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“Weather, planets, and many liquids converge in a new poem by [me], selected by Spring poetry editor Molly Brodak.” Thank you to Molly & Casey at the Fanzine ! —lots of great work on their site—like Zach Savich’s Body Map: Memoirs of the Sick—also, love the image they selected to illustrate this poem, which was the first one written in this Fire Eaters series. And, if you’re into this sort of thing, you may want to reread Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. See also, poetry and more poetry
Click on the image below of the snake eater/ fire eater to read my poem
Only 2 (give or take, depending on your time zone) more days of National Poetry Month, so—yes—let’s get some last-minute celebrating in! Kristin Hatch’s new book, the meatgirl whatever, just came out—Winner of the National Poetry Series—congrats, khatch!!!! I placed my order with Amazon on April 17. It’ll take more than a month for it to clear customs and get to me—can’t wait!
Tell me, what’s your favorite book of poems or single poem of all time?
What is your relationship with poetry?
With all the moving and shifting and such, I’ve gotten a bit behind on my poetry writing & poetry news…I’m sure there are lots of announcements and lots of ways to celebrate, like doing the 30 in 30 project, which I say I’ll do every year and don’t—or, you could visit a poetry landmark in your area. This area is full of them (future post).
I still have to get out and get involved with the poetry & writing community here, been stuck in the apartment this last week waiting for maintenance technicians to come and fix the AC that needed repair, the water heater that burst, the toilet that broke… boring.
The Offending Adam
The first week we were here, when we were still living in the Legacy hotel, I received an acceptance letter from the online journal The Offending Adam (Thank you, Andrew & Ryan!) and was reminded I wrote/write poetry. My 3 poems—more World Book poems, all from the same guide word: Folklore—went live on their site Monday 28 April, if you want: check them out.
I really appreciate Ryan Winet’s intro—hitting all the highlights that drive me: exploration, duality, frustration at information. He focuses on my themes of desire and transgressions:
That last line I keep misreading as “desire in transgression” or “desire as transgression.” Tomato tomahtoe.
Since I have the chance, in this blog, to make a minor correction, I will—though, I’m fine with his interpretation: the first poem is about Lilith, not Eve. Eve is the “one / whose name means beginning. Before her.” Before Eve, meaning, Lilith.
Also, “Fell for one on high, who in turn fell / from the seventh to the fifth, to farther still—an arc. / An act of choice, of not knowing, this was the devil / she went with. Meaning night, meaning demon” is a reference to the archangel Samael, not Satan (though, I believe there are some people who believe they are the same—mostly they are different). Samael and Lilith were married–after Lilith left Adam, her first husband “the most fertile of clay. / From this, two figures formed. … / Being of the same, he was no stranger. She preferred someone stronger— .” Samael. “As a good angel, Samael resides in the seventh heaven, although he is declared to be the chief angel of the fifth heaven.” –wiki.
“Wikipedia is heaven
When you don’t want to remember anymore”
–Nick Cave, We Real Cool
Which is of course a nod to Gwendolyn Brooks’ 1959 poem, We Real Cool
More Nods & Notes
If anyone’s interested in this sort of thing, you can find a nod or two to Neko Case’s song Hold On Hold On in this poem.
The third is influenced by William Carlos Williams’ “essay” that starts In the American Grain.
Oh, WCW. Oh, America.
Desire. Transgression. A high dive. A fall.
Hold on, hold on….and then
Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! How kind of you to be born on World Book day, which lands during National Poetry Month.
Ah, books. Printed or e? Paper or plastic? Pros and cons. But books. Are people still reading?
Here’s a passage from The Crack Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written March 1936:
“I saw that the novel, which at my maturity was the strongest and supplest medium for conveying thought and emotion from one human being to another, was becoming subordinated to a mechanical and communal art that, whether in the hands of Hollywood merchants or Russian idealists, was capable of reflecting only the tritest thought, the most obvious emotion. It was an art in which words were subordinate to images, where personality was worn down to the inevitable low gear of collaboration. As long past as 1930, I had a hunch that the talkies would make even the best selling novelist as archaic as silent pictures. People still read, if only Professor Canby’s book of the month—curious children nosed at the slime of Mr. Tiffany Thayer in the drugstore libraries—but there was a rankling indignity, that to me had become almost an obsession, in seeing the power of the written word subordinated to another power, a more glittering, a grosser power…”
Makes you just want to end it all, doesn’t it?
To be or not to be? WordPress’s editor is politely pointing out how this was written in the passive voice. True, indeed: that Hamlet was one indecisive and contemplative dude. That is, until he decides to take Arms against a Sea of troubles.
It may be hard to tell in this light, but the end for all is the end for all.
Back to the enterprises of great pitch and moment, those of you who know me will know how happy this makes me: World Book Day!
Here’s a sample from my project inspired by the WB Encyclopedia–a touch of Chaucer, a bit of Eliot, a hint of Tom Waits.
Originally published under the title “Vol. B, Pg. 710—from The World Book” in Black Warrior Review.
Bed pg. 710 Bee
Every day in this month of April, it rains.
I can’t get the recipe right, does time
mixed with memory equal desire? How big
is your bed? Different sources say twelve,
some twenty-four, others sixty-eight people
could lie on the Great Bed of Ware.
The English beds in the 1500s were enormous
affairs. While the archbishop was at vespers
a splendid shrine was erected.
For reasons I understand, I have
a hard time saying no to you. Sleep
comes in under the shadow
of this bedstead—-a foundation
of coils, the resting place of savages
—-as in Explorers have found
bees kept by savage tribes in the jungle.
There were wild bees in the New World
when the white man came. Honey
cost 5pfs a quart in ancient Egypt.
What is the conversion rate now? For a bed,
(See: geology) a heap of straw, leaves
or animal skins striped black, white,
serves as well as curled horsehair or cotton—
the soft covering of snow in winter. Cold
air comes through the open window,
the whistle of a far-away train, sweet
liquid, called nectar, calling—-such liquor:
rain and vodka bathes every vein, every center.
What is the function of an atom? More things
should naturally phosphoresce like uranium,
formerly Becquerel’s element, as observed
during overcast days. Without sun,
let’s discover all there is; we’ll stay in bed
until the rain stops. When you say
my name, I say, Call today the Prologue.