Jay Mandeville

Jay Mandeville Poems

This for certain, Keats has a temper;
he knows how to take it and dish it out.
Mark well when he warns us,
Keats will decode our doubts.

when war was first invented,
it was jealous of
the bridegrooms -
it left envious ruins

behold these inanimate signs
on a page of unlooked-at lines
concealed from the world by mass neglect
skipped by browsers that never connect

printed books run a risk:
silent, while life shouts.
neglected, despised,
yet a quiet surprise,

Enduring hot weather
is like avoiding a visitor's call:
stay hidden beneath
Infinity's shade, keep quiet and still.

MICROGRAPHIA catches its prey-
a spider's fate enlarged upon...
a mini-drama commemorating...what,
exactly? The spider is 'small...


Deep are the woods
but for wit's wild sake
I'll change my shape
discard my hesitant

Who killed the printed book?
Why and where for the answer look?

Not we, say the publishers,

We are the children of the Midwest sun:
its light has weight, measured musical tones.

'Come along, ' sang Empedocles,450 BCE,

As thickly hangs
the shadow of a pear,
as echoes strange
remain clinging to a wall,

What is the nature of
this sacrifice?
Perception's doors pried
open wide...

I've slept damp in the greenhouse,
for ages outsourced,
the gladiolus alive in my veins,
while Time's bounded joists

Embodied, like you, I'm a traveling ghost,
no idol or charm can keep me safe.
Unheard of by the Heavenly host,
on earth the terror-storms roar & rage,

Crowned by chimps in venerable trees
he alludes to tribal ghosts or jabbers of primal suffering
tapping his drum with natural preposterousness
singing love's likeness with characteristic stubbornness

You will be this - the most dangerous cause
The essence that rises above human loss
You'll be the one who will never permit
The arguments carved out of hate to persist

so follow this line, & drag it on up
push it right into that willow cup
take a tiny taste, & box it to go
the moon won't rise, & tomorrow comes slow...

Slow, in a book of earthward,
the speechless storm
veered North
toward me.

The cuffs of my
relaxed cotton trousers
are damp from crossing

green in the midst of drab desolation
green ‘til the tide in the street overflows
green that preserves green's green reputation
green behind curtains, like cellist & bow

the mountain enters the house
through a maize ear.
the river brings back planters' soil.
blue night shimmers with heat

Jay Mandeville Biography

By age 14, I had already begun spontaneously immersing myself in the crafting of satirical short stories & Ogden Nash-style verses, the publication of an 'underground' school newspaper, & the creation of handmade, illustrated books.

I began then, & have continued for most of my life, to self-educate myself in subjects I found far more attractive than those I usually encountered in the classroom. Early readings in authors like Poe, Twain, Bradbury, Conan Doyle, Saki, e e cummings, Lear, Carroll & John Lennon were a source of wonder & admiration.

Later on, Joyce, Hesse, Dickinson, Whitman, Shakespeare's comedies, Rimbaud & Baudelaire, Borges, Blake, Mencken & Robert Benchley sealed my fate as a lover of inventive language, humor, & iconoclasm.

The sounds of Erik Satie, Debussy, Bach, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, John Cage, Fats Waller, Dylan, Motown, & the British Invasion, along with the 1920's through 1940's American Songbook, Johnny Cash, Calypso, Zydeco, & a form of Lounge called Exotica, have become my listening mainstays.

In the visual arts I'm devoted to an equally eclectic mix, including Art Nouveau, Symbolism, Expressionism, Photorealism, & late 18th to early 19th century caricaturists like Hogarth & Gillray.

In film, I love Keaton, Chaplin,1940's noir & B-mysteries, screwball comedies, Marx Brothers, Val Lewton, Busby Berkeley, & just about anything with Humphrey Bogart in it.

As may be surmised, I'm also a passionate connoisseur & collector of books.

Gradually synthesizing these literary/artistic enthusiasms into a personal vantage point, I've continued along my developmental path as a stubbornly persistent writer of radio programs, essays, Modernist poetry, light verse (if such is still possible) , & other 'belles lettres', as the relentlessly antiquarian among us still call them.

My life seems destined to embody the traditional, legendary attributes of the self-actuating Poet: I'm frequently short of funds, but bold in spirit; Time & Love have tinctured me with melancholy. Yet I sometimes find myself filled with ecstatic feelings of heaven-sent power when I've conjured forth a unique, sincere, well-worded, concise, living thought - whether in friendly conversation, over the radio airwaves, or in alphabetic signs on a page such as this, that may reach a receptive individual anywhere.

For further consolation, I have a delightful, intelligent daughter dwelling in a far away land called Austin, who helps me along with her own hard-bought wisdom in this earthly journey.

Spiritually & philosophically, (if a native Missourian may use such lofty terms) I seek - with an all-too-human awareness of tragedy, laced with irony, humor, & stabs at optimism, & a fully-earned understanding of my own imperfections - to learn as much as I'm able in this incarnation, from the transparency of Lao Tzu, the laughter of Buddha, the compassion of The Sermon on the Mount, the company of Allah where known as the All-Merciful, the prankish persona of Krishna as the blue sprite frolicking with the Gopis, - & through other words & deeds of great religious thinkers & utopian dreamers, - to live & practice a belief that each person I meet, howsoever troubled, is potentially reachable through - & personally capable of - kindness. tolerance & psychological transparency, if only each inner self (non-judgmental witness) could become fully awakened to its own secret reality, where malice, prejudice & violence are understood as too embarrassingly ignorant, & ultimately pointless, to perpetrate. ________________________________________________ HIGHLIGHTS FROM ARTIST'S RESUME ________________________________________________ ART RESEARCH CENTER,922 East 48th St., Kansas City, Mo.: I was designated co-curator of the TELIC International Exhibition of Visual and Systematic Art in 1976, at the behest of ARC's director Thomas Michael Stephens. I selected participants for this exhibition from among scores of internationally-based writers & poets, & supervised the arrangement of the works in the exhibition space. David Perkins, editor & publisher of the Chouteau Review, (and in whose literary journal I was published in 1976 & '77) was co-curator. Richard Kostelanetz (NYC) & the Ascher-Strauss Collective (winners of the Pushcart Prize) were among those represented. ________________________________________________ In 1976, I began collaborating with Dwight Frizzell at the Kansas City Art Institute (a student at the time, Dwight is now an associate professor at the school) to create & stage a series of art events, live music performances & original plays on campus over a period of several years, meanwhile exchanging ideas with students & meeting visiting artists like Duane Michals. Similar creative efforts outside the confines of KCAI have persisted up to the present. ________________________________________________ KC PITCH, entertainment tabloid: Editor, designer, feature writer (1980-82) . With my creative collaborator Dwight Frizzell as co-editor, I wrote feature stories, revised & edited contributor copy, designed article layouts & advertisements, proofread all articles, and completed final preparation to camera-ready stage of every issue. Also during our tenure with the Pitch, Dwight & I personally conducted & published original interviews with Tony Bennett, Iggy Pop, John Cage, John Cale, KC legendary jazzclub owner Milton Morris, & Carla Bley, among others. ________________________________________________ KCUR-FM, KKFI-FM (1987 to date) . Beginning in 1987, an original radio-theatre program, 'From Ark To Microchip', began being recorded, & broadcast weekly each Thursday afternoon (just before 'All Things Considered') on KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo. Later, an expanded version of 'The Ark' moved to a Saturday night spot, just before Chuck Haddix's popular 'Fish Fry' program. As time went by, select episodes were also broadcast in London, England (Resonance FM 104.4) , New York City (WKCR-FM) , Paris, France (Radio Nova) , Montreal (CIBL-FM) , & Boulder, Colorado (KGNU-FM) . Currently, classic shows & brand new episodes of the series are heard each Wednesday at half-past noon on KKFI-FM Community Radio in Kansas City, & once a month on KOPN-FM in Columbia, Mo. Dwight Frizzell & myself are the writers, producers, directors, & often the principal voice performers in these numerous 28-minute programs, on such varied subjects as (to name a few) , Charlie Parker, Elvis Presley, John Cage, Orson Welles, Harry Truman, Philip K. Dick, Emanuel Swedenborg, Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, & Laika the Spacedog. Individual episodes in the series received a Golden Reel Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters, shared a Peabody Award in connection with NPR's Lost and Found Sound series, & were made an Audio Works Special Selection. Funding by the National Endowment for the Arts & the Missouri Arts Council was provided to assist production of a number of From Ark To Microchip broadcasts. www.kkfi.org/streaming.php
________________________________________________ SELECTED PUBLICATIONS ________________________________________________ 'Early Radio Bigwigs', an article in Radiotext(e) , a special issue of Semiotext(e) magazine (#16, Vol.VI, issue 1) devoted to Sound Art and radio history, edited by Neil Strauss (Columbia University, New York, N.Y.: Semiotext(e) /Autonomedia Press,1993) . ________________________________________________ 'Inaudible Postscript: A silent coda on the disembodied voice and the subsequent unwriting of history', an article in The Drama Review, Vol.40, no.3, Fall 1996, which was republished in Experimental Sound and Radio, an anthology edited by Allen S. Weiss (Cambridge and London: The MIT Press,2001) . ________________________________________________ Mischmasch Magazine (1977 to date) , an experimental art & literature magazine, designed & edited by myself, that is included in the permanent collection of the Kansas City Art Institute. ________________________________________________ Leaves From the Diary of a Would-Be Initiate, a chapbook micro-novel, n.d. ________________________________________________ 39 POEMS, and 12 Glimpses, a signed, limited edition chapbook,2012. ________________________________________________ AWARDS ________________________________________________ Winner, Einstein Centennial Festival Essay Competition,1979, for 'Note On the Poetics of Einstein'.

The Best Poem Of Jay Mandeville

On Looking Into Keats's Letters

This for certain, Keats has a temper;
he knows how to take it and dish it out.
Mark well when he warns us,
Keats will decode our doubts.
Or misbehave at the party buffet freely,
cause fastidious guests to
veer away queasily.

He might even ill-use our most precious sofa,
as he separates us from our loneliest offer.
And foodfighting to submission our implacable blase,
he'll drink our cool, cellar-hid claret,
hatch sonnets in our lingerie.
He'll hang hostiles in the garret,
drip honey over all our storage density.
Then speaking of beauty when we're bored,
he'll vex with seriousness all our leisure activities.

Some morning, when we're cranky,
and narrow, and bleary,
we'll find Keats a saint, but since he's shone bright too early,
we'll lock him in cupboards with freaks and imponderables,
and swear the key to happiness is
status and convertibles.

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