Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Columns > Randy Ray - Peaches En Randalia

Published: 2007/06/27
by Randy Ray

Balderdash Bliss

Peaches En Randalia #16
Againsweet music is turned off.
I suppose poetry could be helpful by invoking moods, images, and a series of photos for the mind. If anything, poetry to me is a series of blurry snapshots. Poetry can be romantic and touching if written for someone else. I guess its how one approaches the task. A clear image or experience could be described in writing which could prompt the reader to sit up and say, Oh yeah! I can relate to this! It moves me! Vivid poetry can depress the reader by portraying images of haunting moroseness. Like an old, crumbling and rat-infested house, which frightens the wayward visitor, a dark poem can sink into the readers pores. Like all art, poetry should somehow shock the senses.
The key to writing an adequate poem is to sit down, focus on a mental picture, twirl some imagery around it, and weave it into a coherent whole like a Grand Madame Seamstress Spider. Either that or drink a few shots of whiskey and hope for the great Mother Muse to descend from Mt. Pathosland. But whom am I kidding? Nothing comes easy, so the best thing to do is to sit down and write a poem. Go out and live. Get up tomorrow, sit down and write another poem. Go out and live. Get up the next day, sit down and write yet another poem. Go out and live with the radar on High. And so on and so on…
The clock reads 11:13. It is Monday evening. I listen to The Band sing about waiting for dear Katie. Be careful what you plead for, Young 1967 Basement Tape Cats. Bob Dylan chimes in next with _Lo and Behold! _ Perfect. Oh, The Tapes from 1967, when Dylan and Robbie, Richard, Rick, Garth, and Levon were cranking it up in the Big Pink house in upstate New York.
That road led to John Wesley Harding, Dylans first post-motorcycle accident album and The Bands first album entitled, well, entitled Music from Big Pink. My road, lo and behold, leads to the search for that which provides everlasting substance. The poem? It was easy, man, writing underneath that tree, its just going to be you and me…yeah, under that Apple Suckling Tree…damn, Dylan and The Band were out on The Edge on these numbers. Clocks didnt exist in the Big Pink in 1967. Timelessness was a blissful king ruling a besotted, napalm-scorched soul of a nation. Clocks didnt exist, the king repeated again while falling back to sleep. Time has no meaning there.
I lean back on my couch and continue listening to the music. It both inspires and nurtures. There is a timeless, classic vibe about these sounds from Dylan and The Band. The great writer Greil Marcus was right: the Invisible Republic behind our written history was revealed in this music echoing from days gone by. Spontaneous, unfocused stream-of-consciousness drip dripping from the muse fountain makes me shudder with a distinct feeling of familiarity. Whenever I plan things, they just dont seem so good in retrospect.
However, when Ive tapped into something special, I thought of nothing other than experiencing that moment in full vivid technicolor. What? Simple. Plot and think or trust instincts? Lets face the factsDylan and those fine musicians couldnt have gotten to that point of sweet inspiration without a history of playing together. I guess one practices enough, fumbles about a few hundred times, and finally when called upon, ideas flow like a stream of water rushing past at a seemingly incomprehensible speed.
Recent events colliding with the past. Does one person make a difference? Does it matter? What is one persons legacy? An entire group of people? Was Tolstoy right in _War and Peace_his treatise on the human condition? Do events shape history in huge massive waves of omniscient inevitability in which the individual is drowned in a pool of meaninglessness? Heavy. Most heavy and pretentiousand yet? Recent events tell me that the country as a whole hasnt been practicing democracy much. The Few are represented. The Few will always be represented. The Few survive. Where does that leave the teeming masses and how can a poem, a song, a painting or a film made from a single source whisper beautifully whilst ugliness surrounds? Why participate in group activity? Why vote when your side of the street is chosen as the trash dumpster? Complacency has made our country fat and tired. Complaceny has eliminated hope. Complacency has also forced poems undergroundand below, rise, rise to the surface. Fingers mash keys. Mind opens. We suppose our poetry is helpful.
Againsweet music is turned on. – Randy Ray stores his work at

Show 0 Comments