Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Truth About Lies

The Truth About Lies


Posted: 29 Jun 2016 08:46 AM PDT


The flowers must have died by now
but you have not called.

I counted so slowly
but you never came.

Now they will be gone
and you can forget in peace.

21 July 1989
It wasn't a wreath, it was bouquet. At least I think it was a bouquet but the more I think about it the more I can't figure out what reason I could've concocted for sending B. flowers. If I had I also can't imagine her not picking up her phone immediately to either thank me or to ask why. Maybe it was something else and I'm using flowers as a metaphor. Or maybe this one has nothing to do with B. even though it reminds me of her. Now it's its own thing.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Truth About Lies

The Truth About Lies


Posted: 26 Jun 2016 06:50 AM PDT

Sign of the Times

They cast their shadows in bronze
at the end of their days:
tall and thin like Giacometti's men.

We stood erect but the sun was against us.

21 July 1989

In 1961, Beckett turned to the Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti, his Left Bank drinking companion, for help in the run-up to a forthcoming Paris revival of "Godot." Designing the tree confounded them both. "We spent the whole night in the studio with that plaster tree," Giacometti said, "trying to make it sparser, smaller, the branches thinner. It never looked any good, and neither he nor I liked it. And we kept saying to each other, Perhaps like this …." - Siobhan Bohnacker, 'Is that O.K., Mr Beckett?', The New Yorker, 4 December 2013.
The poet and artist met in 1937 and became renowned drinking partners in Montparnasse. Beckett said of the artist: "things were insolvable [for him], but that kept him going." According to those who knew the pair their meetings consisted of mostly "pleasant silences". - The Telegraph, 11 January 2016

I've never been the biggest fan of Giacometti's work. Too ... knobbly. Give me a Henry Moore any day of the week. But as a visual metaphor it's perfect here. I, in my prime, the sun beating down on me, casting no shadow or not much of one imagine the greats standing before a setting sun. It's a simple image but I like it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Truth About Lies

The Truth About Lies


Posted: 22 Jun 2016 04:33 AM PDT

Poem to be Read in the Dark

(in memoriam S.B.B.)

That is how it is.

but for the clouds
and my breath.

for the footfalls.

for the angels of darkness.

Bright at last –
at the end.

23 July 1989

This poem was assembled from bits and bobs from Beckett's writings: 'Enough', a short story; How It Is, a novella; Stirrings Still, his final prose piece; ...but the clouds..., a television play; Breath, dramaticule; Waiting for Godot, play; Footfalls, play; "Bright at last", the first three words of Fizzle 7, 'Still'; The End, novella.

I'm not sure about the angels of darkness though. He mentions "grey angels" in Dream of Fair to Middling Women but the only reference to "angels of darkness" I can find is the title of a book by Colin Duckworth, Angels of Darkness: Dramatic Effect in Samuel Beckett with special reference to Eugène Ionesco but Google Books won't let me look inside to see where he's quoting from and Google itself hasn't been much help either.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Truth About Lies

The Truth About Lies


Posted: 19 Jun 2016 05:00 AM PDT

Poem for a Rainy Day

I dropped another pill in the bottle today –
the brown one with the owl on it.

All in all that's forty now
(one for every day and night).

I found it in a junk shop
and I knew then what it was for.

When it is time
I hope I will have the strength to lift it.

23 July 1989
In Egyptian, Celtic, and Hindu cultures the symbolic meaning of the owl revolved around its role as guardian of the underworlds and a protector of the dead. In Athens, the silver four-drachma coin bore the image of the owl on the obverse side as a symbol of the city's patron, Athena Pronaia, the Greek goddess of wisdom. To the Gnostics the owl is associated with Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who apparently refused his advances. In Japan, owl pictures and figurines have been placed in homes to ward off famine or epidemics. You get where I'm coming from. And yet here's something not in the poem: F. collected owls. She never had a bottle with an owl on it but if I'd seen one I'd certainly have bought her it. Even now I see cute owls and regret I she's no longer a part of my life.

The number forty also has symbolic significance if you want it too. Heck, anything can become a symbol if you so choose. There're loads of suggestions for what the colour brown might suggest. I don't know why I picked it. Probably simply because pill bottles tend to be brown or amber to minimise the risk of photodegradation.

I've never seriously contemplated suicide and I've certainly never stocked up on pills for a rainy day but as I've said before I did get some comfort from the knowledge that not being there was always an option.