Reviews from

The Ceremony of the Black Horse

what is missing

15 total reviews 
Comment from catch22
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

Hi Jeff, your vision in dreams is a blessing and a curse. The poem is raw and visceral as is all of your writing. The writing is modern and the message is biting and apocalyptic. It leaves me with more questions about what the role of art is in the fight for balance in the universe between extremes. Now for my emotional reaction to the poem.

I have a question for you. Do you think all truths are "good"? Or is truth a neutral concept to be interpreted and acted upon by men and women with good or bad intent? The reason I ask this is something that has been bothering me for a long time. This journey inward to the source of our real power, does it lead one to be happier and does it enhance well being? I already have my own answer to this question. This poem brought this up again for me.

Truth for me is useless to judge without context or intent on the part of the truth seeker. What I mean is that any type of true knowledge must seek to address these aspects of experience to be judged with value. I think a poet is a conduit for this type of knowledge but if it is really good then why does its discovery cause so much suffering? Why did it destroy Ahab and Sylvia? Is everyone worthy of this knowledge? I know I've asked this same thing before to you, but I can't help musing on it again after reading your poem.

Again, wonderful work and I apologize for the late review. I've had a week from the Underworld so to speak.

 Comment Written 18-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 18-Feb-2017
    Pam--
    I will respond to your central question here. In maybe two ways. One is does this poem make anyone happier, or does my practice of delving into the dark make people "happier?" No, it won't in the short run; yes, it will in the long run because it will end the world of those dependent upon the enslavement of the dark in favor of the liberation of that dark. Will end they world.

    Take Orpheus and Eurydice. Great Greek poet and his wife. Poet with power, capable of governing the elements in a fashion we no longer even talk about, instead we talk about "tankas" and "crowns of sonnets," etc. while no one, not a soul pays an iota of attention to the truth.

    Eurydice, means "Wide Justice." Not necessarily a wife, a separate person then, but a power to bring justice poets used to have. "She," is abducted to the Underworld, Hell, where that power can be used to support the surface world. Orpheus descends, attempts to raise her, succeeds in winning permission, gets Wide Justice to within inches of the surface, looks back and fails.

    This is a "myth" about the REAL power of poetry, dreamers. Yes, absolutely, it hurts, it hurts like hell to raise Wide Justice from the Underworld where she is enslaved supporting the monstrous misjustice of the surface world. It hurts, it hurts like hell to got to hell to recover her. It hurts like Plath or Sexton and yet that must be resisted. It hurts like mental illness and yet that must be seen through in order to raise one complete being. If one complete being capable of delivering Wide Justice to those responsible for its abduction to hell can be raised it will change the world. Period. So, yes, it hurts like hell to do this work. It is part of the work. Shrinks call it "mental illness," they are cowards. They do not believe in their own depths, souls.

    My entire house was surrounded by a ring of raped, I repeat, raped black horses as a containment to keep Eurydice in, from ever reaching the surface. I have fought against such opposition though it does not make me "feel better." Why in the hell should it? Hell does not "feel" good. Look at the images of it in Jan van Eyck paintings -- oh, I know, he's not a scientist! Well, crap! The intelligence of super intelligence needed to fight the technological (scientific) singularity is in feelings, intelligent feelings, not in the brain.

    I intend to make you feel worse, not better. "Worse" is good, infinitely closer to what has been lost to make us the pathetic beings dependent upon god we are.

    Thank you for the read and the splendid score.

    Love
    Jeff
reply by catch22 on 19-Feb-2017
    Dear Jeff, thanks for the explanation of your position. I still maintain that only a select few are capable of wielding such power without it destroying them. This should not deter your project because not everyone will listen because they will not LET themselves listen to your evidence or story. It really is the curse of seers throughout time. However, for the few that your writing can inspire, it is reward enough--I believe. It's difficult though to understand the power of words when there is so much suffering in the world and so much oppression...always interesting to hear from you.
Comment from Meia (MESAYERS)
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

I have experience of this job, if you can call it a job, this is an unusual and imaginative write, quite brilliant, the frozen does eye cracking like cheap glass, yes, I liked that, I liked the secret dreams we poets dream every night, Lazy Lazarus at a strip club would be an interesting scenario. Exceptional writing as I would expect from you, quite insightful and wonderfully surreal. Kind regards, Meia.

 Comment Written 16-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 16-Feb-2017
    Meia--
    No, I do not think you have any experience of this job. After multiple stanzas of the Creep you DO NOT throw him off and kill him. Nor, do your go to his source. "His" source would surprise you. Kill it.Yes, kill. Poetry, the real world of it involves killing.
    A job. What job is more important than that of the poet to hold the circle, the circle of government. You are so busy proclaiming it cannot be held, that I fear you will never see that it exists, rather focus on "minor crimes," rather than those committed in Genesis.

    Thanks for the thoughts
    Wabigoon/Jeff
reply by Meia (MESAYERS) on 16-Feb-2017
    Excuse me? You said you have always been respectful. Scratch that. I don't need to prove my stripper credentials to you, I will politely ask that you do not contact me again, as I do not enjoy 'conversing' with you, we have two entirely points of view and never the twain shall meet. Meia.
reply by the author on 16-Feb-2017
    Meia--
    That's fine. I think we appear to be on different pages. I have no objection to your ban. I don't know where the "stripper" bit comes from, that's up to you. I wish you well, which has always been my purpose. I am relieved, however, I don't need to respond to more of your work.

    Best
    Wabigoon/Jeff
reply by Meia (MESAYERS) on 17-Feb-2017
    thanks Jeff, appreciated.m.
reply by Meia (MESAYERS) on 17-Feb-2017
    Yes, that's great. Bye Jeff. Best, M.
reply by the author on 17-Feb-2017
    Meia--
    Kind of undone business or feelings here I think. I?don't think I accused you of anything in regard to strippers and?certainly, I would not doubt any credentials you have there! I have an inkling we have a misunderstand there, lots of other places too. That's okay, happens. I like your project, as I have said, just not quite how you are accomplishing it as well as I think you hope I might. No sweat, you're doing really well, don't much need me. If you want my particular angle on something let me know. Of if you have something you think I might like please feel free to post it to me. You comments on Ceremony of the Black Horse are excellent. I hope I said that. I did "unfan" you but that does not mean I don't like you, or what you are trying to do. Good luck. We just aren't helping each other much at the moment.

    Jeff
reply by Meia (MESAYERS) on 17-Feb-2017
    Jeff, I have read some of your other work particularly about Dalmher, and admittedly, I was very impressed. You go boldly into areas where others fear to tread. In the part-rhymed form I was using, my poems were much less raw and far more stark and grim. They also contain bad language sometimes. I have not allowed myself to write free verse for some years, at university they drummed it into me that rhyme was not modern, and I get that, I do. If rhyme is attempted it should certainly be in the correct form but I thought, why not change that, mix it up. Well, ultimately, it doesn't work unless the rhyme is perfect, leaving me with a nagging sense that I could do more. I ignored that until now. I can write love poems, I can write 'good' poems but the real writer in me would not hide from or be absorbed by the Creep. That was just a character though. However, my free verse voice is altogether different and it is an angry sort of voice. I felt the need to tell Lina's story but you are right in a way, it could be told in a better way. I don't know how to do that but I am unleashing my free verse on the world. We will see how that goes. I admire your poems very much, re:'Ceremony of the Black Horse'....the picture made me think of a job I did for 15 years...stripping...the only job you can study and write and still do well at. It is utterly soul destroying and that is what the picture said to me. The money comes to mean nothing. But strippers were only a very small part of that poems arc, it was as ever outstanding.
    I have had a lot of emails from women today saying the poem about made them cry and it did me too, but I feel frustrated I did not tell her story well enough. I don't care about fans, it is not an issue for me. You have made me feel differently about pushing my free verse forward and I am going to do that for a while because I used to write almost exclusively like that. If there is a comp that appeals to me that requires rhyme then that is different. Anyway I really appreciate you writing to me and making me think in a different way perhaps? The starkness of your poems reminded me of how I wrote in the past. Every modern female poet is going to struggle with their voice as a poet as tackling diverse subject, often shocking ones, seems to be 'one for the boys'. I have been on other sites where I could be kicked off for profanities or aggressive writing so you have to understand, I am still finding my feet here. Again I appreciate you writing to me. You actually helped me shake myself up so thank you. Kindest regards Meia.
Comment from johnwilson
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

Again, you have blown me away with your poetic gift. This seems as if it's a nightmarish dream where the mind picks up bits & pieces one has assimilated on this life trip. I loved the metaphors. The last stanza was my favorite as it held everything a great poem needs. Bravo! ( You even included a little French, my favorite language!!!!)

 Comment Written 16-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 16-Feb-2017
    Jean--
    Thanks. If you want me to elucidate this thing more I will. But if you got something from it, great. No need.

    Thanks for the great score.
    Jeff
reply by johnwilson on 17-Feb-2017
    Yes, elucidate more because I want to hear your thoughts on what you wrote.
reply by the author on 17-Feb-2017
    Jean--
    This in one of those poems, I hope you know what I am talking about, I could never force into making rational sense. I tried about 100 times to get it to do so.

    Very simply it describes going to, yes, Danny's Inferno Bar, what it actually was called, one hunting season. There were does, frozen does out in the back of one of the pickups outside. The eye of one was literally cracked because it was so cold.

    The stripper was an attractive black woman from the Twin Cities. I felt pathetic and awful watching her. Others hooted and hollered. I had come for the "ambience," the vision quest experience, that was all, so I left after one beer.

    I tried to make this a poem for years. Never worked. So, this is the latest and I hope the last version of it.

    It concerns a dream I had in which my house was surrounded by, say, 500, dead, raped, black -- nightmare horses. I saw these horses as a containment, meant to keep me in with nightmares, rape fears, etc.

    I composed the poem the way it is to try to deal with, explain the dream?to myself.

    I am assuming my dream depicts a kind of awful containment meant to keep me in, imprisoned. I tried, in the poem, to indicate some of the forces I believe are involved in this. None of this, at this point, has anything to do with the original situation, pathetic hunters seeking?something, a nice, no doubt, black lady trying to support her kids or something way out in the white on white boondocks.

    There are several central images -- one is to Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, a "dance," dance by a woman, of human sacrifice. This ballet was performed at the Ballet Russe in Paris in 1913. It caused a riot. Yes, in the last scene a dancer is "danced to death." A reviewer referred to the woman in the ballet as "knock kneed virgins in tutus." Stravinsky described the process of writing the music as "it flowed through me," he channeled it, meaning this dance of the sacrifice came down from "above" and through Stravinsky at the opening of WWI, one of the biggest human sacrifices in human history.

    I have written about this about 50 times and no one and I mean no one sees what I am saying, that the gods can channel these sacrifices through us in this fashion, thus the editors with maggots for eyes.

    that's pretty much it. Meaning the reason for the containment of dead, black, raped horses is to keep that knowledge about the gods, what they channel and why contained.

    More or less.

    I hope that helps.
    Love
    Jeff
reply by johnwilson on 18-Feb-2017
    Jeff- This explanation of your work is a story in itself. I enjoyed how it escalated from a bar adventure to your dreams. Your dreams are fascinating as well as the "normal" adventure of the bar scene. Just a thought here...Perhaps you could write these poems and include your story in each one....perhaps a drawing as well, so that every creative aspect is thrown into the mix. Maybe you have already published a work like this; if so, I would love to buy it.
    Thank you, my friend, for writing this explanation and catering to my curiosity!
    Love,
    Johnwilson/jean/clem
Comment from Pantygynt
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

My mind kept dragging me back to the picture whenever I got to a bit of this I couldn't quite grasp with that portion of my brain that was off line. I was trying to match the heads to all the other body parts that appear to be lying around somewhat at random. There appeared to be some bits missing.

I was also engaged by a fundamental question were the vigins knock-kneed because they were virgins or were they virgins because they were knock-need. I came to the conclusion that the latter was the more likely for a number of reasons I shall not go into here.

You are going to have an interesting Christmas morning opening that lot.

 Comment Written 16-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 16-Feb-2017
    Jim--
    I agree about the picture. Not sure there are enough parts there to go around. The picture was only partially adequate, but I think subliminally, I was using it to suggest precisely that sort of "carnage" on certain levels of the psyche. The "knock Kneed virgins in tutus" is actually a "real" quote and dates from the first performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring at the Ballet Russe in Paris in 1913. Some critic or other referred to the dancers, one of the circles of dancers, as "knock kneed virgins in tutus." What strikes me about that first performance is the power it accrues given the date and the human sacrifice subject matter of S's ballet considering what follows in Europe. And, of course, that he describes himself as "channeling" the music, having nothing to do with it, rather acting as a passive vessel for it: "it just flowed through me," what S. said about the process of composition. There are poets like this on this site.

    So, there is some method behind my "madness" and maybe a further subliminal connection to the photo in the end of Le Sacre when the sacrifice falls in a heap, danced to death. I guess I have three such sacrifices here. It's more like 33,000,000.

    Thanks for the thoughts, something I can respond back too -- that's such a relief.

    Best
    Jeff
reply by Pantygynt on 16-Feb-2017
    I do try to be useful. It is difficult sometimes but I go on trying.
Comment from Turtle... who?
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

This poem, edgy.

The part that sparked my attention, editors look on from evacuated sockets. (Gruesome image, gives the sense of the jaded aspects of reading many things... the standards that settle inside the brain to make it easy to discard without seeing.)

the death of the last original person
(another line that stood out to me... supports my image of the callousness of not seeing greatness in something unique or different. )

The flow is really good. Though my experiences, lack of really, make it harder for me to relate to, the sense I get is... a lot of hacks who just don't get it, but those who aren't using it... well, it isn't going to waste, just is in the mail.

I enjoyed the 'shipped to you for Christmas' concept, it brought a smile and ended the poem in a satisfying way.

 Comment Written 16-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 16-Feb-2017
    Turtle--
    Thanks. You've done about as well as possible I think, considering I don't really know what the thing means either. It's a "gestalt" poem I think, meaning made up of disparate scenes that make a congruent whole in feelings, not reason. I can describe the numerous associations here but that probably won't help -- like the "knock kneed virgins in tutus" comes from the mouth of a critic of the first performance of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps, the Rite of Spring?meaning the general theme of the ceremony of the "black" horses that carry history away is human sacrifice, the subject of Stravinsky's music. Etc. Like that. So, aha, it's not just how many chapters you've missed, or I've missed, it can be the ten-twelve associations like this I cram into a poem hoping someone can decipher it! All the info's there. But, hey, just "grok" it. You do pretty well there.

    Best
    Jeff
Comment from Margaret Snowdon
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level


Parts of this reads like a nightmare/or vivid hallucinations that jangled around in your head, Jeff - but then your poems are unique and always stir my imagination. There's so much content - even horror-

editors look on from evacuated sockets
filled with white maggots

A great ending:
outside in below zero silence
the frozen doe's eye cracks like cheap glass
and all the secret dreams
poets forget every night
pour out in a werewolf hush
to be shipped to me
for Christmas

Late reviewing - have been to see my brother who is dying of cancer - having morphine injected into his stomach every day and is so thin, and yet what he complains of most is that he's lost all his hair through Chemo. I told him, he's still beautiful to me. So heart-breaking to see him gradually get worse.


Margaret

 Comment Written 16-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 16-Feb-2017
    Hi Margaret--
    The poem could be seen on exactly the cancer in a loved one level -- yeah, the ceremony of the black horse that carries so many away while so many look on not understanding the sacrifice or what this makes us feel or that "cancer" is, in some ways, a weapon. Etc. That's not how I meant it but it can be looked at that way. I meant it as a poem to help me understand why I should dream my house is surrounded by a containment ring of dead, black horses. Oh, I know now.

    I have at least two friends battling cancer. I try to see them as often as possible. I think about your comment about men being afraid of illness because I am though I see and appreciate the bravery of the fight these men are waging. Chemo has help both survive a long time, though in the case of one, I'm not sure the quality of his life has been worth it.

    Good luck to your brother, or a relatively painless exit. My sympathies toward you, glad you can see him as still beautiful.

    Thanks for the read and the spectacular score.
    Jeff
Comment from LIJ Red
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

If the metaphor was cloudy, I stopped reading. If the poem or novel didn't strike a chord, I forgot it. My life and work had too many riddles. Your grammar is good and you mention many fragmentary memories, so you did your research. Excellent.

 Comment Written 15-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 15-Feb-2017
    LIJ--
    Not sure what your comments mean. But then I'm not sure what the poem means. Oh, yeah, I know, just can't share it in a poem's length. Maybe ten poems. How does one do that here? One doesn't.
    Thanks
    Wabigoon/Jeff
Comment from ronnie k
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Awesome reading, exceptional poetic lang., The mystic in the wording that seemed to fill my thoughts as that expanded the theme, I very pleased to have privilege to your pet after so long, see you as often as you appear.

 Comment Written 15-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 15-Feb-2017
    Hi ronnie--
    I think I like your review but then I think there are some proofreading problems in it so I'm not quite clear what you mean. Perhaps you'd like to clarify: I very pleased to have privilege to your pet after so long,

    best
    Wabigoon/Jeff
Comment from rspoet
Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level

Hello Jeff,
Perhaps the other one eighth is missing
that's what happens when you play crazy eights
Fear is often a response too late
Don't stare long at the sun or the darkness
blind prophets do not appear on or at the Black Horse
The headless captain is at the helm
the ship is adrift and I hear the splash
of the great white tail
as it swims off into the Final Solution
Enjoy a stress-free Christmas
opening lost dreams
RS

 Comment Written 15-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 15-Feb-2017
    rs
    As usual your response amplifies and clarifies, even to me, the poem. Thank you so much. Yes, the Black Horse is very much the bar and it might be Plath's Ariel and there might be a ring of them around my house, or there used to be. Christmas is never stress free but then I try to make it what I am about, not what others have forced it to be.

    Thanks, lovely score.
    Best
    Wabigoon/Jeff
Comment from fimarie78
Excellent
Not yet exceptional. When the exceptional rating is reached this is highlighted

Interesting. I had to read a couple of times to really take it in. I like poetry that makes us think. Should the first letter be capitalised?
I particularly liked the part about the editors and the virgins in tutu's. Thank for sharing.

 Comment Written 15-Feb-2017


reply by the author on 15-Feb-2017
    fimarie--
    No, nothing capitalized in this one, or none of the first lines.

    Thanks for the read
    Wabigoon/Jeff