Saturday, July 16, 2005


After a slight delay, Cynthia Reynolds has launched her summer issue of kaleidowhirl. The face of the literary journal is graced by a photograph attributed to Reynolds called "Summer Afternoon in a Small Town," and I used the word "graced" deliberately. There could well be a dance of gaudy and garish, sharp edges of glass and light and fuschia. But it's toned down. It's a calm relief, a scene in which the fervent is disciplined.

I'm happy to have The Two Fridas published here, something slightly out of my usual style and a self-satisfying effort. I was immersed in Frida Kahlo at the time I wrote the poem, reading her Diary, along with Herrara's biography, accompanied by an older coffee table book of Frida's life & paintings.

The immersion did me good and drew out parallels between Kahlo, Anais Nin, the spirit of duende and Frederico Lorca. I moved on to Lorca, a Spanish poet of the 20th century, acquiring a proof of his hefty revised, bilingual Collected Poems. I was certain his originals must contain more vitality and fulsomeness than many of the English translations in the collection.

But then, the more I read Lorca, the more I was sure his passion was clipped, contained and transmuted into an Eastern scaffold. So much Imagism. So many haiku-in-waiting. Take this series of short verses from Idyll:

The smell of you.
And the river bottom.

I want to stay on your banks.
Flower of love.

Moving across your white eyes
are waves and sleeping fish.
Birds and butterflies
are Japanning in mine.

You so tiny and I large.
Flower of love.

These frogs - how quick they are!
But they never stop ruffling
the mirror that holds in reflection
your madness and my madness.

My pain.
And the pain itself.

I hear Issa. And then I hear my own words reflected, and long for the poem that I lost, one of many, called Narcissus Miscast. Here are a few lines that I recall:

Hearing echoes where there is silence
is the edge of madness.

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