52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Fantastic Excitement!

she said, like an old-timey lady of the prairie
visiting a carnival. And she was old-timey,
in the lilt of her voice, was lady-like too,
came in fact from South Dakota and it was
the carnival where she said it, into the air,
as we exited together the Hammerhead, me
feeling a mite woozy. Her dress, which slipped
on my lap as we spun, mightn't have flown
back home in Rapid City among her kin,
but who can say? She was as tender to me
as a teacup, and smooth like one, and brittle,
full--a rush of warmth. I'll win you
a panda, and we'll head out to space.
Conditions demand it. The night does. The day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Something to maybe go to...

....if you're free. I'm reading at this thing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Band T-Shirts

The dude w/ Vampire Weekend on his chest--
his undeveloped chest above his well developed

paunch--looked like he could be
Vampire Weekend in glasses.

Maybe he was, walking around college cause
he missed it, but this was no Columbia,

and that's no reason to cry, unless you want
a promising future. Buck up, man!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Life Has Been Bereft...

...and I didn't know it. Then I heard this on the radio the other night and sat, parked and riveted, till it ended. What have I been doing?

Claudia Rankine

Sometimes I think it is sentimental, or excessive, certainly not intellectual, or perhaps too naive, too self-wounded to value each life like that, to feel loss to the point of being bent over each time. There is no innovating loss. It was never invented, it happened as something physical, something physically experienced. It is not something an "I" discusses socially. Though Myung Mi Kim did say that the poem is really a responsibility to everyone in a social space. She did say it was okay to cramp, to clog, to fold over at the gut, to have to put hand to flesh, to have to hold the pain, and then to translate it here. She did say, in so many words, that what alerts, alters.

Claudia Rankine

In truth I know the answer to her question, but how can I say to her, Understand without effort that man is left, at times thinking, as if trying to weep. I am somewhat rephrasing the poet Cesar Vallejo because Vallejo comes closest to explaining that any kind of knowledge can be a prescription against despair...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The one briefly present

is every breathed-into thing. A person
is no thing, of course, in the way
that word's used, and words read
in volumeless, voluminous waste,
incapable of weakening sad's dominion.

This arrival comes in light of a smile
attached to one whom I expected to,
later and without expectation, send me
a dispatch from a life beyond my ken,
as anybody's is for you, for me, and
who will now not be sending it.
What's the proper tribute? What loss.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Scene in the Movie I Mean

is the scene where the girl hits the landing
when the stairs abruptly turn up to the right
and the window behind her blazes out
a wash of sunshine that in the colorless
film stock washes her out chest to crown
toward the ceiling. Her skirt is an altar
which upon the presence of God rests, He
the author and sustainer of all things we read,
and if interpretation is embodiment, then
the vision seen at home on that screen
has sustained sentences that rise and pause
at a break in the ascension before turning
abruptly away from the power that made them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Repeatedly, the Afternoons

make a body tired. When adopting outdated locutions
be sure to work them seamlessly into a straight face.
The coffee, black natch, in the cup is a constrained sea.
For us here the land is: The "sea grows old in it" we read,
satisfied, mysteriously. A white prow below a white deck
and sails cuts through the dark, unstable mirror,
apparently unframed, fog obscuring the border
where image yields to the receding hills--always
something darting behind the next breast. You may stop
regarding yourself. Look what else there is to see.

I Submitted to Poetry

The venerable (overused word) magazine. It's true. I've done it before and will again. Stay tuned for the inevitable--for whatever happens is inevitable. After it happens, I mean. Right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

oh man

Your friends are more successful than you.



They don't mean to but don't stop letting you know.



There is a star with a clock in it bursting from the wall.



They all wear swatches that double as weights for their tanned and muscled arms.



We get it: you're great.



Love better be better.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two Claims Derived from Recent Listening

McCartney's at his best when he doesn't mean it.

Lou Reed's at his best when he does.

James 5, v. 8

You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Yet something else
to do—not said in tones
especially authoritative (unearned,
Stalinistic, like as to those
we read about with untraceable cash
we never have buying
policy)—is learn to wait,
always meaning long.
Set up camp for what you want
and make it what you want, for soon
from around the invisible
intuited screen… —To sum up:
Calm and slow down, it’s happening
fast: you (won’t) know.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Poetry on an E-reader

Poetry points out literature’s ambivalent oscillation between what Craig Mod calls “formless content” and “definite content”—between a discourse conveyed without fixed visual shape and a discourse that relies on specific appearance. Poetry shows that literature, like light, is both wave and particle. - Siobhan Phillips