Aarrrgh! as Experience

Aarrrgh! as Experience
by Cocteau
Fer Chrissake, Just ‘Cos You Don’t Dream in Colour
Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Be Friends!

Forlorn/ in a cloud, she glides right past the Xerox machine, far
away, & off to a large, kind of dank urban metropolis. Bongos,
der Bingle, Jo Stafford. Good times.

Black bandannas, interrupted narrative, neat/ as a new pin.
Bronzed historical markers. The Stork Club, a sharp crinkle
of blueprints, the rattle/ of a taxi.
And I just wish, I just wish I could remember the curve of your
cheekbone, Rosalyn Drexler. Fax machines, rubyfruit jungle.
Harold Lloyd, fireflies. Bright lights, big city.
An… an amusing city– a little humid– of near immaculate beauty
and unparalleled fluorescence, snapping, humming, crackling
like, y’know, that, that copier she left behind.
Blue/ plastic dinette set, framed newspaper page of that Freedom
Train of 1947. Waiting/ in Lancaster station. Ben-day dots.
Espresso, the Sunday Arts section.
Paper cuts. Neosporin.
All a-lone.
So, I mean, I mean: sheesh! a reverie could blithely sing to the future,
or trench warfare… a/ cloud in 2014, or last Easter, or an STD rash
in any inglorious month of Sundays.

Thrifty to a fault, sunny & upbeat, she brushes the hair from
her eyes, prepares lobster risotto, drinks responsibly, loves found
poetry, mahjong, declarative sentences. And starfish.
A dream/ might refer to an imagined past or a cancelled sit-com
or even, oh, say, a rejected design for a Post-war Kelvinator® .
Colorized movies. Love, hope, art as experience. Doppler radar.
Screeching owls, moonbeams, woodcuts. Kate Chopin.
Free ringtones. Homina, Homina. [soft & far off: beginning riff
from O Superman] P-P-Pa-Pocketa-pocketa.Pocketa….

0 thoughts on “Aarrrgh! as Experience

  1. Enthralled me furtively/ like a hung and gutted deer destined for purer dream pastures. The first thing i notice about the poem is its varying font size and font type and bold print. Line/sentence length structured in mostly tercets with the occasional couplet seem to be just right for this descriptive poem-story/confessional. The poet does a marvelous job of recreating soft and dramatic sound or emotion here in juxtaposition with the allusions to silent screen stars. Creatively visceral punctuation permeates thru-out this expression filled piece. The quote preface appears on main page but not in main poem for some reason–perhaps it is a glitch. Here it is:
    “A postmodern artist or writer is in the position of a philosopher: the text he writes, the work he produces are not in principle governed by pre-established rules, and they cannot be fudged according to a determining judgment, by applying familiar categories to the text or to the work. Those rules and categories are what the work of art itself is looking for.”
    –Jean-Francois Lyotard–
    I’m quite fond of a quote preface to begin a poem. It sets up some sense of direction and mindframe for the reader–very good!
    It helps to do a modicum of research on this one, so here goes:
    People in poem:
    Bing Crosby/der Bingle: “The nickname “Der Bingle” for him was understood to have become current among Crosby’s German listeners, and came to be used by his English-speaking fans. …”
    Jo Elizabeth Stafford: “(November 12, 1917 – July 16, 2008[1]) was an American singer of traditional pop music and jazz standards whose career ran from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. Stafford was greatly admired for the purity of her voice and was considered one of the most versatile vocalists of the era.[note 1] She was also viewed as a pioneer of modern musical parody, having won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 1961 (with husband Paul Weston) for their album Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris. She was also the first woman to have a No 1 on the UK Singles Chart.[3] Stafford’s work in radio, television and music is recognized by three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[4]” [Wikipedia]
    Rosalyn Drexler “(born 1926) is a Jewish American Pop artist, novelist, Obie Award-winning playwright, and Emmy Award-winning screenwriter. She is represented by Pace Gallery.[1]” [Wikipedia]
    Harold Clayton Lloyd, Sr. (April 20, 1893 – March 8, 1971) was an American film actor and producer, most famous for his silent comedies.[2]
    Harold Lloyd: “Harold Lloyd ranks alongside Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton as one of the most popular and influential film comedians of the silent film era. Lloyd made nearly 200 comedy films, both silent and “talkies”, between 1914 and 1947. He is best known for his “Glasses Character”, a resourceful, success-seeking go-getter who was perfectly in tune with 1920s era America.” [Wikipedia]
    Kate Chopin: “Kate Chopin (born Katherine O’Flaherty (February 8, 1851 – August 22, 1904) was an American author of short stories and novels. She is now considered by some to have been a forerunner of feminist authors of the 20th century.” [Wikipedia]
    Stork Club: http://www.storkclub.com/stork-club-home.html
    “The Stork Club was a nightclub in New York City from 1929 to 1965. From 1934 onwards, it was located at 3 East 53rd Street, just east of Fifth Avenue. The building was demolished in 1966 and the site is now the location of Paley Park, a small vest-pocket park.[2]”
    Ben-day dots: “The Ben-Day Dots printing process, named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Henry Day, Jr., is similar to Pointillism. Depending on the effect, color and optical illusion needed, small colored dots are closely-spaced, widely-spaced or overlapping. Magenta dots, for example, are widely-spaced to create pink. 1950s and 1960s pulp comic books used Ben-Day dots in the four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to inexpensively create shading and secondary colors such as green, purple, orange and flesh tones.” [Wikipedia]
    Rubyfruit jungle: “Rubyfruit Jungle is the first novel (1973) by Rita Mae Brown, remarkable for its explicit lesbianism. The novel is a bildungsroman/autobiographical (some have suggested picaresque) account of Brown’s youth and emergence as a lesbian author. The term “ruby fruit jungle” is slang for the female genitals.” [Wikipedia]
    Freedom Train: “The 1947–1949 Freedom Train was proposed by Attorney General Tom C. Clark as a way to reawaken Americans to their taken-for-granted principles of liberty in the post-war years. The idea soon got the approval of President Harry S. Truman and everything else fell into place. Top Marines were selected to attend to the train and its famous documents. The Marine contingent was led by Col. Robert F. Scott. The train carried the original versions of the United States Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights on its tour of more than 300 cities in all 48 states. As Alaska and Hawaii did not gain statehood until 1959, this train toured all of the US States that existed at the time. It was the first train to visit all 48 contiguous states.
    *It helps to ‘flesh out’ some of the elements in a poem which at first may appear incomprehensibly esoteric, but necessarilly so, which will bring life and a greater perspective/appreciation for the reader.
    The title, “Aarrrgh! as Experience” would appear to suggest a hair-pulling at wit’s end state-of-mind reflected upon in a somewhat rational rant–i love these! Isn’t this where we discover our greatest wisdom? The language thru-out poem is a combination of vernacular slang and eruditic high-brow. Wonderful! I feel the boldened couplet at beginning of piece, “Fer Chrissake, Just ‘Cos You Don’t Dream in Colour Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Be Friends!”, is addressed to the many film stars, musicians, writers, etc. that the poet nostalgicizes. The poem sort of goes in and out of the past, present, and even future so that there is this constant anachronistic vibe i get while reading and finding unlikely subjects meshed together.
    Anyways. I get the impression that the poet longs for these things of the past: music, literature, art in general…and that this holds much sentimental personal value taking the form of a secret friend, even. Conversely, we may conjecture that the present with all its technocentric soulless parasitic behemothmal vacuum of a hideous calculated banshee, holds no candle-flame to its vibrantly imaginative predecessors. Or, just contemplating and taking in the wide spectrum of change in the areas of music, literature, and art are so immensely mind-boggling as to throw the poet into a ingenious meltdown. Either crossed thru my right and left brain hemispheres…and either way, i truly enjoyed the read. Cocteau, you are an impressive individual! thx!

  2. Good job mge/cocteau I enjoy this piece even more after the “blanks were filled in” by Quasimofo.You mastered using the fonts to express tone and mood.
    Wow! Quasi you really did work listing all those references which increased my enjoyment of the piece. The Lancaster Station is in Pennsylvani has the real high ceilings and was filmed in the movie witness, maybe in others as well.

Leave a Reply