Plain Songs from Tranquillity Base
#1
Tranquillity Base and Tetrahedonism have already been posted previously, but I wanted to post the complete series of connected poems.  I am posting in basic because I have a basic question: does this work as a series?  Do the gaps in earlier sections get filled in enough for the reader in later sections, etc.?  This is a 13 page series so I'm thanking anyone who will read it through with profuse gratitude!

All other comments welcome but that is my basic question, is it readable or a chore to get through?

1. Tranquillity Base

Papa’s got the sunset blues
Ixnay’s got a bottle on the news 
Tranquillity Base, my candle’s almost gone,
so the Song begins.

But Lalan says,
“Lalan has a heart like bamboo, Empty of love.”

Tranquillity Base,
yes, this must be the place.

One night of absolutely untainted bliss,
of course I wanted more of this.
That said No and sent me on my woeful way, 
my sin of sins was expectation.

Tranquillity Base,
I’m almost out of outer space.

“It’s all bullshit,” was all I ever heard Aphrodite say 
until I heard her say, “We will talk about it some day.”

Some day never comes to Tranquillity Base, Tranquillity Base,
love is all the air that’s left.

“There might be a little blood down there,” Said the Queen to the drunken fly.

Or as a rabbi’s daughter once said to me, “We probably will.”
Magayna, dark princess, called me out into the early spring nights, 
There were a few embraces, I remember no kiss,
but the echo of her laughter against my loins on the first night,
“I’m going to teach poor people to love America”,
our first incarnation as Krishna and Radha.

But I failed as a worshipper until I sought her out a second time.
she told me of her life, she told me of her lovers,
she wanted to live in a house on a beach in Oregon
with a man who didn’t care if she slept with other men.
I don’t think I ever heard the word love come into it.

I wrote her name in Hebrew on an Oregon beach and took a picture, 
but it was too late.

Tranquillity Base,
Yes, this must be the place.

And these may be the last breaths I take 
Of all the love that’s left.

2.  Tetrahedonism

I know I wasn’t much of a Faust
and you tried to warn me:
I wrote “tetrahedonism” on the whiteboard. 
You defined it as “adoration of toxicity”.

Margaret painted a lizard skin on Philip’s face for the Fall carnival,

Tranquillity Base,
this might not be the place, 
bBut it’s the place I want to be.

The time I spent with you seems lost,
it’s the times apart I remember.
fter you said “that stuff is like truth serum” 
I took the acid without you
and you were hurt.
I worshipped words when I wasn’t at your feet. 
I guess Loris was right, I was a lapdog.

No clocks, no calendars on Tranquillity Base.

I took our office motorcycle riding Lolita to the Carnival. 
invited in and to bed, after she pushed my hands away once, 
I slept chastely, idiotically next to her for a night.

The ghosts assemble and disperse beyond my control on Tranquillity Base.

Regie, I don’t understand about those memories.
After taking Tiger Mountain, there should have been some shining moment, 
but there’s only darkness on that end of the street
on Tranquillity Base.

3.  Error in Transmission

Lalan, I say,
I think there’s been an error in transmission 
from Tranquillity Base.

Coming through is the last night we spent together,
after her unwanted abortion,
he got months, I got hours.
On Tranquillity Base, the Furies cannot be distracted very long.

And the first night, early evening, 
I watched her undress, then all was growing darkness, 
some whispers, and because I was so quiet 
through the whole sweet moment, she said, 
it’s like it’s happening somewhere deep inside you.”

But nothing coming through about the nights in between.
Could it have become routine?

Morning walks to the Prester John,
one wintry morning I caught up with red-haired Kathy,
 “May I walk with you?”
By the time we reached the double doors, I was hooked,
when the Briton tried to ostentationously kiss you in front of me, 
you turned your cheek to him, and I knew I was in the running. 
But Zeus changed you into a Faun.

The faun was a little red-haired girl of long ago:
Dorothy’s house, the state of Georgia, a rabbit’s skeleton, 
a fragment of Rimbaud:
all my recorded memories of her incarnation.
That winter I found her, younger than I dreamt. 
I couldn’t solve the riddle and it broke my back. 
I pit my heart against a faun’s heart.

The end of adoration was succeeded 
by the green Egypt and flowers of April. 
The faun by then was long gone off the edge of a flat earth.

I saw her once more, a rainy day,
my backpack loaded down with Proust, a cup of tea,
and I never saw her again.

I ask the sickle moon, should I have tried harder? 
There’s always a sickle moon at Tranquillity Base.

Lalan says,
The error in transmission is in the corner of your eye.

4. Kaddish for my Muses

I just want to chant their names, 
Alison,
Gayna,
Mary,
Regie,
Four queens and four muses For this one-trick pony.

Alison is all distant in black stockings,
Gayna, a back rub in the darkness while Rainy Night in Georgia played on a radio,
Mary, O Mary, you giggled and said “Now it’s your turn for the Garden of Eden.” 
And seven days later, I came to a locked Garden gate 
you had invited in another. 
I didn’t need an angel with a fiery sword 
to know that Garden was closed forever.

Regie, true muse and most merciful of them all.

Like Krishna, I am the Eternal Adolesescent,
Unlike Krishna, I am not frolicking forever with Radha, No gopikas for me.

So I chant the names of my muses, 
Alison,
Gayna,
Mary,
Regie,
One to call me to poetry, another to open the mystery to me,
a third to break my heart in two,
a last to punch my ticket with blood.

5. Message to Paul B.

Paul B.,
I went to your play
that Loris put on at Elizabeth Ney
because Regie was a dead body on the stage.

Philip showed up in a business suit, pointed to his shiny leather shoes, and said, “Dead man’s shoes”.

It was called Your Mother Wears Combat Boots.

Philip came along in April ’78,
I know because it was an April day
he taught me I could get stoned at work,
leading me to a secluded goldfish pond
only a few yards from the Tower
and pulling out a joint,
and he hadn’t heard that Sandy Denny was dead.
I remember you Paul B.
as gatekeeper of the closed stacks,
you called the name once,
and once was how many chances you gave out.

The last time I saw you, before the brain cancer, 
you scorned the plays, and I was dismayed.

Lalan sings
“In the noisy crowd of the marketplace, my mind, 
I didn’t recognize him in this world.”

6.  Homage to Cathar

We were compadres,
competitors,
occasionally enemies.
We watched each others’ romances unfold, 
and fold and sometimes cross.

Philip was a Bard of conspiracies,
he sang of them all the time.
he owned Ben Thompson’s roulette wheel,
and lived with a former cheeleader he called “strictly TV” 
who read him to sleep at night.
He had land in Nova Scotia,
and an arch-enemy named Scottie.
He read Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and sent Colin Wilson
his murder/name theory, and got a reply.

In 1978, he wanted to live to be as old as possible,
and he told me of meeting an old man at a junkyard 
who lived in a tin shed full of junkyard porn magazines. 
And then he was silent.
I’m still working on that koan, Philip.

So your suicide has been here all along, 
looking in,
but I guess I have Regie all to myself now, 
here on Tranquillity Base.

7.  Epilogue to Tranquillity Base

Loris is dead.
Just got the news from the Internet today 
though he died two years ago.

I’m not sure Tranquillity Base can exist any longer 
without the brain behind Interstate, Stele & Noumenon,
a big gentle bear of a man who smoked a pipe,
who said, “I only make fun of people I like”,
who knew Brian Eno,
who said Thomas Pynchon needed an editor,
who played massive war games like Terrible Swift Sword, 
who had a facially deformed cat named Quasimodo, 
who was Regie’s lover.

He threw up into a garbage can on my first day of work.

Here was I, freshly deflowered, both heart and soul, 
stepping ever so carefully into Loris’ Domain,
and very carefully stealing his Queen,
and very carefully breaking his heart.

Regie told me
I would have been a very good Byzantine;
it’s true it took three years.

Regie, the acid was truth serum; I lay on my bed 
on Giles, dilapidated GI housing gone to seed, 
stared at a full moon and laughed gleefully, 
thinking of how I had slain the King,
a pawn in love in hate in ecstasy.

Above me, a rat crossed the wire from the garage 
into the roof where below I lay watching.

Long live the king.

8.  Blues for the Pythia 

Yes, it’s a good life here
In the ruins of Tranquillity Base:
The dome is gone,
All the love has escaped
As it should,
Keine Liebe keine Dich.
All the ghosts have been exorcised
Except for one;
I want his ghost to stay as long as possible.

 
Last nights vision:
I woke at 3:33,
When I woke again
Mary was sitting up naked in bed. 

I started to speak.
She shushed me
“I’m meditating”, she said.
I dropped her off at work.
I thought I was king of the world, but after that the world left me
And I wound up here.

 
But visions don’t come into the countdown
In the ruins of Tranquillity Base.


I could really use the Pythia right now,
But she’s off her tripod and into the gas,
So I’m searching the San Francisco Oracle
For messages from beyond: 

“Tune in to the play of energies
Light, sound, air, pressure
That continually bathe your sense endings,
The world is alive and pulsating.” 


Alas, reception is poor,
And Oracles are dangerous conversationalists,
So I’ll just keep watching a countdown
That never ends. 




9.  The Demimonde
 
At the dogpark today
A lithe tanned demimonde
With a diamond in her nose
Looked at me,
As you first looked at me,
The challenge to come hither.


Now you’re a school teacher in Queens,
Then, a princess who appeared after dark
To carry me off to adventures in heartbreak.

 
Not so much a vision, but not excluded
By the countdown: 

Liebe dauert oder dauert nicht, An dem oder jedem Ort. 

I guess I am marooned?
And this poem is my musket
With powder and ball for a single shot and a choice. 

An earthly goddess chose me,
Dare I choose the shot?
Much better to wait for a goddess
Than to interrupt a countdown. 



10.  The Clawfooted Bathtub


It’s clear that Muses cannot be shed like dead souls;
They are embedded in my body,
Amethyst and amber, and sapphire and jade,
Waiting for a fire to free them.

“Bring the color gold, photos of personal saints,
Gurus, and Underground Heroes, children,
Flowers, flutes, drums, feathers,
Beads banners, flags, incense, chimes,
Gongs, cymbals,
Bring JOY.”

Echoes of Aquarius
Animate the grid that powers my jewels
But Emmett Grogan shouts them down
With Digger rage
“Tune in, turn on, drop out, jerk-off!”

What’s that?
A shower with Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap
And then a virgin lover’s deflowering?
Digger rage cannot drown out a Love Pageant,
And Kesey’s dead, so he can’t crash my party,
Not here in the ruins of Tranquillity Base.


11.  The Alison Canto

To evade the Countdown,
I travel to the Edge:
Here you might run into Harry Haller
Hunting for the Magic Theatre,
Or my incarnation of Dylan Thomas,
Forever in his boathouse
Next to an eternally sunbright sea.

I came to the Edge to see
On a dilapidated drive-in screen
A flickering washed out film,
The moment I was annointed a poet 
By a high school junior, 
There she is,
My Beatrice,
By the temporary classrooms,
In her ever present black stockings, 
A cigarette held delicately
In a hand as pale as a clear sky.

Moments haunt this empty lot
With its dead posts like so many abandoned 
Half finished crosses,
We could listen to them sing
Until a vision of Last Things,
But I’ve seen enough last things,
To last me a while,
And a while is the only measurement of Time
Left here at the Edge.


12.  Gideon’s Bible 

Like a Gideon’s Bible, White Rabbits don’t lie,
so I followed him away from the Edge,
past a party where a cherubic blonde
waved from across the room.
I wasn’t sure if it was hello or goodbye,
with Mary, you never knew.

 
To a vision of another Mary,
frizzy blonde hair, beautiful as a hawk,
who carried off my heart
to the tune of John Lennon’s Imagine
using only the rear-view mirror of a driver’s ed car. 


Rocky Racoon lives in the ruins,
As do some false-hearted lovers too.

 
Perhaps I could do an 8 1/2,
bring them all together.
The mechanics of time are daunting,
but the place undoubted,
Les Amis Cafe, 24th and Nueces.
We’d drink coffee and laugh at my romantic agonies,
past, present and future,


And at a nearby table I’d catch the eye
Of my next Nadja. 


I say hello to Rocky whenever I can. 
Like the Gideon’s Bible where Rocky went to die,
White Rabbit now says Good-bye. 


13.  Strawberries and Milk 

“That we have a mass emotional breakdown
in these States once and for all;
that we see bankers laughing in their revolving doors with strange staring eyes”. 


I wanted to partake with my Muse Strawberries and milk,
Like Jof and Mia in The Seventh Seal,
Before betrayal overtook us: 

A fresco from the ruins of Tranquillity Base,
Where now this gathering of my visions
Strives to be human and from the heart. 


“I claim as Poet powers of prophecy
Because one who looks in his heart and speaks frankly can claim to prophecy.” 

So, Allen Ginsburg, in summoning the highwater mark
Of Pre-lapsarian Aquarius’ acid dream,
But my Time Machine will not take me where I have not been, 

And I can offer only these antipodal visions,
These “transient spectres”: 


In ’73 Allen sang to us on his harmonium,
And together we sang Blake,
And during the intermission I went to him
And touched his soft hand,
And was mute,
And he passed on.

 
The next night
Back on my job
Fry cook in a seafood kitchen,
And Gayna appeared, my uncertain lover,
And my fellow cook, a hot rod angel,
Homed onto her come hither
Before I could let my heart know.

 
So these are my tribes of love:
My Human Be-In occurred in fragments,
A few potent doses of enlightenment at a time,
Sometimes there is singing,
Other times just the shock of seeing love
When she is not looking. 
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#2
.
Hi TqB,
'plain song' (or plainsong) misleads, for me. I was expecting something more lyrical with that title
and the inconsistent rhyming seemed haphazard rather than intentional.

1.
Papa’s got the sunset blues
Ixnay’s got a bottle on the news
Tranquillity Base,
my candle’s almost gone.
So begins the Song.

(The inconsistent first word capitals quickly becomes irritating).

Do the gaps in earlier sections get filled in enough for the reader in later sections, etc.?
I don't think you're asking the right question. A more pertinent one might be: do the earlier section make the reader want to keep reading? For me, the answer is no.

The first and most obvious lack is of an introduction.

The final stanza of 13 seems to offer some explanation for what comes before, but it is too little and far, far too late. (Though I really liked the final couplet). As an extension of the thought, I don't understand why it begins, rather than ends, with 1. Tranquility Base.
(Absent an introduction, I'd consider starting with 2.)

2. The tranquility base 'parts' seem intrusive (particularly as this precedes 3. Errors in transmission).

There's a huge cast of characters, none of which develop beyond their name. There's no emotional depth.

3. after her unwanted abortion,
he got months, I got hours.
Is 'he' the aborted fetus?

Already, I've too many questions; like, what is 'the Prester John'? Who is 'Lalan'? What is Tranquility Base (in reality or as metaphor)? ... It's a very long list.

4. You've 'Muse' in the title, yet it keeps appearing in the text (tell me something I don't know).

5. Why isn't the order of lines 5 and 6 reversed?

6. Don't know who or what 'Cathar' is (or how it relates to the poem).

We were compadres,
occasionally enemies.
competitors, watching
each others’ romances
unfold, and fold and sometimes cross.................(what does 'cross' mean after unfold and fold?)

Philip was a Bard of conspiracies, .....................how does Philip relate to 'we'?
read Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and sent Colin Wilson
his murder/name theory, and got a reply.

And then he was silent.

So your suicide has been here all along,
looking in,
but I guess I have Regie all to myself now,
here on Tranquillity Base...................how does this relate to anything in this (6) piece?

I’m still working on that koan, Philip.

7. Epilogue to Tranquillity Base

Loris is dead.
Just got the news from the Internet today
though he died two years ago.

And I might care if Loris had been in any of the previous sections, but he wasn't, so I don't.


I'll stop here. I can't connect the pieces. For me there is no coherent whole, it's too personal, too self-referential (and I'm not convinced that it wants to be understood).


Best, Knot


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Reply
#3
Thanks for taking this on, Knot.

Just to mention a couple of things regarding a couple of your comments:  most important, the business about the abortion, the "he" was meant to refer to a previous lover.  I meant to change that to make that clear; I thought I'd got the effing capitalization business consistent but obviously didn't (sigh); and Loris was mentioned earlier but only once.  I was hoping the details, about Cathar for example, would be enough to get a picture of the man.

As to you final statement, not what I want to hear, but that's the reading I need
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#4
(05-08-2021, 09:16 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  As to you final statement, not what I want to hear, but that's the reading I need
Yes, that wasn't easy to write. But there are (many, many) better readers than I out there,
you just (somehow) need to persuade them to give it a go. Smile
(So Cathar is Phillip?)
Reply
#5
(So Cathar is Phillip?)
Yes
That was his avatar from a later date, so actually I shouldn't have used it, now that I think about it.  
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#6
.
Having Cathar in the title does muddy the waters  (when only Philip was used in section 5).
You could try, as an alternative line 6
...
He was Philip, a Bard of conspiracies,
or even
...
Cathar, who was Philip, a Bard ...

or just not being quite so elliptical Smile

Just out of curiosity, who do you see as the audience for this?

Best, Knot

.
Reply
#7
(05-08-2021, 10:49 PM)Knot Wrote:  .
Just out of curiosity, who do you see as the audience for this?

Best, Knot

That's an interesting question.  If I were honest, the only audience I had in mind while writing it were the named individuals in the poems.  But I also wanted it to be a snapshot/collage of a period in my life, which stood out as my coming of age, from the vantage point of 40 years later, and that other people would maybe recognize in their own lives.  

It's the first set of poems I wrote after a decades long stagnation.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#8
.
Hi TqB.

If the intended audience is still the 'named individuals' then I'm not sure how much useful critiquing will be (you're referencing things no reader but those can have any knowledge of, or a realistic expectation of having such knowledge), and I don't think, as things stand, you manage to reconcile 'named individuals' with (a more general) coming of age story.

I do find the idea appealing (snapshots after forty years) but I don't think this lets readers in.

Why not, as an exercise (if nothing else) rework one so that it is open to the reader?
I'd suggest starting here

I know I wasn’t much of a Faust
and you tried to warn me:
I wrote “tetrahedonism” on the whiteboard.
You defined it as “adoration of toxicity”.

This is funny, conversational and relatable ... then it drops off a cliff of incomprehensibility Smile (OK, I exaggerate a bit.)

The time I spent with you seems lost,
it’s the times apart I remember.
fter you said “that stuff is like truth serum”
I took the acid without you
and you were hurt.
I worshipped words when I wasn’t at your feet.
I guess Loris was right, I was a lapdog.

And this works, more or less (bar the typo on line 3, 'after' typically starts with an 'a')
until we get to Loris and the Tranquility Base lines (which seem intrusive rather than helpful).

Tell this/these story/stories as if to a stranger, and in a way that suggests you want them to be understood ... or not Smile

Best, Knot


.
Reply
#9
(05-09-2021, 01:03 AM)Knot Wrote:  .
I do find the idea appealing (snapshots after forty years) but I don't think this lets readers in.

Thanks again, Knot.  Inspiration has dried up so this is a good time to go back to this one.  I'm going to go with your perked up interest in the snapshot idea and do some ruthless cutting and rearranging.  Clearly there are too many names, too many people to keep track of.  And I'll cut the Lalan and maybe the Tranquillity Base stuff.  Just see what's left.  

I'm thinking of a series of poems, one about each imprtant person, with some kind of bringing them together at the end.

Anyway, I appreciate the time you took with this one.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#10
.
Hi TqB.
'snapshot' was your word, but my interest stands.
(05-09-2021, 09:47 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Inspiration has dried up
Hasn't it just, been a long six months.
(05-09-2021, 09:47 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  do some ruthless cutting and rearranging.
Don't forget to add, nothing wrong with a bit of context/explanation.
(I can always tell you to cut it out later Smile  )
(05-09-2021, 09:47 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  I'm thinking of a series of poems, one about each imprtant person, with some kind of bringing them together at the end.

Nice idea.  Write the people, don't worry so much about the 'bringing them together'.  And keep the reader (whoever you decide that is) in mind!

Best, Knot

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Reply
#11
TqB,

As this is basic, I'll just ditto knot. Overall I find it stilted, lacking in the necessary rhythm to sustain the reader through something this long. I did like these two lines:

"I didn’t need an angel with a fiery sword
to know that Garden was closed forever."

Great lines.

Best,

dale
How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.
Reply
#12
Thanks for trying it out Erthona.  Last night I sat down and ruthlessly cut it, then got discouraged.  But I'll go back to it.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#13
The editing is where the poem is really made. It's like honing a knife for a sharp blade, all dross is cast aside. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to see what you come up with.

best,

dale
How long after picking up the brush, the first masterpiece?

The goal is not to obfuscate that which is clear, but make clear that which isn't.
Reply
#14
(05-06-2021, 11:36 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Tranquillity Base and Tetrahedonism have already been posted previously, but I wanted to post the complete series of connected poems.  I am posting in basic because I have a basic question: does this work as a series?  Do the gaps in earlier sections get filled in enough for the reader in later sections, etc.?  This is a 13 page series so I'm thanking anyone who will read it through with profuse gratitude!

All other comments welcome but that is my basic question, is it readable or a chore to get through?

1. Tranquillity Base

Papa’s got the sunset blues
Ixnay’s got a bottle on the news 
Tranquillity Base, my candle’s almost gone,
so the Song begins.

But Lalan says,
“Lalan has a heart like bamboo, Empty of love.” superb imagery

Tranquillity Base,
yes, this must be the place.

One night of absolutely untainted bliss,
of course I wanted more of this.
That said No and sent me on my woeful way, 
my sin of sins was expectation.

Tranquillity Base,
I’m almost out of outer space. enjoyed this  wordplay

“It’s all bullshit,” was all I ever heard Aphrodite say 
until I heard her say, “We will talk about it some day.”

Some day never comes to Tranquillity Base, Tranquillity Base,
love is all the air that’s left.

“There might be a little blood down there,” Said the Queen to the drunken fly.

Or as a rabbi’s daughter once said to me, “We probably will.”
Magayna, dark princess, called me out into the early spring nights, 
There were a few embraces, I remember no kiss, what does this denote?
but the echo of her laughter against my loins on the first night,
“I’m going to teach poor people to love America”,
our first incarnation as Krishna and Radha.

But I failed as a worshipper until I sought her out a second time.
she told me of her life, she told me of her lovers,
she wanted to live in a house on a beach in Oregon
with a man who didn’t care if she slept with other men.
I don’t think I ever heard the word love come into it.

I wrote her name in Hebrew on an Oregon beach and took a picture, 
but it was too late.

Tranquillity Base,
Yes, this must be the place.

And these may be the last breaths I take 
Of all the love that’s left.

2.  Tetrahedonism

I know I wasn’t much of a Faust
and you tried to warn me:
I wrote “tetrahedonism” on the whiteboard. 
You defined it as “adoration of toxicity”. love this line

Margaret painted a lizard skin on Philip’s face for the Fall carnival,

Tranquillity Base,
this might not be the place, 
bBut it’s the place I want to be.

The time I spent with you seems lost,
it’s the times apart I remember.
fter you said “that stuff is like truth serum” 
I took the acid without you
and you were hurt.
I worshipped words when I wasn’t at your feet. 
I guess Loris was right, I was a lapdog.

No clocks, no calendars on Tranquillity Base.

I took our office motorcycle riding Lolita to the Carnival. 
invited in and to bed, after she pushed my hands away once, 
I slept chastely, idiotically next to her for a night. 

The ghosts assemble and disperse beyond my control on Tranquillity Base.

Regie, I don’t understand about those memories.
After taking Tiger Mountain, there should have been some shining moment, 
but there’s only darkness on that end of the street
on Tranquillity Base.

3.  Error in Transmission

Lalan, I say,
I think there’s been an error in transmission 
from Tranquillity Base.

Coming through is the last night we spent together,
after her unwanted abortion,
he got months, I got hours. The baby got months inside her, while you only got hours?
On Tranquillity Base, the Furies cannot be distracted very long.

And the first night, early evening, 
I watched her undress, then all was growing darkness, darkness grew as she undressed? Interesting image. 
some whispers, and because I was so quiet 
through the whole sweet moment, she said, 
it’s like it’s happening somewhere deep inside you.”

But nothing coming through about the nights in between.
Could it have become routine? narrator discovering the venality of women?

Morning walks to the Prester John,
one wintry morning I caught up with red-haired Kathy,
 “May I walk with you?”
By the time we reached the double doors, I was hooked,
when the Briton tried to ostentationously kiss you in front of me, 
you turned your cheek to him, and I knew I was in the running. 
But Zeus changed you into a Faun.

The faun was a little red-haired girl of long ago:
Dorothy’s house, the state of Georgia, a rabbit’s skeleton, 
a fragment of Rimbaud:
all my recorded memories of her incarnation.
That winter I found her, younger than I dreamt. 
I couldn’t solve the riddle and it broke my back. 
I pit my heart against a faun’s heart.

The end of adoration was succeeded disillusionment?  or maturation? Is there a difference?
by the green Egypt and flowers of April. 
The faun by then was long gone off the edge of a flat earth.

I saw her once more, a rainy day,
my backpack loaded down with Proust, a cup of tea,
and I never saw her again.

I ask the sickle moon, should I have tried harder? 
There’s always a sickle moon at Tranquillity Base.

Lalan says,
The error in transmission is in the corner of your eye.

4. Kaddish for my Muses

I just want to chant their names, 
Alison,
Gayna,
Mary,
Regie,
Four queens and four muses For this one-trick pony.

Alison is all distant in black stockings,
Gayna, a back rub in the darkness while Rainy Night in Georgia played on a radio,
Mary, O Mary, you giggled and said “Now it’s your turn for the Garden of Eden.” 
And seven days later, I came to a locked Garden gate 
you had invited in another. 
I didn’t need an angel with a fiery sword 
to know that Garden was closed forever.  profound line

Regie, true muse and most merciful of them all.

Like Krishna, I am the Eternal Adolesescent,
Unlike Krishna, I am not frolicking forever with Radha, No gopikas for me.

So I chant the names of my muses, 
Alison,
Gayna,
Mary,
Regie,
One to call me to poetry, another to open the mystery to me,
a third to break my heart in two,
a last to punch my ticket with blood.

5. Message to Paul B.

Paul B.,
I went to your play
that Loris put on at Elizabeth Ney
because Regie was a dead body on the stage.

Philip showed up in a business suit, pointed to his shiny leather shoes, and said, “Dead man’s shoes”.

It was called Your Mother Wears Combat Boots.

Philip came along in April ’78,
I know because it was an April day
he taught me I could get stoned at work,
leading me to a secluded goldfish pond
only a few yards from the Tower
and pulling out a joint,
and he hadn’t heard that Sandy Denny was dead.
I remember you Paul B.
as gatekeeper of the closed stacks,
you called the name once,
and once was how many chances you gave out.

The last time I saw you, before the brain cancer, 
you scorned the plays, and I was dismayed.

Lalan sings
“In the noisy crowd of the marketplace, my mind, 
I didn’t recognize him in this world.”

6.  Homage to Cathar

We were compadres,
competitors,
occasionally enemies.
We watched each others’ romances unfold, 
and fold and sometimes cross.

Philip was a Bard of conspiracies,
he sang of them all the time.
he owned Ben Thompson’s roulette wheel,
and lived with a former cheeleader he called “strictly TV” 
who read him to sleep at night.
He had land in Nova Scotia,
and an arch-enemy named Scottie.
He read Gurdjieff, Ouspensky and sent Colin Wilson
his murder/name theory, and got a reply.

In 1978, he wanted to live to be as old as possible,
and he told me of meeting an old man at a junkyard 
who lived in a tin shed full of junkyard porn magazines. 
And then he was silent.
I’m still working on that koan, Philip.

So your suicide has been here all along, 
looking in,
but I guess I have Regie all to myself now, 
here on Tranquillity Base.

7.  Epilogue to Tranquillity Base

Loris is dead.
Just got the news from the Internet today 
though he died two years ago.

I’m not sure Tranquillity Base can exist any longer 
without the brain behind Interstate, Stele & Noumenon,
a big gentle bear of a man who smoked a pipe,
who said, “I only make fun of people I like”,
who knew Brian Eno,
who said Thomas Pynchon needed an editor,
who played massive war games like Terrible Swift Sword, 
who had a facially deformed cat named Quasimodo, 
who was Regie’s lover.

He threw up into a garbage can on my first day of work.

Here was I, freshly deflowered, both heart and soul, 
stepping ever so carefully into Loris’ Domain,
and very carefully stealing his Queen,
and very carefully breaking his heart.

Regie told me
I would have been a very good Byzantine;
it’s true it took three years.

Regie, the acid was truth serum; I lay on my bed 
on Giles, dilapidated GI housing gone to seed, 
stared at a full moon and laughed gleefully, 
thinking of how I had slain the King,
a pawn in love in hate in ecstasy.

Above me, a rat crossed the wire from the garage 
into the roof where below I lay watching.

Long live the king.

8.  Blues for the Pythia 

Yes, it’s a good life here
In the ruins of Tranquillity Base:
The dome is gone,
All the love has escaped
As it should,
Keine Liebe keine Dich.
All the ghosts have been exorcised
Except for one;
I want his ghost to stay as long as possible. Perhaps allude to "his ghost" a bit more

 
Last nights vision:
I woke at 3:33,
When I woke again
Mary was sitting up naked in bed. 

I started to speak.
She shushed me
“I’m meditating”, she said.
I dropped her off at work.
I thought I was king of the world, but after that the world left me
And I wound up here.

 
But visions don’t come into the countdown
In the ruins of Tranquillity Base.


I could really use the Pythia right now,
But she’s off her tripod and into the gas,
So I’m searching the San Francisco Oracle
For messages from beyond: 

“Tune in to the play of energies
Light, sound, air, pressure
That continually bathe your sense endings,
The world is alive and pulsating.” 


Alas, reception is poor,
And Oracles are dangerous conversationalists,
So I’ll just keep watching a countdown
That never ends. 




9.  The Demimonde
 
At the dogpark today
A lithe tanned demimonde
With a diamond in her nose
Looked at me,
As you first looked at me,
The challenge to come hither.


Now you’re a school teacher in Queens,
Then, a princess who appeared after dark
To carry me off to adventures in heartbreak.

 
Not so much a vision, but not excluded
By the countdown: 

Liebe dauert oder dauert nicht, An dem oder jedem Ort. 

I guess I am marooned?
And this poem is my musket
With powder and ball for a single shot and a choice. 

An earthly goddess chose me,
Dare I choose the shot?
Much better to wait for a goddess
Than to interrupt a countdown. 



10.  The Clawfooted Bathtub


It’s clear that Muses cannot be shed like dead souls;
They are embedded in my body,
Amethyst and amber, and sapphire and jade,
Waiting for a fire to free them.

“Bring the color gold, photos of personal saints,
Gurus, and Underground Heroes, children,
Flowers, flutes, drums, feathers,
Beads banners, flags, incense, chimes,
Gongs, cymbals,
Bring JOY.”

Echoes of Aquarius
Animate the grid that powers my jewels
But Emmett Grogan shouts them down
With Digger rage
“Tune in, turn on, drop out, jerk-off!”

What’s that?
A shower with Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap
And then a virgin lover’s deflowering?
Digger rage cannot drown out a Love Pageant,
And Kesey’s dead, so he can’t crash my party,
Not here in the ruins of Tranquillity Base.


11.  The Alison Canto

To evade the Countdown,
I travel to the Edge:
Here you might run into Harry Haller
Hunting for the Magic Theatre,
Or my incarnation of Dylan Thomas,
Forever in his boathouse
Next to an eternally sunbright sea.

I came to the Edge to see
On a dilapidated drive-in screen
A flickering washed out film,
The moment I was annointed a poet 
By a high school junior, 
There she is,
My Beatrice,
By the temporary classrooms,
In her ever present black stockings, 
A cigarette held delicately
In a hand as pale as a clear sky.

Moments haunt this empty lot
With its dead posts like so many abandoned 
Half finished crosses,
We could listen to them sing
Until a vision of Last Things,
But I’ve seen enough last things,
To last me a while,
And a while is the only measurement of Time
Left here at the Edge.


12.  Gideon’s Bible 

Like a Gideon’s Bible, White Rabbits don’t lie,
so I followed him away from the Edge,
past a party where a cherubic blonde
waved from across the room.
I wasn’t sure if it was hello or goodbye,
with Mary, you never knew.

 
To a vision of another Mary,
frizzy blonde hair, beautiful as a hawk,
who carried off my heart
to the tune of John Lennon’s Imagine
using only the rear-view mirror of a driver’s ed car. 


Rocky Racoon lives in the ruins,
As do some false-hearted lovers too.

 
Perhaps I could do an 8 1/2,
bring them all together.
The mechanics of time are daunting,
but the place undoubted,
Les Amis Cafe, 24th and Nueces.
We’d drink coffee and laugh at my romantic agonies,
past, present and future,


And at a nearby table I’d catch the eye
Of my next Nadja. 


I say hello to Rocky whenever I can. 
Like the Gideon’s Bible where Rocky went to die,
White Rabbit now says Good-bye. 


13.  Strawberries and Milk 

“That we have a mass emotional breakdown
in these States once and for all;
that we see bankers laughing in their revolving doors with strange staring eyes”. 


I wanted to partake with my Muse Strawberries and milk,
Like Jof and Mia in The Seventh Seal,
Before betrayal overtook us: 

A fresco from the ruins of Tranquillity Base,
Where now this gathering of my visions
Strives to be human and from the heart. 


“I claim as Poet powers of prophecy
Because one who looks in his heart and speaks frankly can claim to prophecy.” 

So, Allen Ginsburg, in summoning the highwater mark
Of Pre-lapsarian Aquarius’ acid dream,
But my Time Machine will not take me where I have not been, 

And I can offer only these antipodal visions,
These “transient spectres”: 


In ’73 Allen sang to us on his harmonium,
And together we sang Blake,
And during the intermission I went to him
And touched his soft hand,
And was mute,
And he passed on.

 
The next night
Back on my job
Fry cook in a seafood kitchen,
And Gayna appeared, my uncertain lover,
And my fellow cook, a hot rod angel,
Homed onto her come hither
Before I could let my heart know.

 
So these are my tribes of love:
My Human Be-In occurred in fragments,
A few potent doses of enlightenment at a time,
Sometimes there is singing,
Other times just the shock of seeing love
When she is not looking. 

I love the staccato renderings, imagery. The references to time and its ambiguity is well-fashioned. The narrator, however lovesick, cannot extricate himself from the litany of paramours, his "tribes of love." I rather enjoyed the conclusion, the final two lines especially. There is much here to unravel, tqb. It is certainly harrowing....I sympathize with the narrator and his tribulations in love, lust. And this is just one reading, one extraction among many themes which I will address upon my second reading. Thanks for sharing this: dense, but with a corporeal, immediate, and carnal undertone.
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#15
(07-19-2021, 11:19 PM)Brian Roberts Wrote:  I love the staccato renderings, imagery. The references to time and its ambiguity is well-fashioned. The narrator, however lovesick, cannot extricate himself from the litany of paramours, his "tribes of love." I rather enjoyed the conclusion, the final two lines especially. There is much here to unravel, tqb. It is certainly harrowing....I sympathize with the narrator and his tribulations in love, lust. And this is just one reading, one extraction among many themes which I will address upon my second reading. Thanks for sharing this: dense, but with a corporeal, immediate, and carnal undertone.

Brian,

The first person I showed this to gave me a one word critique: "lovelorn".  I think that about sums it up.  I'm glad the time jumps were not onerous for you.
Thanks for reading it.

TqB
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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