Saturday, February 23, 2008

Your Weekend Internet Guide: The Silliman Format

My Nobel Peace Prize Nominee in Afghanistan I watched her on Bill Moyers last night and feel the need to share.

Great American Pinup: A Place for Poetics. I can't recommend this particular article enough.

If you didn't click on Great American Pinup, you can get one of the informing points of view here. I love the Title, Rhubarb is Susan. Must Be an Anagram of Some Sort. Help Me Out With That One. How About The Aribtrary Capital Letters Poetry Movement.

From PreSocratics to Postmodernism

Modern History Sourcebook

So You're Thinking of an MFA, huh?

And Remember: This Is How Movements Are Born

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Tom Waits Should be Our Resident Fiance

if anyone wants to write or read poetry well, they should listen to Tom Waits and get all blood-hot and lovely-lonely. formerly drunk and chain-smoker tom.

even the best poets cannot contend with the stylistically diverse range of Waits's oeuvre.

the same guy who writes:

"even fell just like a star,
left a trail behind, you spit it, you slammed out the door
...please call me baby...
we do crazy things when we're wounded,
everyone's a bit insane,
i don't want you catching your death of cold
out walking in the rain."

and the guy who writes:

"Well I hope that I don't fall in love with you
...I turn around to look at you light a cigarette,
wish i had the guts to bum one but we've never met
...I can see that you are lonesome just like me,
and feel you'd like some company it's closing time, the music fading out,
last call for drinks, I'll have another stout...
I turn around to look at you
but you're nowhere to be found,
guess I'll have another round
...And i think that I just fell in love with you."

other lyrics:

"it's got to be more than flesh and bone.
all that you love is all you own.
in a land there's a town
and in that town there's a house
and in that house there's a woman.
and in that woman there's a heart i love.
i'm going to take it with me when i go."

and besides his penchant for romance, how about his last more experimental ten years:
"Clap Hands"

Sane, sane, theyre all insane,
Fireman's blind, the conductor is lame
A Cincinnati jacket and a sad-luck dame
Hanging out the window with a bottle full of rain
Clap hands, clap hands, clap hands, clap hands

Said roar, roar, the thunder and the roar
Son of a bitch is never coming back here no more
The moon in the window and a bird on the pole
We can always find a millionaire to shovel all the coal
Clap hands, clap hands, clap hands, clap hands

Said steam, steam, a hundred bad dreams
Going up to Harlem with a pistol in his jeans
A fifty-dollar bill inside a palladin's hat
And nobody's sure where Mr. Knickerbockers at

Roar, roar, the thunder and the roar
Son of a bitch is never coming back here no more
Moon in the window and a bird on the pole
Can always find a millionaire to shovel all the coal
Clap hands, clap hands, clap hands, clap hands

Shine, shine, a Roosevelt dime
All the way to baltimore and running out of time
Salvation army seemed to wind up in the hole
They all went to heaven in a little row boat.

Waits is an artist concerning himself with words first. Dark words. Evocative and provocative words. Some of them don't always align themselves to the easiest of our understanding. But they do, afterall, match up in the end. His voice and lyrics are like the sugar and acid of alcohol fermenting. Deer god, give us taste!

as a finale, for the very concerns we're dealing with, consider this last song, one of Waits's earliest and most under-appreciated in the last century:
"The Piano has been Drinking (not me)"

The piano has been drinking, my necktie is asleep
And the combo went back to New York, the jukebox has to take a leak
And the carpet needs a haircut, and the spotlight looks like a prison break
And the telephone's out of cigarettes, and the balcony is on the make
And the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking...

And the menus are all freezing, and the light man's blind in one eye
And he can't see out of the other
And the piano-tuner's got a hearing aid, and he showed up with his mother
And the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
As the bouncer is a Sumo wrestler cream-puff casper milktoast
And the owner is a mental midget with the I.Q. of a fence post
'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking...

And you can't find your waitress with a Geiger counter
And she hates you and your friends and you just can't get served without her
And the box-office is drooling, and the bar stools are on fire
And the newspapers were fooling, and the ash-trays have retired
'Cause the piano has been drinking, the piano has been drinking
The piano has been drinking, not me, not me, not me, not me, not me.

Sounds like Ginsberg, Kerouac--and, more presently, Dean Young right? But impressive without the thicket. Fuck twirling around for twirling's sake. You can be dynamic without being double-jointed in verse and fancy. Fuck being young Young Jung. Give me the strong rot-gut of liver-piercing alcohol during the roaring twenties speakeasy. I might die tonight drinking what I've drunk. Give me the real hard stuff.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


All exiled from their own temples.
The prosecutors of themselves. Hear them
outside the newspaper press
repeating what they read while claiming
novel vision. Both ghost and machine
empty. Flesh the exception.
One way out. Cannot fill
the empty thing. Sputtering.
Pleasure not even temporary.
The path thin along the swamp
banks. Thick ecstasy of insect
swells fill the air with song
at all sides. Mute fear
a circle that surrounds each
footstep. Stand still long
enough. The song returns.


Geoffrey's Walt Whitman (on the fore) Weeping on a Montrosian Doorstep

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bobby’s Argument Against The End

The head lowers not for prayer
but submission. In the preacher’s throat
a cracked muffler for grief speaks in tone God
at the arc’s tip of a semi circle with the casket
cradled like a period
in the fermata. Otherwise, the day’s surplus
beauty goes unsold and the market’s crashing.
Sun so bright it’s a wonder they’re bowed so
turned to inward out, it could only be
their necks too weak to lift for so much beauty.
As though they’d stay there after the motorcade
departed, their bodies stalked and chasing with
quick grown roots to meet the lowered body.
No one thought him a farmer though he was.
Former Husband. Father of two. Formerly three.
A thousand stalks before his house
unaccounted for survivors. Grow six
feet to go un-harvested. Heavy headed.
Would shrug their shoulders had they had ‘em.


Density and dynamism.


Hospital copter skates south above the river:
urgency and ease in its glide and rotor hum.
Out of town, a girl has given her arms
to a thresher, or a passenger
rests half through a windshield.

Once, a truckful of police with clear
plastic shields sped away from city center
past a row of shops over basement apartments
where tenants ring chimes and light
candles in shrines every day.

Once, this place was on fire.
Once, under water. Once, this place
hurtled through a sudden dream
of light and heat—in form, unprecedented
in matter, all becoming of song.

Tower chimes and no one fails
to adore its orchestration. Songs pass in light
traffic. Arrangements slide toward jaywalkers,
café loiterers. All surfaces tend
to beautiful noise.

When lovers set the glass pipe down
on the bed stand of the rented room
a shaft of streetlight plays smoke and skin.
They exhale and descend into body.
Pace and pitch evolve.

A pattern of days drawn like a bow
over strings. Round wind in the throat of an oboe.
In the street, a wash of sound.
The cathedral rings the hour.
I take steady breath. I come to posture.

William Stobb

Nervous Systems
Penguin Books

A Disolving Simulacrum

Baudriallard's Simulacrum:

1. It is the reflection of a basic reality.
2. It masks and perverts a basic reality.
3. It masks the absence of a basic reality.
4. It bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum.

I took a four month departure from my mostly vegetarian diet. I dutifully return.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Strange Loop

It’s not astonishing I don’t see
past the hem into the pocket of the passing man,
the teeth of the frowning woman at the park bench
past the horizon.

The leashed dog has forgotten his collar.
Tendons unflexed at what passes past the leash circumference.
He can’t dream of his own churled snout, though his mouth wets while
flocks of blackbirds ascend overpasses, over rush hour,
perform aerial calligrams to mock our lack of language.

Somewhere on the earth’s underbelly
someone picks lint from their bellybutton. Examines it
beneath flickered light.

There’s no highway sign that says exit here
and directs you where you’re going.

Perhaps its better I can’t imagine. I’ve forgotten you already.