How To Speak Poetry

C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_10533894_10206703075193258_5853652340247026265_n.jpgHow to Speak Poetry

Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words. Never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. Never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. Do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. If you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. If ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.

What is the expression which the age demands? The age demands no expression whatever. We have seen photographs of bereaved Asian mothers. We are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. There is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. Do not even try. You will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. We have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. Everyone knows you are eating well and are even being paid to stand up there. You are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. This should make you very quiet.  Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Everyone knows you are in pain. You cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. Step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. You have nothing to teach them. You are not more beautiful than they are. You are not wiser. Do not shout at them. Do not force a dry entry. That is bad sex. If you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. And remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. What is our need? To be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. Do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. The bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. They have also destroyed the stage. Did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? There is no more stage. There are no more footlights. You are among the people. Then be modest. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Be by yourself. Be in your own room. Do not put yourself on.

This is an interior landscape. It is inside. It is private. Respect the privacy of the material. These pieces were written in silence. The courage of the play is to speak them. The discipline of the play is not to violate them. Let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. Be good whores. The poem is not a slogan. It cannot advertise you. It cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. You are not a stud. You are not a killer lady. All this junk about the gangsters of love. You are students of discipline. Do not act out the words. The words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.

Speak the words with the exact precision with which you would check out a laundry list. Do not become emotional about the lace blouse. Do not get a hard-on when you say panties. Do not get all shivery just because of the towel. The sheets should not provoke a dreamy expression about the eyes. There is no need to weep into the handkerchief. The socks are not there to remind you of strange and distant voyages. It is just your laundry. It is just your clothes. Don’t peep through them. Just wear them.

The poem is nothing but information. It is the Constitution of the inner country. If you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. You are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. Think of the words as science, not as art. They are a report. You are speaking before a meeting of the Explorers’ Club of the National Geographic Society. These people know all the risks of mountain climbing. They honour you by taking this for granted. If you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. Tell them about the height of the mountain, the equipment you used, be specific about the surfaces and the time it took to scale it. Do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. If you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. It will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. It will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.

Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.

Leonard Cohen

BANNED

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Any system you contrive without us
will be brought down
We warned you before
and nothing that you built has stood
Hear it as you lean over your blueprint
Hear it as you roll up your sleeve
Hear it once again
Any system you contrive without us
will be brought down

~ Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen ~ The Future

leonard-cohen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it’s lonely here,
there’s no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that’s an order!
Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that’s left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I’ve seen the future, brother: 

it is murder. 

 

God is alive…..Magic is afoot…God is alive….magic is afoot… God is afoot…..Magic is alive…Alive is afoot..magic never died! God never sickened. Many poor men lied. Many sick men lied. Magic never weakened. Magic never hid. Magic always ruled. God is afoot. God never died! God was Ruler, though his funeral lengthened. Though His mourners thickened, magic never fled. Though His shrouds were hoisted the naked God did live; Though His words were twisted the naked magic thrived; Though His death was published round and round the world The heart did not believe. Many hurt men wondered. Many struck men bled. Magic never faltered. Magic always led. Many stones were rolled, but God would not lie down! Many wild men lied. Many fat men listened. Though they offered stones, magic still was fed! Though they locked their coffers, God was always served. Magic is afoot….God is alive…. Alive is afoot….Alive is in command. Many weak men hungered. Many strong men thrived. Though they boasted solitude, God was at their side. Nor the dreamer in his cell, nor the captain on the hill: Magic is alive! Though His death was pardoned ‘round and ‘round the world, The heart would not believe! Though laws were carved in marble they could not shelter men; Though altars built in Parliaments, they could not order men; Police arrested magic and magic went with them, ah! For magic loves the hungry…. But magic would not tarry, it moves from arm to arm, It would not stay with them; it cannot come to harm: Magic is afoot! It cannot come to harm. It rests in an empty palm. It spawns in an empty mind. But magic is no instrument: magic is the End! Many men drove magic, but magic stayed behind; Many strong men lied. They only passed thru magic and out the other side! Many weak men lied. They came to God in secret and though they left Him nourished, They would not tell Who healed; Though mountains danced before them, they said that God was dead! Though His shrouds were hoisted, the naked God did live! God is alive! Magic is afoot…God is alive… God is alive… Magic is afoot… This I mean to whisper to my mind: This I mean to laugh with in my mind: This I mean my mind to serve ‘Til service is but magic, moving thru the world And mind itself is magic, coursing thru the flesh And flesh itself is magic, dancing on a clock, And Time itself, the magic length of God! God is alive…Magic is afoot…Magic is afoot…God is alive.. Magic is alive…God is afoot…Alive is afoot…God never died. Many strong men lied. They only passed thru magic and out the other side! This I mean to whisper to my mind: This I mean to laugh with in my mind: This I mean my mind to serve ‘Til service is but magic, moving thru the world And mind itself is magic, coursing thru the flesh And flesh itself is magic, dancing on a clock, And Time itself, the magic length of God!

LEONARD COHEN