Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Legend of Zorro

I am working on a series of poems I intend to label "Fictions," which representatives so far at least entail discrete non-narratively connected and yet somewhat-connected box poems such as:

The president leans across his desk.
Jim means you stay where we tell you
to stay. You go about your business,
and you do not think, talk, or dream
about your work or what I am to you.

It takes a poet in a village to know immediately that I am playing to an easy, guilty pleasure here. Any poet can write any number of incidents or beginnings, middles, and perhaps conclusions to a story or stories - but here, well, I am doing just that and other things:

It was Winter now. Snow drifted
down in wet, heavy flakes. Dark
trees slept in awkward clusters
near the road and closer to the
house. The silent house...where
a solitary light burned in case
Jennifer returned home tonight.

In short, I am not worrying, I am being. There's the road map. It's the poem; it's the form; it's the poet and the time and the penis here between us and the poet who has time. Poetry, said How else will I write about the president though, except in this manner? Jesus, is when a poet writes what they can't help but write. Forgive me Lord when I invoke Marvin Bell who said at some point "you can't write about a teacup without giving something away."

Well, it will go on and on, won't it, and eventually I will publish what it comes to, won't I. The good news - what I care about, which I share - is that I was a fucking nervous wreck last Monday the day after I had written the first three of these things (at McMenimans Backstage of the Baghdad during commercials for Sunday Night Football). I mean, it's Monday afternoon and I am going around to the attorneys I work with literally asking them if we were "missing" anything.

I'm fine now. I explained this series to my son and he gave it the thumbs up, figuratively speaking - or at least it made sense to him.

But the point here is women and girls and such - which is to say, I apologize in re the gender specificity (I quite mean that, you know) - but I intend to digress and disexemplify and say simply that my wife, Endi, who has always been marvelous, is marvelous. She has never qualified as a Muse being herself a fantastic poet - a moving target, that is, a peer - and thus non-pedastalistic - though the love of my life; but, really, I marvel. I marvel and I sigh and I long.

Your love is nothing to the silence of
love, he wished beneath his breath. He
was 40 years old and young, still. The
promised tickets had not materialized,
and now, as they were nearing the last
stop, his thoughts had become a finger
flipping through a catalogue of losing
propositions. Never mind, She said, We
are almost there. You can call father.

I write this post against standard practice, daring me to jinx myself. I have done 7 of these. I expect 120, which I would whittle down to a number like 87. I know enough. 15 books should count for something.

Tomorrow, we ask ourselves who is teaching these right-handed Dominican pitchers their follow through? Zorro?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to Think about a Book

I find I think about a good book in pretty much the same way I think about sex. There's more than meets the eyes and I would like more, please. I do not think about books that are not good, because they do not sponsor thought. They provoke a desire to find a good book.

I have just finished Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road, which is a good book, because I am thinking about it, as an object or event, yes, but also I am thinking conceptually and comparatively. This sort of activity is, I should say, my fault, not the author's.

Oh where does a thing begin and where does it end.

Let me cover a few things here, or as many as the twin-sized blanket of my critical acumen is capable.

Proxy proxy proxy.

This book is stylistically clunky, and yet, it is intriguing. Published in 1955, it touches on the subjects of abortion, infidelity, marital discord, post-war Euro-longing, Intelli/Suburb image disaffection. I got through it well enough then was startled to find a conclusion where the author put forth an oblique representation of supporting characters metaphorizing the whole. How Franzen.

This book treats computers. It places in the mouth of a person intended to be a colossal bore (a General Manager of Sales) a speech in the throes of a four-martini lunch an impassioned vision of the place in business of the future for the computer.

It is a Small Melville World, after all.

There is a certain degree of sex in a house, an apartment, a car. Not a lot of detail. Most of the book is experienced in the thoughts and actions of a Frank, the confused white male emotionally detached central character. He deserves what he gets, the son-of-a-bitch - though it's a shame it costs his wife her life.

I like this book quite a lot though, being from 1955 - and the portrayal of the emotional charges underlying pretension, and those errors, and their impact on present emotion. One can do all sorts of things imaging oneself right, or damaged, or deprived. Be it 1955 or 2010, folks are happily driving themselves in a variety of attractive cultural or political vehicles to being stupid to the effect they produce on the people who matter most.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Speech Respecting Concrete Form

You and I were both quite young when on a Fall day - it was the Fall, I am quite sure - we passed through a white gate into an eternal garden. I just had time to register the strange abundance of flowers, fruits, and foliage in full bloom, when I fell asleep. I do not know for how long.

I woke to find you beside me, walking a familiar path. It was Autumn. We came to a white gate and entered. We stepped into a marvelous garden, brimming with all kinds of flowers, trees - all bearing fruit, in the height of their glory. I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion - I can't say why - and fell asleep right then and there.

After a while - I can't say how long it was - I came to. Strangely, I was in mid-step. You were beside me. I think you were saying something, but just at that moment we came to a gate and walked into an amazing garden. Even though it was Fall - school had started - I'm sure of it - there were flowers and trees and bushes and everything in a riot of abundance and display. I was amazed, in a kind of shock I suppose, and simply passed out.

Imagine my surprise when I awoke by your side - no, not in a bed, but walking along a road, drinking in the Autumn air. I don't recall thinking about anything in particular, but just then we came to a gate and without a word we went in. Was this our destination? I don't recall - but there was a garden of overwhelming beauty and richness. Flowers, trees, all in blossom or bearing fruit. I thought my mind's eye would suffocate on the richness, when I wavered, and fell into a deep sleep.


I am glad to have the opportunity to write to you about these things: experiences we have shared, occurrences held in common. I do not know how long I can stay at this desk. My eyes feel as if they are swimming - no, my mind is swimming, circulating between what I see at this place and time and what occurs to my interior self. The closer I am drawn to the world {it is no real world, is it, but an avocation...} the further I am lost to encircling or comprehending - holding - the works, travels - the intentions and delays of my interior self. I am become a kind of chaperon for what I have done with myself. School is decidedly out. And the world of forms carries scant credibility with what my mind suggests to itself for profit or pleasure.

I can explain further.

I will meet you at some common place.