Monday Morning PoemBlunt, simplistic even, yet memorablehe read a longer version that was even better in my opinion, engaging the reader/listener: words to the effect of, "And if you've ever rationalized a war, any war, any just war / Fuck you." This is all conveyed with the sweetest imaginable affect and gentleness, like a precocious child. His partner Kish Song Bear had a slyer faux naif persona: her background's in theater and her poems often have a surreal narrative quality to them. Not what's usually meant by surreal in the American contextthe surreal of dreamlike juxtapositionbut rather narratives that startle even as they pull you in through their apparent coherence. I wish I could reproduce here an amazing prose poem she wrote about Oprah and Katie Holmes and Katie Holmes' ass, but maybe more typical is her broadside poem:
Fuck War Forever.
Forever and Always.
til the end of Time,
Fuck War and Its Defenders
til the end of time.
Fuck War and its Zombie Parots forever.
The Person I Love Is Distant (Because I Love Someone Else)She read this and other poems with an air of ironic kittenishnessboth readings were very sexy in their different ways, Aaron through a kind of potently straightforward vulnerability, Kish through reflecting on feminine objectivity and the objectification of the feminine. Don't miss a chance to hear them if they come to your town. And don't miss, wherever you happen to be, next month's reading (July 15), which will miraculously feature two of my closest friends in or out of the poetry world: Richard Greenfield and Brian Teare.
How do you say "straightjacket"
in Japanese? Would James Bond?
I have one glass eye. Meanwhile, I'm a marvel
with a chainsaw and one eye came loose
because it's just a marble. It's easier to crack
two nuts together than each separately.
Dear Dr. No,
what are you going to do with that cold slab
of meat and all them eggs? I take my hardcover
on and off. Dr. Yes, I'm never sure what story
I'm telling. I'm waiting for a filing cabinet.
You know what I'm going to say
to the person at the box office?
Meeting folks report: G.C. Waldrep came through town yesterday and we had an enjoyable long lunch together talking poetry and pastoral and whatnot. I think we have interestingly complementary but not exactly congruent aesthetics. I hear his manuscript Archicembalo has won the PSA's Alice di Fay Castagnola Award, and good for him: it's remarkable work.
Dissertation report: Officially began writing the RJ chapter yesterday. Today not much progress but I am immersed in what little critical writing there is. Rachel Blau Du Plessis' essay in the first issue of Facture (is that magazine still in production?) is particularly brilliant; Eric Selinger's "ARK as a Garden of Revelation" has also been very useful to me.
Weather report: After days of unseasonable grayness and cold, today brilliant sun and just enough clouds.
Extracurricular reading report: Jonathan Raban's Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings. I love a good nautical yarn.