Pushing at the Limits

Yesterdayʼs post still needs your attention, folks. (I admit it was long…) But for today I thought, as itʼs been since Fathersʼ Day that I last put up some verse, I would treat you to my most unreadable poem of all, one that derived from just too much Joyce (and a personally pompous attempt to ape his technique in Finnegans Wake, as noted below).

Perhaps one of the most personally meaningful lines in Shakespeare for me comes from the mouth of Hamlet: “Oh, ʼtis most sweet, when in one line two crafts directly meet.” The Prince is speaking about mining and undermining in siege warfare, but I have always heard it (as the intended reference first of course but also) as my favorite definition of poetry. A poet (like Joyce) packs all the meaning into every word and phrase as possible, and then through the magical medium of reading acquires some more in the reader. So in a poem lots of various and varying meanings are all pulsing along together, sometimes in conflict with each other — but all there always.

Joyce just tried to make the multiplexity of meaning multilingually obvious in Finnegans Wake, and envious, I played around at imitating his skill at combing many words into each stretched/distorted word presented. Trying to say it all out loud (as recommended for the Wake) works well but incompletely. Multiple readings of every genuine poem ever is necessary always.

And bellow them at the moon

But Is It Art?

Djuna Barnesʼ sketch portrait of Joyce after eye surgery — from Wikipedia

Sir Alloyseeus gerund-doppleganger groundhog,

bend your incorporal (real dead) ear this way.

Iʼm in tough strayts, con-fused, unsureten.

Render a reply.

Outside insigh doubt ankh out innkeeper than before —

my troubleʼs words.

Words are women, maenads, mayknots, gnats and nods

and mirrors, vane and merrytrickious, blooming words.

Rants of semensis, rinds of windywinding electricity

(so civilized) recharging retreating inscaping

berating and beating off and on-tellecturealizing:

intwo out often nineigh braykekeke coaxial axed and

antsirred all at ones. Blowing blown this away and that. Get the point?

Words are worse than — wrong! words are the

worsted mess itself, wonderfultonsfolliesbrrgene-ing.

Look: (all right, listen — look in the figurative preterate)

each precioshush pleads to make a mini-moustearaeon

menufactchurch mycrowcosmick mirror of the (eye-Kant-

be-cer-itʼs-there) outside nonmentalick varyturd.

Warysimillatoitʼs a word, but the Heisenburgerʼs

catsup pickles the palymer inside. Sinister to be sure.

Re-alley-T is Unmi, but talk is not listen, and is

ether sea? We wee oui, all the whey home (paean, peonye)

have a problem hear. Thatʼs the diffickletee there or

their or theyʼre: Iʼm drowning in the see explayned.

trying to play at Finnegans Wake

4 February 1978

I added one sentence in presenting this old fossil here today. I also cannot decide still if “sea” shouldnʼt be “si.” I also (after the initial post this morning) just decided to change “weigh” to “whey.” An improvement or not? The etymology of “weigh” attracts me still. (And my minimal multilingualism is even more forced than the Addressed Audience used in his big book of dream[s].)

Yesterdayʼs important post was long, so I will keep this one short and see if this poem can explain (explayn?) itself…

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

One thought on “Pushing at the Limits

  1. Great story! Lots of work went into this one. I appreciate that. I see so many story with little content. Come check out my story and let know what you think…?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s