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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Dark Roads by Bruce Boston (pt 5: The Harvest)

These, for my money, are some of his best poems.  They present interesting reflections on the field and his own work.
"The Blue Pomegranate"  
"The Blue Pomegranate" falls into the same period of the height of jazz improv: "Lesions of Genetic Sin", "Pavane for a Cyber-Princess" and "In Far Pale Clarity".  In some sense, it belongs with those poems as it comments on that poetic flavor (although a claim could be made for any speculative poem, but its indefinite-ness argues against that reading):
you can only reach [the blue pomegranate] by riding
a tired horse for three days
and nights through the rain.
Often when we are tired, our minds can be paradoxically most receptive to art.

Do not eat the blue pomegranate.
If you must ingest this fruit,
cut it cleanly from the tree
with a single stroke of your blade,
trap its roll upon the ground,
sever its leathery hide and consume
its sticky seeds in a single sitting....
The warning that is not meant to warn but intrigue. It ends with a Poe-like declaration of what a story is.

Those who worship the blue fruit,
inveterate pomegranate-eaters,
gourmet cultists of the bizarre,
credit it with the most heavenly
of all flavors known to Earth.
In truth it has little flavor at all
except for a slight aftertaste of lime. 
It is, of course, highly hallucinogenic.
A number of contradictions: the knowledgeable claim flavor. Our persona in an authoritative voice claims otherwise. He, too, is full of contradictions. See below.

The results vary dramatically
according to the individual fruit
and the individual consuming it....
Generally the more rigidly defined
the personality of the individual,
the more devastating the experience....
Your reading experience may vary.

So stay away from that horse.
Do not go searching for that tree.
Come and sit here by the hearth
while the burning logs crackle.... 
Forget the blue pomegranate.
Remember the blue pomegranate. 
Never forget what I have told you.
Contradict your contradictions to leave the rigidly defined thoroughly confused.

"Film Artifact: A Review
This reminded me of Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions. This would have been published around the same time. A fascinatingly bizarre book. David Zimmer researches director Hector Mann's films for a book. It's an intense story within a story, told with a distancing effect. I read it awhile ago, so clearly it had an impact.

This poem acquires a similar voice to Auster's yet applied like "The Blue Pomegranate":

meaning real or symbolic
from its reeling progression,
the events portrayed seem
to shift ever so slightly.
(Further evidence of tampering
by time travelers or merely
the flaws of imperfect memory?)....
There is no dramatic structure
nor any clear effort to convey
a theme or sense of the whole.
You aren't necessarily meant to understand.

what frightens you most,
more than its incomprehensibility,
more than its tedious repetition
or the way it jump cuts inexplicably
from one Grand Guignol to the next,
is the undeniable realization that
you have seen your own likeness,
your absolute image as a celluloid clone,
looming larger than life on the screen.
Yet the seeming chaos/tedium/madness reflects our lives.

"She Was There for Him the Last Time"
I've commented in some detail here.  I wish now I'd actually written out all of my original thoughts. I'll add more later if I think of any, but my original assessment seems rather complete.

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