Friday, March 5, 2010

"Postcard from Prague"

Ye new prose poem:


"I hear wind in moonlit trees -- an emotionless sound. Lunar light gloves this hand with which I trace your name on rough tomb-rock. The wound on my finger (do you remember?) has opened once again. How dark the crimson drops appear in this pale light. Blood on stone, again. I cannot find the pit where Judah lies buried, but I have scraped a little hole into the sod, into which I whisper his name; and into that little hole I shall bury the tiny Golem that you fashioned out of clay.

"Dearest, I have found a bit of broken tombstone, one edge of which is sharp. I shall bring it home. I shall hold it to pale moonlight in the place where you rest beneath cold earth. I shall dig until I touch your face, and with this stone I shall inscribe your forehead. Dearest, I shall shiver when, again, you hold me in your arms.


This is far more macabre than what I originally had in mind. I was expecting to write something in memory of the Jews who perished in ye holocaust. My maternal ancestors were Dutch Jews, and I have a huge Jewish identification, although I was raised a Mormon. As I began to write this, the Golem theme asserted itself and got me dwelling on ideas of death and resuscitation. Avigdor Karo, a poet and physician, is the earliest burial in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, and so I used his name for both of my characters. At first I was going to change the second name to "Kara," to suggest a brother/sister relationship.

Life at the moment is too crazy, and I am finding it almost impossible to concentrate on working on the new book. I sometimes really miss having my own apartment, when I can live in quiet solitude and be left alone to write. I never answered the phone, would let the answering machine do that, and then if it was someone I wanted to speak to I would pick up. I moved in with my Mother two years ago, as she can no longer function on her own; and I love this house, which my father had built when I was five. I shall spend the rest of my life here. But mom doesn't understand that a writer needs quiet and solitude, and she often stands in the kitchen called down to me (I write in the basement), "It's so nice and sunny outside, why don't you go jogging? Why don't you go do some yardwork?" Stuff like that, which totally kills my poetic concentration!

So much of the writing process, for me, is finding the mood in which to sit and contemplate a new piece. A majority of the work is a mental process, dreaming, thinking, reading. I don't have the discipline required to be a professional writer who makes one's living from writing. I am a creature of emotion and mood. So I need to wait a few more hours, until Mother is resting before the telly for her evening programs, and then I can sit in this dusky basement and try to work. The next prose poem, I think, will be based on The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. I also want to begin work on the new Sesqua novelette that will be included in the new book, for which I am studying the Imagist movement. Just got a way cool book, The Verse Revolutionaries--Ezra Pound, H. D. and the Imagists, by Helen Carr, over 900 pages about that group and literary movement. I'm setting the novelette in 1917, and basing one character on the poet who signed herself "H. D.," and another character on Robert H. Barlow, Lovecraft's teenage buddy. I was hoping to have this new book completely written by October, but I can tell that won't happen if I am unable to find the quiet and peace of mind I need to totally sink into the writing.

I do love this life, and I'm grateful to be living here, rent-free, where I can at least try to write full-time. My life now is rather a miracle of good fortune, really. Okay, now I need to try and figure out how to concoct a home-made Taco Salad for our dinner, after which nameless ritual I shall sink into the depths of this basement and, fingertips pressed to brow, try to conjure forth a new prose poem.

Many thanks to all of you's who are taking time to read these blogs. I appreciate the audience and comments.

1 comment:

  1. I almost felt like I was getting that brother/sister relationship in the poem, but what do I know.

    The Golem is a fascinating subject, that I have considered transporting to my own work in a Zarahemlan fashion.