Sunday, October 29, 2006

Featured Poet: Rusty Arquette

Even though Rusty and I have never met we are like old friends. Even though he lives in Florida, and Rick and I live in California, it's like we are neigbors. What a pleasure it has been to look out of his windows and through his rainbow glasses at the world, with a wry tenderness, an optimistic scepticism. He's an observer and a loving participant in the human drama. He's intolerant of militant dogmatism, unkindness and stupidity. He's a lover of nature, wine women and song. He is my kind of poet. Another thing Rusty and I have in common is a great appreciation for Charles Bukowski. My husband and I were delighted recently to be able to attend the presentation of the Bukowski Archives to the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena, walking distance from our home. Buk's wife and friends spoke and read. It is with great pleasure that I present for your reading enjoyment and applause, a few (difficult to choose) favorites by Rusty Arquette. Please notice you may leave comments at the end of the feature.)


Give Me Back Myself
by Rusty C Arquette



I lost me…
the jester in the grin…
pressed into the fly paper
beneath the couch…
beneath the floorboards…
a chalked outline
on the ground…
maybe frightened…
maybe heavy eyed
on the edge
of fractured sleep…
lying alone
in the dark…
in the artificial coolness…
with painful electric skin
wanting to be left
untouched

within the quiet…
breathing out…
breathing in…

then I learned
about the alchemy
in the orange plastic
forest on the dresser…
numbers, colors, shapes
holding something
lighter than air…
powders and elixirs
in caps and tabs…
sacraments upon
my snaking tongue…
shoved me into twilight…
made sure I was numb…
made damn sure
I was numb…

I’m no longer sad
or angry
or frustrated…
no longer plagued
with useless anxieties…
frankly,
I’m barely me at all…

neither moved or unmoved…
neither caring or careless…
no laughs, no tears,
no joys, no fears,
relieved of the negative…
the positive disappeared
as well…

oh,
but I think I’m happy…
at least it seems that way…
though this haze
this pharmaceutical castration
of the right and left side
of my muddled brain…

there may be no joy
within me…
but then at least there
is no pain…
I think I’d like me back
but then I’m really
not that insane…
I have to laugh…
but I don’t know why…
give me back myself
I’d like to scream…
but I can’t seem to cry…
give me back myself
I keep saying
from inside my head…

from the edge
of fractured sleep…
lying alone
in the dark…
in the artificial coolness…
with painful electric skin
wanting to be left
untouched
within the quiet…
breathing out…
breathing in…

give me back myself
breathing out…
breathing in…

give me back myself
breathing out…
breathing in…

give me back myself
breathing out…
breathing in…

10/08/2006
copyright 2006 by Rusty Arquette


Adrift in those Days of Soft Skin and Sighs
by Rusty C Arquette


I know
these looks
found hung on
the weathered faces
of old men…
these worn
wrinkled beings
moving with the sun…
found on park benches
sitting alone
in public places…
pondering a thought…
each in uniform…
their polyester pants
in plaids and paisleys…
with shirts and jackets
decorated with stains
from coffee, tobacco,
and Tuesdays breakfast…

they stare
at the pigeons…
watch the squirrels…
glancing at passersby…
not seeing them at all…
seeming out of phase…
a dull distance
in their eyes…

it’s taken awhile
to understand…
but I know now…
I know that look…
that distant, far away
wondering look…
that mixture of longing
and sweet memories…
memories
fading a little more
with each new sunrise
each old sunset…

behind those eyes
there is longing…
not to hold onto yesterday
not to hold onto old loves
not to hold onto good times
just to hold on…
hold on to that image
of the way they were…
the way we were…
when we all sang
Whitman’s ‘body electric’….

It’s obvious now…
I see that picture…
that milk skinned girl
with a sweet angel face…
unblemished and new…
wide eyed
and wondering…
and I too am longing…

I thought I could live forever…
adrift in those days…
in the gentle ways
of women and girls…
of soft skin
and sighs…

03/03/2005
copyright 2006 by Rusty Arquette



All these Ghosts with Young Faces
by Rusty C Arquette



All these ghosts
with young faces…
suspended
in afternoon sun
behind tree lined rock walls
outside Boston
and Lexington…
the specters seem to call…
floating
in the stillness
above the mist draped fields
of Appomattox
and Gettysburg…
these phantoms gently yield…
lingering
above the snow
on the narrow roads leading
into Warsaw
and Berlin…
the images are weeping…
drifting
in the sunrise
in the salty morning breeze
on beaches at Dunkirk
and Iwo Jima…
apparitions left to bleed…
hovering
in the passing seasons
in the rain or freezing snow
from Pusan
to Seoul…
hazy figures need to know…
spinning
in the pouring rain
monsoon winds whip the rice
outside Da Nang
and Saigon…
lonely spirits search for life…
burning
on blood stained sands
beneath a smoke shrouded sun
nearing desert Baghdad
or dusty Mosul…
these fresh lives now done…
like those
who came before…
from a hundred different homes…
to die in a hundred lonely places…
all these ghosts
with young faces…

05/31/2005
copyright 2006 by Rusty Arquette


Author's Note: For all those young boys who've marched off to give their all in fields around the world... RCat


An Ornate Box
by Rusty C Arquette


An ornate box
of rosewood and brass inlay
from the shores of India
bought in a head-shop
with patchouli incense…
a brass roach-clip…
and a copy of Zap #1…
found stacked among
the black light posters
and bongs…

it became a stash box…
holding dreams and trips
the simple tools of ritual…
used at tribal gatherings
among the laughter
and discussions…
a footnote to food feasts
the Moody Blues
and It’s a Beautiful Day…
the candles burning…
babies on the floor playing…
a guitar and harmonica
background in a corner…

a brand new Norman Rockwell...
we came to take it for granted…
as the days spun and on
and the fabric came undone…
change erased the image
slowly blowing it away
like the incense in
a drafty room…

I still have the box…
now a place to keep things…
a place to put my coins
my collection of rocks
my father’s pocket watch…
it still smells of the incense
of the dreams and trips
it remains the same…

it was the rest of us
that changed…

I wish I was that box…

01/26/2004
copyright 2006 by Rusty Arquette


Pebbles with Voices
by Rusty C Arquette



Once…
I felt important…
bigger than I was…

I was a mountain…
strong, tall, and rugged…
standing unmoving
against a dark
stormy sky…

wrapped
in whirlwinds…
cold hard rains…
blinding explosions
of lightning…
the concussions
of thunder…

ice and snow…
heat and fire…
for ten million days…
for ten million nights…

I was large
against the horizon…

yet I had no voice…

now
a time worn pebble…
smooth and still…
I rest among many…
at the bottom
of cool, clear,
rushing water…
unassuming and gray…
life clings to me
as the water
runs surely
to the waiting sea…
no longer large…
no longer tall…
small and content
to gather
in the stream beds
that lead to each
successive pool…

at last…
in my contentment
I listen to the water
gurgle overhead…
it whispers
and laughs
like children do…
all the wisdom
of the ages spoken…
I finally found
my voice…

02/02/2006
copyright 2006 by Rusty Arquette

Author's Note: The connection with the universe seems to be everywhere I look recently...zen-surround...how wonderful! - RCat-mandu

******* Kath & Rusty: Poetry in Tune*********


Here's a poetic example of how we are inspired alike at the most basic level. We both found our voices in stones! Below is the first of Kath's 18 She Poems, a narrative of discovery illumination.


She Poem #1
by Kath

At the foot of the stairs
the stones lay in wait.
At first,
she felt the heaviness of their silence.
She held her tongue,
and wished to hear a voice.

Later, she began to carry them home.
They gradually took over her house
from all the ledges and shelves
they stared down at her,
with their indecipherable markings.
She was charmed,
and wished to understand.

Her third wish came true
when she began to eat them
one by one.
Luckily, the first was small and light
and it was when it cracked between her teeth,
that she began to hear them speak.

copyright by Kath, 2006

2 comments:

RCat said...

Kat you have done a wonderful job with this site. I'm proud to be one of your featured folk. Your words of introduction are not only kind, but indeed true; we similar souls draw together in spite of distance, time, or obstacle to find our inner melodies. I'm glad we have such a harmonic resonance. - Write on! - Your Friend RCat

paola said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.