Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Dating

OUT OF A WHIRLWIND IN A GUST OF PASSION

Composing my Braided Double-Cross collection marked a turning point, one that came as I was getting my feet back on the ground as a poet after getting sidetracked into the demands at a shirt-sleeves management level and later focusing on novel-length fiction. Up to this point, my poems and, for that matter, much of my fiction focused on place – the outdoors, especially.

Personally, recovering from the collapse of a marriage and what I thought was better tomorrow on the horizon, I hunkered down back in the ranks of my career rather than trying to climb the proverbial ladder. I needed to catch my breath and nurse my wounds. This included a deep review of my life, the nature of relationships, the meanings of being male, connecting in contemporary society – and somehow, that all came into play when I came across an announcement for a book-length poetry competition by a university press. In some flash of intuition, I decided to do a 60-page collection based on notes I’d been gathering. Two weeks later, I was exhausted – but the draft was done.

It wasn’t the first time I’d done a poetry manuscript based on a focused theme. My American Olympus, conceived as a longpoem, had earlier tackled the Olympic Peninsula. But this was the first time I chose to work with individual poems of a general length and style, and it was a leap into love, not in the traditional vein but of a more brutal, realistic take on today’s interactions.

While I had already drafted a novel that would break out into Promise, Peel (as in apple), St. Helens in the Mix, and Kokopelli’s Hornpipe, its focus was more on marriage and trying to work as a couple or with other couples.

Now I was venturing into fresh territory. With Braided Double-Cross – and the subsequent Blue Rock and Long Stemmed Roses in a Shattered Mirror, each of which tackles the same subject in its own unique structure – you could say I was taking the “inner child” concept a step further. These look at love and loving from the perspective of an “inner teen” – one full of adolescent passion, defiance, anger, hunger, raging hormones, overwhelming loneliness. I wanted to record it in its fullness.

At the time, readers and editors under the age of 45 seemed to rave about the work. Those older were largely appalled. Somehow, I still find that telling.

Over the years, the material has also worked itself into many of my other poems; I do have a fondness for Baroque and a respect for the way Bach and Handel recycled so much of their composition. I think, too, that much of the graffiti mosaic or jazz infused energy found in my poetry takes off from this point.

Well, about three decades have transpired since all that. I’m glad I wrote the poems when I did, the way I did. Today would be a different story.

~*~

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

OUT OF OBSESSION INTO THE BLAZE

Words or appearances often mask deeper, contradictory currents. Sometimes, as they tangle, each knot becomes an aching triangle.

In the throes of romantic passion, a participant will choose one line of argument over the evidence of another. To call him or her a victim is hardly accurate, no matter the pain, even after the heart and mind conflict.

The poems of Braided Double-Cross arise in such obsession, the white-hot tension rather than in some cool quietude years later – the pursuit of a golden ideal and then falling. Call them love poems if you dare.

~*~

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

IN THE OVERLAPPING KNOTS

What the heart hears and sees may be quite different from what the mind observes and records, much less decides. These may be considered two strands in a braid, into which a third is woven. As for the third? It may be the beloved Other or some Unknown factor or even the undisclosed Rival. Each possibility leads to some distinct  tension in the series of overlapping knots.

The poems of Braided Double-Cross move through sexual attraction and passion into obsession, rejection, even betrayal. In the heated accusations and arguments between lovers, the dialogue – reaching into childhood, history, geography, career aspirations, and the future – invokes an absent, silent third participant, a recognition of the inequality emerging in the core relationship itself. Details of confession mount quietly. Truth becomes unbearable. At times a scream is silent. The braid ultimately becomes a whip. As Diane Wakoski has observed, “Rapunzel and the witch were always one / and the same.”

It’s what Ted Berrigan, in the American sonnets this set emulates, called belly-to-belly white heat.

~*~

Braided Double-Cross

Braided Double-Cross

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.

BLUE ROCK IX

The face of this sorceress narrowed at dusk.
As freckles vanished, her skin grew milky and
eyes turned strangely firm and heavy.
The mass of phone numbers and addresses
stamped passion marks on another neck.
Sleeping around with all the predictable results
so ferociously tangled tresses.

She pulled me closer every time somebody came
upstairs teeth broke vessels in her aureole.
A sorceress delineates the subjugation
of a farmhouse porch light on Saturday nights.
Attentiveness involves more than observing.
You know nothing of the ways she reflects your art,
your garden, infidelities, and refusal to commit.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in a FREE ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.

BLUE ROCK XXXIII

You brought a half slip to my paper
wasp nest. You brought a divorce
complicated by my former assistant
to my garden path back to the body. You
brought such giddy anxiety to my waiting
at the train station. You brought a cycle
of criticism to my Academy of St. Martin
in the wallpaper. You brought a chill
to my unplugged Saturday nights,
another of the boys you were going through
while my horseman farmer raced
across ruined mosaic all the while
you demanded I be happy.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in a FREE ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.

BLUE ROCK II

Crawling into faces on the cover, we probably
could settle on one place I thought you resided. Crawling
into obvious signs of amateurism, I am original
by default. Crawling into a lasting monument
you will smile on me, please. Crawling into cow skulls
and elk vertebrae, speak only what will bring us
closer. Crawling into seashells and antique crockery,
she wonders if there will even be a birthday card
in her mail. Crawling into her pickup or ’60s Mustang,
you encounter limestone walls lined with leatherbound
books resplendent in gold trim and lettering.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in a FREE ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.

BLUE ROCK XXXIV

As I happen in your life, you begin to comprehend
I’m a maturing apparition. You’re contrary
bearings. I’m steadfast mourning. You reconsider

talent. I’m so many lost causes. You’re Baltimore’s
perfumed night in ancient contexts. I’m hostilities
originating in beauty. You’re almost a taxi ride

home from the airport. I’m a sentry statue flanked
by thistles on my town common. When we engage,
you’re more expressive than any boom box.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in a FREE ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.

BLUE ROCK XVI

You touched cast-iron bedposts painted ivory
in my unbearably stuffy summer
bedroom. You touched limitations of trust,

trusting in my black-and-white zone. You touched
oil paint on canvas in my storehouse
memberships. You touched Wednesday night

church fellowships in my graduate school
library. You touched the hound I was walking
in my water-soluble India ink.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in an ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.

BLUE ROCK LXXX

Forget the epidemic decorum.
Sometimes there’s just
too much past to carry.

In the end, all those shortcuts
got me nowhere.
And now, we start over.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in a FREE ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.

BLUE ROCK XVII

My touch is honest, direct,
trustful in your old-fashioned
beautician school. My touch

is domestic, earthy, self-
starting in your soil that demands
bundles of peat moss and sand.

My touch desires children and
a home in your distress of
being obsessed by one who

never existed apart
from musical performance.
My touch is comfortable

outdoors in a snorting and
growling motorcycle. My
touch quietly possesses

without jealousy in your
embrace of unrevealed
destiny. My touch has strong

rational capacity
in your turning me into
the bad boy of your life.

Poem copyright 2014 by Jnana Hodson

Blue_Rock~*~

The entire sequence of poems is finally available in a FREE ebook collection at Smashwords.com and other digital book dealers.