Ouroboros and Back Again

Thoughts on writing...and poetry. Ross McKie
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Life and Times of Michael KOrioles in the OrangesJung JournalThe Savage DetectivesFrom the Fifteenth DistrictConsolation: a Novel

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Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month

A Prayer

Up a wooden walk to a door I ran.
There, a wolf offered hymns, only
if it might gorge on my dreams.
Two lazy angels rested their boundless
golden hair atop a gilded doorframe.
They pointed to an invocation,
locked at the top of the door,
sealed there with
their pale, pointed fingers.
In the waiting and silence,
I grew anxious and soon
despaired. I turned
to see the same scene doubled
behind me, the way I had come.
Yet, where was the wolf? And
why only one angel for me?
Something touched my lips
and then the taste of milk.
They took me through the door,
removed the stone of me, burned me
white and let me rise as breath
to heaven’s love.


Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month

the fable of immense sorrows & the absolute letter

the philosopher resides elsewhere now. his spirits are lifted. he wears his slippers to university, where he teaches the irresistible interpretative power of immanence. on fridays he brings his students treats called élans. some years ago, it was said that he was a threat, someone that could plot the “smooth toppling” of a regime. one day in class he tells the story of a poet he met in Evin Prison, how they argued, endlessly, the difference between thought of movement and thought in movement. one might expect this to lead to these men becoming lovers and perhaps they did in a way, something needed to come forth from this marriage of thought and song. the poet wondered why the philosopher escaped torture. the poet was beaten. he refused to stop reciting his fiery verse. his friend quoted Spinoza. the poet shot back with words like fire, piss and martyr. one evening, as they knit together their desperate hearts, the poet and the philosopher witnessed a miracle. on the wall of their shared cell appeared a letter: a letter never seen before. a letter that could be the shadow of the impossible; a letter as pure and absolute as a haunting; a letter perhaps only meant for the most vulnerable. there were no longer real words for what they had seen. days passed and they became suspicious of their own deaths, their passing just another trifle among many scattered things. still, somehow they suffered themselves into deep fellowship. they asked questions, but only of each other and, yes, without words and without the movement of thought. they paced the cell. and what does a prisoner do with this letter while living in hell on earth? the poet and the philosopher knew they must share the letter with the other inmates. from it they formed new words, seeing now that they were nothing without the sharing of this letter with each other. the letter only existed when it was heard. the letter was a grace. now, the torturing left no trace with each and every new word; now, the trembling, so rooted in cold floors and windowless walls, fell away; now, no guard could understand them. the letter was a grace. on an april morning, the two friends— the poet and the philosopher— walked past all the guards, all their fellow prisoners, and into the breathing fields that surrounded Evin. and in the promise of that moment, years later, a professor exhales, removes his slippers and writes this line: “Let us begin at the beginning.”

*“breathing fields” are words formed from letters in William Blake’s poem, “Milton.”


Another dose of Dr. Gabor Maté from Zeitgeist: Moving Forward.


(via becomingbricolage)

Interview with Alain Robbe-Grillet

INTERVIEWER If you have something in mind that you wish to describe, it means that you have something to say. Yet you have argued vigorously against the idea that a writer ever has, or should have, anything to say. ROBBE-GRILLET When a novelist has “something to say,” they mean a message. It…

(Source: theparisreview.org, via becomingbricolage)

2 days ago - 14

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month

Love Letter

dearest tomaž—
my sweet destroyer—
what have you
done with the peoples’
unshed tears?
and why did the
rabbit kick the

we have yet
to learn the
argot of

i love you


Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.


The culprits have delivered red water
to civilize us. We refuse to name it.
At sunset the soundness breaks
our sleep. Our bodies warm.
The sky opens, but we cannot
open our hands. We live with fists
as temples. The pounding turns the world
red and the water is gone.


TVO in Ontario, Canada have run this fascinating doc every Easter weekend for a few years on Rogier van der Weden’s painting, Descent from the Cross. Quite something, regardless of the content, peoples. http://tvo.org/video/202029/private-life-masterpiece-descent-cross

4 days ago

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.

Addendum to the “The Poet’s Apprentice”

I am a glorious
layabout with
forked tongue
to allow both
languages of
deceit. All hail

I am the holy
ghost licked
clean with
fiery temper;
blood-red wraith
with noble precision. All hail

I am bugbear
holding traps to
ensnare love and
memory. All hail

I am the scent
of every
drop lost. All hail

I am starry fool,
immense dithyramb,
communal bullshitter,
ancient ridge of madness! All hail

Know this: My “I am I” mocks equal pay for equal play and scolds the
goodly universe for its bones.

I am the sacred
cliché, anointed
for worship. All hail

I am lost,
a frightened child,
and beg you,
dear reader, to
point me to my

All hail


Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn’t for race, X-Men doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn’t make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential.

Junot Díaz, “The Junot Díaz Episode" (18 November 2013) on Fan Bros, a podcast “for geek culture via people of colors” (via kynodontas)

(via fulvia-bambula)

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.

On Listening to J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Bach has forsaken Christ
for the bereaved.

The innocence of composition
is further away than death.

No matter the plaintive motif,
false tongues hate A minor.

Bach divines his measure with

Our patience is rewarded through
the voice of the continuo’s Tenor.

Baroque parties need dancing;
a minuet needs a Matt.

Picander had nightmares that
Bach would have him crucified.

No matter the catechism,
these notes lift the cross.

Were Bach’s hands like Christ’s?
Only the Cantor composed.

The turning of a note as the
turning of this child.

This was meant for Bach:
How would the scripture, though, be fulfilled? It must be this way.

The cries of heaven find
not one key in this song.

I am unbounded.
What will become of me?

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.

Crad’s Passing or Did Anyone Notice the Whoops?

In my dream
he has
unplotted rib
and returned

Adam, rictus,
to a dim
stage, fully
all itchy.

In another, Crad
takes up
his pen
and begins
at the

but for
not a missing


and then the lecture
to a room
of black
in flight
and he

for fires
and he swallows

In the last,
he takes
the a-r-c
and marks
the path
of the
carotid cursive
to the breast-
and sounds
a strong
echo there
with a snide
for what

Upon waking,
I see, out the win-
dow, that Crad
has left his ark
with Eve,
she has a ladder
for us
and she is
hosting a
few evenings
on board,

filled with the
body of his


Crad Kilodney, Writer. 1948-April 14, 2014.

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.


Enshrine yourself with varaqát
and speak only of this host.
This handful of water anoints
before the tired ink spills.

Then speak only of this host,
how any station is assured
before the tired ink spills.
Within the beloved speak of

how any station is assured:
leave thy tongue with the faithful,
within the beloved, speaking of
the invisible heaven’s reach.

Leave thy tongue with the faithful,
there’s so little to speak of here.
This invisible heaven’s reach
ignoring the whole of life.

There’s so little to speak of here:
this handful of water anoints,
yet ignores the whole of life.
Enshrine yourself with varaqát.

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.

This Side of Things

behind the fence
at bethel lowell,
his green house sits
with the same window left open


and it lets the late Spring snow in
and it enters all the rooms
and it pardons the dust

on the picture frames.

his bed is elsewhere,
with a brother now
in Artmesia Township—

his brother’s sleep
reminds him
that it is all just less
than a grace

that there are fewer of them
that hymns to faith only
need a heartbeat.

still, on this side of things,
he allows a weight to bear him
into the future

he twists the loose thread around his finger from the arm of the chair,
sometimes tightly

and each day,
sometimes borrowing a coat,
he wanders
toward the house,
sure that he must
return to close
a window.

after Ghassan Zaqtan’s “A Picture Of The House in Beit Jala.”

Follow along at Tiferet Journal as I write a poem-a-day for National Poetry Month.

Return of the City Inspector

It was evening and the city inspector came from
behind the wall again to ask me if I wanted to
become a race car driver or a boxer. I said,
“There’s new buildings going up all over town
and you still find time to dog me again about career choices.”
He laid out a finely tailored, brocaded firesuit and
a pair of satin boxer shorts and said I had to decide.
I asked him to give me a moment, so I could be
alone with the suit and the shorts. On my nightstand
are prayer beads. Pacing back & forth in front of both
the firesuit and the boxer shorts on the bed,
I worried the beads. This was a tough decision.
Even though I felt happy, I wished this wasn’t
my body, that maybe if I had another one, was burnt away
or something, that I could reach a better life decision.
Sometimes if the body’s gone, choices become easier,
like in a poem or a short story. The inspector came back
into the room: “Well, what do you say, young fella?”
I hid my prayer beads. I thought, “Unchecked, all these
opportunities can pass by so quickly.” Both were
tempting, but then again, everything’s tempting
in this world. The city inspector rolled his eyes
and left his card. I put on the race car firesuit,
(the beadwork was exquisite), but—just in case—
I had the boxer shorts on underneath. I thought
of blood-hunger, the speed of words, the grafted
laws of nature, and the inspector’s lightning fast
left hook.