One Earth One People One TimeNoos-letter of the Foundation for the Law of Time

Featured Time is Art Artist - Issue #47
Ivan Argüelles - Poet

Ivan Argüelles - Poet

Ivan Argüelles is an American innovative poet whose work moves from early Beat and surrealist-influenced forms to later epic-length poems. He received the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award in 1989 as well as the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award in 2010 and in 2013 he also received the Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the twin brother of renowned New Age writer, José Argüelles. As a young poet in the late fifties and early sixties, Argüelles felt the influence of the Beats but also immersed himself in the literature of Romance languages and High Modernism. While Argüelles's early writings were rooted in neo-Beat bohemianism, surrealism, and Chicano culture, in the nineties he developed longer, epic-length forms and eventually returned, after the first decade of the new millennium, to shorter, often elegiac works exemplary of romantic modernism. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt, Argüelles was hired as a cataloger at the New York Public Library, and later worked as a Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. He retired in 2001. He is the author of numerous books, notably: "That" Goddess, Madonna Septet, and Comedy , Divine , The.

(the map of the universe)
                                    for James Balfour

the time we spent the night out
on a hill near rochester with fred weber
and joel pugh and a pair of six packs
by midnight the sky seemed an intense green
the stars rushed in their brownian movement
toward some unheralded destination
not as mechanical entities devised by physicists
but as blazing deities self-generated
in an arcane and far off archaic world
myriads of puzzled and burning gods
streaking across the map of the universe
a cosmos as divine as it was chaotic
wondrous magical fearful dangerous
adolescent as we were brimming with light
to know what was beyond what can be known
altering dimensions of space and time
as one crushes a plot of grass wrestling
was love in the air? was Zephyus' breath
the hot and humid animus of the intellect
informing us of a pre-socratic sensibility?
we were jumping to find out whether outside
the skin still another galaxy existed
where the perfect girlfriend spoke spanish
and wore big flamenco earrings and danced!
troubling unwholesome mephitic something else
in the night arising from a miasma perhaps
from the greek restaurant down below
wrapped its unplanned hologram around us
unable to sleep our young drunk minds
struggled with that darkening enigma
it was not the perfect girlfriend but herĀ other
skating on black ice sporting a garland of human skulls
she donned a skirt of light years heading straight
for an imploding red star and shouted
I am Nemesis the future of each of you!
budding green shoots scattered in the pre-dawn
their primavera fragrance a sweetness
beyond our vegetal comprehension
in the dormant haze that confused our identities
we became dwellers of minoan Crete
a memory of Egypt suburbs of drowsy Memphis
baked beneath a refulgent and pharaonic sun
or else we were Aztecs marching on the causeway
that links Tenochtitlan to the massy mainland
was it in your sleep Joe you cried out
         the stars! Fred, the stars!
the tenuous mythography of breath
held on to those words before dissolving
utterly into the mysterious hinterlands of time
fog of disillusion waking outside the uncharted
map of the universe beer cans and cigarette butts
mouth full of ashes mind a circular ruin
disarray of the senses barely aware of a new day
walking gingerly downhill in the dewy hour
we hauled our bodies into the greasy spoon
across the street from Saint Mary's hospital where
little more than a dozen years before we were born
dropped a coin into the monolithic jukebox
with its panoply of fluid multicolored lights
and listened to Kitty Wells' achingly beautiful voice
                        sing Repenting

I am Nemesis the future of each of you!

02-22-14 [Kin 115]

What is your art form and/or vision of your work?

My art form is Poetry. For me poetry is that which proceeds from the unconscious. Artistic creation, while it may seem to be a conscious endeavor, really comes from the depths of the unconscious, where all our dreams, memories, shadows, struggles with the divine and the demonic occur, and it is from those depths that I derive my poetry. My vision is to create something beyond the quotidian, something that connects the merely mortal individual to the Cosmos. A poem should never be explained, or seem explicable, but must be grounded in enigma. The audience of the poem should come away from the experience of the poem not with a sense of satisfaction, but with a sense of mystery about life, a mystery that cannot be fully kenned.

Who are your main artistic inspirations/influences?

The first poem that ever caught my attention was the middle English lyric "Sumer is icumen in", a sort of oral presentation of the Archaic, which has always been a nostalgia for me. The Latin Poetry of Vergil, the Greek poetry of Homer and the Italian poetry of Dante are all aspects of the Archaic for me. Pound and Joyce are the modern masters who for me best understood the essentially archaic and traditional nature of poetry. Surrealism is an avenue I took, since it embodies the "unconscious" effort of poetry to reach back into the darkest recesses of the Archaic.

What does the phrase "Time is Art" mean to you?

Time is the enigma we are born with. Our breathing is the metronome that keeps up with our individual duration in time. Every moment is the Only moment, and every moment is the sum of All moments. Time is always "becoming" , hence everything it leaves behind is memory. Everything is memory, and art, in my case poetry, is the effort to capture aspects of memory, both individual and mythical, which is the memory of our "extra-consciousness" , memory flooded with Jungian Archetypes. We remember both the historical and the ahistorical events of our consciousness both individual and collective. Of the arts, the purest may be music in its attempts to capture the fluid duration of any given moment of time through sound and rhythm. Poetry, originally based on musical meters and syllabic quantities (as in the poetry of classical languages such as Greek or Sanskrit), and later on the spaces between those meters, proceeds as a sort of syntactic effort to define or describe certain critical aspects of time/memory, our childhood, the shadows we leave behind, the most intense moments of love, etc. At its most "abstract" poetry may be considered the Language of time, its enigmatic embodiment. It is the job of the Poet to remain not conscious but Unconscious in order to create. Poetry is the breathing in, the "inspiration" of time, most aptly symbolized or identified as the Muse.

("my" inspiration)

walking down the street, in hand
the famous cigarette, telegraph
anno domini 1624, slimmer than
at first remembered in skin the
size of song, does pain encounter
the rule of glass? does a chance
have seconds? why question what
regards looking askance, button
each flower to legend's memory,
it is not here the mantra "works",
not here the holiday becomes "modern",
not here anything at all "happens",
not here if not in december One
hundred years ago, frost inches
up the spine to numb any recall,
to think how suddenly Red acts
on the nervous system, light shuts
its window, darkness is an appeal
to frame the whole "thing", is
it a secret to wear? is there
a somewhere behind the eclipse,
a paradise without function,
except for the stress on her
accent, but for the day's eye
turning in her ineffable holy,
every sunday it is like a cosmos
imploding, four hours, then echoes
of silence in weird green waves,
inside a city fixes its Lamp,
waiting for ulysses to come home
nostalgic and great with shadow,

outside people gather waiting
for the municipal voice, a horse
potentially, a statue crying
for more marble, Eurydice,
in fact a music emerges a riot
of invisibility, inchoate sphere
I don't know why she is
I don't know why she is
I don't know why she is
"my" inspiration, year 1624
where is verdant luster, where
is emerald bay, not carbonized,
distance is the symbol, smoking
"that" famous cigarette, where
sidewalk turns into heaven's gate,
a remark in passing, lowering
head in gesture of shy naiad,
are there waters so crystalline?
distance is the signal, remote
the utter language of the Soul,
do the two recognize the Other?
I don't remember what it is
I don't remember who it is
I don't remember why it is
"my" inspiration, are there better
words for it? can one "know"?
it is a mystery, for why is
everything so blank today,
for why is the sky, riches are
not wealth, beauty is for why,
mere cloud banks announce it,
thunder in the middle of the sun,
the edge is as near as it gets,
floral games, eglantine jasmine
hyacinth as prizes, swarm ever
the bees in their mock summer,
climbs the ivy in its dream
of dense verbiage, darker yet
the inch between annihilation
and the declaration of love,
darker still the river beneath

darkest breath instills
some white smallness
is it that no longer "here"
she is walking the other world?

12-17-06 [Kin 93]

Time is Art! Share Your Vision!

Time is Art