Sunday, November 11, 2018

Blue Pages 1.10 — Clifford Brooks

Gustav Klimt — Beethovern Frieze; The Kiss to the Whole World (1902, Vienna, Austria)

I Do Not Want for Anyone to Wonder

Beethoven is still deaf, but undead, eternally unafraid,
but bent over in silence – unloved.  It is a tough
task to mask the truth no amount of money, notoriety,
or corporate sponsors can slay the monster
resurrected from the cancer genius implanted
that is malicious, malcontent, and unexpected.
Many of us know the bother of a heart un-beating and bent
by the frustration an absent father can induce.  What is not
truth illusive is that a lack of attendance is better
than a man there but abusive.  I am not Beethoven.

I am not Doc Holliday.  I am not heroic be it
Beowulf or Virginia Wolfe.  As I can see it, if you can believe it,
I am insane, just left of the oncoming train, allowed
out of the asylum because I have become somewhat 
skilled using pretty words.  Yes, it’s absurd, but I insure
you I shall not snarl, howl, or bite.  I write all night,
and tomorrow I just might make a disaster 
of my forty-fourth chance to be a master of good behavior.

That is – I might.  I do not want for anyone to wonder
what number they should save on the fridge for my doctor,
an inspector, or a caring mother to dress me as I’m naked
in my front yard.  I might be that free bird who’s dancing
while free-balling.  Yet, it is not your debt or second calling
to come to my aid.  I have paid and paid in pain, regret,
and maintain that I have, do, and will abstain from booze,
be confused my social cues, and come to conclude 
the end is near.

Ancient Greece found madness neat but common man
put their prophets in padded cells.  I am not profit.  I am forgettable.
I do not find cannibals my kind of people.  I dislike the smell
of society.  I certainly don’t assume one of them will settle
well eaten in a sandwich.  Romantics and Beat Poets didn’t know it,
but they are all cartoons born from one spark of one member
close to smart while the rest were weak, drunk, and under
the required height the heavens require to write unbreakable songs.
Am I now the Mad Hatter sitting in judgement all haughty 
from the head of my table?  Yes ma’am, I am.  

I eat my ice cream with green eggs and ham.  I listen to Beethoven,
keep my head out of the oven, and refuse to lose my opinion
that Bukowski was a buffoon whose antics earned just enough room
to be a warning to anyone starting to think immortality smells
like whiskey.  It smells like…leather, pirate’s treasure, and fills the fissures
old friends forced open in my flesh.  Breathe.  Write.  Breathe.  Calm 
your medicated minds, and be Beethoven, now sitting up, deciding solitude
is company enough, and uncuff yourself from the false god the mediocre made.
No bueno.  No thank you. My piano is polished, my pajamas are my tuxedo, 
and the tornado I scratch down won’t cause you the least concern.

Clifford Brooks was born in Athens, Georgia. His first poetry collection, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics was re-issued by Kudzu Leaf Press in August 2018. His second full-length poetry volume, Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, as well as a limited-edition poetry chapbook, Exiles of Eden, were published by Kudzu Leaf Press in 2017. Clifford is the founder of The Southern Collective Experience, a cooperative of writers, musicians and visual artists, which publishes the journal of culture The Blue Mountain Review and hosts the NPR show Dante’s Old South. He is on the faculty of The Company of Writers, and provides tutorials on poetry through the Noetic teaching application.

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