Eros Operatica

poetry by Joanne Ford

Prologue

All biographical data: Whom one married. Whom one killed. Whom one taught or from whom one learned. How many degrees or accolades one received and when and where. Even the momentary fleshings out of essential emptiness - in love, in contact with animals, in vision and awareness of things, in social, economic, political interaction are ultimately non-sense and statistic.

One was born, let's say, in Iowa. For the Chinese and the Japanese this birth was not auspicious, being under the word-sign "death" at 4:44 a.m. on the 4th day of a cold December in the black depths of a year of the monkey, 1944. One's father was an elephant lost in corn fields and one's mother, who slapped her daughter's face, was an avatar of Death or Death, her very self.

The many, with their tragic-operatic masks, were born in music on a day when, like Rilke's Kuzmitch disorientation set in and one found that only by rigorous solitude, complete and compulsive silence accompanying an harkening and writing down of what was heard, could the dizziness be held at bay enough to allow existence to continue.

Someday one's ear whorls will turn blue from lack of oxygen and sound will no longer be able to slide down the short shoot to create tsunamis of meaning, excitement and joy. It will be the day flesh completes its onorous task of covering bone. Then eyeballs will melt or rot in their sockets and all those sloppy organs, that pumped and swelled and took delight in sensations will no longer persist in their meaningless ooze and sloshing. That will be an auspicious indeed, a glorious day.

Excerpt

Snow Light
Through lace curtains
leap lean wolves
of winter light.

What isn't shredded
is tipped
silver-black & white.

The whole house
howls
shivers.

Then corpse
bleeds into
couch.

Remaining eye - dilated
rolled up
and to the right.
Fireflies
They light up
the length of a heart beat
and in winter are replaced
by snowflakes that take
about as much space
and melt as quickly.
Why do things
which will not last in Time
leave such persistent traces
in the mind?
"Joanne Ford has her own voice as a poet and she knows how to use it. Like a singer who makes a song her own, her poems celebrate events that we all experience but often cannot express ourselves. Read her work. You won't be disappointed."
– David Amram

About the Author

Joanne Ford was born in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa in 1944. She was educated at Ohio State University and Ohio University. She holds a Ph.D. and teaches courses in literature, creative writing, and lately media, film and culture studies at a small university in southeastern Ohio, The University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College. She has published in the campus literary magazine, The Atwood Review and The Ship of Fools. She lives in Gallipolis, Ohio.

Praise

"Rosemary Carmichael writes, "The intent of poetry, all poetry – especially poetry which pretends to teach – is entertainment. Not punishment for students. Not fodder for footnotes to amuse old children."

Joanne Ford refers to her life as operatic and calls this book – her magnum opus, I think – Eros Operatica. Well titled. Her avant garde spirit lives among such significants as Cage, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Paul Green, L. Russell, Horst Schmidt and Alan Murray Schaeffer.

I've been watching this book develop for several decades. If you don't like poetry which creates new space for word art to play, stay away from this book. Please."

– J. Michael Yates

"Joanne Ford has her own voice as a poet and she knows how to use it. Like a singer who makes a song her own, her poems celebrate events that we all experience but often cannot express ourselves. She shows us that it is okay to be human in a sometimes dehumanized society and even to smile and laugh at adversity and celebrate private moments. Read her work. You won't be disappointed."

– David Amram
author of Off Beat: Collaborating with Kerouac, Vibrations, and upcoming Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musi