Tuesday, July 24, 2012

creeping, four-footed

The dog is kicking in her sleep, taking up four fifths of the sofa. I am slouched in my one-fifth, getting kicked, too lazytired to get up and finish my hurtheavy eyes into sleep. I wrote another poem tonight, but I'm not sure if I like it. Something in me is getting into the plain speech of things and relying more on repetition. I am not used to this. I also use "empire" in the poem, personified, well house-ified, it's a house in the poem. And I want to use a different word because "empire" is overused. This whole century so far it's a little darling of a word and I've used it too. In this poem it is repeated too many times. There are also monkeys. 

Photo courtesy of http://3scape.com

Tonight I am reading a few things, of them Anne Boyer's My Common HeartThis is from that:


Two cities have been formed by two loves. The one seeks sustenance, shelter, and the maintenance of objects and environments, but the greatest glory of the other is when the one lifts up its head in its own glory and says "hey" to the other and then the other says to the other "hey." Also when the two cities, earthly and ideal, say to one another "hey, you other city, you are really my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." In the one, all the princes, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers, bosses, and the nations they subdue are ruled by the love of saying "hey" to the other; in the other, the princes and the subjects shout in the middle of the square about ruling and love and some citizens take dictation. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the armies, defense contractors, urban planners, and banking systems; the other says, "hey, I will love thee, the other city, with my strength, too." And this love is reciprocated! And the two cites are in love! And therefore the wise men and women of the one city, living according to love, have sought the profit of their own bodies or souls, or both, and those who have known the ideal city and the earthly city also became their imaginations and in becoming this became the glory of incorruptible everything and they became together birds and they become together pilgrims and they become together four-footed beasts and they become together creeping things.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

the in-betweens

I recently read Srikanth Reddy's Facts for Visitors, and also Voyager. Which I really enjoyed. And read another book I didn't really care for, that I won't bother to name, although it too was interesting to look at in order to further understand what it is poets are doing when they cross the border between lineated and prose poems, why they make the decisions they make to break or not to break. I have a stack of books and I'm working through them. Because, really, there's not much else going on. And because I want to get as far on my critical thesis as possible before fall. Before late summer travel really. 

Today I read the first of two Barbara Jane Reyes books I will read. Poeta en San Francisco. In it I found the sounds to be a mixed bag of stunning and lackluster. Sounds to be the first stick by which I measure any writing, of course. Leaving that aside, the project of the book and the execution of it is incredibly powerful. A look at war. And war culture. About that I am still thinking / not yet in a position to comment on. 

From the book I will share an excerpt of a poem, which I am rudely taking out of context, but which (out of context) moved me today. Because it's where I am. The second I will include whole-cloth.


(from one of the epistolary prose poetry parts... p 92)

there are times that missing you is a matter of procedure. now is not one of those times. there are times when missing you hurts. so it comes to this, vying for geography. there is a prayer stuck in my throat. douse me in gasoline, my love, and strike a match.


[agimat kinabukasan]

one day she will build a temple from detritus, dust of your crumbling empires’ edicts; its walls will hold with blood and spittle, brackish water and sun-dried grasses. within these walls she will inscribe her own terms of worship, upon every pillar and column, glyphs resembling earth and ocean. once she had no sharpened stone, no reason for stone, for once the wind bore her words upon its entire wingspan. carved into bamboo, banana leaf, her river poems, her birdsong.

you came then, with your devices, and you will come again, believing yourself to be some cipher, some illuminati, plunder-hungry in secrecy. she will not appease you, but with the fire you once took to her flesh, she will melt down your weapons, forge her own gods, and adorn her own body.

it is for no glory, no father, no doctrine. as it was in the beginning, so shall it be again. in plumes of ash blanketing sky, the land expels that with which she was poisoned. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Poetry is a Form of Substance Abuse

by Donald Revell

It is the right time for hallucinations.
Drowning in a sty, the sailor
feels the ocean’s buoyancy.
Dying in a web, the moth
discards its wings and falls free.

I wish something would put its hands on me,
give me stronger poison and then stronger.
The beautiful flotillas do not stop.
Undying love drifts and delays.
I am capsizing.

Great joy lingers still.
Nothing can be said for suffering.
It is legible only to strangers
and at great distances. It detests
survivors. It drapes gun-carriages

with flowers, lampposts with hanging boys.
It is the right time for hallucinations,
most nakedly of inmost west.
Her death would be less tender now,
dusted over with charity,

a web of useless wings, a shallow sty.
She gave me stronger poison and then stronger.
I miss her.
In the back seat of the taxi,
dark breathlessness says “Hurry, hurry.”


This is my favorite thing I've read lately. Though I also liked all of Rachel Zucker's Museum of Accidents as well. What I feel is an honest view of motherhood and relationships. I feel like I was so shocked by her honesty that I actually read the poems for content. Something I rarely do, or rarely do at first. I will need to read again for sound, which is the important thing. Also to see how she incorporates prose blocks within some poems (what I'm interested in now, how poets move back and forth between blocks and lineation). 

Anyway, Revell. Here is a link to the Poetry Foundation site that also includes audio of Revell reading Benzene: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/181207