Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rex Sexton: Renaissance Man (polymath)

There are Renaissance Women and Renaissance Men (also referred to as polymaths) among us, yup, there most certainly are (am also somewhat certain these unique/special/rare individuals don't use 'yup') nonetheless, there are genuine polymath Renaissance Men and Renaissance Women among us, and!!  I have been blessed, as editor/custodian of bear creek haiku, to have met (and to have recognized) a very few Renaissance Sorts  'cause I, every so often, can be a most fortunate dude...

'A polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, "having learned much") is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas,  a "universal person" whose knowledge is profound and at a level comparable to the proficiency or the accomplishments of an expert' 
(Thank you, dictionary) 

On our most prominent living room wall we've always placed a 38" x 52" print of a Joan Mirò painting, 'Femme et oiseaux la muit dance' - I love the painting (it's Judith's).  While reading reviews of Rex Sexton's polymath activity, he is often referred to, as a painter, in the same light as is Joan Mirò - wow...

Rex Sexton is a Renaissance Man.  Here's just a part of his bio - 

Rex Sexton is a Surrealist painter based in Philadelphia and Chicago and his writing has that illusory element to it.  His latest book of stories and poems “Night Without Stars” received 5 stars from ForeWord Clarion Reviews, who commented on the “wild beauty” and “joy of this collection … the prose rabid, people hustling to survive their circumstaces …”  Another collection of stories and poems, “The Time Hotel”, was described by Kirkus Discoveries as “… a deeply thought-provoking … compelling reading experience.”  His novel “Desert Flower” was called “ … innovative and original …” by Large Print Review and “ … so skillfully devious it could have been written by Heinrich von Kleist two centuries ago in Germany” in another Kirkus review.  His short story “Holy Night” received the Editor’s Choice Award in the Eric Hoffer Award competition and was published in Best New Writing 2007.  His poems have been published in reviews such as Bear Creek Haiku, Mobius, The Poetry Magazine, Willow Review, and Edge.  His book of artwork, stories and poems “X Ray Eyes” received acclaim by Chicago Art Maga-zine: “Sexton’s work … brings to mind the flattened forms and spaces and line qualities of Miro” … [and] the bizarre figures and spaces of Chagall”.  Bridging reality and fantasy through vaguely chimera-like figures/personified animals, and oddly flat … pictorial spaces, Sexton’s paintings emo-tionally engage viewers directly with multitudes of figures and multitudes of vivid expressions.”  He is married to the neuroscientist Dr. Rochelle S. Cohen.

And here are samples of his artwork, his writing, and a few of his poems.  One requirement!
Recognize, truly appreciate, and, enjoy...

(Artwork: Eye Spy)


Cleaning out the attic, I find in the pocket of
an old, moth eaten jacket a little Black Book.  
Within its yellowed page are the names, 
numbers, addresses of women long forgotten.  
Fog, Snow, Rain, and so on, are written beside 
each one like youthful cryptograms. Who was Ice?  
Doesn’t sound very nice.  Sun sounds like fun.  
Hail? I dated Hail?  Must have been hell. 
Sleet!  How and where did I meet Sleet?  “I am
dating Sleet.  What a treat.  I’ll introduce you to
her sister Slush.  Nice stuff.”  Wind, Drought,
Thunder, every kind of weather, got to make
you wonder.  Who said women are all the same?     
There’s enough mood swings here to drive a
man insane.  Breeze, Freeze – womanizing can
be demoralizing, bring a guy to his knees.  Must
explain some things.  Mist, Hurricane, Hurricane?
—you’d think I could put an encounter to that name.    
Got to wonder what their notations about me were
and if they were all the same – Lame.
The fun of being young.  More like misery seeks
company, desperately. Sun. Must have been blonde.
Kind of makes your breath catch and your heart 
pound. Should I call that one?  What would she say? 
“Lame?  You again?"


Artist’s live where all dreams end.
Truth, illusion, are a dance of
apparations.  You try to capture it.
Smoke and mirrors is what you
usually get  - sometines life’s magic.
And then you hope that someone else
will appreciate it.
                                           Rex Sexton

(Artwork: Enchanted Café)


Cut-paper couples eat blue-plate specials at Formica tables – 
spirits steaming from their coffee cups – in the dead of winter, 
sky a shroud. “Long ago and far away and when you wish upon
a star and … “  Chalk white light makes ghosts of their shadows.  
Apparitions crowd the counter, huddled from a grim world of ice 
and rock.  “Wish I may and wish I might and once upon a time …”
I bundle back into the blizzard, bowed against that swirl, where
fallen angels dream of sorrow.

life’s weary wander -
a white road lost

                                                                                     Rex Sexton

(Artwork: Moon Ladder)


It’s still raining.  I bundle 
into the bistro and sit down 
across from her at the candlelit 
table, hoping I don’t look too 
disheveled.  I drop my book 
bag on the floor and toe it 
under cover as if it contained 
anything important.
“No rain no rainbow?”  I offer.
Our table is in a corner by the 
window.  Shapeless figures shuffle 
to and fro, hidden under umbrellas, 
like plodding turtles. She sighs and 
studies the menu as if we were going 
to order anything except the cheapest
items presented on the venue.  The 
nightly crowd slowly gathers, there 
is violin music, whispers and laughter. 
“Beyond the world’s tears there are 
stars?”  I wonder.  
She smiles.  “The night is ours.”



Cold rain, winter closing in,
promising snow, icicles, and
fields adrift with mystic
There won’t be time to set
things right.  There won’t be 
time for everything.
Time dreams in a garden
lush with life blooming.
Days fall like snowflakes,
melt with the spring.

                                                                                            Rex Sexton

(Artwork: Heartbreak Hotel

Top down, Stormy beside me,
blond hair tossed by the wind,
amidst streets of amber, scarlet, 
gold, leaves flying, whirling as
we cruised along, listening to the
radio and its top ten songs.  We 
were free and easy that sparkling 
day.  Then winter came.
Top down, Stormy beside me,
blond hair tossed by the wind,
amidst streets of amber, scarlet, 
gold, leaves flying, whirling as
we cruised along, listening to the
radio and its top ten songs.  We 
were free and easy that sparkling 
day.  Then winter came.

                                                                                        LIFE NOIR

Unknown hours fade to black.
                                                            Rex Sexton

                                                                       (Artwork: Doll Maker)


Most dreams are out of your reach.
But you dream them anyway, even
though they leave you more lost and 
miserable, amidst the rubble of your
troubles, than if you had let them go,
knowing they were a no show.  
Life is a stormy road.  You head for 
a dead end as soon as you begin.
Somewhere in the middle you start to
understand that you are a stranger in
a no man’s land where no one speaks
your language and no one understands.
It is the same for everyone.  Yet passion
burns and souls yearn and while dreams
die they live again.  There was lots of
whiskey, warm friends, loving women,
starry-eyed children eager to begin.
I’d do it again.


                       Each day clouds race across the sky, a joy,
                       and at night, as you close your eyes to dream,
                       stars fill the sky, a delight.  In between is the
                       feast of life: love, friendship, wondering, all
                       yours, everyone’s, and all for the savoring.
                                                                                      Rex Sexton

thank you, Rex!

'stuffs and such' in upcoming posts, including true story of Reb Zalman (Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi) effectively wielding an esoteric butcher knife while wife Eve thought he was taking his afternoon nap, come with this forewarning - it may be necessary to secure safety belts, adjust mouth guards and to be recently pottied, and

see you in a moment

ayaz daryl nielsen

Friday, March 1, 2013

'poetry's seed is the human heart, its blossoms are the leaves of words' - translator Angelee Deodhar

A book of translations that should have been acknowledged in whatever ways possible years ago (an example, I could have at least sent Ms Deodhar reimbursement for postage):

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu      100 Poems by 100 Poets

In 2007, translator/poet/(et cetera) Dr. Angelee Deodhar, of Chandigar, India (Chandigar, among loveliest of names) mailed bear creek haiku a copy of Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.  It has just resurfaced from among a stack tucked in a closet as I seek ‘yellow page’ books, books whose pages have turned/are turning yellow with an odor causing my strong allergy-like reaction (this book, thankfully, is healthy)

Fascinating.  This must be an important international poetic publication.  Briefly, from the forward by Dr Vyom, editor Haiku Darpan, this (my) paraphrasing -  ‘Japanese haiku is the world’s most loved poetic form today - direct translations from Japanese to Hindi (as of 2007) are virtually nil - speaks of her (Dr Deodhar’s) love for Japanese literature and her acting as a bridge between Japan and India - an invaluable gift for the Hindi haiku world’

from Dr Deodhar - ‘haiku, a relatively late form of waka - waka, first composed before the advent of writing in Japan to celebrate victories in battle and love or for religious reasons, for communication between friends and lovers - Ogura Hyakunin Isshu is of the best known collections of Japanese literature today’ - she writes of Uta-Karuta, Japan’s new year’s card game played with waka, and of Teika, the thirteenth century poet/critic, who may have collected these poems 

These two (para)phrases are key (for me) - first, ‘for any literary genre to be understood there has to be a knowledge of the socio-cultural background in which it was written’- 

second, and most important, a ninth century Japanese quote - ‘poetry’s seed is the human heart, its blossoms are the leaves of words - it moves heaven and earth, pacifies gods and demons, reconciles men and women, calms the hearts of savage warriors’ -

Japanese, to Hindi, to us - lovely, perhaps even magnificent -

The only thing I found
Was the moon of early dawn.   
                                                                  from a poem by Fujiwara no Sanesada

How the myriad unstrung gems
Are scattered everywhere around.          
                                                                 from a poem by Fun’ya no Asayasu

Here are brocades of red leaves,
As tributes to the gods.
                                                               from a poem by Fun’ya no Yasuhide 

oh, my - what else is in that closet 

see you in a moment

ayaz daryl nielsen