the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




TWO WORKS
BY SAM RASNAKE

CRAVINGS OF THE BUSINESS

-After viewing R.W. Fassbinders'
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

The telephone. A bowl of oranges.
Time to know each other.
Lots of gin. And "Smoke
gets in your eyes"
-
Our cravings straddle us,
so I give up humility.
Pleasure is more essential
than fidelity.

Over a white sea of deep shag,
at the far end of the room,
two mannequins are nude, wigless,
in bed, coupling their tessellations
of the body. What we lack
in knowledge, we make up
in silence.

A third, the voyeur,
finds her own remedy.
Everything is madness,
and our needs devour us,
swelling the head with terror,
with demands of possession,
but don't dare listen to me.
I'm only impersonating
a human being.

================

REVISITING THE STONES FOR MONOLOGUE

We all need someone we can dream on
And if you want it, baby, well you can dream on me

                -The Rolling Stones, "Let it Bleed"

Better lock up all your valuables.
The cards, the pressed flowers in favorite books,
and the pile of photographs that is and is not a life.
Your favorite songs will be
the first to go. Take care.

Squeeze your hands to your head.
Pull your heart from its place,
and hide it in a deep cabinet.

What you do now can never be done
again. What you do now can never
be undone.

Undo the silence with a word.
Scream at the walls:

        Damn the eyes for their looking
        The tongue for its words
        The hand for all indifferences

        Skin me Boil me in water
        Gnaw off my legs to stop my walking

        But leave my ears

Debauch and grovel is your nature.
When you're done with confession,
know that hopelessness is what makes
you real. And you are real.
You feel it don't you.
Look in the mirror.

And this is not going away.

When you know the first word, the koan says,
you know the last word.

So lock the doors. Check the windows,
Then let it bleed.

================

TWOFOLD MATTERS FOR DISCUSSION AFTER A MEETING
OF WITTGENSTEIN AND JONI MITCHELL

All crows are black
until the first white
one flies over
the scratchy cedar
that holds your back
yard in place,
letting you know
that a revelation,
a something outside
all your simple
silences, is about
to happen

        *

The truth is
if I write
white crow,
someone will say
how innovative,
how like genius,
how certain, but if
I write black crow,
that someone will
say, invariably,
how unnecessary
his words are,
how redundant,
how poor a poet
he must be Mean
while, the sky fills
with wings and
the sound is,
to my ear, such
beautiful whispers
of blackness