Friday, January 18, 2008

August Kleinzahler, My Manifesto, To be Contradicted, Please.

the wind in march

tower of texas is spurned for defense:
a drunkard and a womanizer they say of him,
a mean little man.

and a wild march wind cuts a trough
through the grass, scattering
papers, making the old palmetto weave as tourists,

shoppers and the homeless pull up their collars,
bending into the wind, pausing an instant
as if to take measure of their gravity before going on.

one after another the headline stories are played out for us,
character and event receding
into a gray, ghostly midden dreams bubble up from

years later, dreams
from which we're awakened by the wind
spraying rain against glass, rattling

the windows in their frames. - march,
you think to yourself, trying
to remember the oddly formal little man with a drink

staring at your old girlfriend Lu
with a terrifically stagy, silent-movie sort of leer.
You were about to speak up

when the shudder and knock of wood and glass
brought you awake;
and you lie there for what seems a long time

listening to the wind, forgetting
for a minute who it is with her back pressed
against the length of you,

breathing softly.

august kleinzahler from 'red sauce, whiskey and snow" recently delivered to my home. thank you amazon!

i can't say enough how much i love this man. though the contemporary linebreak is over burdened with rhetorical use, though the first word of each line doesn't send me on through the rest of the line, i read on because his language is so damn fresh and each sharp turn he takes is smooth, and even peering out the window on the same drive to work, new details are brought to attention. since kleinzahler i've left my pastoral behind, which i have as a poem, and decided to name every thing in the city, to see, as wittgenstein puts it, the world as a composite of facts, not objects. facts are relics of process. poems as process should be the form of a start and end of a familiar ritual in our culture. i'm starting a little manifesto here. please add on.

a tid bit by perloff: on contemporary poetry "all of them written in complete sentences, the attention paid to sound structure of syntactic patterning is so minimal that one can only conlude that the term poetry currently designates not the melopoeic orgins of lyric poetry of the page designs of visual prosody but rather an insight, presented in sometimes striking figurative language: "desert flowers / taller than men" "leafy flakes melt round my footfall," "menial twilight sweeps the storefronts," bodies are "glazed and glistening like raw fish in the market," "happiness" asserts itself "like a bird in a dirty cage."

i like how that last statment avoids cliche by a simple qualification of the statement. i've been collecting colloquials in my notebooks. playing with them. they are the langauge games of our culture. car pet.

ok ok. i'm going to be making a new blog now on blogspot to keep these mails in one place and the audience faceless, but with you in mind. write back when you feel like it.

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