Friday, March 28, 2003

I don't post a lot of poems on this blog. I personally find poems hard to read online unless they're short—that is, I like to be able to see the whole poem at a glance. There's something about the way one might otherwise have to endlessly scroll down that makes it hard for me to concentrate. Maybe I secretly hate poetry and want it to end quickly; but if that isn't true then it must be that brevity is part of the experience of reading poetry for me. It might be even more accurate to say that for me the poem really is an object, that old machine made of words, and if I can't hold it in my hands (the book) then I want to hold it with my eyes. Because after all I do read long poems and enjoy them, in book form.

That being said here are three fairly recent poems from my series-in-progress, Severance Songs. Events have inevitably and overwhelmingly invaded what was intended to be an experiment in pastoral. It still is, but the parameters of that experiment have undergone a painful and unwilled dilation. Incidentally, these are supposed to appear with a 1.5 spacing but I can't figure out how to do that in blogworld:


I'm hip to coelacanth, to refinding the spines
that were never really lost. The bloom is off again,
on again the oil wells. History: its “comportment”?
Its circulatory system? Its bald mechanics
abstract us from our distraction, distract us from our abstraction.
Its “dialectical images”? Its all-surrendering swoon.
Pace the present’s televisual fires, remember:
digital means by hand. Its too easy AWACs?
Its hard-to-sustain homecoming? Again with the island
abstaining its ill wind. The tropical sky was.…
The Mediterranean... All-volunteer hermeneut, I'm a-tumble.
Sustained by a crawl, vicious weather balloon.
The Missouri... breaks.… The rag ladder has started.
Heavy on my head the home inflammable’s my own.


Sun breaks sixty and the tattering blooms appear,
human and graceless. Heads down, eyes up, churning
muddy children and long boys, the lawgivers.
Beauty depends on concept, spring shrieks, Araby.
We brought our wintry candles unto the maw,
we stilled our voices, let sleeping language lie.
True and town’d together in our black array of masks,
behind each sun darkly downed, its breath that stirs the branches.
Concept relies on fire from elementary, empty hands.
Shake them and the head, the nod for no that goes unheard.
O vigilance, oh you kid, o the desert above our heads,
o awe and shock cathecting gleams from shattered glass.
What comes to candlepower’s ours. Grotesquely on the sand.
Mothering sun by night that masks our hearing human screams.


Soon I am confronted by a powerful youth.
He is camel-colored, a biceps, bear-hugger.
A terrible busload of boys is arriving
in the chocolate chips. You were mine
they say are mine to be mined caterwauling the wall.
Upside-down in his iris the Watts Towers rise.
Packed his suitcase, packed heat. To go.
Bedside fury, a terrible bustle at sleep.
That is all Turandot, all memory, head and torso striking
and sinking in a pool of lamentable oils.
All hands at hand, are mute replicas required?
Seeming? Humorous fluids inside and out
the body that flints some fire, denied and beside
the point of entry, swank blamery, bulleted.

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