Sunday, February 03, 2013

Existing in New York City as a Poet

Foto by tgw, "In Madison Square Park," New York City, January 2013
READ ALL ABOUT these sorry crooked bankers, including Barry Obama's (have you seen photos of Barry skeet shooting at Camp David?) ol' pal, Little Jamie Dimond, and how this rotten-to-the-core bunch of pirates are not only too big to fail but too big to JAIL:
Say Goodbye to: Lavonne "Pepper" Paire, All-American Girls Baseball League catcher and RBI leader. Pepper Paire, 88, American AAGPBL baseball player: 

Say Goodbye to: Essie Mae Washington (Thurmond), old asshole Strom Thurmond's black daughter by his 16-year-old Black house servant.  You see how lousy and sorry our lyin' dog politicians are? "Hey, now, you all, as Ol' Massuh, I had a biblical right to fuck mah house nigger gals back in them days," said ol' scumbag Strom right 'fore he kicked the bucket.  Essie Mae Washington-Williams, 87, American schoolteacher, daughter of Senator Strom Thurmond
I Am a Published Poet
When I was young and wild-eyed and vigorous and rude, I wrote poetry.  I suppose they were good poems since all the poems I wrote in those days were published.  I published over 25 poems from the 1960s into the 1970s...and then I stopped writing poetry.  I have never been able to write long poems.  Like Lord Byron for instance, or one of my favorites, Sam Coleridge, or like Walt Whitman, or like Ezra, or like Wilde (I truly have loved The Ballad of Reading Gaol since I was a kid:
So with curious eyes and sick surmise/ We watched him day by day,/ And wondered if each one of us/ Would end the self-same way,/ For none can tell to what red Hell/ His sightless soul may stray),
Short verse!  That's my metier now.  I am currently working on putting into a collection the hundreds of short verses I've recently written that are housed in the myriad piles of school-kids notebooks (my latest one made in India, I just noticed) in the shelves that surround my loft bed.  I've even started recording some of these verses to a CD, me reading them with my composing and playing piano interludes between them.

What are poems?  Yes, certain people are born to poetry.  My maternal grandmother was a published poet.  She published two books of poetry in the 1930s.  The last book my brother the writer published was a book of poetry.  I was amazed to find my brother's poems seemed to be almost exact reflections of my grandmother's poems.  My grandmother wrote short verses; therefore I'm born to her poetry perhaps, though we're not related in terms of reflection.

Recently after coming under the care of a new-to-me doctor at Bellevue Hospital (I recently wrote a post about this beautiful woman having deceived me via her beauty and charm into allowing myself to be immunized with a couple of vaccines after I had sworn many years ago (after a stint in the U.S. Army) that I would never allow myself to be vaccinated), I was introduced to the Bellevue Literary Review, of which this doctor is its editor-in-chief.

First of all, yes, I was surprised to find that a hospital had a literary review.  Second, I was further surprised on getting home with the copy given me by this doctor to find that it's a very well-done and totally high-brow (bet you haven't heard that term used in a very long time) in terms of its format and content.  It's a combination of short stories and poems supposedly all having to do with health and care and hospitalization and the traumas and/or jubilations surrounding such subjects.

I got about halfway through this issue of the Bellevue Literary Review finding the short stories interesting, one of them very intriguing, all of them well written, and the poetry in the same boat...until...I came to a poem...a poem that threw me for a loop.  I read it and reread it and I began to try and conjecture what the heck this woman was meaning in this poem, but for the life of me, I stayed thrown for a loop every time I tried to make sense out of it (yes, I know, poetry makes its own sense through its own particular definitions of sense).

Here's the poem.  It's entitled Elegy in which the film degrades by Anne Marie Rooney, an award-winning poet who's a native of New York City.


She has seen the angle a man shudders into.
The slab of haunch a promise.  This woman
whose face opens like a butcher's knot.
"Both my daughters know how to grieve,"
she says, but something beats against
this.  Past the window, a blind of rain and dirtier.
If tonight I flatten to a list.  "Shabby and hot"
is what she called me, and then I showed her real fire.


So this arrow opens its fever: Where there is one
cut there are five.  To say nothing of the light
is to say nothing of how a dead mom can warp
cankers into lovers.  The thickness of sickness
swelters and under its skin.  Still the beauty
of the body's swollen crown.  All is gilted
mars.    Peel back the spears, the bitter thistle.
             Eat only the heart.


The slab of haunch a promise: a slow answer
takes hold.  By hour's end, what is left of her story
will turn clean.  What is left
will turn the water at the bed
of the one who breaks into wave.

Tell it like this:
The yarn of the body unravels.  Then the body

I'm still stunned...and this is about the sixth time I've read this poem.  Yet, the Bellevue Literary Review poetry editor must have immediately seen the poetic value and meaning of it and declared it publishable.  But to me, it's too jigsawed for me to see the picture meant when the jigsawed pieces are fitted together.

Ah, poets!  Wondrous human works they are.  What makes certain people driven to poetry?  There's no money in it.  The Bellevue Literary Review pays you in copies or subscriptions.  There is money in it I suppose if you can land a teaching position at some college somewhere.  I studied poetry in college.  My teacher loved Whittier; but Whittier put me to sleep.


'Jove means to settle
Astraea in her seat again,
And let down his golden chain
An age of better metal.'

Ben Johnson 1615

O POET rare and old!
Thy words are prophecies;
Forward the age of gold,
The new Saturnian lies.

The universal prayer
And hope are not in vain;
Rise, brothers! and prepare
The way for Saturn's reign.

Perish shall all which takes
From labor's board and can;
Perish shall all which makes
A spaniel of the man!

Free from its bonds the mind,
The body from the rod;
Broken all chains that bind
The image of our God.

Just men no longer pine
Behind their prison-bars;
Through the rent dungeon shine
The free sun and the stars.

Earth own, at last, untrod
By sect, or caste, or clan,
The fatherhood of God,
The brotherhood of man!

Fraud fail, craft perish, forth
The money-changers driven,
And God's will done on earth,
As now in heaven;

I'm sorry, John, you still put me to sleep; just like, I'm sure, a Quaker service would.

In Whittier's sleep I fall
A night's knocked out state
On morn when I awake
Whittier's snores abate

This doesn't mean I hate Whittier.  He was a good man.  And besides, what better way to drop into a deep sleep, which of course is very healthy.

for The Daily Growler

The Art of (my old friend) Will Shuster:

Will Shuster Aspens Near Taos

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Six times s five times too many. "My love is like a hamburger".