review by jubei blue
The Price of Rice in China
While philosophers philosophize, writers write, and readers read the truth is escaping out the back door. Ever since I've heard the name Wittgenstein, I've come to understand that I really just don't understand. What this has to do with the price of rice in China and this prose poem is really important to geothermal dynamics. Or maybe not, but it is important to the rest of this review.
"The entrance is a timed affair" is certainly not your Stephen Dunn, G.F. Dutton poetry. No sir, this isn't your grandfathers Thoreau or Browning either. What I mean to say here is that it is not about what is going on in either flowery talk or in common speech. It is about both and neither.
This is about how we say what we say and not what simply is. The poet introduces this quickly and with powerful style. Look at how "knee jerk" is left out there, for what? symbolism.
this is not nostalgia for poets and measured pieces
no, this is not
grasping your bars, naming that which you see beyond "the bars".
No, this is not your typical poem to read over coffee. This is a history lesson. A philosophy lesson. A language lesson. So strap on your thinking cap, and get to thinking.
The history is important to understand the direction, the ebb and flow of our language. To understand the history is to be introduced to the philosophy. To see the philosophy is to receive your language lesson.
The history in here covers the beginning of poetry with the Greeks, the poetry in plays, the cartharsis that was the heart of it all:
Or forums for theater
We had that time. We are done.
What about your distorted past?
Through modern minimalist who masterly speak volumes in concrete language:
Be clever at little
Sever your frozen smiles
Don't angrily swell, instead formlessly whistle
Cleverly now hide your string
You see how the use of language has changed, but the point, the essence has not:
words graze the grain flitter away.
fly me to the moon upon a la dee dee dee da
make yourself appear all encompassing and sincere.
He speaks here, from beginning to now, from theatre to rhymes to clever lines, take me somewhere. Language is here and there, it confuses it unites, it ties and it breaks. It matters and it does not. Move your reader, do not talk to them, that has always been the heart of language, no matter what time, what format you look at.
The philosophy is that language changes, it confuses, but it stays the same in its heart:
Every essence secure in its own, apparently or not, truth or swindle, and God said, "Let there be sport" and there was confusion. Subpatterns born, insecure and deficient but contentious. They break into categories and create Criteria. My criteria contains this monologue and counts upward 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. And now everything is 1-2-3-4 a-b-c.
and even more directly stated here:
Language is a tool that channels our primal conception and imprisons it in strict rigidity.
Words take our thoughts and give them meaning. Words are the keepers of our feelings and thoughts, yet truly our thoughts and feelings are the creators of our words. Which is why there is confusion, my feelings, my thoughts are different from yours, but our language, our words are the same. The beauty and criminality of such a machine is not lost here:
Here are four examples of broad and obvious classifications. The Renaissance Age; Sophists; The Vienna Circle; Trees. These are handles that provoke certain thought impulses - association with images that must also be put into words before we are comfortable with perceiving these as things. You could argue trees does not fall into that category but you would be wrong because I did not put what you probably think I mean by trees onto your screen now did I?
All the possiblilities conceivable, and all we fail to conceive, lie latent. However, when labeled and categorized, we become mesmerized in developing a fine line of awareness. We believe in this. We take on functions defined by our narrow role. Our labels are our destiny. This is all very elementary.
Elementary indeed. He goes on to say that through language we create the very world we see. Physically and emotionally. Without language there is no world, no meaning, there is nothing. Yet the over riding theme is with language there is confusion, lost meaning, and entropy.
Still with me? Need another cup of coffee? Or tea, or lines of coke, whatever it is that you do to get going in the morning? I'll wait.
The space and what immediately follows is playful but not without a point. The stanza is stock full of images, both real and unknown to the reader. How much of it matters? Who is markpaul? Do you really need to know? I think not. This isn't here to confuse but get you to buy in. Understand the frustration of language, and the intrinsic beauty of it. Buy in:
Won't you come home with me, baby? But first go pay the tab. I mean it. You get your little ass over there and pay.
We close with what is a real "writer" and what is not. Fake writers look to exploit the language for some sort of ego trip. Think of the perfect phrase, count my syllables, make a nice rhyme, make another reader puke.
A real writer understands what language is. The beast that it is. A real writer doesn't look to make something using language. No, a real writer makes language.
I finally know the price of rice.
jubei blue ©2002