Thursday, November 27, 2008

For Cheb Khaled

"White folks seemed always to expect you to know those things which they'd done everything they could think of to prevent you from knowing." --Ralph Ellison

For Cheb Khaleb
I've lost my teenager,
his bouncing strut disappeared.

I weigh 375 now.
My 39-year-old maid died
while sound-proofing my bedroom.

The priest next door inflicts on me
the cries of his wives as he beats them
until I drop to my knees begging
for new ideas.
Then I weep until sleep claims me.

I'm trapped in this inherited mansion.
I've lost my carefree teenaged dancer.
Too much Cuban ex drove him
from me to nowhere.
I replaced him with titanium gates.

I built a super-computer to track
the slow death of my self-made father,
self-made with help from my mother.

My teenager won't answer my calls;
skin cancer ate my father's face
while doctors swore things were fine.

My titanium gates have since rusted,
but I still can't see through them
and my teenager took my maps.

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Kind of quite morbid, that.

The titanium gates, i'm still pondering them.
Barriers we pt up to the world?
And even they let us down?
Wow ... Very strong.
Funny things happen when you stop writing about yourself and create a character.

I somehow never could. It took effort.

Strong poem indeed.

A play of the imagination, so lacking in poets these days.
Have you checked the slick magazines like Harpers?
WTF. Great magazine. questionable fiction and poetry, at least it seems to me.
Maybe it's the new editor.
Phew. That is depressing.
Reminds me a little of Howard Hughes.
I'll admit I had to Google Cheb Khaled to find out who he is.

Seems to me that with his music he is attempting to do what we all want, which is taking the best of cultures and blending them to take us to a new place. at least at the start of his performing.

Although I could find nothing on him beyond April of 2008, the images presented are fraught with personal ideation for the reader, which is always a good thing.

I particularly like the priest image and Khaled begging for new ideas...seems to be in accord with the history of the Islamic response to his music.

Once I knew a smattering about him, I became able to relate to so much more of this...thanks Benji.
i too googled chep khaled and even listen to his song aicha ..
he's my age, actually.
this is a really powerful poem. it appears to me to be about the death of ideals, ideas, a rebelliousness of spirit ..
Crushed: in the words of Cheb Khaleb himself: "and selfishness destroyed solidarity." titanium gates. and they always let us down.

Monique: thank you.

Ivan: yeah i never seem to find good literature in magazines these days. except maybe geist, which is of course a literary magazine.

PP: oh yeah, it kinda does now that you mention it.

TWM: this poem is sort of a re-write of one of his called 'to flee but where?' which I enjoyed but the words are very abstract - big questions no answers. i took his lines and replaced them with a specific story of a wealthy man who feels as trapped by circumstances as if he lived in poverty.

Foam: that is exactly what it is about.
Isn't it funny when you go back to an old piece of writing, read it, re-write it and something unexpected comes out of it?
MD: yes i suppose it is, especially when it's someone else's writing. it really cuts down on the attachment factor.
Dylanesque imagery here.
Toast: huh, after years of wanting to be dylan i do it when not even trying. figures.
accidental or not, it's very much in the vein of Dylan.

Whenever you can capture magic like that, do it. 'tis a beautiful thing.
Almost think that Sam wrote this.
Eric: i'll have to take your and toast's word for it. thanks.

X: maybe the sam that would have been.
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