G. Timothy Gordon – Four Poems
Out of Darkness
Out of darkness they keep moving,
Slowly, over the fields, bodies bent low
For scraps as fall iterates itself into frost,
Winter-white tufts of ice-patched sawgrass,
Sage spikes, while women huddle in caves,
Threshing-room floors, pounding stones,
Grinding, bleaching, sweet white corn, squash,
Feeding flocks from ghost-blue springs
Of summer stillness, from nothing not there,
Nothing that is.
The outback pasture,
New-mown hay bales
Sun ripening each tan-rich,
While mares and sires,
Singly, and in homely pairs,
Black Angus cattle
Crouching on haunches
In tarry midsummer mud
Explore what’s left of earth,
A poor, bare, forked animal,
As do all other creatures,
Great and small, for the nonce,
(Even Lear, once), here, elsewhere,
Country, city, season after season,
Tho’ Nothing can be made out of nothing,
As any Fool, brooding Mourning Dove
Or swallow knows, such a longing,
Such a fitful longing
I was out of the light . . .
Already I can feel the red-veined maples pulsing
Into end-of-life, sun-dressed aspens rust-gold,
White willow catkins, winter-wind’s first kiss
Passing through the blue spruce, firs, pine baffles,
Settling over bright-green moss. Everything deepens,
Darkens, before what’s lost. The rest, we know, History. Fall.
And all attendant allusions. Blood thickens with the weather.
Grace, Purpose, if ever, gone to white nights. Turning away, back,
What we’re now not, maybe never were, when young and beautiful
On Blond Street, in Blond Forest Thickets, knowing we’d always belong to light.
Blond-on-Blond. (As if). Never-NeverLands of Sugar-Plum Fairies. Peter Pans and Pammys.
And so, the sage laments, begins grief.
Begins the Begonia
Once in a while/You get shown the light/
In the strangest of places. . .
-The Grateful Dead
We know the bud stands for all things, and so it does,
Unfelt, unseen, until begins the begonia, lovely, loving,
Intense consigliere of double-sexed color sweating out
Summer in hi-def gardens, green- and -hothouse plant hues,
Any potted beige-bland wannabes who’d trans à la Caitlyn,
(Becky with the cool hair, Yo?), just to work it into Plum Paisley,
Red Robin Rex, Scarlet Begonia even Deadheads resurrect
On long, strange trips to Anywhere-But-Here in-between
Great skyblue gigs, downer voids, daydreaming themselves into light,
Color, like desert-boom spirit-riders waiting for the cool to come, and cold,
Windswept Alberta Clippers, bumper-music for first frost kiosks,
Dark-on-endless-darks, piled-up white-on-whites until shrivels, curls,
Absences, inevitable netherworlds without turning to stone, framing themselves
Beneath The Beneath, Technicolor by Deluxe, SurroundSound on the downglow,
Buds debouched, leafing back into red-clay earth.
Author’s Statement on Beauty
I have no working aesthetic of Beauty. Most canonized Western aesthetical, poetical, and philosophical pronouncements have had little impact on my writing life (i.e., the Greek essentialist ideal on through to Kant and Hegel, diluted in Poe’s Supernal Beauty, exaggerated in Shelley’s Intellectual Beauty, sentimentalized in Goethe’s Sorrows, “refined” by the Brit Romantics (yes, a rabid admirer, especially of Great Keats, pompous old WW, and even Shelley), and revolutionized in Baudelaire’s concept of road-kill beauty in Les Fleurs du Mal, tho’ I understand the historical, intellectual, and theoretical vigor in the Great Books Theory of Ideas and of what traditionally constituted The Beautiful. Ideal Beauty is clearly unattainable in this mortal life, like King Tantalus reaching for the ever-receding fruits of Hades or beautiful Narcissus falling in love with and dying into his watery reflection at the expense of The Other in life. Epochal beauty is forever ephemeral, forever changing. I mostly have a tongue-in-cheek cold-war (-rior) Wernher von Braun approach to ballistic missiles, satellites, and nuclear deterrence (via Tom’ Lehrer’s iconic mid-sixties song lyric, i.e., “Once the rockets are up,/Who cares where they come down,/That’s not my department,” sans his and his parodist’s flippancy) to what I intuit, feel, or see: I just send them out, how they land, it’s no longer my concern. So, too, like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stevens’s equally iconic 1964 assessment of pornography who knew it when he saw it, like most people, I sense beauty when I feel it, without any preconditions as to what the concept is supposed to entail.
G. Timothy Gordon’s seventh poetry/fiction collection, From Falling, will be published in 2017 (Spirit-of-the-Ram Press). Work appears in journals like Agni, Kansas Quarterly, Louisville Review, Mississippi Review, & New York Quarterly, among others. He has been awarded NEA and NEH Fellowships, residencies, and been nominated for the NEA’s Western States’ Book Awards.