‘Dick Jones’

Two Poems by Blaise Cendrars

April 14, 2011 11 comments

translated by Dick Jones

 

Chinks

Sea vistas
Waterfalls
Trees long-haired with moss
Heavy rubbery glossy leaves
Glazed sun
High burnished heat
Glistening
I’ve stopped listening to the urgent voices of my friends discussing
The news that I brought from Paris
On both sides of the train close by or along the banks of
The distant valley
The forest is there watching me unsettling me enticing me like
a mummy’s mask
I watch back
Never the flicker of an eye.

* * *

Journal

Christ
There goes another year in which I haven’t thought about You
Since I wrote my penultimate poem Easter
My life has changed so much
But I’m the same as ever
I still want to become a painter

Here are the pictures that I’ve done displayed here on the walls this evening.
They reveal to me strange perspectives into myself that make me think of You.

Christ
Life
See what I’ve unearthed

My paintings make me uneasy
I’m too passionate
Everything is tinted orange.

I’ve passed a sad day thinking about my friends
And reading my diary
Christ
A life crucified in this journal that I hold at arm’s length.
Wingspans
Rockets
Frenzy
Cries
Like a crashing aeroplane
That’s me.
Passion
Fire
A serial
Diary
No matter how much you try to stay silent
Sometimes you have to cry out
I’m the other way
Too sensitive


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Editor’s note: In four months of trying, we were unable to contact the current copyright holders of the French originals (“Trouees” and “Journal”). We will of course be happy to accommodate their wishes should they ever decide to contact us.

Cendrars' portrait by Amadeo Modigliani (1917)

portrait of Cendrars by Amadeo Modigliani (1917)

The iconoclastic poet and novelist Blaise Cendrars (Wikipedia page) was born Frédéric Louis Sauser in Switzerland in 1887. After fighting in the First World War he travelled extensively, drawing on (and embellishing considerably) the experiences that he had around the world for his surreal documentaries in verse and prose. Cendrars’ best-known poem is the epic La Prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France, which documents in vivid, sometimes dreamlike detail his journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway at the time of the Russian Revolution. His two novels Sutter’s Gold and Moravagine have been translated into twenty languages. Blaise Cendrars died, celebrated throughout France, in 1961.

*

Initially wooed by the First World War poets & then seduced by the Beats, Dick Jones (blog) has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15. Fitfully published in a variety of magazines throughout the years of rambling, grand plans for the meisterwerk have been undermined constantly either by a Much Better Idea or a sort of Chekhovian inertia. So Dick Jones has no prize collection to his name; he has masterminded no radical creative writing programmes in a cutting edge university department; he has edited no recherché poetry magazines with lower case titles. However, work has been published in a number of magazines, print and online, including Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry, Rattlesnake and Ouroboros Review.

Sea of Stars

October 28, 2010 8 comments

by Dick Jones

They will require,
should I return,
that I give name
to all the things I saw.

Even as I feed back
voltage, trickle chemistry
past their electrodes;
even as I share

my heartbeat with their monitors,
my blood with their microscopes,
they will question
in quiet voices,

seeking out new nouns
with which to corner
the ineffable, new verbs
to charge the immaterial.

As now their aerial voices —
filtered through ionosphere,
the shingle-clouds of asteroids,
across these tideless oceans —

whisper insubstantial, needle-thin,
scratching their need to know
the unknowable onto the mighty
silence. I trail interrogation

like a shower of sparks.
But from this eminence
I no longer heed
their eyes that scrutinize,

lidless, unswerving. This dark
accomodates a billion eyes, speculating
my parabola by day, by night, probing
for my tiny skidding light.

Implacable, incurious, I navigate
the brilliant wastes — long black
sargassos drifting, planet wrack
and flotsam, dereliction.

And beyond, always beyond,
the bright flying splinters of the stars.


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Dick Jones blogs at Patteran Pages and has placed poems in such magazines as Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Westwords, MiPOesias, Three Candles and Other Poetry.

Categories: The Crowd Tags:

Still Life

February 1, 2010 19 comments

by Dick Jones

Each morning they organise your bones
into the wheelchair, stack you leaning
out of kilter. Thus I find you, wall-eyed,

feather pulse and mouth ajar. This is
a stillness you are learning as silence
silts up your blood. I name you: ‘Mum’,

I call, quietly at first, as if this were
only sleep and you might resent the passage
interrupted. But your shade is walking

a broken road on the far side of dreams.
I keep my coat on, lean in the doorway,
breathing in the alkalines and salts

that are your presence in this world.
Beyond, through narrow windows, rain
drifts like smoke. The trees shift

their high shoulders, hefting their leaves
like heroes. I can see the lift and fall
of their evergreen breath, the slow,

dispassionate pulse. Such senseless beauty,
propping up the sky as if there were no
tides turning or falling stars, no ashes to dust,

no time at all. You speak — a half-word,
cracked in the middle. Syllables drift
like fumes. Somewhere in that steam

of meaning, the filaments of memory:
the horn’s tip of a lover’s moon,
a song’s dust, the eye’s tail catching,

not quite catching, doorway phantoms,
window ghosts. Grief crosses my mind:
its hydrogen release — from local pain

to lachrymae rerum, all in one ball
of fire. Easy, it would be to cauterise
this lassitude, here against the lintel,

watching not the rise and fall of your
fish-breath, your insect pulse, but
the immortal trees beyond. Too easy;

but death looked in and turned away,
indifferent, and now it’s down to me,
the blood-bearer, to wish away your life

for you. The house ticks and hums.
A voice calls out, thin and querulous;
another coughs. I turn down your light.

There, against the window, dusk outside,
you are becoming your shadow
cast against the shifting of the trees.


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Dick Jones blogs at Patteran Pages and has placed poems in such magazines as Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review,  Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles and Other Poetry.

Categories: Health Tags:

Mal

January 14, 2010 4 comments

by Dick Jones

Strange word, ‘stroke’ — a gentle sleep
and then you wake up,
changed. Caressed by infirmity
on the brown hill, kissed
by disability as you climb
the long drive. The farmhouse tips
and, heart in crescendo,
you embrace the grass.

Indifferent sheep manoeuvre,
crowding out your sky.
You lie in a lump, adrift
at the field’s edge, floating
on the dead raft
of your limbs.
The sun nails light
into your one good eye.

Near dusk her scarecrow voice
scatters your crowding dreams:
she calls you from the house,
the sound of your name
curling out of the past,
a gull-cry, fierce, impatient,
tearing at the membrane
that has dimmed your world.

Root-still, potato-eyed,
you are another species now.
Your medium is clay and saturation.
Mummified, like the bog-man
trapped by time, you lie dumbfounded,
mud-bound and uncomprehending
as the sun slips down
behind the hill.

The urgent fingers
scavenging for a heartbeat,
fluttering like bird-wings
at your throat,
are busy in the dark.
You feel nothing
of their loving panic,
their distress.

All love, all optimism, pain,
all memory, desire coarsen,
thicken into vegetable silence.
A dim siren wobbles in the dark.
And then rough hands manhandle
your clod-heavy bulk.
Night swallows the spinning light
and closes in like smoke.


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Dick Jones writes, “Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, I have been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15. Fitfully published in a variety of magazines throughout the years of rambling — Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry and others. Grand plans for the meisterwerk have been undermined constantly either by a Much Better Idea or a sort of Chekhovian inertia.

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

Credere

December 13, 2009 3 comments

by Dick Jones

If God did not already exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
—Voltaire
“He’s God, cried all the creatures…”
—James Thurber, “The Owl Who Was God”

If there has to be a God —
no option on the broken
road, the bridge of sighs —
then let it be a dancing god,

like Shiva but a voiceless one,
indifferent, treading out
the double loop, the bee’s infinity
of weaving round and round until

the measure’s known by all.
Or if not the dancer,
how about a singer?
One who cants in tongues,

a lingua franca from the
furnace heat (ex corde vita),
singing the blues, sean nos,
la duende, passionate, engaged,

yet powerless to lift the curse
of Sisyphus, or block the juggernaut,
or move the stone. These gods omnipotent,
who claim our praise and swallow

our prayers like hungry birds,
are dreams that draw
on the oxygen of our need.
We might as well worship

water falling, shape-shifting
clouds, the janus faces watching
from the cliffs that tell us
what we want to know.

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Dick Jones writes, “Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, I have been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15. Fitfully published in a variety of magazines throughout the years of rambling: Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry and others. Grand plans for the meisterwerk have been undermined constantly either by a Much Better Idea or a sort of Chekhovian inertia.”

Categories: Words of Power Tags:

Between Stations

September 9, 2009 5 comments

From the 2009 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest finalist Wavelengths, by Dick Jones

Between stations lies
what I call, faute
de mieux
, the real world.

Long jawbones of houses,
each exposed like molars,
upturned and particular.

Here, a garden tricycle,
tilted onto a bony shoulder.
Fallen or pushed? And there,

beanrows and water features,
gouts of flowers like
spilled butter and blood.

And someone sleeping,
pinned to a blanket
like a specimen whilst

a girl in green
at an open window
waves a ‘phone, yelling,

frozen, voiceless, like
a gargoyle. All so clear
then immolated at

a track’s turning. This
is how our lives
walk and talk, coughing

syllables heard by no one,
throwing shapes that
are black against obsidian.

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Dick Jones, a musician and recently retired drama teacher, has been writing seriously for the past 20 years. His poems and short stories have been published in a wide range of magazines, both on- and offline.

New York Reflections

August 18, 2008 4 comments
Categories: Transformation Tags: