Sunday, January 25, 2015

Poem: Closer

Recently published in Offcourse.  See it with two more of my poems here:

http://www.albany.edu/offcourse/

Best To All ... I suppose,

Owl

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Closer

sunset baked the folk, millions of them,
all flavored different the same.
AC’s whirred on volt-bound coal,
while the swelter of lets and sublets
played on.

jetliners
owned the decibel extremes,
but in a corner of the emulsified sky
a pair of hawks tread.

after they funneled off,
flies in the amphitheaters of kitchens had to do,
or disaporic house spiders,
steadfast in lank mezzanines.

(no one counted
the machinelike ants
migrated from scalded dirt
to cool cornucopic parlors.)

crows whittled the sun away,
such tired and cranky switch-wing punks.
Fibonacci throngs of them, congealing,
superimposed a whirlpool
over the effluence
of this brake-light time.

the city wasn’t
supposed to be about swerving birds,
or even the trudging phlegm of cars.
faces hung inside
like fruity cyborgs:
orange, grim, and cherry splashes
across the herded glass
of spectral visors.


-------------------------------------

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Release: Decades Review Issue 14 (Winter)

An excerpt of my poem "Interceptor" is featured on the front page of the Decades Review website, as part of their enticement to read the latest issue:

http://www.decadesreview.com/

You can read the issue online in .pdf format, or purchase a copy to help support the editors.  Also appearing on the front page is an excerpt of "Island Boy" by Nic Sebastian.  Ms. Sebastian will always hold a special place in my heart.  As the former Editor of Whale Sound, she selected and recorded one of my poems.  It is still available in her sonorous voice online:

https://whalesound.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/the-gods-reflect-on-creation-by-chris-crittenden/

If you have a minute and a half, I invite you to listen to her read my work.  The title is "The Gods Reflect On Creation."  It has become the only poem of mine that I can recite from memory (!)  because I've listened to the recording over and over.  Immortal gratitude!

(This poem sums up the dark half of my ethos very well, too.  Soul in a nutshell!)

The Poetry Editor of Decades Review is Paige Edenfield--I congratulate her on a fantastic Winter issue!

Best To All,

Owl

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Learned Helplessness



Again, as I’ve reported endlessly on this blog, research shows that the Earth is on the edge of tremendous collapse, a global shock for biodiversity and climate.  Here is the latest:


www.nytimes.com/2015/01/16/science/earth/study-raises-alarm-for-health-of-ocean-life.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/scientists-human-activity-has-pushed-earth-beyond-four-of-nine-planetary-boundaries/2015/01/15/f52b61b6-9b5e-11e4-a7ee-526210d665b4_story.html



One article is about mass extinction in the oceans and the other discusses nine different “planetary boundaries” that we have crossed or will.  Both sets of researchers indicate we can reverse some of the effects, if we act.  The real problem is getting humanity to act.  It is already clear that mass extinction, by itself, doesn’t faze us.  Harsh change to the Earth’s ecosystems, as already demonstrated, doesn’t faze us.  We just adapt without questioning to the new despoiled surrounds.  But now scientists are saying, even emphasizing, that the tremendous changes will threaten civilization.  So the question becomes, Will humanity act even to save itself, given all the rationally supported evidence for the case?
What is the other side saying?  Those who think we don’t have to worry much?  Do they have a reasonable case?  Meet the New Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:  James Inhofe (R), Oklahoma.  What does he say about global warming?  You can read his 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax:  How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future--but the title gives it away.  What is his argument?  The Bible.  He quotes Genesis and says God would not allow humans to radically alter His Creation.


http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120134/climate-change-denier-james-inhofe-lead-environment-committee


Inhofe’s presence as Chair of this powerful environmental policy committee provides a barometer for the mindset of the American people.  And America is still the ‘great’ Empire.

If you even skim the articles at the links above, and you’re not in denial, you will get really, really sad.  A lot of people are preoccupied with important things:  medical problems in the family, raising children, struggling to subsist, and so on.  Totally understandable.  What is not understandable is all the denial.  For instance, immersing so completely in sports or the latest fashion vogue that you ignore the larger scene. 

Snapshot:  buying something Made In China and stuffing it in a plastic bag to take home.  We all ought to think about WHY we are doing this.   Where do all those plastic bags go?  Under what conditions are products manufactured in China?  How does that affect the workers, the culture, the environment.  There is a tremendous web of causal interconnections that we Americans fail to see when we buy Made In China, or go to McDonald's and buy a hamburger & etc. & etc. & etc.

Everything we buy contributes to larger consequences that, yes, do come back to bite us.

As you might have noticed in the paragraph on Inhofe above, the deniers are virulent.  They claim that America is threatened by environmentalists/scientists, and that we must keep buying buying buying--especially if it involves the oil industry.  On Inhofe again:


These days, the oil and gas industry is his top source of campaign money. But don’t tell him he’s been bought: “Anytime someone asks me how much money I get from the oil industry, I always tell them the same thing,” he said, smiling. “Not enough.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-senates-top-climate-change-denier-is-flying-high-with-a-committee-chairmanship/2015/01/07/bf625fe0-9365-11e4-ba53-a477d66580ed_story.html



So, people like me are the hated ones.  We are the anti-Americans.  We are the scum of society, because we are against freedom, against capitalism, and we spread vicious lies and so are (in effect) traitors.  This hate-mongering is very important for the mass control of right wing minds. 

Denial is all around us.  US = us.  Turn on the TV and you get mindless pablum.  Bread and circuses.  Same with other media (music seems somewhat better than the others, except country music of course).  This is the daily reality in the Empire, denial and lack of understanding.  Willful lack of care.  

 A lot of the time, I hide too.

I’m going to yahoo.com right now and see what the #1 story is.... (and yahoo.com is pretty liberal.  It does put in good pieces, now and then).... let’s see... purely random...

Here are the top five:

1.  Map Shows Crime Trends (a real estate company helps homebuyers find safe neighborhoods)

2. European Anti-Terror Raids (more than two dozen suspects detained)

3. GOP’s Tech Challenge (how to help the right wing with their fundraising)

4. Flesh-colored jumpsuit a fashion miss  (Gwyneth Paltrow wears a bad dress)

5. Giant Shark Closes Beach (what it says)

So, there you have it.  Yahoo, which sometimes posts good pieces, usually doesn’t.  Citizens who browse get smacked with a great plethora of fluff and distraction.  Note the presence of Republican fundraising issues, right in our faces.  Note the emphasis on crime and terrorism  (fear-mongering, the companion of hate-mongering).   And so on.

(note:  terrorism, civil unrest and war are likely to escalate as living conditions deteriorate.  Like rats in a maze, we'll begin to gnaw on each other.  The rats had the maze imposed on them.  In our case, we're building our own maze, and with great efficiency).

To anyone facing these issues with honesty--you're a hero!  It’s mentally titanic to read that humanity is in the process of collapsing the ecosystems--and civilization--and then--then--to open an internet browser, or turn on TV,  or just go out somewhere in public (maybe nearby the friendly yellow arches) and see our failure to face what we need to face.

As for me, I feel depressed, contained, constricted.  I wish I could scream.  I think I’m suffering from learned helplessness.



Owl

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Acceptance: Hermeneutical Chaos Litereary Journal

http://www.hermeneuticchaosjournal.com/


I'm very honored to have a poem ("Cold Start") appearing in the March issue of this exceptional journal.  In support of my praise, I simply ask that you visit the website.  On arrival, you will feel the magnetism:  the wonderful design, visually captivating, and the impressive presentation, including some philosophical and quite aesthetic statements by (I presume) the Editor-in-Chief Shinjini Bhattacharjee.  I particularly like that there is an "Ethos" section.  It starts out this way:



Art is the ultimate paradox of humanity. It constantly seeks to find kinship with the ephemeral quicksand while simultaneously pausing to contemplate over the mismatched precipitation of each granule.

Dimensions of the sensuous and the passionate-cerebral are seamlessly ensconced not only in the ambience of the journal, but also the poems themselves.  In the January 2015 issue, there is a piece called "texture of a mushroom" by Aimee Herman that immerses the reader in the tactile and olfactory, and also connects to a holism of psychologies.  "The Sea God Dreams of Land" by GennaRose Nethercott bathes us in the mysteries of gardens, growth, archetypes and more.  There are darker poems, too, these also wonderful, surprisingly, at pleasing the senses through the magic of literary phrase (one such poem is "End-Stops" by Sabrina Chen).

Whether painful or ecstatic, the poems celebrate.  I am reminded quite a bit of the freedom in Neruda's writing, to soar where taken on the wings of words most redolent, most delicious, most enchanting.  Ultimately, Hermeneutical Chaos, shows us the purpose of poetry:  to encounter life in fresh ways, in awe at the miracles while travelling, through courageous symbolisms, wherever the muse carries the writer's pen.  It is a journey girded in the celebration of the art of writing, seeking through the entire spectrum of emotions.

Many thanks to Shinjini Bhattacharjee, and the rest of her editorial team, for this gift.


Owl



Monday, January 5, 2015

Release: The Wolf Skin


 http://thewolfskin.com/
(check in poetry archives, if you are reading this later)

See my poems "Topped Off" and "Clover In Sidewalk," which were just posted at The Wolf Skin.  The former is a sensuous poem with one of my favorite rhythms, something I lucked out on while in a delirious state; and the latter is ... a mystery!  But it has "vibrissa" in it, which is a cool word, right?

A special thank you to excellent Poetry Editor Tessa Torgeson, who took special time and extra care to work things out with me.  Much appreciated!!!

Best To All,

Owl

Friday, December 26, 2014

Release: Offcourse #59

The latest issue is out, including three of my poems.  I feel very lucky to be included.

http://www.albany.edu/offcourse/

Best To All,

Owl

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Acceptance: Decades Review

http://www.decadesreview.com/

Very honored to have  "Interceptor," which centers on a seagull, accepted by this quality journal.  The poem will appear in the January 2015 issue.  The Poetry Editor is Paige Edenfield, who took the time to write a personalized note (which few editors do, even on acceptances), and she seems passionate and enthused about her difficult job, which requires delving into the offerings of the muse-stung soul.

Very Best To All,

Owl

---------


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Acceptance: Offcourse (Issue 59)

http://www.albany.edu/offcourse/

I'm looking forward to the release of the lastest issue of Offcourse, scheduled for December 24.  In it will appear three of my poems: "Closer," "Los," and "Break Up."  One of them is actually not a criticism of humanity's sheeplike ability to avoid asking tough ethical questions.

Thanks as always to the excellent editorial team of Drs. Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg!

See if you can guess which one from the first lines of the poems (to read the rest, check out issue 59 on Christmas Eve!):

Los


moon in smog scrim
lists behind Narcissus--he as a streetlamp--
as trash lolls, hunkering
down windy boulevards.
...


----------

Closer

sunset baked the folk, millions of them,
all flavored different the same.
...


--------


Break Up

=>wasn’t what he wanted, could/couldn’t,
so ineffectual in its swallow-of-the-tail,
an exasperative fix.
...

--------



Not too hard, right?

Have a good holiday season.

Owl


....