In the beginning

I haven’t seen you in 20 years
except in my mind’s eye
the hurricane center of the hot black night
when I slip to our trip to

Galveston. We drove all night,
knowing already it was the end,
and rode the ferry at daybreak,
the sound of the sea and the sad
cry of the gulls
scored upon us.

Then earlier, the southward journeys
past rice farms and shrimping towns
the thick humid patio nights
catching lizards
and laughing.

And earlier still, in the beginning
when we took LSD and lay
all night in a field of sugar cane
tasting the forbidden fruit

afraid

       but liking it

year-bfly-cover

* * * Click covers for links * * *

    BookCoverImage        

Lost song for Meng Jiao

I too have seen the winter stream,
waves beating the swords
of ice, dreamed

of imperial jade, green and blue,
of topaz the color of honey.

Cold streams crumple
the ragged banks of dreary forest,
Above the stream the swells of snow,
Further still, the stars by time and distance frozen,

as far away as your language from mine,
as your solitude from mine.

Spring comes on apace.
The waves beat harder. The swords
of ice break like paper branches. We turn
inward, you and I, creatures of the winter, to seek

someone or something approaching,
cold comfort in translation, here,
the icy clarity of the mirror.

Meng Jiao (751–814) was a Chinese poet during the Tang Dynasty.

 year-bfly-cover

* * * Click covers for links * * *

    BookCoverImage        

#1, #2, or #3

Here are 3 versions of the haiku poem I posted last week. No need to read the original post. Just pick one of the 3 here 🙂

#1
a million falling
stars at once, filling the sky,
hands catch the hot ash

#2
a million falling
stars at once, filling the sky,
the ash they leave us

#3
what dreams may come

A million falling stars
at once, like angels they light
the sky against darkness, but some
thing is wrong. Unlike angels they burn.
Open your hands. You can already
feel, maybe taste,
the hot ash.

 year-bfly-cover

* * * Click covers for links * * *

    BookCoverImage        

 

At the mirador in Noria Alta

Dragons of the earth flashing
red and green and gold
once moved to the galaxies
above cry out, they rage
against fate and thrash
their tails in a glitter
of fiery stars.

Sirens of the ocean weaving
seaspawn and seawrack
removed to the same
night sky, they rage
against time and weep
for their watery home
in teardrop stars.

And we, what have we to do
with dragons, with sirens, we
who see only the stars, only
beauty, we who’ve lost the exquisite
pain of those elemental beings?

We have nothing to do but
await the next wound, await
being ripped aloft from the earth,
soothed for now in soft forgetfulness,
in the bare beauty of the night sky,
where sirens silently weep the more
because they cannot
weep for us.

 year-bfly-cover

* * * Click covers for links * * *

    BookCoverImage        

A brief narrative interlude

Who was I to be working on a trail?
I know nothing of trails. But
I do know one thing. Trees
have no hearts. But
there it was.

A deformity, a fleshy blotch, something
primeval, excessive, root and stem, something
ludicrous, abhorrent, something that shouldn’t be there.

Raging, I tore at the thing,
the thing that could not be a tree, a heart,
that could only be a ghost of a thing, a word,
a high-sounding phrase said and stupidly repeated

(to correct it, I had
no other intent).

My fury opened a thin purple line, a drip,
then a flow, pumping out a silk road
of opulent red, cambering down
the broken skin of bark.

It seemed a thousand years
swept by, countless passings of moon
and stars, blood and bone, in their great cycle.

And the thousand years filled with weird
dreams of life being lived, food trucks
and book shops and dancing under
the steady moon on a small plaza
up high, with lights of a village
below, then of doors opening
downward into something
bottomless deep, then
closing.

I grew thin, I aged as I watched
the slight silky line of red now
trickling across the earth,
now into the earth.

Then the parched earth cracked,
a pain long forgotten pushed
its wobbly head through,
unsure of whether
to lean this way
or that.

I went back to my work
changed and satisfied.

 year-bfly-cover

* * * Click covers for links * * *

    BookCoverImage        

Ready for Christmas? Buy now, deliver today

How about a Faulkner Prize finalist novel (Kindle) marked down to 99c?
How about a book signed by the author? ♥

Goodbye, Maggie (shortlisted for the William Faulkner Prize) is 99c (Kindle) this week only. Hippies is $3.76. (Select “Buy for others” to send as a gift. E-delivery is immediate.)

Signed paperbacks (limited number) also available. (Paperback prices below include regular USPS shipping and may not arrive by Christmas.)

Click covers to view online; email drggautier@gmail.com to order signed copies. (Prices below for are for email orders). If you see something you like, order now. Limited number of signed copies in stock.

Goodbye, Maggie
Audience: Adult Readers
Book price: $11 (see shipping cost below)

2019 William Faulkner Prize finalist. In a culture of health food stores, gurus, quacks and seekers, Phil’s stagnant life is rattled when his charismatic brother shows up with the news that he has murdered someone and asks for sanctuary. Thus begins a dramatic comedy of misdirection, as our heroes find racism, madness, and unlikely friendships as they roll through the Louisiana bayous into New Orleans.

Hippies  
Audience: Adult Readers
Book price: $12 (see shipping cost below)

The Vietnam war resistance, psychedelic drugs, sexual openness, the freedom of the commune – it seemed that everything about the 1960s could be incredibly liberating or wildly destructive. Filled with the sights, sounds and ideals of the Age of Aquarius, this hippie epic follows Jazmine, Ziggy, Ragman, and a coterie of hippies as they discover an LSD-spinoff that triggers past life regressions and sweeps them toward a dramatic climax.

 

Spaghetti and Peas
Audience: Ages 2-8
Book price: $14 (see shipping cost below)

What would you do if you saw a snake in the lettuce? Rachael had to figure that out fast. And she found a magical adventure in her own back yard, within smelling distance of the spaghetti sauce her dad was cooking on the stove. Enjoy this zany, richly illustrated, hardbound picture book as a read-aloud or early reader.

Mr. Robert’s Bones
Audience: Ages 14-99
Book price: $11 (see shipping cost below)

In a neighborhood full of quirky characters, three kids’ search for hidden silver in an abandoned house pits them against forgotten ghosts and the house’s dark memories of racism and betrayal. The quest for the silver is especially nerve-racking for Annie, the kid who actually sees the ghosts. Her friends want to believe her but can’t, and she herself is torn between running away from it all and following the ghosts into the house’s dark history.

 

Year of the Butterfly  
Audience: Poetry, General
Book cost: $6 (see shipping cost below)

One year, four seasons, an archetypal journey, a poetic landscape rich in the flora and fauna of intimate human connection, joyous and sad. The poems in this 42-page chapbook are mostly short and pithy, formally sculpted, but each is packed with concept and image, and together they build up an unforgettable sense of how much life can be lived in a year and how quickly that year can slip away.

Shipping (USA):
First book                                            $3.50
Second book in same shipment          $2.00
Additional books in same shipment    $1.00

drggautier@gmail.com

Mausoleum

Mausoleo y áreas colindante (a chapbook of poems by Eduardo Padilla)
Reviewed by Gary Gautier

As a second-language reader of Spanish, this chapbook of poems by Mexican poet, Eduardo Padilla, was more difficult for me than his narrative verse chapbook, Hotel Hastings. If you are upper intermediate in Spanish, I’d recommend Hotel Hastings, where you can follow the throughline even if you miss some of the language. If you are native or advanced, try Mausoleo. Both collections are admirably weird, as Padilla always is, but Mausoleo is less narrative, more purely poetic, a sculpted universe with a lot more pressure on the language itself. Both are available at https://poesiamexa.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/eduardo-padilla/.

The content in Mausoleo ranges from sweeping and cosmic (“todos los objetos imaginables por todas las civilizaciones de la galaxia” [75]) to elemental* to archetypal (“Saturno devoró a sus hijos” [25]) to “escuálido” [33] (urine and flies buzzing a dirty street). There are no rules in Padilla. No, I take that back. There is one rule. Repetition to keep us grounded. Consecutive stanzas might start with the same phrase, or might each start with a phrase picked up from the previous stanza, or might just follow an easy pattern (“A mi primera esposa … A mi segunda esposa … A mi tercera esposa …” [49-50]). The form swings from long, Whitmanesque lines to a kind of choppy folk meter:

*El sol quema,
el agua fluye,
el viento corre,
la Tierra gira. Ninguno …
(p. 13)

And then this verse enjambs into more open free verse swings. But you get the idea. Padilla can orient us with simplicity as well as disorient us with complexity. And that’s just with the form.

The overall structure too captivates – the organization into spaces reminiscent of Gaston Bachelard’s fascinating philosophical opus, The Poetics of Space. In the case of Padilla’s chapbook, the universe is carved into spaces that are domestic but not quite domestic, semi-public but in a brooding and intimate way. Sections of the chapbook have titles like Pórtico, Dormitorio, Comedor, Salón Heráldico, Capilla, Ático, and of course Mausoleo (Portico, Dorm, Dining Room, Heraldic Hall, Chapel, Attic, Mausoleum) – domestic but layered with social and existential significance, spaces in the liminal zone between public and private, as perhaps a cloistered monastery might be for the devotees who live within it. Maybe that’s where Padilla wants us to feel ourselves. Or maybe not. But either way, it’s a space charged with meaning and emotion.

Throw in a few captivating images – “mujeres como picaduras de abeja” [33], “en cada escena del crimen una catedral azul” [69] – and you have a nice neat package of a poetic chapbook. Well, not exactly neat. Luckily for us, it’s something more interesting than neat.

* * *

       

(Click covers for links)

BookCoverImage     year-bfly-cover         mgg cov clipped 2019-11-23