Poem of the Month January 2014: Miguel upon the Sand Dunes of Ecstasy and Hell

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Bridge of Silver Wings 2014 New Year quote by Aberjhani with artwork by Wellness Blog on Speakingtree.in2014 Happy New Year artwork with quote by Aberjhani “Speaking Tree” in Times of India

The real poem of the month for January 2014 is the title poem from the book The River of Winged Dreams. The simple reason is because that’s the poem (and the book) which gave the world one of the most texted, messaged, and posted quotations used to bring in the New Year. It didn’t hurt when the quote got picked up as one of the Top 10 New Year SMS Wishes for 2014 and journalists from Monterey in California to those in India embedded it in feature stories. You can even find it on the news website for the United Nations.

But the thing is this: the complete poem that the quote comes from has never been published on the web and word is it’s there are no plans to change that anytime soon. We respect that. Since we couldn’t post the complete poem we had to come up with another one that hit with the same kind of vibe. We succeeded by turning to the pages of Quotable Poet Aberjhani’s first book,  I Made My Boy Out of Poetry and are hitting with” Miguel Upon the Sand Dunes of Ecstasy and Hell.” The reviews for this poem on AuthorsDen give some excellent reasons for making it the poem of the month. But it’s mostly because what it describes is how a lot of people say they feel (well, using their own words) in their heads as we step out of the year 2013 and into the New Year 2014:

Miguel Upon the Sand Dunes of Ecstasy and Hell
(Passion for the Shaman in 1994: That Love Should Have Its Way)

Breathes burning sugar and frozen memory,
pumps holiness through each of his cells
while the sun squeezes his behind
and crumbles his spine
flips, flops, and rolls him back and forth
like a baker gone insane
slapping bread into crucified dreams of art.

His desert sky shines with goddesses
cooing clouds inside your ears
the air freezes with angels demanding
you stand up and glow like one true god.
Snakes in white tuxedos crawl rattling down your throat
and you shit poison for more days in hell
than you ever want to count again.
A dead butterfly makes love to your eyes
and you shiver semen wide across the wind’s wide naked tongue.

You are golden and rose like a beautiful ballet.
You are cold, demonic and hungry.
A storm gray and furious and white
is what your soul looks like
zooming in and out of your pitiful heart.
Look at her praying for you Miguel
and bleeding for you, loving God for you and
swallowing the whole history of His pain for you.

Miguel upon the sand dunes of ecstasy and hell
imagines he is Walt Whitman
cut straight in half by the beauty of soldiers,
dreams he is Malcolm X and Gandhi bleeding justice
inside the syphilitic mouth of a nation.
Believes he is ancient and Yoruban and female
splitting his body giving re-birth to his father,
provides comfort to ghosts fresh from their bones,
sets free the niggers in Alice Walker’s nightmare
and sings her demons into well-earned death.

Miguel burns godly and shamanistic, his chest
studded with rubies, mouth foaming diamonds,
three black owls pour feathers on his head
and he yells into the night:
“I insist unrelentingly upon ecstasy
and I demand that Love should have its way
with all my Lord’s creation.”
Miguel walks hard-on bowlegged through the desert
shouting new light into this new sky
screaming loud Ezekiel’s name.

Prophets kiss his tears, laugh hallelujah,
get him stoned on wine.
Saints wash his blood, they all sing amen,
tell Miguel to be quiet for a while.

–poem by Aberjhani (from I Made My Boy Out of Poetry)

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Quotable Poets for National Poetry Month 2014

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“Stars ink your fingers
with a lexicon of flame
blazing rare knowledge.”
–from poem titled Poets of the Angels by Aberjhani
(courtesy of Bright Skylark Lit Prods & Postered Poetics)

National Poetry Month is usually an easy time to write this blog because the Quotable Poet has written a lot of poems about poetry and picking one would have been stress-free. He’s also pumped out enough articles and essays about other quotable poets to fill a book…which he’s probably done already. Take for example this handful from just the past year and just last week:

1. Poets of the Past and Present in the 2014 Spotlight
2. Text and Meaning in T.J. Reddy’s Poems in One-Part Harmony 1
3. Text and Meaning in Robert Frost’s Dedication: For JFK
4. Text and Meaning in Langston Hughes’ The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain Part 1

Around March 28 his Bright Skylark crew posted a new killer graphic on Goodreads to celebrate NaPoMo and we noticed the quote on it came from the poem Angels of the Poets. It’s a poem that already has 3 popular quotes from it… That seems almost average for about half the poems in The River of Winged Dreams. But this one is about the deep side of what some poets trip on when they slide into their creativity mode. So it’s a good fit for National Poetry Month.

Another good popular quote says “Turnabout is fair play.” That means since the Quotable Poet put out so many cool vibes about other authors and poets it seems time to share what a couple have said about him. These popped up on Quotes.net which describes itself as “a huge collection of literary quotations and movie quotes from endless number of famous authors and featured movies, collaboratively assembled by contributing editors.” Um, OK.

Zinta Aistars of Smoking Poet quote about Aberjhani from Quote.net

Jim Morekis of Connect Savannah quote about Aberjhani from Quotations.netPosted by MS/24

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March 2014 Quote of the Month and Words for World Poetry Day

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Language of the rainbow quotation 1 by Aberjhani with Pegasus artwork by Postered Poetics“The language of the rainbow is a lexicon of light devoted to concepts of faith, unity, hope, endurance, and joy.”
–from Journey through the Power of the Rainbow by Aberjhani (graphic courtesy of Bright Skylark Literary Productions)

Why no poem of the month for February 2014? Because most of us were waiting to see if the announcement that Creative Thinkers International was going offline on February 5 was true. Turns out it was. To us that was a serious Black History Month 2014 moment all by itself.

Investing close to 7 years into building a community from 1 member to a humanitarian organization of more than 500 is not easy to do. But it happened because the Quotable Poet opened the doors of the CTI Initiative after 9/11 to basically everybody willing to share positive vibes with the world. It wasn’t the kind of thing you can compare to Whatsapp with its one-million-people every day sign-ups because it wasn’t just about selfie culture.  It was about making things like bullying, starvation, wars, terrorism, and generally not-giving-a-f*ck go away.

CTI went offline once before but then made a great comeback with new member sign-ups and fresh blogs, photographs, and video posts every other day. The question now is can it do that again? The Quotable Poet did not say straight up that it would but in his last blog post on the website this is what he wrote:

“The need to take one central outpost of the CTI concept offline while continuing to examine the best ways to maintain and further extend its legacy does not mean an end to the resilient singing heart of CTI. It means a metamorphosis–– like that undertaken by the caterpillar which wraps itself in a cocoon before transforming into something very different from what it was–– is in progress.” ––Aberjhani

This can mean a lot of things and maybe that’s his point.

You might have noticed that the quote used at the beginning of this post doesn’t come from a poem in The River of Winged Dreams or Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black. It’s a preview from the collection of quotes Journey through the Power of the Rainbow and might not be from a poem at all but it’s all about hanging in there and toughing it out to see what happens next.

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2013 in Review Kicking off the Quotable Poet 2014

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This is cool WordPress, THANK U, and thank you everybody who checked out this site. We shook the blog up some in 2013 with posts on classic creative writers and political thinkers who influenced the Quotable Poet in some way. Now we’re kicking off the New Year 2014 with a previous poem of the month format. The title for January is Miguel upon the Sand Dunes of Ecstasy and Hell .

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Top 5 Quotable Quotes of the Year 2013

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Top 5 Quotable Quotes Instagram #aberjhani montage(Montage of Instagram images with the hash tag #Aberjhani.)

The quote at number one on this countdown isn’t going to surprise too many people because it’s been trending viral since October. What has surprised some people is the no-show so far on Journey through the Power of the Rainbow. Remember that big announcement back in April? Word is the original PLANNED BOOK has been expanded because the use (legit and not legit) of quotes by QP Aberjhani on the net has continued to increase and the book needs to offer more than what’s available online. Yeah that makes sense but in the meantime…

You can overlook the delayed publication of the book when checking out everything else he’s been putting out there. The Text and Meaning Series gave nods to MLK, Albert Camus, Langston Hughes, JFK, and Robert Frost. Plus his Guerrilla Decontextualization project, and rumored works on Ms. Flannery O’Connor and a play would be more than enough to keep most writers’ keyboards clicking. It’s because he’s so prolific that different groups find different uses for his writings. Political, social, sexy, spiritual, educational, group hugs, you name it and he’s got something that fits. Some of the quotes listed in this blog have been listed before but they grew even stronger in 2013. The “Dare to love yourself” quote is still trending viral so you won’t see it here.

PLEASE CHECK IT OUT: Full accreditation here acknowledging all quotes are by QP Aberjhani with links to original posts of artwork when possible. Enjoy the top 5 countdown:

5. “Un-winged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace.” –from poem “Angel of Valentine Days and Nights published in The River of Winged Dreams. Image by Eaglemaiden on InstagramUnwinged and Naked quote by Aberjhani with Instagram photo by eaglemaiden

4. “Now come the whispers bearing bouquets of moonbeams and sunlight tremblings.” ― Aberjhani, from “Angel of Valentine Days and Nights” in The River of Winged Dreams.  Art from Andrea Guzman shared on Pinterest.Now come whispers quote by Aberjhani with Pinterest graphic

3.  “I place my fingers upon these keys typing 2,000 dreams per minute and naked of spirit dance forth my cosmic vortex upon this crucifix called language.” This one is from “Sweet Brother Brother Daddy K” in Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black  and was turned into amazing art by Jaanika Talts on Facebook.

 

2. “This is what our love is––a sacred pattern of unbroken unity sewn flawlessly invisible inside all other images, thoughts, smells, and sounds.” –from the poem “The Comforter on Your Bed” in The River of Winged Dreams. Image courtesy JulieKrull.com and Facebook.com/BeautifulMindfulLife. This is what our love is quote by Aberjhani with graphic by JulieKrull and BeautifulMindfulLife

1.    “To create art with all the PASSION in one’s soul is to live art with all the BEAUTY in one’s heart. ” from Red Room Blog. Image courtesy of You Me & Charlie : Aberjhani quote on  YouMeandCharlie.com is a creative digital playground for users to inspire each other as friends and artists. - You, Me & Charlie

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A Quotable Poet Salute to Albert Camus for His 100th Birthday

Originally posted on The Quotable Poet:

Albert Camus 100th Birthday Graphic with quote by Aberjhaniberjhani from Postered Poetics

Graphic art quote featuring text by Aberjhani with image of Albert Camus courtesy of Bright Skylark Lit Prods and Postered Poetics. The quote reads: “There is in Albert Camus’ literary craftsmanship a seductive intelligence that could almost make a reader dismiss his philosophical intentions if he had not insisted on making them so clear.” –from Text and Meaning in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus

What would you say is the biggest surprise about the Quotable Poet’s 100th birthday tribute to Albert Camus? Around here we’re saying it’s that it seems like he hasn’t done a whole lot more on Camus. Different bio profiles mention Camus’ influence on him as a writer and Hong Kong bloggers have talked about how his work fits the tradition of commitment literature made famous by the birthday boy himself and other French authors like Jean Paul Sartre.

So what’s the answer to the…

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A Quotable Poet Salute to Albert Camus for His 100th Birthday

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Albert Camus 100th Birthday Graphic with quote by Aberjhaniberjhani from Postered Poetics

Graphic art quote featuring text by Aberjhani with image of Albert Camus courtesy of Bright Skylark Lit Prods and Postered Poetics. The quote reads: “There is in Albert Camus’ literary craftsmanship a seductive intelligence that could almost make a reader dismiss his philosophical intentions if he had not insisted on making them so clear.” –from Text and Meaning in Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus

What would you say is the biggest surprise about the Quotable Poet’s 100th birthday tribute to Albert Camus? Around here we’re saying it’s that it seems like he hasn’t done a whole lot more on Camus. Different bio profiles mention Camus’ influence on him as a writer and Hong Kong bloggers have talked about how his work fits the tradition of commitment literature made famous by the birthday boy himself and other French authors like Jean Paul Sartre.

So what’s the answer to the original question? As much as authors might admire other writers they have to give first priority to their own work. But it’s still hard to resist comparing Camus to the Quotable Poet (who so far doesn’t have a Nobel Prize). If the Quotable Poet is any kind of philosopher he would have to be called a spiritual philosopher compared to Camus as an academic/intellectual philosopher. Camus’ fiction is a lot more famous than the QP’s. Both continued to write journalism while also producing literary fiction. The QP has published more poetry. Both had to confront oppressive situations: Camus’ was war and the QP’s was blatant racism. The QP is better known for historical writings. Camus has the stronger reputation as a playwright while there have been rumors about plays by the QP but none seen on Broadway just yet.

But the important news is that Camus is the one turning 100 so these are 3 quotes taken from his Wiki Quotes page and posted as a tribute to his greatness:

  • The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point. It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules of action drawn from it.
    • Review of Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea, published in the newspaper Alger Républicain (20 October 1938), p. 5; as quoted in Albert Camus and the Philosophy of the Absurd (2002) by Avi Sagi, p. 43
  • Nothing is harder to understand than a symbolic work. A symbol always transcends the one who makes use of it and makes him say in reality more than he is aware of expressing.
  • A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.
    • “The Failing of Prophecy” in Existentialism Versus Marxism : Conflicting Views on Humanism (1966) by George Edward Novack

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October Poem of the Month: Bright Kiss of Insanity

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Miriam Carey image still by WHO Television

 Mom in fatal distress: Miriam Carey(photo courtesy of WHO TV)

“To slaughter beauty and suckle hypocrisy––
sport for maniacs and apocalyptic ghouls.”
–Aberjhani, from the poem “Bright Kiss of Insanity” 

Everybody who’s read The River of Winged Dreams knows it’s got a lot of poems that match a lot of holidays. The easy choice for the October Poem of the Month would be A Coat and Shoes for Halloween. Only it’s been done, right? Like a few times.

So have zombies, vampires, trolls, witches, and goblins. What’s really scary this year is how many people keep LOSIN’ IT and ending up SHOT DEAD! Does it always have to end like that? TV reporters say Miriam Carey was a mom suffering from post-partum depression and psychosis when she decided Obama was spying on her, drove all the way from Connecticut with her 1-year-old in the car’s back seat, and tried to bum-rush the White House. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

How many people you suppose are walking around on the verge while nobody pays attention to them slipping right on over the edge? That’s not easy to think about and maybe it’s what was on the Quotable Poet’s mind when he wrote the poem “Bright Kiss of Insanity.” Or maybe it wasn’t. It’s from the book Visions of A Skylark Dressed in Black and you can see for yourself why it’s a just-right poem for these let’s-go-crazy days. The most famous quote from the poem is “What hell condemned, let heaven now heal.” But my favorite is the 2 lines right before that one and the whole first stanza. Plus the whole last stanza too. 

Bright Kiss of Insanity

With intellect and beauty locked away
inside liquid chapels of candle-lit madness,
yours remain the eyes that fed Solomon
his wisdom. And the celestial garden of your face
the same for which a thousand moons buried
their crumbled hearts beneath a trembling sea.

Like the satin flower scent of a coffin your gaze
thickens before the danger of swords. Or love.
And like the obscene image of a demon’s corpse
sniffing its crotch for fresh food
you stalk joy’s temple with malicious fatal sorrow.

Who can prove this is punishment from God?
Who would want to? Why hang so many signs
claiming Jesus was preoccupied the day paradise
died in your smile and turned your springtime lips
into a land oppressed by cruel endless winter?

To slaughter beauty and suckle hypocrisy––
sport for maniacs and apocalyptic ghouls.
What hell condemned, let heaven now heal.
A girl like you: your platinum heart ground up like beef,
devoured and shat by the canines of bigotry and hate.

Nevermore the furious glory of your mind at work
stitching luminous tapestries of revelation and grace.
Laugh loud, my summer-poem darling, and sing now too,
for insanity’s bright kiss shines blessings divine
upon angels so wondrous and tortured as you.
–Aberjhani (from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black)

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September Poet of the Month Salute to Rumi: Time to Be the Sun

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Jalaluddin Rumi September 2013 Poet of the MonthJalal al-Din Rumi (courtesy of Google screenshot)

Quotable Poet readers who’ve check out the QP around the Internet know September is a big month for him for some good reasons. He founded Creative Thinkers International in the month of September to ease some of the stress people were suffering over 9/11. September is also when his books Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance and The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois both came out exactly 10 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH! (Shouldn’t he be inviting everybody to a party or something? Just sayin’…)

But guess what else???! This is the birth month of the Great Mystical Sufi Poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, born on September 30, 1207. Which was what? 806 years ago. QP Aberjhani is known for celebrating the lives of great poets and he’s produced poems, essays, and book reviews about Rumi. PLUS he’s been liking and sharing Rumi-related pages on Facebook ever since Syria crossed that big red line everybody said they shouldn’t.

The poem “Time to Be the Sun” comes from the book I Made My Boy Out of Poetry. An introduction to the poem is titled “From the Book of Aberjhani Dreaming: Dancing with Rumi 4/18/95” and describes an actual dream of the QP dancing with Rumi. This is the poem posted by permission of Bright Skylark Literary Productions:

 Time to Be the Sun

Wake up pretty baby.
It’s time to be the sun.

Time for us to drop
back down to earth
like old lovers
falling into new appreciation
for the soft mouth
of an attraction
that is no longer beautiful.

Open your eyes,
oh precious light.
It’s time to cry
the glorious syllables
of our past,
time to thrash and moan like dragons
breathing hot
the secret songs of our future.

We are going to the valley
where roses blush naked and wise,
we are going to the mountain
where night rolls fiercely
with an uninhibited dawn.

Wake up pretty baby,
shine bright my summer joy,

Time to be the sun
          and send forth flesh
                   to heal the bones of time.

Time to be the woman
          hauling up gold
                   from a heart you thought destroyed.

Time to be the man
          you thought long dead
                   buried in waters of tortured mind.

Time to be your own faith
          and give miracles to heaven.

Time to be your own truth
          and pull your ass up out of hell.

Time to be the sun
          and watch your soul rise pretty baby shine,
                   rise pretty baby shine,
                             rise pretty baby shine.

–from the book I Made My Boy Out of Poetry
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August Poem of the Month Salute to Martin Luther King Jr.: Like It Is Us

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Martin Luther King Jr Memorial with Drum Major 4 Justice quote Associated Press Photo(Associated Press photograph of MLK Monument)

Is it being critical to point out that just like in the case of Nelson Mandela the Quotable Poet hasn’t given us any epic poems on Martin Luther King Jr.? Well it might be a little bit critical. Only in his case it’s not as bad or bitchy as it might seem if we were talking about a different Quotable Poet.

Fact of the of the matter is the main reason discussions about this one are hittin’ the boards is because the author himself posted on Facebook that he’s working on a major new prose piece about the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington. (Wasn’t that like 1 day before Michael Jackson’s fifth birthday???)

We can put that on the serious side of what he does so much better than a lot of writers of his generation. If he doesn’t represent something in poetry he covers it in nonfiction or fiction or journalism. And we’re not the only ones checkin’ out how hot that is. On his birthday he got a Twitter shout out from Radio Silence A New Magazine of Literature and Rock & Roll. After clicking on the link you got this blurb about the Quotable Poet:

“…He draws from a range of sources––from Langston Hughes to Jean Paul Sartre, Surrealism to Existentialism––and his poetry, novels, and nonfiction exhibit a similar range. He’s best known for co-authoring The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance.”

When we mixed all that up we thought a good QP poem for August would be “Like It Is Us” from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black because it deals with the things MLK dealt with. But FAIR WARNING: this poem is written in an African American folk dialect and contains the notorious n-word. Here it is.

Like It is Us

Down and down the road
we was walkin’, rain supposed
to be falling from
the western cloud but
it was mud, sliding down
the sky like some burnt
nigger’s blood, Eddy got scared
and wanted to go home, but
he was already in his bones.
You already in yo’ bones, said
Martha, so he shut up and leaned
on the crutch of her heart, she
smiled like an African tit
and tried to weave a cloth
of  the falling mud, David
laughed, said she wasn’t doing
it right, he’d already made
a tuxedo for hisself and we
all admitted he looked as
elegant as the Duke’s fingers
and we walked on down
and down and down down down
that road of absolutes, of
irrelativities and other snow-
colored words someone peed into
my brain years ago,  down way down
marching marching another century gone
the mud was falling like buckets full of night
it should have been rain
and the  sun skipped about
the western cloud, Eddy was scared
but it was ok for we each of us
knew the value of building huts
out of blood when necessary.
–from Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black by Aberjhani

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