Monday, February 09, 2004

Free Blurbs

The title poem of Jerry Estrin's Rome, a Mobile Home haunts me with the urgency of what it describes ten years after it was published:

Each no is a progress rendered by capital

A history of Kuwait, Bullion City

A history of pleasantness can be arranged

Stacks of stolen loot still steady our metaphysical Mercedes as
we zoom to the border still being carried away

Bullet holes in the glass of Iraq

A politics for the present

With its repertoire

This picture is on strike
Radiance floods from the ample white space of Lisa Fishman's Dear, Read which, as Brenda Hillman notes, "call up the traditions of Dickinson, Niedecker, and Riding." Emotional lineation, short sentences aglow, like a female Creeley stabbed by desire without guilt:

J. played guitar and sang. J. lay me on the kitchen counter,
made me see myself in shadow.
In the dark, J. sang and sang. In the light, J. sang.
First it was night when J. brought me home.
Then it was day. Translucent, I sang.
Yedda Morrison's Crop is a horrorshow of alienated labor reinventing itself as alien eros, a broadband indictment with "endless anonymous capacity for entrance," engaged, hilarious, an incitement, completely beautiful, and sadly unreproduceable here (by me).

Hung Q. Tu builds Structures of Feeling that plumb irony without smartassness, "Pure as the driven news," like clicking refresh a thousand times on a webcam covering a WTO riot. I'm struck by the sheer usefulness of this book: it's a guidebook for deportees to George W. Bush's America:
fly me to the moon fiscal Disney ride
ball club isn't in reference to stars
crisis centers alter ego put bombs to sleep
this kind of publicity you have to pay for
Or, from "More LBJ":
E-1, E-2, E-3 . . . items or atoms harem scare'em
palm dead ahead

Fonda the clan

showroom den (of iniquity)

everybody splashes their satellites in the Indian ocean

camouflaged spotter
magnified golfers
California wave
after wave

house dressed

"keep that away from me"

painstaking accidents
low hanging merchandise
cafeteria evolved
zero sum banter
What is Lisa Jarnot up to? Her Black Dog Songs (a gorgeous object before it's anything else, with a blurb from Stan Brakhage somehow confirming the book's status as an image) go car-camping in Gertrude Stein's K.O.A., bearing knapsacks-full of linguistic odds and ends that, she, MacGuyver-like, assembles in an instant into whatever's most needful—weaponized love poems, mass romantic destruction—with just her own bare hands, a mesmerist's broken watch, and the beguiling truth-lariat of syntax:
Indian Hot Wings
for George W. Bush

The chicken wing factory is lit up in flames
and the flames are the wings of the little hot chickens.

The little hot chickens are the lampshades of the night
glowing inside the burning of dawn.

The dawn light is chicken-light for little white chickens,
The chickens are white like the glowing of coal.

The coal light of chickens are the white light of chickens.
The chickens are burning and bright in the sun.

The sunlight and lampshades are brighter than chickens.
The dreams of the chickens are bright as the sun.

The chickens are filled with the hot coals of lampshades.
The chickens are burning, the chickens are done.
Wallace Stevens, thou should be living at this hour! But the creepiness is so often betrayed by tenderness, or perhaps it's the reverse. I'm going home to read this to my dog:
Greyhound Ode

Go to sleep little doggie
while the moon is still foggy
and the wild dogs all bark
by the light of the moon

by the moon little doggie,
under streetlights so foggy
while the wild dogs all bark
by the moon by the moon

at the waters so foggy
little dog little doggie
go to sleep little doggie
by the light of the moon.

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