ERIK BLOOM

Writer

http://www.magicmirrormovie.com

I was born in Flushing, Queens where the Mets play and they hold the U.S. Tennis Open. I lived on the 20th floor of one of two towers you could see from the Long Island Expressway. I liked it there but we moved out to the burbs when I was fairly young. We were movin’ on up, but I was unhappy even when we made it all the way to posh Great Neck (which is called West Egg in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby) where I passed through the trauma of puberty and High School.  After I graduated I never looked back, even if I visit NYC from time to time. I’ve lived all over the country gathering “experiences” I suppose but my favorite place was Portland, OR. But that was a long time ago – pre-millennial in fact. I landed in Baltimore in 2004 and been here ever since.

I believe I can write in almost any genre, but I gravitate toward the opposing poles of poetry and non-fiction, especially in the areas of literature, politics, history, music, philosophy, theology or anything that happens to get my cackles up, which turns out to be quite a bit. I can be highly rhetorical and privilege style over the prosaic strictures of mere fact. But logic and evidence are also important, as long as they don’t marginalize, or worse, exorcise imagination.

I got my BA in English Literature and minored in music at Skidmore College.  I went on to get my masters in lit., but left shortly before finishing so I could join a French religious order – yeah long story.  Anyhoo in the end I did not become a monk, again long story, but I’ve been haunted by the experience ever since. So while the arts remain central to my existence, I will be pursuing first a masters then a PhD in Theology.  Let me be clear, I have no desire to enter even the relatively liberal Episcopal priesthood – it’s in an academic vocation that I wish to spend what remains of my life.  I do aim to be a somewhat radical theologian, not unlike Cornell West and Karen Armstrong, which I think will come naturally as I already see myself as a dissident in current day America.

Still this may seem an odd choice for someone living in this building. So let me end with a quote from Oscar Wilde’s dialogic essay “The Decay of Lying” – one of my personal favorites: “As for the Church, I cannot conceive anything better for the culture of a country than the presence in it of a body of men [I’d now add women] whose duty it is to believe in the supernatural, to perform daily miracles, and to keep alive that mythopoeic faculty which is so essential for the imagination…” and shortly after he famously demurs, “Man can believe in the impossible, but man can never believe in the improbable.” As you’re chewing on that know that while my belief in the supernatural may daily waiver and morph, my belief in the imagination is paradoxically steady for it is the very nature and engine of the unbinding of transformative energies.  As such I mean to serve as best I can both the Church and the larger world outside it.

Writing Samples:

 

Stone Angels

The blinds go up

The blinds go down

It is summer - already

Sun-happy-burns sear

through the grey shades

of a checkered mind flipping

the blind slats open closed open –

what do you see for the flash

of a slashed view of gravestones

gleaming slick in decay

and stone angels standing guard

over a secret open closed open –

gone in the dust of a late afternoon drag

wearing both sexes of day and night?

 

A Proper Goodbye

for Joshua and Jenni

Plenty of time to sleep

when you’re dead

you told me in another life.

It’s now too many years since goodbye

was no longer mine to give

 

and I dream of you

in all your disguises,

your true selves,

an almost girlish boy

and a boyish woman.

 

You moved too fast even for me

who was so often caught flying

and at least once a year

did so at your side.

But then you prophesied

 

as if to prepare us

for when you finally took

one flight too far

and came down hard

on a highway in California

 

as I later landed

far away up the coast

on a carpet too soft

for the cruelty of the fall.

 

I’ve slept enough since then for the both of us.

Forgive me for getting up so late.

 

Drifting Sleep

after the painting by Aya Uekawa

after the painting by Aya Uekawa

Her face floats

in gold

in bodiless

deep sleep.

Her hair undulates

behind her

like an ancient snake.

 

She is an open-eyed oval

of porcelain sheen

a half-lidded dreamer

of golden dreams.

 

She is no Madonna of Magnificats.

No child sits enthroned

in her lap.

 

She is the imported luxury

of a mind let loose

upon 24k aureate seas.

 

She is staring right at us

and past us

in a paradox

of motion

of the perpetual flow

of dream-time

and the untraceable temporal

curvatures of its spell.

 

And so she persists

in an eternity

of luminous yellow leaves

 

even if her visions

rot in the early sun

and are taken out

with the morning trash

as of no use

to the burningly bright

logic of day.

 

A Plastic Wilderness

In the parking lot

of a pharmacy

a tree

slightly smaller than the average tree

stood holding up

to the sky

two plastic bags

whose crackling flutter in the wind

blend with the sound of birds

who chatter in frenzied chorus

and cling and dart and cling    

to branches in earliest bud.

The birds are fat

and puffed full of song.

The tree is thin

with the thinness of winter still

while a third bag

in its unrelenting white and red

swirls ascendant

as it twines up the trunk

before being caught

on the fingertip of a limb.

 

I drive away with my drugs

beside me in its plastic bag.

For a moment

the image dominates

the stubbly field of my vision.

The very trash of life

blows across that field

a trashy sight

an abandoned lot of ground

empty of everything

but what’s been irredeemably

thrown away

and a few weeds

to give the mockery of green.

Still the birds come

preying upon discard and decay

still they come

carrying in the bulge of their chests

all the stubborn glamour of song