Tag Archives: Brautigan

“Romeo and Juliet” by Richard Brautigan

RommelIntoEqyptCover

As Valentine’s Day draws nearer, I thought it would be appropriate to share this poem by Richard Brautigan which was originally published in Rommel Drives On Deep Into Egypt.

If you will die for me,
I will die for you

and our graves will
be like two lovers washing
their clothes together
in a laundromat.

If you will bring the soap,
I will bring the bleach.

I like this poem. It is beautiful in its simplicity. Brautigan uses dirty laundry as a symbol for the cynicism that soils our souls throughout our lives. Upon death, our souls are cleansed, much like clothes in the wash. I envision the souls of the two star-crossed lovers, caught up and spinning in the celestial gyre as they rise toward the heavens. Finally, after being cleansed of the jaded ideals of love, the two are able to share in the true beauty of love.

One other thing I would like to point out regarding this poem. The two lovers do not have to go through physical death to attain this state. The death can certainly be symbolic of letting go of personal baggage, thereby allowing a sort of rebirth and spiritual cleansing.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a blessed day.

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“Karma Repair Kit: Items 1-4” by Richard Brautigan

KarmicWheel

Every so often, I need to remind myself of the obvious. I get so caught up in my daily stress and anxiety that I forget to take a step back, relax, and reflect. When I do so, my karma usually realigns itself fairly easily. This poem provides simple and practical steps for getting your karma back in order.

  1. Get enough food to eat,
    and eat it.

  2. Find a place to sleep where it is quiet,
    and sleep there.

  3. Reduce intellectual and emotional noise
    until you arrive at the silence of yourself,
    and listen to it.

  4.  

I love the fact that Brautigan leaves item 4 blank. It allows one to project whatever one needs into the poem. When you reach that state of inner peace and silence your mind projects onto the page that which needs adjusting in your life and the path you need to take. It’s the equivalent of the blue painting by Yves Klein, where the viewer projects his or her inner vision onto the canvas.

So far today I have accomplished the first two steps. I will take the third step soon, and then I’m sure the fourth step will become obvious.

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“Horse Child Breakfast” by Richard Brautigan

PillVersusSpringhillCoverThis morning, as I drank a cup of rich, Italian roast coffee, I read the following poem by Richard Brautigan:

Horse child breakfast,
what are you doing to me?
with your long blonde legs?
with your long blonde face?
with your long blonde hair?
with your perfect blonde ass?

I swear I’ll never be the same again!

Horse child breakfast,
what you’re doing to me,
I want done forever.

This poem conjures a really sweet image, that of a young man feeling the first stirring of love for a young woman after an intimate evening. I picture the woman as a free-spirited hippie girl. She is someone I imagine running barefoot through long grass, wind blowing her long blonde hair. In the morning light which casts a golden hue over her, the young man sees her as the beautiful, free person who she is and is overwhelmed by the desire to stay with her for the rest of his life, to bask in that moment of beauty and contentment.

One of the magical things about poetry is the way a writer can express pure emotion in very few words. This is something Brautigan does perfectly with this poem. There is no fluff here, nothing superfluous, just a quick glimpse inside a person, the sharing of pure joy and wonder.

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“All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace” by Richard Brautigan

BrautiganI decided read and write about something a little different today, or, at least different from what I usually read and write about.

When I was younger, I went through a phase where I read a lot of Richard Brautigan. During that time, I found a couple books of poems that he wrote while perusing the shelves of a used bookstore. Anyway, I pulled the books off my shelf today and opened to the first poem in The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster, which is “All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace.”

Click here to read the entire poem online.

This is a pretty unusual poem, particularly because it deals with cyber issues that seem more relevant today than they would have been when the book was published back in 1968. The poem describes a utopia, or dystopia depending upon how you interpret it, where nature exists in balance and harmony with technology:

I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

On one hand, it evokes images of nature being protected and nurtured by technology, existing in balance. But at the same time, there is a sense that something is not quite right. The imagery feels juxtaposed, like nature and technology don’t really belong together, yet somehow, they have come to accept each other and co-exist in spite of their inherent differences.

The closing stanza of this poem really gives me the chills.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

So we have this idealistic vision here, where technology frees us from our labors and provides us with the opportunity to return to our natural state, allowing computers to handle our mundane affairs. But as we all know, this is not the case. We are watched over by the machines of loving grace, but not in a beneficent manner. Our actions are tracked and the information is used, at best, by corporations trying to influence how we spend our time and money. Our smart phones, instead of allowing us freedom to walk in the woods, end up being digital shackles that keep us ever at the beck and call of employers who demand more and more from us.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I love technology as much as the next geek. But let’s take a step back and look at our “cybernetic forest” and think about it. Do we really have more freedom as a result of computers? Have our lives really become easier and simpler over the past 20 or 30 years? Is the cyber-world we’ve created a utopia or a dystopia? There are no easy answers to these questions, but this poem challenges us to think carefully about those questions, which is something we all should do.

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