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The Material Reality of Dreams - A poem by Jerry Monaco [Oct. 24th, 2009|04:02 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Soundtrack |Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 'Pathetique', by Tchiakovsky]

The Material Reality of Dreams
(A poem by Jerry Monaco)


In the morning I wake heavy with dreams
And during scattered hours before sunsight
Scratch my dreams into ink
There are no clear transmissions
Of images into words
All translation is a form of entropy
Deranging the clarified image
Into linear confusion
To which we arrogate the term creation


Below my window the yellow street lamp blinks
Changing an artifact of light to twilight blue
On the night glass of morning
The measure of time turns on the depend
Of a tilting earth according to latitude and season
Where I trace the sun's cycle
Across the horizon
Giving me the length of darkness
Which will draw the survey of ink


What are these wisps worth
Palaces of memory whittled down to dementia
Reflections in the ontology of dreams
The episteme of electrical impulses of the image
The young woman I fucked at 16
Who is now dead holds an uplifted
Fork and is paging a book on Robespierre
A drawing of Danton's head lifted from
The basket and shown to the crowd
She smiles at the misfortune of the Guillotine


Watercolor cityscapes leaning against the wall
In that sweet smelling molasses warehouse
Between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges
Where the sons of war criminals
The sisters of poets
And old friends from other countries
Still awaiting execution or escape
And each and everyone wandering
Through the labyrinths of these paintings
Along with other places of my
Ancient and terrible city of missing faces


The hidden alley between the avenues and streets
Of Hell's Kitchen alive in my sleep
Alive with time of 1970s scurrying rats
Between garbage cans alive with an old whore
Smoking a cigarette in the dim light
Of a doorway and in my dream I think
Once she was beautiful
I hear a radio playing from a window
Tchaikovksky's Pathetique a woman shouting
And laughing the smell of sautéed garlic


This dark architecture of doors entrances and exits
Fire escapes and windows wires and water-towers
And the little wooden shack of a safe-house
Between skyscrapers and old brick tenements
I always come upon while escaping from one dream
Into another but my daylight searches
On the streets will never reveal its reality


Yet even for this imagined place
Does the information persist in bits
Or quarks beyond the event horizon of dream
As my great-grandmother still sits
Beneath a grape-arbor in Schenectady
Which at once is my back yard in Astoria
Where a small creek from my childhood in Florida
Bubbles in the logical conflation of dreams


And from my third-floor window I can see
To the creek's pebbled bottom the slow emergence
Of the complete ribcage of an extinct whale
Then according to the circuits
In the turning and returning of dreams eyes
Unsatisfied with seeing ears unfilled with hearing
Comes first the sounds of crumbling steel
And I see the skyline of New York
Rising like the ancient ribcage of an extinct


Animal and I know that this too
The city I love will die my dreams show
Me the hollow city in its ruins
And all the ruined cities in ice in fire in ash
This species destroying itself even so
All life ends even so the sun rising now
Will someday expand and burn this planet
Then fade to cold darkness and this small system
Of satellites will disappear into heat-death at last


But still now this insane human arrogance
This hope of narcissistic determination
Which refuses belief in either its own happiness
Or in immortality clinging to the falsehoods
Of reality that its mind works at night
Sparking the information fever of images
Even unto the cindered earth

Jerry Monaco
October 2009
New York City



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The End of Summer In Astoria, Queens (A 48th Street Sonnet) [Sep. 16th, 2009|09:40 am]
The End of Summer In Astoria, Queens

(A 48th Street Sonnet)




Some cloudy, steel-white gray September day

When cold calms the music of kids at play,

The stoops dwindle of old men, young mothers,

And teen Romeos shouting up lovers,

Leaning out windows of old railroad flats,

Cool cats cease chewing fat, speaking through hats.

Summer's gone; street philosophers scatter

Leaving pigeons to confuse the matter.

Now the sentinels of significance,

Garbage cans behind cast iron fences,

Call you to rethink the empty streets,

This theater of life with window seats,

A future wintering hollow surprise

'Till rooms of noise next spring externalize.



Jerry Monaco
September 2009
New York City



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New and Better Crimes: A poem [Sep. 5th, 2009|08:18 am]
New and Better Crimes: A poem

When the crimes of the poor declined
And the prisons upstate quickly emptied
The city fathers of the old industrial towns
Petitioned their august masters
In the Great City of New York. They said:

"Your bankers and brokers sent the makers
Of our refrigerators and light bulbs
To poorer lands where hands can be cheaply bought.
Where once factories stood, now stand prisons.
You sent us your fired, your addicted, your poor
And useless people of color for us to store
In our crenellated granite buildings. What shall we do
Now that they are empty and we've nothing?"

The august bankers and their hirelings,
Politicos and intellectuals,
Acknowledged their smaller fellow rulers
And shrugged. But one young economist,
A rising man of genius, offered the elegant solution:

"From around the world we will gather evil doers
To supply our empty prisons.
And here at home we must invent
New and better crimes
To keep the surplus poor from our streets."


Jerry Monaco
September 2009
New York City



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Three Aphorisms on the Same Theme [Apr. 24th, 2009|06:09 am]
Three Aphorisms on the Same Theme
by Jerry Monaco

Everyone is in love
with his own pathos.

Everyone is loyal
to her own neurosis.

All are 'best friends forever'
with their own pathologies.

Jerry Monaco
April 2009
New York City



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I dreamed I called you - a poem [Mar. 20th, 2009|11:20 am]
[Tags|, , , , , ]

"I dreamed I called you"
(to Martha Globus)

It was late one August
and the yellow light was failing
slowly filtering rust through the kitchen window
and I could see into the valley below
through the magnified hallucination of glass
wild horses eating small gnarled green apples
lifting and tossing their heads with each small bight
--when was the windfall
that brought these creatures to my feet? --
and in the dream I called you on the telephone
pressing the phone to my ear until the ear felt fever red
pressing my forehead on the cool pane of glass looking
at the stamping horses below
as I listened to the metallic abstraction of your voice
we talked of the dead of threads of flesh
of wives husbands sons friends
even streets and benches that once connected us
-- how did you know my thoughts? --
once we shared nightmares as two
would share love then I remembered
I don't have your number
or even know where you live
and the sound of your voice crumbled to static
and the horses scattered


Jerry J. Monaco
New York City
2009


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frag-poem [Mar. 20th, 2009|07:13 am]
tomorrow
I call my sorrows
dreams
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After Our Extinction There Was No One Left to Blame - A Parable Poem by Jerry Monaco [Jul. 31st, 2007|12:12 pm]
After Our Extinction There Was No One Left to Blame:
A Parable Poem by Jerry Monaco
(For Cavafy and Shelley)



The walls are ruined
Pieces of stone fallen
From parapets; cracked concrete,
Rope burns on marble columns, statues
Broken and tipped, the temples stripped,
The altars overgrown with vines,
The heights nested by birds,
(These, at least, were signs of hope,
Before there was no one left to hope)
The aqueducts collapsed, water flows no more.
The stones of the streets torn,
And put to other uses, now useless –
Crumbling hearths of primitive huts,
Defensive walls of family compounds,
An old stone oven,
all gone…


No one imagines even the ghosts
Of the great dead
The generals and emperors
The self-righteous priests and politicians,
the captains of industry,
the self-proclaimed masters of the universe;
Or the small Joe and Josephine
Rotting in their shallow graves,
The little company men with their hobbies,
The giggling children, the starving mothers,
The dirt farmer covered with dust,
The soldiers who kicked the dead peasants into trenches….
The peasants themselves,
Those no one ever wanted to remember.
No one now imagines the great or the small,
Because ants and beetles have no imagination
For the dead of that exalted species.


Once long ago
The barbarian hordes were blamed,
The weather was blamed,
Volcanoes, earthquakes, flood and fire
All took their blame, among those
Who were left to place blame.
“The gods are to blame,” said some,
Those who took their pick among the gods,
While others took their pick
Among the people who picked the wrong gods.
History too, is to blame, of course.
And morality must also be blamed,
The whole great gluttony of life must be blamed,
Along with poverty and scarcity and want
Cruelty, disease, oppression, greed;
Freedom and slavery, dictatorship, democracy,
All these were blamed.


No one blamed themselves.
How could they?
Some blamed their fathers.
In this they were correct.
But so were all the others.



Jerry Monaco
2007
New York City



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WEDDING PICTURES: A poem by Jerry Monaco [Jul. 17th, 2007|12:31 pm]
[Soundtrack |Tristes Apprets..]

WEDDING PICTURES

A white cotton and silk angel
levitating above the floor
on a wooden hanger
in her mother’s closet;
I imagine it there still
though the man she
wore it for is absent.
In the photos

She is serious in ritualized passage
a face made of stone, no
cracks for a smile.
(Think of the photographer's
frustration!)

Does she view her
life in diminishing perspective,
a mirror reflected infinitely,
on her waning reasons for wanting
her willfully girly dream of a wedding
sans marriage?

“I married not for him
but for the wedding.”
She said to me
In tears....
(Tears being a fine emblem
for my oh so sublime lust.)

This is the heart’s small treason
confusing, “I am in love”
with “I love him"
(or my lust for compassion...)

She married for the angel
Hovering in the closet
I suppose –
(A thought to deflate desire.)

He was the fair
excuse for domestic delusions.
She remains blind, of course,
to her own power
to make her men enjoy
the possession of her illusions.

Does she know now
What she should have known then?
Her one talent to give
self-deception a place to live
in others
and rid it from herself.



Jerry Monaco
17 July 2007
New York City


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Chipped Bowl, Cracked Mirror, Rotted Floorboard - A poem by Jerry Monaco [Jul. 11th, 2007|10:18 am]
Chipped Bowl, Cracked Mirror, Rotted Floorboard

-1-

The chipped bowl in the cabinet,
The cracked mirror above the sink,
The knife's missing handle
stuffed back in the drawer,


The frayed rope, the rusty
razor blade, a loose leg on a wobbly chair,
The rotted, squeaky floorboard, flaking
and falling plaster, and tangled metal


of a broken marriage,
A lifeless body the wreck
on the road faded friends,
burnt books melted music
water drenched journals


all of those lost words,
dangling names, scattered papers,
torn, cut and folded photos,
families disowned, tears spilt, blood shed,
wounds unhealed, bones shattered,
lovers rejected; funerals, births, weddings
avoided, unthorned theories discarded.


-2-

I have seen famine fire flood war
in another country; bullets
lodged in shrapnel pocked walls,
limbless men women children
and I know all is not equal.

But this morning I awake from
dreams of my sub-tropical forest
in a season of rain -- I am afraid lost
pursued; I am tangled and cut
by vines and branches --
and now, to chase memories away,


an emblem of living is made concrete
in this chipped breakfast bowl I set
before me on the old scratched kitchen
table and that rotted floorboard my
bare foot scraped as I rose
from the sagging bed of sweated sleep.


Jerry Monaco
New York City
11 July 2007


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The Reader Without Words - A Poem by Jerry Monaco [Jun. 27th, 2007|09:39 pm]
A Reader Without Words
for Catulus

All day I live without human
Voice -- No words but those
Petrified in print, from tongues
And terrors abstracted, brought
To life by my sight alone.

All day I am buried in dead
Language twenty centuries
More old -- My eyes burn
For sense --- My brain turns in fear
And no more do I wish

To speak or hear -- There are
No tongues -- There are no ears
And I am only this eye
And that bag of bones
Banned by the sun, thinking

through Virgil, Ovid, Homer,
of the ship wreck of my life

I adore the monsters...
I too might as well be dead...
My tongue made of wood
An insane sacrifice in the sacred grove
My lovers Cybele, the Furies, and Bacchus.

I am kin to Cacus and Cyclops, creatures
Of the Great Mother. But who are those
Sons of men who must make monsters
Only to destroy them? And who speaks
For the monsters they deign to murder?

Medusa herself once was beautiful
Destroyed by the jealousy of her lover's lover.
Who can look into the Gorgon's peaceful face
See the head swinging from Perseus's
Upheld arm and not think,

"The severed head is dreaming?"
A last thought before turning to stone.

Jerry Monaco
New York City
26 June 2007


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