a strange congregation (reformation)

October 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm | Posted in poetry, writing | 19 Comments
Tags: ,

Right on time, he says, gently placing his martini on the piano. We were starting to worry about you. Let me have a look.

The pianoplayer is naked, laying face down on the beach. He has a new tattoo that stretches right across his shoulders. It says, “Need and power are in inverse proportion.”

It is low tide and soldier crabs crunch under Mamu’s feet as he approaches. He is smiling.

Excellent, he says, adjusting the brim of his fedora. She will enjoy that one. Drop him in the corner, Mamu, and brush some of that soil from him before she arrives.


right on time gently
placing his martini on the piano.
anxious observing

naked face down seagulled
new tattoo winged
“Need and power
are in inverse proportion”

low tide, soldier crabs crunch
under Mamu’s steps approaching
He is smiling.

Excellent, his crown adjusted.
Drop him in the corner, Mamu,
brush that soil from him

she arrives.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. really like this one – second version somehow has much more clarity despite fewer words

  2. My kind of story! I notice I’ve been drawn to, in reading and my own personal writing, scenarios that have no clear origin or ending. You are left with a snapshot, wondering how it came to be there and where it’ll be going. Your prose is just as good as your poetry, though in regards to your poetry I have to admit I’m not as well read as I thought myself to be, because I don’t always get all the references. I know some things have been bothering you in regards to the literary world, as it should to someone who is trying to get his work actively appreciated, but you know, as real writers know, we write because we are compelled to do so, despite the possibility of publication. Keep these words crackin’.

  3. very nice. i like this idea, giving us the two ways of literature. something i have been pondering about lately..

  4. this is fabulously written Paul, and need and power are in inverse proportion- I got to think about this one. The faith of the pianoplayer though makes me sad…

  5. beautiful the way it inverses in a way, there is a power in ‘she arrives’ that tells me so much as’before she arrives’and prosepoem things. cant think of a better something to comment, i really like this,

  6. Fascinating having the two versions together for comparison. I prefer the first one, mainly for its familiarity and it’s got a fedora (which has to be good). But the second one is excellent (and some would say more poetic – ‘naked face down seagulled’ for instance). The tone changes a great deal, I feel, when the form changes – the first has a casualness – the second reminds me of ‘absurd’ drama (or existentialist plays), with a cutting unfeeling edge. Either way, the objectification of the piano player made me very sad – is depression contagious?

  7. I love the differences in the repetition and the phrase need and power are in inverse proportion, reminding me of my story about the man trying to quit psychotherapy. This is very beautiful. You have been writing at another level lately, since your last break.

  8. i imagine the first spoken by jim morrison, and the second sung by bob dylan

  9. i enjoyed the first version, but the remix is incredible. fewer words works in this case, very well i think

  10. This is brilliant, Paul. Is ‘she’ the incoming tide? Which gives Mamu the power on the low. It’s good to be reminded of these human truths from time to time. Thanks, Paul.

  11. Glad to see you are still on top of your magical game. It’s great to take part in your world of words again.

    I’ll be back to writing regularly soon. And vising!

    Take it easy.

  12. Need is more important in playing that power, music comes from need, poetry too?, I know drawing (true drawing) is all need which translates afterwards into power among the best artists (ol’ Ingres and folks like that).

    Amazing imagery and the twin poems are like mirrors, but of right and left brain kinds of seeing. And I’m hoping he’s okay after she arrives.

  13. I like them both, and the second has some wonderfully evocative imagery: as he lies he is “seagulled”, his tattoo is “winged”, and the brim in the first becomes a crown in the second. Fascinating, given the thought-provoking verbiage in the tat re: need and power.

  14. That you can take the same concept and content and so dexterously play with its form ‘reformation’ is something you do so easily and yet I know is difficult to do. love em both. Need and power inversely related, indeed.

    Hope all is beautiful in your world.

  15. Love it!

  16. see, mr squires, i like the first version for a simple & strange reason. when i read things in prose i see them happening, when i read them in verse i assume that they haven’t. probably because that form is more synonymous with construction. in any case, this is beautiful & surreal & i like what i’m seeing.

  17. These two pieces, (‘a strange congregation’ and ‘Sunrise Impro by Naked Hairy Man’), written 14 months apart, are almost reflections of each other, the piano player on the beach, the seagulls. I’ve never noticed that before and certainly didn’t remember the first one when I wrote the second one. They could be bookends.

  18. It must be the moon my friend, pulling and guiding the rising tides, the wing-poised turn, the mackerel-back skies. (((you)))

  19. Your subconscious would remember Paul.
    I am exploring this thingy, Gabrielle. Do I have a subconscious? Is the whole blog a picture of my conscious, sub and overt? Is there a sense in which my work is more really me than the person I manifest whilst walking around? Where do all these synchronicities come from? And so on, ad infinitum.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: