June 12-18, 2006: Paul Murphy and Ken Saffran

week of June 12-18, 2006

Paul Murphy and Ken Saffran

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Paul Murphy

Bio (auto)

Born in Belfast, 1965 He studied at the University of Warwick, gaining a BA in Film and Literature From there he went to Queen’s University Belfast to study for an MA on T.S.Eliot and the French philosopher Jacques Lacan He is presently living in Munich, Germany His poetry, literary criticism, book reviews and travel writings have been published in English, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, American and European journals He has published two pamphlets and one previous book of poetry (Ín the Luxembourg Gardens’, University of Salzburg Press, Austria), as well as a book on T.S.Eliot and Dr Jacques Lacan (´T.S.Eliot´s Post-Modernist Complaint´, Postpressed, Australia) and has read from his work in Paris, Cambridge, Galway, London, Brighton and Belfast He is at the moment authoring new travel writngs on Germany and new poems and reviews.

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Paul Murphy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Four Preludes

a) Stalingrad Madonna

A found object poem in the Ku´Damm, Berlin Hollow
Tooth Evidence of a bombardment No more details
except for a Madonna with child on a map Sketch made
by Dr Kurt Reubens at Stalingrad, Christmas 1942 A
cold coming we had of it, just the very dead of
Winter Ice floes in the Spree Wandering the
streets around Mitte A café filled with Turks
playing cards or tarot I asked for a small Doner
(but they call it Kebap, not Kebab) and it came filled
with greasy, stinking meat

Mr Hairy fingered Old Git still won´t pass the Opal
fruits The arthritic Orang Utang he brought on the
first day, yes the one that escaped into the tangled
web of broken concrete (this barren Stalinoid
fortress, my auld school ) has leant in the window
and nipped off with his toupee Now he´s offering me
a thesaurus in Euskeda That lesson on
Indo-European, it thwarted his attempts at world
domination, it changed the course of a passing second,
it altered the snurl on yer moustachioed lippen for
ein second Now, I kennen nicht The generous
unpattern that prompted so much is shardly
disappearing Must have done a very good interview.

Do you know to get this job? I had to change my name
from Paul Curlyfly to Robert Zimmerman? That´s an
irony, ahistorical monologic a career hip hoop
hooray I took the last name of a very important
Welsh poet, inverted, turned it through a triple loop
and then added my own invention The Italian for room
– hence, Bob Stanzaman Better than Bob Testacle or
Bob Germania, another idea I bobbed with.

Kant´s hairy chestnutsssssss

b) Herr Apfelmuß

´A moose?´
´I thought he said moose too.´
´A triple decker with sahne.´
´Do you think he´s drowning in his ice cream? Is he
waving? I think he´s trying to tell us something.´
´What did he ask for?´
´Triple portion of Apfelmuß.´
´My God I can feel it too! I´m .I´m falling down a
chute into a sea of Apfelmuß My long lost
love, my moose .´

´The Philosophers have only resisted change, the point
is to wallow in intransigence.´
-Karl Apfelmuß

c) Adolph von Menzel

Adolph von Menzel travelled to Dresden from Berlin in
the late 19th century, given special permission to
make sketches of the baroque antiquities, began a
reconstruction of the era of Frederick the Great.

d) Dresden, Valentine´s day, 1945

Dear Herr Bratkartoffeln,

Yesterday I was in Dresden again, near the
FrauenKirche and saw some photos portraying the
firebombing of Dresden Photos of the victims piled
onto a piece of rail track
What is your answer to the algebra of responsibility?
Do you have an equation that will help me to figure it
out? I´m sure there is one, but somehow I don´t think
mathematics has the guts or humanity to tell us
anything about the little tragedies of each of these
victims, their bodies piled on top of each other, the
piece of rail track

Little greedy, voluptuous piglets with their legs in
the air

Smouldering corpses

best wishes,

Herr Knoblauch

Chapter 1-I sang in my chains like the sea

´Dr Hegelfisch *´

Dr Hegelfisch opened a jade green eye It swung round
the room telescopically and then sank back into its
socket A jaded finger extended Scratching his wax
candle melting nose, leafing violently through the
text book.

´ Ideology´, what is it? Napoleon conquered and
conquered History as hero What do you say? You say
´putsch´ or ´coup´ but we know heroic violence and
call it ´revolution.´

´Revolution is-Dr Hegelfisch-a necessary prelude,
that´s all You understand, don´t you? People need
preludes Then the great take off into self-sustained
growth Then the multiplier effect but above all, Dr
Hegelfisch, history itself is impersonal An
impersonal prelude to a heroic symphony or opera
People are such that preludes make sense when logic is
denied or otherwise Great preludes anticipate the
most shocking events.´

´I´m bored I need more information technology
vocabulary I can´t afford to spend time pouring over
– history.´

* A Hegelfisch A spurious notion attrib to Murphy P analagous to Quarks and Quantum Jumps as in his ´Three
Hegelfisch for Michael McMoose´ An extract from this
experimental diatribe follows:

Dear Sir,
sum of my pomes best wishes,
Ronald A Twit

Li Po composes lines on death while staring into sun

red panda confucious he say red panda chomping
bamboo shoots li po born dies sundown red panda
shits in river time is river red panda shit like
time transitory Mao is born China is better all
thinkers sent to the fields like red panda jenner
publishes poem relieved of beer money throws himself
in canal believes and is re-born as red panda shit
floating down river all living things in cycles of
re-birth and death.

Ken Saffran

Bio (auto)

I live in San Francisco I have a love/hate relationship with artists‚ bios I consider them a bio-hazard Poetry saved my life Without it I would be driving an SUV to Walmart to buy white bread

The following work is Copyright © 2006, and owned by Ken Saffran and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Home for the Artist

seascapes in watercolors at the beachfront café
eight or ten in a row along the back wall
in each
exquisitely detailed spray certain
as hard shadows among the rocks

not meant for locals
who can look out their windows
they wait for tourists to take them home
will they smell of salt air

at the end one painting of a beach and hillside
along the trail wildflowers
and in the upper left just below the sky
a patch of Iris no one can reach

I Don’t Remember the Dream
But My Heart is Racing

Something will break if I move
I look out the window and breathe in
This time of night

Only dark wines understand transformation
All you have to do is ask
Then fall asleep and wake up

Sleeping next to me
The one I want
Her night table crowded with books
I count
And framed in silver
A young couple I have only known as old

There All the Time

Finding it difficult to read and sip
Italian soda and feed her child
Cheerios to keep him quiet and still
she puts her finger on the straw half-filled
with the sweet red liquid, then puts the straw
in her baby’s mouth, his smile drips soda
on his chin which she wipes with napkin,
and with a finger gently strokes his cheek.


If we woke to the same sun each morning
memory would be unnecessary But you and I have a slightly different
tilt to our axis cooling some days,
sometimes heat builds storms of words, thunder breaks,
all the windows rattle, but not the bed Arguments are like leaves, it takes a lot
to fill a tree and still the sky pours through,
inventing birds and the wind that carries
their worries and gossip, ruffling feathers Later, when we settle in for the night,
your voice is ground and seed for the next day And after your kiss opening my eyes,
Candlelight and shadow across your cheeks.