Friday, August 04, 2017

Our Cities Vanish, Poetry by Ray Hinman

Ray Hinman's poems are vibrant with the tension between light and darkness, life and death, and they are a cycle of rebirth in which corpses can blossom again. It is a world built through conversations with the dead, with the voices of the literary past, allusions to the things that have come before and constructed with a clear, conscious sense that poetry is a Craft. These poems understand the value of things like aesthetics, culture and meaning. Ray Hinman understands the poet as the modern descendant of the Shaman, treading the boundary between what is forbidden and what is allowed to guide us beyond the things that distract us and drown the spirit to the transcendent and the sublime 

Ray Hinman returns the strength of history and culture to language. Unashamed of thought, uninhibited by the current fashion of poetic anti-intellectualism, Hinman speaks from a foundation of tradition, yet fashions his structures with the touch and sites of nature. Definitely modern, he unites civilization across time, refuses to surrender to the triviality of high technology, though hints that our era stands out in this defiance of human greatness.His rhythms flow with the love of language's music, and like the Whitman whose ghost tours his city, he finds in the urban tableau the clues to what we search for in clustering into cities.

Our Cities Vanish

Our cities will vanish
the way they were built,
in flurries of greed and seduction.
Dallas for instance,
was founded by Appalachian
lean men with gaunt faces
and a burning in their eyes.
Now another Dallas has sprung up
where they built,
a Mecca for the mercenaries
wrapped in steel glitter,
wrapped in gold glitter, burning as brightly
as their lust.
Practicality is their monument
to their fathers.
the faith of Pariahs:
the gleam of a bauble pawed by cats.
When pressed
they will admit truth is beautiful.
for instance,
is even more beautiful
when it's mysteries are revealed, and so
they still admire the moon,
praise it,
for remaining such a worthy objective
for their calculations
of trajectory,
they admire Einstein, who "thought up some good physics,"
that will allow them to build other Dallases
on distant planets.
eternity is PROfound.
And yet,
the only eternity they believe in
is the eternal distance between classes,
between races,
between failure and success.

Our cities will vanish
the way they were built,
and return even more mysteriously.

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