Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Function and Worthiness of Humour in Contemporary Poetry

A long, fascinating dialogue between ten poets (I'm being charitable to George Bowering, here, with this label -- the other nine are intelligent, making subtle distinctions, whereas Bowering simply embarasses himself) on the uses and abuses of humour in modern poetry, and on the prevailing suspicion that humour is "beneath" tragedy or "high" art, if not altogether unworthy.

My favourite perspicacity, from the probing Gabriel Gudding: "Levitas is married to gravitas or it's crapitas."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #81

Ankles scissoring in tartan tutu,
Codpiece crawling with wood tics,
Born my desire again, borne
On conflicting winds flipping
A chapterless tome, white pages
A minimalist’s wet dream
(Polar bear eating ice cream in a blizzard),
Where’dtheygo-Indigo fate, publishing woes,
Done in, crepuscular creeps,
Enraptured as sinners fleeing a burning churchpit.

The vertigo world upended oaks,
Roots like old patients’ arms
Enmeshed, baptizing kids with sprinkled dirt,
Acorns tight as ballet-hose, green, capped
And falling in fallow patches.

Bent on all fours, I root
For favours and nourishment
From the interred crabapple.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #80

Rattling a plastic cup along crib bars,
Filing poems under patches of matches,
Light-blue blanket with pink dots and stars,
My bubbleheaded innocence is matchless.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #79

At ease, convivial,
The sailors slug their suds
All afternoon next table,
Scored gale-cuts runnelling
Cheeks like millennial
Lifelines or ochre rivers.

One down, a couple, pact-tight,
Signal their promise
With a quick, hard kiss,
Brush bare arms, arch into each.
Outside the four-foot circle,
Nothing exists. Gins clink.

Patio packed. Painters
On lunch break breaking wind
And company rules, shouts
At punch lines glad, unspooled.
Another pitcher plopped
In puddled backwash. Ha.

At the bar, two secs relate,
In giddy trade, an office
Trick or squalid tryst.
Hair flips, eyes flick, lip tucks
When suave, blue-suited suitor
Takes the next stool, thighs splayed.

And across, a man alone
Bones up on Fyodor’s
Notes From Underground,
Paragraphs underlined,
Sly smile over black book’s V
As he tilts up and sees

Me cupping my Temple,
Shuffling napkins, blushing,
Trivial, ill-at-ease,
Scoring the mahogany,
Graffiti on a coffin
Slab, etchings exed and vexed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Robert Duncan's "Bending The Bow"

Yah, it ain't new. First published in 1963, to be exact, but I've been putting off Duncan for decades because of my preset, prejudicial, averse mindset stemming from a distaste for, and impatience with, the Olson influence, that Black Mountain fraud who mystified and conned generations (with, in many quarters, only a small let-up even today) into swallowing a sour mishmash of scattered allusions, lumpy prose sprayed like a cat's territorial markings on most every page, and turgid narrative which boasts a name or place in the time it takes to tag it, then flees to the next billboard.

But this is a review (of sorts) on Bending The Bow, so I'll abstain from the popular Olson/Duncan/Bowering sport of making a spiritual tessellated stained glass dome of luminary (by back-and-forth backpatting) luminosity of the initiate legions, which only seems to create worth by the hushed evocative tones its communal practitioners proceed with, rather than any convincing evaluative analysis.

Robert Duncan's Bending The Bow begins with a post-volume introduction (written in 1967) which actually begins: "We enter again and again the last days of our own history ....". Now, Irving Layton frequently penned prefaces, for over three decades, to his multiple volumes of poetry by linking the upcoming contents to contemporary political realities. Layton's pro-U.S. gov't views on Viet Nam have long been derided, and Duncan, here, takes the popular stance, as was the case with Lowell, Bly, and many other American poets, of passionate opposition to the war. Fair enough. But poetry is supposed to be concerned with proportion, with truth in its minutest particulars, so "being on the right side" means nothing when such frantic hyperbole is standard issue. OK, again, it's a prose intro, so let's turn to the relevant text in the poetry:

"robot service in place of divine service;/the Good Word and Work subverted by the Advertiser,/He-Who-Would-Avert-Our-Eyes-From-The-Truth."

That hysterical stump-waving scrawl comes from "Passages 26: The Soldiers", and is not replicated faithfully as to typographical integrity, but then I'm not going to the trouble of entering, pasting, and transcribing the exact layout here. (It's not that much different, in this case.) Which brings me to the next annoyance with this book: if Olson's "projective" verse excited and "opened up" possibilities for poetic form (I'd say poetic shape, but that's a large argument for another time), then Duncan, here, has run amok to the extent that one gets dizzy from trying to figure out the speed, pace, dynamics, emphases, pause length (the big "period" which is explained in the intro is ludicrous -- how long is the pause? And should it be flexible, or should we have a second-hand stiopwatch at the ready?), not to mention the meaning attached to the scores of degree of indentation.

There is a full page of prose explication before the two-page "My Mother Would Be A Falconress" which doesn't cancel the obnoxious didactic meandering by the ploy of a different title ("A Lammas Tiding"). And the poem? Apparently, it's an important one in the Duncan canon, so I'll quit taking apart "minor works", as the frequent counter-criticism goes, and deal with this one.

This is a brilliant poem. It's, for Duncan, a rare lyrical success. But, rare for any poet, it enacts and sustains a deep, complex universal psychological intransigence, that of the sensitive youth (boy to mother, specifically) who needs his mother's protection while simultaneously despising her for that power and for putting a limit on his necessary flight. The final three lines, even after his mother has died, returns to: "I tread her wrist and wear the hood,/talking to myself, and would draw blood".

The high rhetoric of Duncan's long poems with big themes aren't even a footnote to those of Hart Crane, a poet who closely resembles Duncan in tone and epic concern. Where Crane could also be embarassing in his emotivity, his strangely anguished feeling over slight events and stock characters, he could also craft gorgeous lyrics, whether or not their scope called for the formal richness. Duncan, however, is a prescriptive poet, but what's worse, one whose answers are cliches, are simplistic, however well-meaning they are.

Ethereal Beauty #78

Snow geese purr along river’s rippled ridges,
Wings flapping slantwise on the aqua incline.
They are in no hurry, though they glide fast

And ignore the rats scrabbling through quarries.

The spoils go to the persistently dull
Manuring communal poetic crops
With galloping hectares of solid waste.

The only attempt is to remain alive,
And benedictions will drench my bent blunt brow
Like volcanic mud-cum, or custard

When ripping a fruit-cup flap on an airplane
And it splooges the eye and the matron’s thigh.
So it's on to seven thousand frowsty barbs.

Pump the stomach pump, it‘s viral invasion.
Hunched in upright fetal, the world looks bigger
But its wombroof is stuck with slime and time.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #77

The sandbox is vacant --
Dirt pushed against spruce planks
In a tight square, sacred
As the boxed church of cranks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #76

A glacier in a music box,
Sand grains roll from summits.
Off-key, I dole out whiny knocks
This Sisyphean plummet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #75

I'm on top, paternal capon with a Pfizer jolt,
Trying to pick your virtual box in this shameful dark.

Pop 'em out like popcorn, Love, my shaft bows, haft
Manhandled to no avail. Fame awaits impatiently.
One of those little beggars will fill in my space
Of indecency with chromosomal whys.
Untruss the industrial strength corset.
Put a bible under your ass.

God's bounty: love, charity, hope, but the greatest
Is depravity when the loopy eunuchs screw in the rules
And the fourth-place Portuguese beauty entrant
Responds to my ogling with the grace
Of a form letter to my profile page bars.
It's all in the quantity of advertisements.
I'm one (for Maalox).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #74

I remember, Loveliest, your gargoyle mouth
In awe, perhaps, of my vapid outpourings
Non-stop from overheated pen
Squiggling like an acupuncturist’s needle
Stuck in a shark
For your eye only.
You ignored me six years before
That first and only acknowledgement:
“Get lost!”

Now, clouds are descending on fields,
Cannon after-shot bands
Thick in thickets and gummed gorse.

How far down does this well go?
All I see are pinprick lights at the wrong end
Of a high-powered telescope,
Phosphorescent fantasies
Of Jacques Cousteau about to let loose
A whale harpoon between my eyes,
Neptune’s illegitimate son,
And Orpheus hitting on DiCaprio’s girlfriend.
Stagnant water laps my speedos,
Snoring over boring oratories.
Finally I rub shoulders with sad Eddie Hinton
And a Taoist frog at bottom.

A classic scrapes the wall, but who will hear it now?
Lower a mic from the sky, heaven dead,
Striking this obsidian swell.
Singe my heart, labouring.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #73

Great gusts sweeping, wimpling the reeds in blasts.
A caterpillar churns into the mud.
One fence post left, wobbling, a lonely stud.
I gather selves. This supper is my last.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #72

The psychic breakdown continued thus, nurse:
I was wheeling one hundred pounds of sheepshit
In a barrow infiltrated with my DNA
Across the fenceposts to where those OTHER people live --
You know, the ones who build barbed wire and towering cement --
When I suddenly coughed up a tiny fragment of a poem
Contained in a glowing mauve vial
With Sandspit etchings and government warning sticker
And the words “talks sick“ or such. As I say, the wheelbarrow
Was full of steaming offal,
When the neighbour says: "Kiwi, what's inna locket?
You gonna send that to yer gal? HAWHAWHAW!"
And I lost it ....
I broke down, whimpered, fondled my molars,
Picked up the vial, twisted off
The cheap screw-cap, and proceeded to read:

"Ethereal beauty of eyes of wonder
So fair are your graceful ways
I behold your Godliness in honour
Of respect, where were your heaven-sent ...."

And the man, as I looked up, had an expression
Of utmost astonishment, but of the dangerous kind,
For his trigger-finger twitched, his appendix protruded
Under his shirt, creating the face of Tammy Faye Bakker,
And the air was filled with synthetic wafers and gunsmoke.
I tried to ignore him whilst continuing with my poem
But he planted the butt end of his pitchfork in seedy soil
And impaled himself. These were his dying words:

"O, the English language,
Fashioned from anvils and rainwater,
Furious electrical storms and slow earthworms,
Lays bleeding on the sheepish stoop,
Gouged and gagged by wordy heretics
In the drydocked refineries of lit-spam."

And with that, I re-ingested my poem
And repeated it ad nauseum
For my own crucifixion, and the cold grace
Of my mouldering-in-wait ethereal swimsuit model.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #71

River licks and skirts the final sandbars,
Becomes one with the conforming deluge
Bigger than anyone’s idea of God.
Log boom squares splashed with creosote revolve
While tugs scout infinity. Destinations.
Patchwork nimbus break, reform. Nut, in her sky
Of presents, elopes with the Man, and I,
A constant crack, sew the sandy margins
With crosspaced gumboots. Beyond and be gone.

Memory’s almost done, but these photos
I found yesterday in the creaky chest ….
Child’s face, flushed, garlanded with friends. May be me.
All our clothes the same: breeches, tan loafers,
Suspenders, white shirts. The smiles haunt me.
Who could be that happy? For what reason?
A school or church, perhaps a family.
The photos taunt me with silly questions
And I’m too tired to follow them at all.

Superfluous sluicing of mini-whirlpools
Congregate two feet away, the difference
Between diving liquid ropes here and
Oceanfloor volume sixty miles of nothing.
My palsied finger is a lithe minnow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #70

Dandelion parachutes from a lost plain
Float through the sun. I always jumped
Whenever that white-haired extortionist uttered the Word.
I need a rainbarrel full of prune juice in a single gulp.

Leaves are all falling this Mayday parade,
Land and curl like a minute divestiture
Cancelling every airy whorl furling,
Cancelling magic. I pull hare clumps from longjohns,
Paste them like a furrier mustache
Bookmarking First Corinthians where wives wait in the wings
For bully Paul to balm glassy eyes with a confetti of sawdust.

Folly of oracle, silence becoming, apes with tapered tongues,
I bequeath my ill-formed malice, chagrined
With biblical signposts, more and more unambiguous
To the colder apposite, sign of the times, sign of my cross.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #69

Missionary position it is, my cross-eyed dream,
I'm on my knees praying for inspiration
While your mud-pack coagulates
In purple-grey caked scales
Like a facial scab-mask
Flanging either side of your nose.

Want a mirror? Aaaah! Turn around,
OK and praise the Lord. I'll lick you
Between dronings from first lines
Of all sixty-nine hundred of my instant classics.
Words march off the page behind your furry ear
With effrontery and syrup.

Suddenly, six blue devils alight on your dotted posterior
And dance a merry jig with sick gleams
In their furnace eyes. Where are those marshmallow times,
Love, when a hug meant "I love you" instead of,
"I’m frisking for drugs"? The Staple Sisters have attached
Themselves to my slipper soul, crooning an elegy.

Been down here for three minutes already, Ethereal One.
You're a monstrous cog in Noah's plan,
The fount I mount over freshet-spilling hillocks,
Alarmed, humming. Gimme a hummer!
Thank God, the alarm clock saved me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #68

The backstabbing vermin, fulminating time-charters
Threatening standards in the speakeasy,
They'll revoke ‘Writing Tips From Pastor Due Date’ subscription,
Spiking my Metamucil with rug shampoo,
The mixture downed on heath and cliff.
Tinfoil beanies! Blight! Holy union in a pulse,
Revolving in swirling cuspidors of the scrapyard.
Quorums of smellshocked makers of porkpie hats.
Poor saplings, sapped
Of strength, saps all, capon-quartered,
Blessed, bless me down, hover over
My empty overalls, it's all downhill, Walt,
I'm folding my pup tent in a den of iniquity,
Going my way, ethereal aneurysm?
Hand me down loins, lyings
Patrolling known lines, chewing heads off “love in wonder”.
Thrust and repel, I'm repelled forever
With false teeth and smile,
I have a holy plan and a perversion to match.
Can you sing me away, Eternal One?
The clouds have circled my wooden wagon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #67

My verse, my verse, my songbook of woe, my lesions
Leak, and my melon-breasts I fondle with fond foreboding.

Here, ‘poet‘, here's your elephant pill broken up
Into four hundred pieces stamped
With the Good Housekeeping Seal Of Disapproval.

Acccch! Where's the little blue one, the one
Which gives my willie the willies,
My cataracts contracting around my turquoise contacts,
My demented weapon half-tensile in brief non-sag time
While, during the rag-time, I spill my verse-load
Upon the dusty unused dance floor.
Oh my God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?

[waking up from a centuries-long slumber]:

And the people who knocked down
The ‘poet's’ verses, they'll hear from us, too!

On our shooooo tonight, the pastoral ‘poet‘,
Really, really big shooooo.
The ad space hasn't been this expensive since
We had those four Mop Tops from Liverpool with us.

I stand in beauty gazing at the fairest,
The most lovely breath of beauty
That my hands absentmindedly stroke
Her virtual hair and part her cleavage
With my forked tongue ....

That'll be enough, wormy wordster.
You may beguile yourself into a sentimental orgasm
When fixating on my pic,
But I'm a real woman,
And if ever you were in the same room as I,
You'd cum in your woolen crossed gaiters
If I so much as touched your arm.
Away! Obsess over another poor soul;
I'm much too imperfect and passionate
To be an evanescent laughingstock
In your fetid public dreams.

[awaking again with a start]:
Who's sending out for pizza?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #66

Peeling back my kiwi fruit foreskin,
With green mottled fur,
With soft blue spots which give
When I press into them,
I suddenly realize, my ethereal dove,
My Maalox-inducing cupcake,
Gnome-kisser, bucolic gamboller
Gambling on my inn sanity
When all my horses have left the barn,
That I miss you like denture paste,
Like a firm outdoor deposit,
Like a bolted institutional TV,
Like a psalm in my cart blanch.

Free up my innards from the squelch
Of untreated pre-incontinence
And discombobulated hosannahs
On loan from a musty sixteen-hunnerd page hymnal.
Whip my tenderness
Into a pastiche of Pre-Cambrian sludge
Plastered on the shoulders of roads and toads
I (plastered) blather on and on with in verse,
Harumphing and galumphing in gutters,
My dis-eased bride of nightwatch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A.F. Moritz' "Early Poems"

I've already blogged, briefly, about my inability to latch onto Moritz' work in two of his collections. But there's a critical buzz about his work (if "buzz" can be creditted to any book of contemporary poetry), and the poems' opacity and musical skirmishes demand a closer rereading to ferret out delight. Time is short, of course, and it's often a dilemma whether to chuck the cause after a second struggle, or whether to continue and hope the greater effort pays off. After giving his Early Poems (entire reprintings of his first four collections) a concentrative go, with multiple readings of many individual poems, I came half-way down upon those trying points, alternately skewered and thrown from the horns.

Like any devoted surrealist (or metaphoric stapler, or allegorist), Moritz uses imagery as carefully selected signposts, as visionary shaping, towards a greater "truth" of contemporary meaning. This is a double-edged sword: at its best, one is forced to contemplate the etymological particularities and subtleties of his word choices, which then feed into a complex kaleidoscope of vision; at its worst, nouns are set down not for their imagistic freshness but for their possibilities as abstract markers to global meaning. I'll limit this (for obvious reasons of time and effort) to one example, though the volume is littered with others, in most, and in multiple instances, in every poem:

(From "Soliloquy Of A Dreamer Absent From His Dream"): "two birds collided and fell dead./Now from the gap in the double mountain/of their bodies at every dawn and twilight". What kind of birds are these? What are the qualities of the mountain? "Bodies"? Is "every dawn and twilight" the same? Of course, Moritz' point is not to particularize, but to use these vagaries as general symbols for a greater ordering, where abstractions take on a heightened encoding which either delights, baffles, or bores the reader. I admit to the latter two of these reactions in this poem. In other poems, and admittedly after a long familiarity with repetitions of key words, the same patterning which at first appeared gratuitous and perversely obscure worked to reflect a carefully ordered vision, often one where the ubiquitous, undefined observer is befuddled as to how to make sense of the hyper-mutable contemporary world. I've never been enamoured with this vision -- it strikes me as facilely vatic, for the most part -- but just the idea of a contemporary poet having a vision, and a consistent, passionate one, at that, is refreshing.

You'll notice I've referred to "vision" throughout, and it's no accident that Moritz ends his poems with many references to sight and observation. "staring at the sun" is the end-line of his excellent "Stranded", and in this instance it works beautifully as dramatic bullet to infiltrate (this) reader's imagination. The reason? The images are concrete, vivid, individual. One can see a specific moment in an actual (though paradoxically fictional, of course) person's life: the unspeakable banal horror of the workaday world where a bee acts as perfectly timed conceit to release the bitter self-knowledge to the hapless protagonist. An equally excellent poem -- "If The Man" -- begins: "If the man who is only eyes/and those eyes always open/frightens you, don't think of him/or of what he sees in the wind". Another great poem is "Stabbing", which ends with: "And you now and he/are fragments in my mouth", detailing another sense important to the poet, that of the difficulty of right speech in a world where speech is derided, misunderstood, or unformed in the speaker.

The obverse side of the coin, however, is that these moments aren't frequent enough. Though the scaffolding is remarkable for its connected strength -- "wind" , "crickets", "sun", "root", "dream", "sea", "sky", "spring" are just some of the many important landmarks, the constantly repeated entries, with specific reflected meanings -- poetry sings best when it's felt. After completing Early Poems, I was reminded of a passage by Thornton Wilder, who reacted in frustration with the plethora of accomplished, but uninvigorating, productions of his time: "I was like a schoolmaster grading a paper: to each of these offerings I gave an A +, but the condition of mind of one grading a paper is not that of one being overwhelmed by an artistic creation". Of course, this comment was made in a different context, and there're certainly a lack of these "accomplished A +s" about in contemporary poetry, but the idea is still a telling one. I prefer more immediacy, more individual quirks, more surprising revelations coming from recognizable experience which can then be used to feed abstractions and philosophies.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #65

Vertiginous on carousels where dares are met,
I dismount the painted unicorn, horn stroked for luck.
Cross-eyed kin rummage
In gunnysacks for my berth certificate
But find a mug shot instead. Beatific sneer.

I truss my beef for a Kodak moment, make
A getaway into arms of the Holy Mother,
Flailing arms like a manic runway mechanic
In a panic over the crash-landing of his Tonka truck
Received as a Christmas gift
From a pitying elf
In lieu of this first priority,
The ethereal beauty
In fixed smile
On a ship
In my mind.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #64

Dawn sun peeps over blue-blanketted ocean
Like a yoke frying over the flat pan’s edge,

All is now revealed. A Zoroastrian or
Dionysian reveller quickens contracts:
Joy, shame.

Icarus held fire; Aten made no demands.
A melanoma in a hidden word in
Line eleven.

Slung high, hub hovering, glare pastes flesh, sticks dirt
With heat spears, bakes bones, corrodes the unwilling.
Hide me, God.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just A Reminder

I'll be reading my verse at Little Mountain Neighbourhood House in Vancouver tomorrow eve. For more details, see my Dec 24 post here :>>

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #63

What was the old, off-white clapboard
That sprung youngsters all around me?
A school? I remember laughing
Faces, others, in every room
While I fingered the running boards
Of joined desks, wrote (and ate) Valentine’s
Notes to some vision, some hope.
A play, sports, the debating team:
Constant spectator, abased, alone.
Invisible trip-wire, constant
Clock ticking in mathematical
Horror, flip me, crowd me out.
The long years hold no origin.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #62

Fallow are my gonads,
Grey-brown tufted like hollowed-out coconuts,
Eviscerated ovoids, once bouncing
Like happy-face cartoons
That amused me in youth,
Now missing and somewhere shrunk,
Baked, bleached dates left in Hawaii’s noon.
Alack, frisky cozeners of my dirge-file,
You’ll get the rump-line cut, the overwritten
Second drafts of imperishable quicksilver.
Interned in the savage internet,
Self-badinage in a room of mirrors
Satirically aping theatrical gestures,
Head-nodding senility, I tire
Of building crowns in the sand,
And retire to a better Goodyear
In this trackless outpost,
The wind lashing my evicted scrotum
Which sways like the severed ropes
Of a repeller’s equipment
On the one sheer rockface to God.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #61

I once fashioned coy bromides for poetry dot com
And they published them pronto in anthologies
By the truckload, sandwiching me between the dudes
Hardy and Hopkins whose poems lacked resonance
Next to my gripping emotiwanks, though radiant
By fortuitous propinquity to my verbal suns.

The selection of Hardy, especially, puzzled me.
Filibustering filler. Not all can compete with
“Sighs of tender angels nestling Jesus’ thighs” and
“Sweet breath of God’s grace in faith of beauty” and so on.
That guy was always grousing about nature and such.
Faithless manifestos. I had to buy back my poems

But now I’ll live as long as God’s correctional centre
In the sky, lucky readers from Auckland to Oxford
Murmuring the lines to “Sheep Blanket Bingo” and
“I Licked The Psychiatric Nurse’s Uvula
In The Vacant Laundry Room”. My reputation
Teflon, my pipeline to heaven busy, my leer lidless.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #60

Wild distant shore, unheard applause, or are
The bright shells, sea-scrubbed, goading me again?
Dewclawed, paws crossed in defensive X, lone
Friend (rented from the shabby kennel), I
Break biscuits with you, jam signals of hymns
In furry A-frame ears. Breath of rotten
Oolachan, let’s lope down the dale and dry
Our scaled flecks. Air nudges the riot
Of violets in the fence-lined ditch, green
Furry hearts shy behind the indigo.
Napping setter, I await my swell of fans,
Hiding, they, in colonnaded interstices
Of shattered honeycombs of my home
Where life (I hope, fond fur) once held me strong.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #59

It's rained non-stop for thirty-eight days.
Sheep, morose, wander the vestibule.
Nurse Ratchett brings out the metal trays.
On a tethered rope is a circling mule.

Uncross my garters, Nurse, let me go.
Hand me my blanket, I'll chew wet grass
Out back with my confreres, so-and-sos
Who lovingly bleat when they see my ass.

In Sanctuary, a corncob pipe
Broke Temple's hymen in the loft:
Popeye wheezing, the manic-lust type
Could've been me in the barn as I cough.

I must remember his sad fate, hanged
In a drab and lonely jail cell after,
In impotent fury, envious pangs,
He murdered her lover, snuffed their laughter.

But the day is long; verses tender.
My sweetheart glows in my addled mind.
Fuck, I'm glum. I'm off on a bender
Where I'll dunk cold spuds in rotgut wine.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ethereal Beauty #58

Though lips twitch above the Reader's Digest,
I gravitate to Watergate overtones
In tomes I post and self-publish,
Oh, twenty a day when the Muse strikes

My ass with a bolo paddle,
A surplice-shaking fury leaving indents
On my surplus, my surd of tracts
Scotch-taped to mannequin bumps
At four in the morn, the shop windows
All fogged up with quickened breath.

It’s all of a piece, Olive, you grainy wino,
Always ransacking the haberdasher
For tailless tuxes of teal
I’d lease for you with “Wondrous Heaven Of Love”
As credulous collateral.

Bibulous I am half the time,
The other half mopey or comalike,
Forensic calipers flaring nostrils and lids
As I stare, bare tears
Serenading a bimbo
Unversed in English
Who thinks my poems a helpful navigation
Of farm sites
Without smudging pump shoes.

Speaking of pumping,
I tossed one off in the infirmary parking lot
Just before Nurse Ratchett
Waddled her round bottom
Out her tan sedan,
Me stammering and blue-faced
From two intense strokes
While I fantasized about silver slivers
Of heated thermometers.

There's the post wherein I harrumphed,
Lambasting a Dead White Man
For getting published
Without my consent,
And there's the platform
I had my first reading
While Ben-Wa balls
Shifted ever-so-delicately
Under pyjama ass-flaps,
Pink, as pink-faced I intoned
To the crowd of confused Shriners:
"Hilda, as if in amour
We caressed a nipple!
Ah God of beauty, eyes of wonderment,
Lamb of succulent scripture,
Fuck Paul Anka with his coercive baby sprees!
Have seven of mine,
All with goofy grins and caved-in chins.
We'll have a poetry conference every night
In the outhouse
Where turkeys crisscross like annoyed chefs
Out for roadkill and gossip".

It's time I folded my poem
Like a papier mache dagger
And sent it to my absent delusion,
Sticking the pasty cut-out
In her wringing hand.
O Erato, erase me.