Stand Up Steve

In baseball it’s called your summer family, in surfing it’s your winter family, when the ocean awakens sleeping giants. This was early in November.

Stand Up Steve  

By Tyler Lucas Mobley

Paddles up mirroring messiah,

been awhile since we caught up,

as an aging surfer, he’s apprenticing 

under a wave guru up north, one of 

the salty till senile types. “My pop up

is good for a few waves, then I’m just

blowing it. I’ll do anything to stay on a 

shortboard, motioning his paddle at the

monstrosity of buoyancy under foot.

Being able to set that line and go, with 

this, making moch jump as though he

had cinder block feet. A crystalizing

thought, “less resistance, all response.” 

Announced in the manner of mention, 

they let the words hang for a moment

grappling with how minutia of honest

pursuits mirror life at their core. Being

in the world, a deepening of self.  

Nonplussed Mussolini

Nonplussed Mussolini

By Tyler Mobley

A grandfather born in 1922 the year Mussolini seized control of Italy by uniting fascist groups in a march on Rome. Mussolini awaited the outcome of his command in Naples, however the capital siege went smoother than expected. King Victor Emmanuel III refused to sign an order given by Prime Minister Luigi Facta to impose counter forces on the attack. Instead the Italian government said if you can’t beat them join them and surrendered to the fascist, making Mussolini the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history. 

Luca Falcone grew up in the Adriatic countryside far from the piazzas where roaring crowds gathered to listen to their leader work himself up into a coronary of fascist propaganda. Mussolini’s charisma infected the masses with thin promises of empire at the expense of countless Ethiopian lives. 

By 1940 Luca had had enough, with his younger sister in tow he fled Italy for a new life in America. Arriving at Ellis Island aboard The Rex, an Italian made steam powered ship that in 1933, won the blue ribbon for the fastest Westerly voyage across the Atlantic. 

World War was underway, a pact with Hitler meant there was still hope for victory. Luca, nonplussed by a prideful Mussolini, when referring to politicians his quip that lives on today was, “they all the crook.” A philosophy that allowed him to see past the frantic crowds and smooth talk of his country’s leader, to follow his own dream to a new land an ocean away. Against the grain types listen to their heart and weigh out the options given by the head. 

Luca would go on to enlist in the United States Army and see battle in Tunisia and Sicily. Upon return Luca made a life for himself, he married, started a business and had a family. Last to the party was my mother.

I remember him holding me in his arms while he cooked zucchini picked from his garden. He loved to trim the roses in the front yard. He did it, he lived the American Dream. I am forever grateful for the courage it took to leave it all behind to step into the unknown. 

“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”

– Joyce

My father was adopted, though not in the normal sense, his mother remarried when he was only 4 years old so his step father is the one he calls dad. Though the man he sees in the mirror is Ellis Jump, a cad of his day left my grandmother a few years after my father was born. 

When Ellis forfeited custody of his child there was no way he could’ve known that he’d go on to become an accomplished sculptor. He fled to Paris with a small black poodle where he’d stay for the next 5 years. Ellis bounced around apprenticing under giants of a booming art scene. He earned specialized skills he’d bring home to Ventura where he taught sculpture at the Community College for the next 37 years. 

I knew him as a storyteller, the time in Bainbridge traffic when he used his croc slipper as a urine receptacle and poured it out the window. He could make anyone laugh, any bagger at check out he’d leave in stitches. I remember his smile surrounded by a fuzzy white beard. 

If Ellis didn’t listen to whatever pulled him towards Europe where he was able to immerse himself in what became his passion, the world would be a different place.

Chaos theory accounts for the unrealized power of single events or decisions that bear no obvious correlation on later outcomes. Often it is fractional information that skews a system ever so slightly for things to fall a different way. 

A seed carried in a breeze.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Benito-Mussolini/Rise-to-power

https://www.britannica.com/event/March-on-Rome

https://www.italianliners.com/rex-en

To The Enemies

My poem is a response to each line of Vladimir Holan’s poem. A reinterpretation, remake, using a model and making it my own, originally written for Claudia Reder’s English class.

To The Enemies 

By Tyler Mobley 

I’ve been too young to understand why those

Towers crumbled, and watch what becomes

Of the world, less look for love, as tho

Spoiled on Jersey Shore or Next, still

I love somebody because I love myself, go ahead 

Laugh, raise all you will against me, for you’ll have to 

Aim for the stars, as I become home. 

To be is not easy… World beneath our feet

At any moment on top, while still under it’s weight.

From these eyes… A suspicious observer.

A mystery passes for truth, each person 

A foraging tool, some prefer wings

On their cake, simple one day   

Mind and moment purr together 

Broad as the horizon, somewhere 

Horses jostle in race gates, but that’s a different story.

She wears only night, lunar arousal she

Carves brilliant ice sculptures with her nipples, 

Only to melt by morning. 

Frame a ship on a frozen sea, bow

Pickled with caged crab, another story to tell. 

Cast into water, catch yourself on a line

leading to something greater, a tall redwood

Birds peck a trunk, squirrels hide nuts in my midst. 

Wispy clouds offer a dance in the sky, and 

Somewhere an answering machine is taking message. 

Be slow… slower, there

Ending up a letter in a bottle,

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

As an opium epidemic numbs a nation

They do not ask, it doesn’t even occur 

To suppose why the moon scales to the sun,

As angels in the outfield walk the foul line, 

Sobriety caught a fly. 

So don’t mope your peejays, clearing a path behind 

An erased memory of a world

You couldn’t embrace.

Step out of your dream, pretend 

A galaxy knocked on Plato’s study, 

And went on as nothing happened.

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

As the Earth feels the moon, you catch 

My gaze, and beg we aren’t the same, 

We all enter the world in similar fashion, 

And exit with personal flare, so when your 

Tummy rumbles so does mine, still 

I don’t believe what you think I should.

In order to be, you would have to have lived. 

End efforts to end me pick up harmony

Sing a golden sun elaborate on a 

Rainbow, and kiss your toad goodnight. 

For one can’t know life, if they haven’t lived, 

Or know love, if they never love themselves. 

So release those shoulders, and know

I love somebody, because I love myself, go ahead 

Laugh, raise all you will against me, for you’ll have to 

Aim for the stars, as I become home. 

To be is not easy… Only death is easy… 

To The Enemies 

By Vladimir Holan 

I’ve had enough of your baseness, and I haven’t killed myself

Only because I didn’t give myself a life

And I still love somebody because I love myself. 

You may laugh, but only an eagle can attack an eagle 

And only Achilles can pity the wounded Hector. 

To be is not easy… To be a poet and a man

Means to be forest without trees

And to see… A scientist observes.  

Science can only forage for truth:

Forage yes, take wings no! Why? 

It’s so simple, and I’ve said it before 

Science is in probability, poetry is in parables, 

The large cerebral hemisphere 

Refuses the most exquisite poem by clamoring for sugar… 

A rooster finds rain repulsive, but that’s another story,

It is night, your might say: sexually mature, 

And he young lady’s breast are so firm 

You could easily break

Two glasses of schnapps on them, but that’s another story. 

And imagine a ship’s beacon, 

A sailing beacon: but that’s an entirely different story.

And your whole development from the stele for man

To the stele of a lichen: but that’s an entirely different story!

A cloud is going to vomit, but there’s not even a gas leak at your 

Place, 

You cannot be, you can’t even be 

Strangled by snakes scales, 

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

Children and drunkards know this, 

But they aren’t brazen enough to ak 

Why a mirror fogs when a menstruating woman looks into it,

And poets, from love of life, do not ask 

Why wine moves in barrels 

when she passes by… 

And I’ve had enough of your impudence

That permeates everything it wanted to contain 

But couldn’t embrace, 

But a holocaust will come 

That you couldn’t have dreamed of 

Having no dreams, 

What God conceived, he wants to be felt, 

A holocaust will come, children and drunkards know it, 

Joy could come about only through love, 

If love were not passion, 

Happiness could come about only through love, 

If happiness were not passion, 

Children and drunkards know it… 

In order to be, you would have to live, 

But you won’t because you don’t live, 

And you don’t live because you don’t love, 

Because you don’t even love yourself, let alone your neighbor.

And I’ve had enough of your vularity, 

And I haven’t killed myself only because 

I didn’t give myself life

And I still love somebody because I love myself… 

You may laugh, but only the female eagle can attack the male eagle 

And only Briseis the wounded Achilles. 

To be is not easy… Only shitting is easy… 

TR. C.G. Hanzlick and Dana Habova (pg.424)

Forche, Carolyn. Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. New York: W.w. norton, 2009. Print.

Observer

My poem is a response to each line of Czesław Miłosz’s poem. A reinterpretation, remake, using a model and making it my own, originally written for Mrs. Reder’s English class.

Observer 

By Tyler Mobley 

You looking on

Observer. 

For I will be short in relating what it is I wish to say, to do otherwise is unjust to the matter. 

My heart and hands bring you these words, nothing else. 

I speak as ocean waves, you catch my rise n fall. 

There’s no grappling with the mystery, you must let it run through you.

Everything you assumed was an end, was just another beginning.  

Able to capture light from darkness, relatable and sweet, 

Just a reckon on behalf of Mona Lisa with a knowing smile. 

We channel our beauty to islands out at sea, an arch over water 

Goes deeper than we like to think, the mainland lies behind smog.  

Here, brake dust steals life before it is known, and miniums wages 

Drown out the silence of your grave. 

What is poetry which does not save

Some shred of humanity? 

Just bubbles rising in a bath,

As someone who boast without jest

Looking dearly for the glasses on their head.

I will not blame you, as I hope you do for me 

When I say, understanding came a moment too late, 

As fools before salvation, my word implies time. 

I paid twelve hundred for five hundred copies, 

Do the math or listen to your heart, I’m not here to sell something.

I’ll leave this here for you on the other side 

So you may rest knowing, you still rest with us.  

Dedication

By Czesław Miłosz 

You whom I could not save  

Listen to me.

Try to understand this simple speech as i would be ashamed of

 another. 

I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words.

I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree. 

What strengthened me, for you was lethal.

You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one,

Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty, 

Blind force with accomplished shape.  

Here is the valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge 

Going into white fog. Here is a broken city,

And the wind throws screams of gulls on your grave 

When I am talking with you. 

What is poetry which does not save

Nations or people? 

A connivance with official lies, 

A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment. 

Readings for sophomore girls. 

That I wanted good poetry without knowing, 

That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,

In this and only this I find salvation. 

They used to pour on graves millet or poppy seeds 

To feed the dead who would come disguised as birds. 

I put this book here for you, who once lived

So that you should visit us no more.  

T.R. Czesław Miłosz (pg.437)

Forche, Carolyn. Against Forgetting: 20th Century Poetry of Witness. New York: W.w. norton, 2009. Print.

Eternity

The world was all a treasure quest. Anything and everything could be where the answer lies. “Blake Vincent Kueny,” spoken amiss, and the world unraveled. The secret withheld in a few spoken words. A crease in time, words tear the flesh of reality. Air begins to flush out of the room, a slow methodic leak, no loss of cabin pressure. The void twist and churns our dimensional space, as if it were dough in the hands of a baker. Soul rattling tones dance along the event horizon like shimmering reflections on water. A force, energy, odd but familiar, is sensed nearing the end of the blip. Fizzling like firework flashes, white light escapes in a multi directional burst. An opening iris lets forth an outline of man. Featureless form, a shadow, standing tall with the skin of mirage. Glancing side to side, the world hangs in the balance, called upon in time to set forth a destiny. Seeing all that will happen, playing forth eternity in his head, deciding to let it crumble or take us in his hands. The being began to raise his arms parallel with the ground, stretching wide, coiling up under an invisible weight. With an atlas on his back, the being set a small ebb to his body. Building slow and effortless in pace. The burden upon its back began to take on divisible form. A sphere manifest in the pulse of his effort. A thunderhead loomed above him, churning images of despair spin round in a storm of Jupiter. Starvation and slaughter glimpsed through a parallel universe condensing into our world. Perhaps drawn from the spring of our experience, molding sorrows into a mirror of our darkest reflections. Once more higher than the rest, the orb of obscurity was thrown skyward. The being stood at ease, a statue of discipline under the suspended suffering. It fell over him, everything explodes into endless black.

Once a Lifetime

There are no words to describe this mystery in mind, How it all became? What we are destined to? So sit down and I’ll tell you how it all came true.  The fact of the matter, is hardly the case.  If you don’t believe me just look up in space.  To reach this far back one must see, a much different reality.  Questioned back to the start of time, with a feeling of clandestine.  Primordial funk envelops in Space.  Don’t be fooled that this is a race.  Piercing through this veil of time, one sees a paradigm, captured Truth in an open mind, relates it to all mankind.  

The Ocean

The Ocean, is there not a more interesting topic than this, when it comes to near by unknown universes?  The ocean has it’s hand in every natural phenomena on Earth’s outer skin.  She expresses herself through her vast interconnected body characterized by her fiery brothers, rock and mental.  She sings an endless symphony of life, from her darkest depths to her tranquil shores, currents and eddies go round like a needle on a record.  Lost below the surface is a world reflecting ours. Communities thrive, balancing the scale in a precise krill to baleen whale ratio.  Infinitely trapped in turmoil,  she is in constant play with the wind and the moon; she cannot be at rest.  In collaboration with the wind she beats up on her younger brother rock.  Wind and waves collide smash rocking changing him over millennia, leaving him jagged and vulnerable.  She is a keeper of treasures, she can hold onto to something longer than a jealous relative.  She will keep your wildest dreams and your most retched nightmare side by side, never seeing one without a hint of the other.  The Ocean she saves me, an escape away from a land locked life, I am free, suspended, at the mercy of her majesty.  She is rich in waves, her most prized possession.  Although she shares them with us endlessly, offering rides on her back, they do not go without consequence, some paying the ultimate price.  The ocean calls upon those who take her lightly, tossing them humbled covered in sand back to shore where they may stay now forever.  You must open up to her, share yourself, be totally at peace then she will begin to reward you.  If you put in the time to understand and appreciate her, she’ll give you everything you need.  This is the story of girl she cried and became the whole world, this is a story of a girl.    

SeeThru

Faced with circumstance, it is possible to make your own destiny?  Or are you always depended on the will of another?  We become great because others have failed before us. Hard work, a safe bet, invest your money or your time, which will be more fruitful.  The sure thing or risk it all, give and take, we all learn from each other.  The illusion of helplessness or the blindness of courage.  The poor man content with his pack, or the trophy wife crying behind oversized sunglasses.  Strip us down we are all the same.  What I’m talking about is attitude, it will turn water into wine and a natural disaster into a chance to star anew.  A dramatic event is what unites people together, a long night of drinking, or being stuck in lower Manhattan on the wrong day, emotions amplified, empathy expressed, a bond is formed.  A clear vision rises out of the dust or from the first taste of coffee the morning after.  When you let you’re guard down, the raw similarities of the human experience start to glean like dusk on calm ocean waters.