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Monday, April 03, 2006

The Policeman Still Has Two

In the place of Justice, at the Court.
I sit among dark, strange, beings.
Policemen, unmenacing, brush past.
Lean lawyers, men in suits, chat
With savages. Street girls smoke
And laugh. A fat, sad man is fined.
A transvestite titters. Black jackets suits ties.
Broken and unbroken people.

The Judge hardly glances
At a boy, nervily shifting in the dock;
He has only one eye. What does it see?

A dark woman, as elegant
As a queen, sobs from an interview room:
I hear: “Both of you have, the...guilt/
The grief...” Or was it "burden"? A lady in
uniform walks past. I wait.

My son has one eye.

Lawyers from behind their ties, explain.

My son has one eye. .

The dark night has gone.

The men who
have been destroyed by those they destroy
Are kept for wicked Ogres
In their sneering woo wah wooh wah
Waspy cars. They club the broken hits
Of our land to bloody lumps,
In their daily night bashings. Like
weeders in a jungle, they are ten feet tall
And they are green
And they spit death blue
And their great, bulging, blindingly
Yellow eyes burn merciless and blind.

My boy has one eye. One!
The other one was burst…

He had run outside and cried
That a big in him had died.

The eye, infinitely aware, was all life long
In it's marvellous/ Billion step creation/ Billion step making.


After vast tine unfolding
It shone in a baby’s face: it grew to manhood.
A policeman, a dutiful policemen, burst it with a baton.
The eye was as beautiful as every eye. My boy, my green
And gentle boy — has only one eye.

Two two two — one two one two one two — blue green blue green
Blue blue blue... Cops, courts, people, batons, judges.

Batons - love, hate - eyes eyes eyes. Victor cried for help -
They smashed away his eye. Why?

All I know is, a ten foot two-eyed Ogre burst his eye.


muzzlehatch said...

now that, is a fucking good poem.

muzzlehatch said...

the image caps it off perfectly.

Richard Taylor said...

Thanks! It's a rewrite of an old poem I scanned in - BTW if you see OCR on a scanner you can scan in documents and then trasnfer them into Word etc - I have started doing that with my old poems - the poem I read out about 1990 and it received a big ovation but many poeple knew the story already - but this interpretation of Eyelight the image is not refering just to eyes or my son (and image etxt and otherthings are really tobe integreted or not in a continuously variable way into the ETEP - see below) - it is referring to all aspects of light ("spiritual" and other) - in a sense these poems ( I recirculate old poems and or fragements of same into Eyelight (or fragmenst of fragments) which is in sense a subset of The Infinite Poem) are not one poem (each) by themselves they are part of alarger "activity" or textual practice that leads to the final room of each cycle that is fragemented - this is to simplify - the problem with the poem is that it is for me too "conventional" - thre realism is dubiuous (although it is "real" I guess -but how real is real?) - although it reflects reality one is on dangerous territory (poetically and philsophically) - the problem is the same as that of the confessionlists - many of them great poets but - well too close to the personal (thsi distance is always variable) - and some times in a way that is artifice - yet artifice is a device or is a part of all poetry or art and not to be avoided - an interesting book is Perloff's "Radical Artifice" - by the way these comments are all part of the "poem" - or to rename what it is fro now the Emotional Textual Intellectual Engine Process - ETIEP - or ETEP -my main work from now on is not "poems" - for me poems on their own don't exist so I will do -temporary name - ETEPS

Richard Taylor said...

BTW this doesn't mean that a reader cant take these texts or a part of the ETEP as individual poems -I cant control what the reader does.

Take one example - what say a policeman who knew what I was talking about read the poem -depending on who he or she was his or her reaction would be various from sympathetic to derisory - I cant control that - that is reality and quite valid - all responses are equally valid. (My perception of what occured in 1990 to my son is very subjective - I was partly to blame for the tragic situation for exmple - but I cant really say that the police did some deliiberate act or it was an accident (malevlonet or some prcedural thing -iosupspect thepoce prcdureindeling wiwthemrgicies or "crys for help need fixing somehwo -but it is a part of a wider social issue taht ny ETEP cant contain - although social concepts are imprtant) - and my perception of it is "worked" - the concept of teh "real poem from the heart" (always a bit wet that I feel)is thus to be and is always undermined - I'm not trying to say cops are bad or whatever (or that the 'social fabric is rotten' - this is subjective again) - this is just a part of the personal ingredient that goes into the mix that is Eyelight or the ETEP. There is also a lot of ludic stuff or "playing with words and language " etc some aleatory stuff and so on. etc Of course there is a man - a father's personal anger and grief - modulated and perhaps distorted via the artifice and "block" of words and also of time... The problem of the signifier etc

muzzlehatch said...

I know what you're saying about the 'wet poem from the heart' or 'conventional realism' but I think it has it's place, you've only got to think of Wilfred Owen who was most of all 'not concerned with poetry' to realise how strong it can be. Red lips are not so red, as the stained stones kissed by the English dead. Paul Celan too is terrifying for the pain in his words. albeit poetic. too much abstract universalism can be just as hard to take. and I guess the eye is the body-part you tend to feel the most instant empathy towards. Is the ETIEP your concept?

Richard Taylor said...

Yes Wilfred Owen is a great poet - there IS a place for various degrees of "realism" it is kind of like how much focus or "clarity" you want (Charles Bernstein the language poetry guru calls it "absorption" in "A Poetics" which being an exercise in poetics is partly (and somewhat humorously) in the form of a poem which challenges our ideas of what is "officially" poetry - compare Mallarme or Valery (and indeed Celan - who is using a complex coding of words and is hard to read really in English but Pierre Joris has an excellent translation of some of his later poems - and the tragedy of Celan was he had to write in German - a language and a culture his mother loved and so did he and his parents were murdered by those cultured Germans (Nazis)) with say Kipling or even some of the British poets such as R S Thomas, or Heaney perhaps; one is looking at both stylistic and philosophic differences (as well as the writer's sensibility) - and indeed in contrast to Owen have a look at Keith Douglas the 2nd WW poet -of say "How to Kill" -he liked the war!! (But I don't think he was pitiless his other poem whch is titled in German - the meaning is "Forget me Not" is perhaps not quite so pitiless (the very "objectivity is surreal and constitutes in its own way a critique of war if you want it to be - or a celebration - which is perhaps disturbing)) - there are dangers on every side - each writer wrestles between abstraction at the extreme. See the "exploded" poem of - forget the writer just for now - and say some of the work of say Barett Watten or Silliman or Charles Bernstein or Stein herself and Bruce Andrews - these contrast say with contemporary NZ poets (maybe Brian Turner and say Bob Orr -both excellent poets - but now contrast with Jack Ross and so on - or Richard von Sturmer) there is thus kind of continuum (Smithyman and Allan Curnow perhaps in the centre some where...Glover closer to Turner), and contrast all of these with the more conventional poets (Bersntein et al talk of the "official verse culture") it to music - I mostly listen to classical but I also used to liten to the radio in my car when it was tuned to pop (or the van when I was a Lineman) - so the last 2 days I tuned to some Gdolden oldies - beautiful songs - but they are not say Schoenberg or Frank Zappa - huge range of music and also literature - all styles are valid - you wouldn't expect Bach at disco for example!

I invented the term ETIEP -it is really in realtionship to my longer projects The Infinite Poem and Eylight - not my 'poems' -if tey can be separated - that are -well I have thousands (probably hundreds but it seems like thousand) of them - in Eyelight I am recircling poems as Bach recircled old music to make up his St John's Passion - that is one of the ideas of Eyelight. But Eyelight is not structured so rigorously as that music (it - Eyelight - is exploratory also) - in which Bach coded the letters of his own name into the music - John Cage used that idea later - Cage Stockhausen and Charles Ives are important to both my longer ETIEP projects. There is a vast musical/mathematical perfection or symmetry in The St.John's Passion which is strange... I haven't attempted anything like that. Art - my own and others is important - artists such as Beuys, Joseph Cornell, the conceptuals, and the abstract expressionists such as Pollock and de Kooning, and so on.

To me "Art" is all human creative activity of whatever kind all Art is unified ultimately (or can be) - all media separate and or connected or inter/intra-connected and there being potentialy no barriers or judgements of "better" or "worse".

Richard Taylor said...

To me for example the image


can be a poem or its a text or its art and so on -

sometimes I just look at it and the effect is like it is telling me something but its nothing (as far as I know) "about" anything - and yet it feels intensly meaning ful - but other times it doesn't -or it is just an image -other times I am processing its "message" or messages - which are infinite and finite. I am never sure what my brain (soul? mind?) is doing to that image or what other thoughts are added or subtracted as I contemplate it...

BTW Muzzlehatch - I'm soon going to put that thing about Bill Direen up - also I have a lot of fascinating links I have come across to send you and or put on my Blog -cheers - and cheers to others who may be out there!

maps said...

I think it works pretty well, especially if it's placed in a context where readers already know some of the story you're telling. Maybe preceded by some sort of drier prose account? The primitivst language and phraseology that pops up occasionally works, I think, because it communicates some of the incomprehension of the grief-stricken speaker, as well perhas as something of Victor's otherwordliness. It'd be good to see this sequence complete, as it'd complement Hospital nicely and blance the wilder parts of the Taylor ouevre in any Titus selection.

Richard Taylor said...

Thanks Maps - yes it is an old poem and was even more "cluttered" before I actully trimmed it -when I felt much more strongly on the matter - at the time in 1990 I did start a stronger thing with a description from a scientific book of the eye - but the idea of "eye" and so on permeates Eyelight and has, multiple significations; and the work needs to be seen as a part of a longer work Eyelight - now im up to room 2 - the poem about the eye is there as a kind of as an 'explanation" of one aspect of Eyelight - there are social/political and other implications also its almost surreal but not as well written -it is deliberately 'loose' so to speak as is the opening poem or "room" so I have some more -each room is like the room of a house -none are "perfect" as in any house - they have clutter, need dusting et cetera but they are thus "lived in" - Eyelight is my first attempt (apart from TIP) to write something with some kind of overveiw so to speak. So the various parts are laid out then they are all put together into fragmented pieces which completes the cycle of rooms or the house then I rebuild the house...but Ithnk Iweilonly do two tree cles or houses then switch to the Infinite Poem (TIP) which is better suited for a Blog - so far I haven'y written about anythng but myself!! Which is a bit of a worry -and also Muzzle and Maps somewhat... I geve the link to Maps on some of them on their might be interested...

Eyellight is in fact a subset of TIP - some peel mightnotlie thetheorising or dialectic but that is all part of the ETEP - here I owe to many of the ideas of the Language poets.

Richard Taylor said...

This should be -

Eyelelight is in fact a subset of TIP - some people might not like the theorising or dialectic but that is all part of the ETEP - here I owe to many of the ideas of the Language poets.

Aaron Townsend said...

hi richard i am doing a assignment on you,weta workshop & how weta made the lord of the rings possible i am wondering if i could ask you questions by email um my email is i would be overjoyed if you could find some time for me to ask the questions...+ Great poem

Richard Taylor said...

I explained to Aaron that I am not THE Richard Taylor he wants - but I appreciated his comments.

Aaron Townsend said...

whell that was smart wasn't it LOL

Richard said...

Good one.

Richard said...

Interesting how I started this...