By Dr. Jeffery P. Charest, PhD.
Doctor of Philosophy (Music), Ethnomusicology
- On the Arabic Saj’ as a Vehicle for English-Language PoetryThis is the intro to a book of short stories by Dr. Jeffery P. Charest, using the English-language form of Arabic Saj’. Al-Saj’ is an ancient Arabic literary form whose origins lie in the pre-Islamic, or Jāhilīyya period. Jeff perceived the form as a possible way to access and express a mode of consciousness that Western literature approaches (but only remotely) in the free verse of Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg…
- Tree of BirdsA traveler was out looking for a certain tree, reputed to be magic. Why he was looking for it, or what he hoped to find, he didn’t know; all he knew was that he had heard of it & curiosity wouldn’t leave him alone. Why did people mention it so often yet say so little about it? Was it a special tree or was it any tree? Did it exist, & what did it do?
- Will it Always be This Way?Has it always been this way? We tell ourselves the tyranny’s crumbling— this global crisis will be the last. And the last and the last and the last again—but it’s always been this way in the end…
- If This is MadnessNow we’re talking about the myth that says All genius is insanity, And madness is the end of poetry; If being alive, feeling Spring’s breath, Summer’s lust and sweat, Autumn’s razor sadness, Winter’s
- Saj‛ for My Alien GirlfriendWe started off together like gypsies in a camp of many colors; we were fairies we were humans we were canaries we were badgers, we were stones peering from leaf-lidded eyes at a world like lightning flashing by.
- Ruminations on Dreams & the Modern Age as MythLet’s play a game of No Leaders—each of us imagines ourselves as drops of water in a wave rising up, higher, faster faster, rushing towards the old rusting castles on the shore,
- Thorn~in~the~Heart~GirlEliška, It’s the ten-thousandth poem I’ve written for you– Your memory is a grain of sand Stuck in my heart; Eliška, It’s the ten-thousandth poem I’ve written for you– Your memory is a grain of sand Stuck in my heart; It hurts and it won’t come out. All these words, songs, stories, thoughts, Are nothing more than layers of pearl I wrap around it to smooth it out, To make something beautiful of it, To make it less bitter, not a waste of time, As some more calloused fool would have it.
- Aj-Jinnia of Bewitching PoesisAj-Jinnia of drunken poesis, my words find their freedom in you. I almost forgot how to touch you with the tips of thoughts and feeling. I remember seeing, When robo-tripping on cherry-syrup cough medicine,
- Commentaries on the PoemsTree of Birds: “…when the old man opened his mouth and spoke…” In the 1960s, a Swiss scientist named Hans Jenny discovered that when he conducted the vibrations from a…
- The Legend of Castle SuramiIn Tbilisi, Sakartvelo’s proudest city, Built from granite grey with age, The ramparts of medieval walls Challenge all with stern gaze Replicated in the eyes Of every man met therein: This is their way of taking measure, To see if strangers can stand tall And return that gaze direct, as equals. Centuries of war against The Infidels of the Black Religion Forged their kingdoms character; Like molten steel on blacksmiths anvil, Cooled, then melted down again,
- Dream of CockayneLast night I dreamt about a theater, And a king and queen adorned in splendor In ermine robes, trimmed with snow leopard, Who ruled a kingdom in grim estate. The ripe wheat shriveled from drought, Families sold their children as slaves, Dog packs prowled the littered streets, Not even bandits conducted trade.
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