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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Poetry of Magical Realism


Because things just happen.
The blue-beaked parrot lands
on the hummingbird feeder
that dangles from your ear
and begins singing
like Pharrell Williams—
a voice that drops veils of gauze
around sunrise. Suddenly the mountaintop
where you stand unrolls its green velvet
and you walk down into a land
you once knew but that changed overnight.
You believe it more because you are
here in the piazza of nobility,
dragging your rusty sword
into furrows behind you.
Red and yellow blossoms pop open
and transform into fruits
grabbed up by the hungry children.

There is no real logic in the human world, only a shared pretense of it. Poetry recognizes the way our senses carry us and carries us, like magical realism in fiction, into a world where a rising fountain alters time and the passing wind speaks of possibilities hatched from pebbles underfoot. It’s this world in a more effulgent mood,  our own neighborhood put on a floodlit stage where anyone may suddenly enter: Othello, Joan of Arc, Zeus, a cat that flies. 

Poetry and magical realism are like life, only more so. Life here rolls along on hyper-logic rising from an ineffable yearning. Its replete with deep-hued passion that slops over linear outlines. We’ve always believed in this twilight, where the stars grow immense and begin to tell us their ancient secrets. 

I’ve always been in love with magical realism, and books containing magic. The world has always breathed to me that way. In my literary life, I first turned to poetry, where things become other things so easily. They are familiar, yet more vividly alive, and with a new strangeness. One of my early favorite poets, Dylan Thomas, luxuriated in this world, notably in his luminously magical play, Under Milkwood.
Young girls lie bedded soft
or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux,
bridesmaided by glowworms down the aisles of the
organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the
bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrodgered sea. And
the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields,
and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wetnosed
yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly,
streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.



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