Viva Viggo!

July 21, 2005 at 1:26 pm (Uncategorized)

(Inspired by Seamus and his poem post today)

Viggo Mortensen is one of my favorite poets. Although many are unaware that “Aragorn/Strider” is also a painter, photographer, and poet and has published several books and started his own publishing company, Perceval Press, for books like his. Books filled with paintings, and poems in paintings, and photographs, and poems with photographs. The website also features political commentary and is anti-war (and anti-Bush). Conservatives have been warned. They also publish fantasy books and other materials which otherwise would not have a place in a typical publishing company.

I own two of Viggo’s books (“Recent Forgeries” and “Sign Language”) and I’m looking forward to the day I can purchase, “Coincidence of Memory,” and the others. When I bought and read/heard “Recent Forgeries” it opened a new world for me in poetry. What? I can do this? I love this!!! WTF? Where have I been???

Of course, poetry, photography, and paintings are entirely subjective and to each their own. However, when I heard Viggo reading his own material on the CD enclosed with “Recent Forgeries,” indeed I was overwhelmed. Luckily, someone was kind enough to capture that CD on mp3 and examples of his work can be found here.

May I suggest… “Weekends,” to date, my favorite poem by Viggo.

Medicated lilies are lonely and greedy
sick for attention
dying for comfort
you’re drunk for days

Over-burdened moss rotten branches heave slowly with the weak night breeze
like a failing heart
and gray as the stone wall.
The nurse in me won’t let me leave

Homemade illness hardens into sugar
and batters your speech
draping your dry white tongue over your teeth
Red pin holes for eyes and your mouth is a smudge

Do I have to watch tomorrow afternoon
while you keep your face warm with the television
and the maple drips on the lawn chairs
that flake and rust on the flooded terrace?

When you start snoring
I’ll take the tray from your lap and tip you over
so I can look for the rest of your lunch under the green sofa cushions
and probably end up finding those pills you’ve been hiding

By the time the clouds dim
and I start to see us in the window
I’ll be drunk myself
and ready to wake you for dinner.

I don’t know if all of those words are right. The poem wasn’t actually written out in “Recent Forgeries” it was only on the CD. You can listen to it and see for yourself. At the time I got the book, Holland the Drunk had just moved out so listening to this poem was, in a sense, cathartic. I didn’t feel so alone.

Here is the poem I wrote after reading “Recent Forgeries.”


Stride I do on thin ice
spider web cracks
I see bubbles beneath my feet
Further away from shore
I go
I should fall through
Ice is thinner in the middle
Or is it?
What if I don’t believe that?
Away from the shore
I go
Stronger I become
The bubbles rumble
But don’t break
Thin ice holds
Even the heaviest of hearts

I liked it at the time, but now its… eh.

Here, though, is one that I still like:


They drive so close their auras seep into my car like hazy red stop lights, mixing with blue notes from the radio until the air pulses purple. I turn my blinker on and slow down, confusing them on this exitless highway.

Other poetry by yours truly can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The last two are part one and part two.

So… check out Viggo, have a great day, and read a poem today.

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