Posted: July 31, 2019 Filed under: Poetry, The Many Faces of Poetry, Writing | Tags: Art, Art Rosch, Creativity, Inspiration, literature, Poetry, The Many Faces of Poetry, Words, Writing, Writing to be Read
Poetry For Yourself
Poetry has an odd position in the hierarchy of creative media. It’s too personal and intense to be an instrument of mass exposure. How many famous poets are there? Five? Ten? Who comes to mind? Mary Oliver. Of course.
So why do you write poetry? Asking that question is like asking “Why do you fall in love?” You just do…because the love is in you, wanting to get out. It’s a way of falling in love with yourself. Having created something beautiful, you sit back and think…”Oh..did I do that? Where did it come from? Did I channel it from some ethereal spirit?” Sometimes the poems we write seem to belong to independent spirits. They are alien and strange.
Ghost voices grow
like weaving spires in the corridor of the night.
Stalactites of moonlight,
they hum and fade
through the wake of other minds.
A sheet of star rain glinting light,
a mist of moon- heat lost from sight
these spectral hints emerge
from the night floor in the dark.
Silver waving plants recede forever
in a song of twinkling echoes.
Ghost voices, shadow worlds
arise and converse
while my sleep waits beyond the hills,
If I wrote that it would be evidence that I am certifiably nuts. It must be read carefully, like drinking a fabulous milkshake one mouthful at a time. Poetry can be a vessel for deadly serious topics, or it can offer room for comedy.
There’s shit on my shoes;
cat shit, dog shit, I hope that’s all shit.
Every step I take I risk stepping in shit:
Is this not life? There’s nothing wrong with shit.
We need it, like we need bugs
to nourish with its noxious stink the most natural growth.
This poo is for you, it says, as I wipe it off my shoe
with futile hope of avoiding my hands, then washing
again and again. How often in a day do I inwardly exclaim,
More than I would admit.
My mind is full of bricks, pies and purges.
Cats, dogs, owls, horses, all shit. People shit,
the cosmos excretes Dark Matter on these very shoes
which I try so hard to keep clean. Many are obsessed
with the minuscule taint of e.coli. Why should I bother to say
“Relax, we are exposed to e.coli and far worse
every day. We are sturdy,
knocking off shits and bugs heroic, undaunted
by the invisible stools of imagination?”. Instead I spread this blessing:
“You must be crazy in whatever way you want.”
Not every disease is preventable, nor is every affliction brought on board
by the shit on our shoes. When you stroke the cat, the dog, the horse
your hands investigate bacteria, resist infection.
After all, shit is the most common thing in the world.
I’ll be honest. “Shit” is one of the best poems I’ve ever written. I think. I always feel that way about my latest poem. It’s got rhythm and it makes people laugh. What’s better than that?
I know, I’m taking up a lot of space, and I think I’ve posed enough questions. No matter how personal a matter is poetry, its importance is immense. It is filled with our most private introspection. If others read it, so much the better. I didn’t write these things to live in the dark. Some day they may find an audience. Meanwhile, I offer them for the pleasure of a small number of readers who may enjoy them.
A Midwesterner by birth, Arthur Rosch migrated to the West Coast just in time to be a hippie but discovered that he was more connected to the Beatnik generation. He harkened back to an Old School world of jazz, poetry, painting and photography. In the Eighties he received Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders. The timing was not good. His life was falling apart as he struggled with addiction and depression. He experienced the reality of the streets for more than a decade. Putting himself back together was the defining experience of his life. It wasn’t easy. It did, however, nurture his literary soul. He has a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Come visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv.
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Posted: July 25, 2018 Filed under: Blog Content, Inspirational, Poetry, Writing | Tags: Art, Art Rosch, Humor, Inspiration, Opinion, Poetry, Poets, Writing
Poets are more important than the poetry they write. Imagine a world in which there are no poets. How dismal! The poetry, though…that’s merely a by-product of what work is done by poets. The work of being a poet is the act of being different, unique, distinct. That’s what poets are for. They represent the odd, the inspired, the depressed, the struggling, the eccentric. They do this work with language, with words. The poetry may rhyme, have meter, or be abstract, modern, free and strange. No matter. Poets are like Christians or policemen. There are times when we need them, desperately. We count on Christians to keep promises. We count on policemen to help us when our neighbors get into a fight that’s keeping us awake all night. We count on poets to be slightly off-kilter, to be weird and unique. Their weirdness gives us permission to also be weird, because I’ve never met a human being who isn’t….weird.
If poets are weirdlings, madmen, people who view the world through a creative filter, then we must sustain them. Losing poets would be a calamity, an apocalypse. It would be like having all the glaciers melt. Where will our water come from? Where will these pieces of verse that are of little utility, yet so necessary, where will they come from?
Dewdrops on spider webs;
sit lightly with life.
That’s the shortest poem I’ve ever written. Or this one, also eleven syllables:
So coos the mourning dove:
come to me, my love.
I began reading and writing poetry because my girlfriend in high school loved poets. It came easily to me. I am, after all, one of those weirdlings, a true eccentric. The poetry has far outlasted the girlfriend. I’m still interested in poetry. I still love this ability to take a virtual word-photo and bring life into its papery texture. Okay, okay, I’m done. Now I’m reaching, I’m crossing that thin membrane between inspiration and bullshit. We don’t need to do that, not with poetry.
The poets will take care of poetry, hopefully for as long as humans exist.
The greatest thing that ever happened to Arthur Rosch was his awful childhood. Growing up in a dysfunctional family he had no choice but to get angry, rebel and follow his path to becoming an artist. His first duty as an artist was to cultivate obsessions. He proceeded to do this with gusto and learned that there is no substitute for a good obsession, compulsion or addiction to gain insight into human nature. It was a girl who inspired him to write poetry and novels. Writing is the refuge of his later life, after forty. It took him that long to wear out the obsessions. Rosch believes that part of a writer’s apprenticeship is to spend at least twenty years being mentally deranged. He loves jazz, science fiction, literary fiction, Rumi’s poetry, travel, history, dogs and cats and his wife, who is half Apache.
His multi media blog can be found here: www.artrosch.com
Visit his photo blog at http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv
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Posted: November 30, 2010 Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: Art, Dance, Harlequin, Intimacy, Mitch Barrett, Poetry, Voices
When this blog was on the Today.com site, as I’ve mentioned before, I published a poem at the end of every post. In “Poetry Worth Noting” I reposted two poems written by others that I had posted on the old blog site, which received several views, making me think that perhaps the poetry is something that my readers might have an interest in. So, in this post, I will publish two of my own poems and tell you a little about the stories behind them. Please leave comments to let me know if this is something that you would like to see more of here, on Writing to be Read.
The first is called Voices and it really has a lot to do with the point where I really began to feel like a writer. I was preparing for the 2008 Fremont County Writers’ and Artists’ Fair. I had a table at the fair, but I had no book to sell, so I was putting each of my poems on an illustrated background for display. While looking for a suitable background for this particular poem, I discovered a painting, by artist Mitch Barrett, of the same name. I contacted the artist and obtain copyright permission to use his painting as the background for my poem. This was all very exciting for me for several reasons. First, the painting fit absolutely perfect with the content of the poem, with a central head, surrounded by faces that all seemed to be screaming at him. Second, this was the first time that I had every participated in any type of writing function, and I was beginning to feel like a “real” writer. And third, Mitch Barrett lives in England, and that is where he called me from. I was thrilled that this man would go out of his way to make an international call to me and grant me permission to use his work!
Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?
Sometimes they tell me to open my eyes,
And not believe your blatant lies.
Sometimes they tell me to forgive all.
At times they warn that I’m about to fall.
Sometimes they whisper, so I can barely hear.
Other times, they are so near
That it sounds as if they’re shouting in my head.
Sometimes they caution; I could end up dead.
They tell me I’m heading for dangerous ground,
Or tell me I shouldn’t have you around.
Sometimes they say I’m headed straight for the top.
Other times, they scream that I must stop.
They urge me to go faster,
Then they say slow way down.
They seem to speak most
When there’s no one around.
They tell me to do what I feel is right,
But then they say that it’s not worth the fight.
When I feel that my heart is shattered glass,
They say that I’d better get off my ass.
They that I might just think for a bit,
But they never allow me to give up or quit.
I listen, sometimes long into the night,
And they always say that I must do what is right.
They push me one way, then pull another.
Sometimes they sound just like my mother.
Often, I wonder if they’re from my past.
Sometimes, I long for silence at last.
Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?
Background Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth
The second poem that I would like to include here, came about because of Voices and that first initial contact with Mitch Barrett. Not long after the fair, Mitch contacted me about some paintings he was working on that he wanted to display with poetry, and he asked me to see what I could come up with to go with them. He explained what he was trying to do in the painting and sent me sketches of what the intended works would look like. This past summer, his painting, Intimacy went on display at the Kaleidoscope Gallery at Battle Sea Park, in London, featuring my poem, Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance. Just recently, the painting sold, which thrilled me to no end. It now has a home in Milan, I am told. It is a great painting, with my poetry, and there has been interest expressed by gallery owners of exhibiting more artwork/poetry combinations, so I may be collaborating with this talented artist again in the future.
Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance
By Kaye Lynne Booth
We dance through the masquerade of life
Disguised to fit the music
Of so many different melodies
That at times, we forget which tune
Holds the heartstrings of who we really are.
Then one day, we find the perfect dance partner,
But to attain the perfect rhythm
We must open ourselves up and reveal our souls.
Intimacy requires that we relinquish the mask
To expose the genuine self that lies beneath.
After all the years of dancing to false tunes
Will we be able to keep time
To the genuine dance and the original rhyme?
Or shall we don the mask once more and continue to
Keep time to the false melody of the Harlequin dance?
Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth