$1.00 a Song

andy

Andy Bartosovsky

During my POEM LIFE show, there will be a segment (a crime) where I offer up a series of poems that are reinterpretations of the Psyche and Eros myth. One of the poems in the cycle is called “The Return,” and in the show, it is the last one. I have two versions of this poem, one I wrote as a regular poem, the other with the thought in mind that it could be a song.

Both the poem and the song are featured in the show; however, I’m not a songwriter, singer or musician, so I managed to find someone who put it to music for me and sang it. That would be Andy Bartosovsky, a friend of a friend from Facebook who lives in Alexandria, Virginia. (Social media is truly good for many things.)

You can listen to the song at his website, and please send a little payment his way.

Thanks, Andy! The poem is perfect for Poem Life, and I look forward to playing it for an audience.

–Shaun Perkins

 

How it Began

janerussellMy Poem Life show will include a section that tells the story of Psyche and Eros with poetry and audience interaction and stuff. Psyche is sacrificed to the beast because . . . well, that’s just what people used to do (still do). She was one of the beautiful young girls of the village so obviously was selected. She was decorated and put into a cart and taken to the top of the mountain to await the beast.

How it Began

It could happen any day
To anyone—finding one’s self
At the top of a mountain
Awaiting the thing you dream of
Yet can’t imagine.

I had not been taught to imagine
So I went trusting my father,
Trusting the townsfolk parading
Around me. In celebration,
We climbed the mountain.

I want to say this to you now,
Now that I have come through:
As I was carried up, I noticed
A mole near my ankle bone,
And a black hair spiraled from it.

Please come to the show! More details here. Oh, and that Jane Russell photo from The Outlaw . . . yea, there’s a poem about her and it in the show, too.

–Shaun Perkins

 

In February, which is coming

eros-e1354571794589When I remember that I am the god of love, I am not surprised by how my body responds to beauty. I am not surprised that the love I feel came to me unaware, something outside the reach of my conscience, beyond the intricate workings of the cerebellum bumping against the medulla bumping against the midbrain. And yet in that jungle, the sensory cortex lives on top, near the crown, the place where I am reworked each moment by the way the world picks up its corner and shakes cobwebs and magic into my path.

A poet who wrote more of death than of love (although loving was always a part of the passing) spoke of birches being bent by ice storms, when really what he wanted to talk about, what he

. . . was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice storm
(Now am I free to be poetical?)
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself . . .

Truth with its brain diagram flashing in my mind wants me to know why I love and why I feel and do what I do, why I can’t leave Psyche to her path, why I want to chase after her and why I continually hover on the edge of the picture frame she fills with each task that takes her farther from me.

Or is it closer?

Toward the end of the poem, the poet says,

May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

Yes. Yes, I believe that. I who can fly with abandon know that earth is where Psyche will live with me. Bone to body to bone. Bone of our bodies to bone of the earth. That never changes. Heart and soul and body, the very nature of our breathing, the fire that burns inside us or refuses to rise from ashes: all of these things change with time and growth. Not bone to bone. Psyche, you know that I am here. You know where you will find me when you have found yourself.

Earth is the right place for love.

Can you hear me whispering that to you? Would this help you stay on your path?

My questions fade with the day. Days spin their fabric into new clothes unfamiliar and fitting. Whatever I wear does not change the fact that I feel.

Blood will not relent or back down or fade into apparition. It forever returns me to myself as . . .

In the greeting card aisle every February, strange mutations of me exist in red and pink. I am coupled with roses and endearments and gilt lettering. Gold-lined envelopes compete with the fluorescent lights above. This is the path that others have chosen for me. A fledgling hip hop singer in a Britney Spears perfume ad where she is Psyche. The matchmaker with the physique of a Chippendale’s dancer in porn videos.

Choose your own image, Psyche. Or better yet, choose to know what breathes behind the image.

This evening as I sat on the windowsill gazing at nothing and everything that earth astounds me with, I felt your thoughts turn to me. I have been living with poetry, and so have you. Your words open me more than I thought possible. You have given your life to a promise again.

When I return to you, I will whisper
What I dreamed on the road
Into your ear, smooth down your wings
With the tips of my fingers and lie
In the warm curve of your body
Like a question mark followed
By parenthesis. I do not know
If I will survive, yet if I do,
I intend to retain everything,
To share it with you, to come to
The end of my dreams and to open my eyes.

This time, Psyche, when you open your eyes, I will be there in the glory of whatever light we make. I will be there, and we will know each other for the time that is to come. Stay on your path and know.

–Eros

(Shaun Perkins)

Merlin at Lessons

merlin-and-arthurHe rarely listened to what I taught
but that is the way. A true teacher learns
early that insisting the student listen
is the surest way to uninsure it.
I would be deep into Lao Tze’s treatise
on warfare, and he would be drawing crude
pictures of what he imagined women dreamt he
might do to them. Fart jokes besides Poetics,
impromptu themes justifying the ways of God
to amoeba in terms only amoeba would understand. Continue reading

Crime Story

624 Thesselonia Avenue
10:51 a.m., March 25

What have we got here?

Boys on the way to school found her.
They touch the body, move anything?
Nah, they were so scared they took off running.

Got an ID? Got any identifying marks?
Nope, dress has no pockets, probably just a tart.
Or a goddess, Lenny, you know it’s hard
To tell ‘em apart on the road in the dark.

Dun. Dun. Continue reading