May 30, 2012 § Leave a comment
Today I lost my mucus plug which
is funny since I’m Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
and did not expect to get pregnant
to begin with. Here are some cool facts you should
probably know before you start sending
my soon-to-be-born son X-mas presents:
My real name is Geraldine Ferraro
and that is the name of the woman who
got me pregnant which means I got myself
pregnant. Get it? It all went down
at the Cleveland Clinic in Dayton, Alaska.
I’m also America’s first face
transplant and grew up in the town where Robert
Lowell’s poem “Skunk Hour” takes place.
Hell yeah, I’ve seen where that skunk stuck
her snout in sour cream, so steeped in idealism.
FYI, Edgar Allen Poe wrote an excellent
short story on a case of mistaken
identity where the ego creates
and projects itself onto the basket-
ball court which mirrors the political
arena where Ms. Ferraro spent most
of her formative years. But it’s Schelling’s
concept of “identity” illustrating
the interaction of the individual
with its counterpart man and machine,
deus ex machina, father and son,
that keeps me going back to the game.
Sandra Simonds, from Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State U. Poetry Center, 2012).
May 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Otherwise you can abide in discretion / or just plain bawl.
Everyone dies is no solace and no solace he’s no longer in pain
you’re young enough to move on is no solace no solace certainly in
you’ll get over it knowing you couldn’t have saved him no solace
no solace in it wasn’t your fault and where in the words he’s in a
better place now is there solace?
Solace is slow in solace moment by moment is the weather report
the report of whether solace is the sad harrowing glance at his
picture once more or the smiling unviolence of recollection this or
that memory solace because it was particular and lush and only yours
and the dead man’s solace is so covetous or else it is universal an
opening and opening towards the little weird gestures people who know
solace choose one gives you a bird on a thin gold chain another holds
your feet in her hands and unabandons you in the discourse of solace
there is best no words solace locked fast in its own holy and dolorous
Terrible to think solace is so liquid in its attentiveness it must be sought
again and again there is no solace that says yes and yes and yes
lying down in your lap and curling permanence and sometimes solace
must be hunted in the forests of what it is not or fished for within the salt
and yet there are those mornings that solace just appears and you’ve done
nothing to court such irreverent peace but you lie inside it anyway solace
saying being worthy being perfect is no possible requirement solace says
accept it and for him too if he couldn’t locate or lean into solace for solace
can be generous and without criteria and lasting like a quality of light.
-Catherine Owen, from Steve Kulash & Other Autopsies (AngelHousePress, 2012)
May 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
(yes, it’s an obvious one…)
from “Memorial Day”
I asked Tuli Kupferberg once, “Did you really jump off of The
Manhattan Bridge?” “Yeah,” he said, “I really did.” “How
come?” I said. “I thought that I had lost the ability to love,”
Tuli said. “So, I figured I might as well be dead. So, I went one
night to the top of The Manhattan Bridge, & after a few
minutes, I jumped off.” “That’s amazing,” I said. “Yeah,” Tuli
said, “but nothing happened. I landed in the water, & I wasn’t
dead. So I swam ashore, & went home, & took a bath, & went
to bed. Nobody even noticed.”
-Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman, Memorial Day (orig. published by The Poetry Project, St. Marks Church In-the-Bowery, 1971; reprinted in 2005 by Funhouse Press).
May 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
North Was Not the Way
The lead flyer suffered from anxiety,
nightmares. He kept dreaming
they were in a dream, flying north
when north was not the way.
He tried to dream them out of it
again. (This did not work.)
Every dawn, the ground
recovered from heartbreak,
the warm winds started.
But the flock was feeling uneasy.
This felt like starting back
from where they came. But there
was so much fear in turning back.
Which direction foretold promise,
silks, a fat enough herd?
North was not the way. And back
was also not the way.
Every afternoon, he turned them around,
but they kept formation, each face
closed like a beehive, industrious.
The current welling.
It was a mistake. The dream
of migration, unclear.
-Arlene Kim, from What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes? (Milkweed Editions, 2011)
May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Late Show
Natalie Wood, in the middle
of reciting a Wordsworth poem,
bursts into tears and runs out
of the classroom. Carroll Baker
gasps in an oxygen tent, her
platinum Harlow hair damp
and flat. Kim Stanley throws
a champagne glass at her mother’s
taxi, screaming “There is no god!
There is no god!” In a chiffon
cocktail dress and ankle-straps,
Joan Crawford staggers down
the beach, convinced her lover,
Jeff Chandler, is out to murder
her. Lana Turner learns that
she and her daughter, Sandra
Dee, are in love with the same
man. Jilted and demented, Suzy
Parker crouches in an alleyway
in a soiled trench coat, sifting
through Louis Jourdan’s trash.
To avoid forging the signature
of her twin sister, whom she’s killed,
Bette Davis grabs the red-hot end
of a fire iron with her writing hand.
Doris Day, in a black lace peignoir,
sobs into the telephone: “Who are
you? Why are you doing this to me?”
Julie Harris hears Hill House
beckoning, beckoning. Geraldine
Page begs Paul Newman for a fix.
Simone Signoret wipes her finger-
prints off the glass as James Caan
collapses, dead at her feet. Lee
Remick pours herself another
drink. Trembling, Ingrid Berg-
man watches the gaslights dim.
Shirley MacLaine breaks down,
admits her attraction to Audrey
Hepburn. Barbara Stanwyck tries
to keep Capucine. Elizabeth Taylor
scrawls, with lipstick, “No Sale”
across a mirror. Deborah Kerr
smolders. Shelley Winters shrieks.
Kim Novak screams and backs out
of the bell tower, into thin air.
-David Trinidad, from The Late Show (Turtle Point Press, 2007)
May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
I Did Not Hymn Beauty
“There were those we let die yesterday, when the living
was easy, when we buried all our precious things in sand:
the raw matter of us, locked in place to make a life.
They evanesce for the sake of less to see, different
in kind from water slopped in wine that was something
somehow not eclipsing thought. And I forgot how
coolly you brush past those bottles racked for sale.
But you’re dead now. Clean yourself off before
you swallow up the premise, squatting there
in a soft ebb from my anathema, you
and it both pushed out from my throat.”
Moonlight bruised and stained the sidewalk, hearing this.
She drew his picture after a delay of years, in soot
and desiccants and lack of ceremony. His stupor
was the shadow of one blighted elm across the kitchen
where he dumped a quart of bourbon down the sink,
still more capable of hearing word set off from word.
Her hand closed tightly on a formless lump, the fire
burning downward into sympathetic loam to leave
the ear alone – a pink mouth into dark – remains
of a pressure wave through matte sand, and noise
we made rising to our knees, in the compact hour of
eclipse, when mind’s more block than wind
through which I suck inertia off the unhurt parts,
an allopathy of the icon whose spirit is a bone-
deep curse on us, known in all our numbers.
There was no roof, but there were dandelions.
They remember every imp beneath the floor.
An earth absorbs the shame, and groans.
-Taylor Brady, from For I Know Not What I Did Last Summer (Trafficker Press, 2012)