Francis Raven

 

Poem XVII

Unified castle of vision,
relationship between sets multiplied.
People, they were people,
outside building walls, teaching,
boiling water. Some embarrassed
held legs up in the drawing room,
hiball glass reflecting couchwards castle.

But that’s the beauty of a castle:
add any number of variables
and they still fit under its turret.

Some say there is a dark dream
in every house,
in sweaty kitchens:
just to mess with revolutionary strategy
melting a new equation formulated
through dinner’s duck roast
into nature steaming out plate glass.

 

Political City

Teach someone how to look across the city:
Eyes, concentration, possibly binoculars, warm clothes.
You’re allowed to use a blackboard.
The chalk will come out of your paycheck.
Time yourself in the activity.
It’s merely the first step.
Because looking across implies
The ability to look into.

Teach someone to look into the city:
Subways, workadays, firings, buildings, monuments,
Parks, sidewalks, homeless, environmental degradation,
Rich getting richer, corollary: poor getting poorer.
But this too is but a secondary goal:
Teach someone to look into the city
Find the optimism to fight
The good political fight.

 

Symposium Accommodations

Pink razor rests
on hotel bathtub’s Western edge
in preparation
for the first conference
which took your marriage into consideration.

Synthesizer behind steel drum
and free drinks
under fake porches
guarantees seeing someone’s double chin
under phony palm trees.

 

Dance Theory
          For Rebecca Rice

If I were going to critique the piece I would say
that the lushness and virtuosity of ballet
were mixed with the mechanistic jerkiness, angularity,
and tribal allusions of modern dance.
But, if ballet’s aim is beauty
and modern dance’s is a true idea,
what is the teleology of the mixed dance we saw?

           “It was interesting that different dancers were
           better or worse for different dances.
           It wasn’t just like there were great dances,
           but great dancers for certain great dances,
           depends upon body type, hair length, exuberance,
           melancholy, leg length, etc.
           I’m not going to go into all the details.”

The going on, continuing,
the strangeness of choreographing Bach’s Cello Suites is that
they are essentially serious pieces of music
which do not easily accept
dance, which is essentially playful.

           “I really don’t like talking about dance,
           especially when you don’t know what you’re talking about.
           It gets all crazy into theories that don’t connect to the dancing.”

But I do know what I’m talking about.
We just saw it and experienced it.
I’m just telling you what I think about it.

 

Theatrical Convention

Setting up scenes on taped floors
for velvet curtains to rise
before trails to rise
behind cutting fractions of leaves.

Changing species:
cast party
beneath chimney,
not quite representing
appropriate metaphysical themes.

Don’t worry: erase
grass on a porcelain plate,
three days reduced balsamic
julienned assorted produce (Farmer’s Market, 10am).

Pork will provide the moral:
an oak leak, now a maple,
actors do their jobs squeaking their voices
‘til penetrating souls’ political party.

 

Theatrical Debut

Another play: resend.
           (Sample Line from Act 1, Scene 2:
           Mr. Eaves: So I’m supposed to be afraid of you? Alright.)

The spaces between moments
comprised of falling
over yourself
out hot window:
the blades and carpet samples.

My directorial debut ran into
           the usual
indulgence vs. diligence
           conflicts

but by the second week of rehearsals
data mining was replaced by business intelligence.

That is, the drama was rationalized
           (not to be confused
           with the more radical
           the rationalization was dramatized.)

I envisioned the play to be about how
purses are radical:
           they say
a woman can spend money.

However, I fell into the trap of:
One vacation could be all expenses paid
if you just taught yoga to naked misers.

 

Utilitarian Media Estimations

Licking the calculator
Behind your knees:
           Is it other days?

What projects mend your soul?
What projects remind you of your soul?

          “I don’t even want to think about sin tonight.”

As credits flash,
But rarely roll.

What is the first goal?
           Distribution.

Expose me to the elements and shake me up.

Whatever came on after the news.
That’s where I wanted to be placed
           In glass.

Classic Line from the Pilot:
“She said ‘mutually exclusive’
to mean
they didn’t fuck other people.”