Wednesday, January 24, 2007

no more bad poems

I won't post any more bad poems. Not unless I really see potential I want to work on. I went through the last pages of the poetry notebook and typed a few of the poems, but I won't post any. I put that notebook away. I got out the next one. I think it's the next one. There's a two month gap. It's possible I filled an entire notebook in those two months. But there have been times I took a break. I filled this one in two months: 11/18/84 - 1/11/85

Cursorily flipping through it I'd say there isn't much that will show up here. But I'll give it a read.

Going through my old notebooks & diaries I keep wondering if they could be the basis of a memoir or novel.

Monday, January 22, 2007

comments on "Telephone Poles"

I might revise this one. I don't know. It has some nice sounds and the kids in line idea isn't bad.

Yes, this is another poem from Sept 1984.

Telephone poles

Telephone poles recede
into dwindling distance.
From wooden shoulders swing
slack cables which support
the black birds. In even
single-file rows like kids
in cafeteria
lines. And these waiters shift,
fidget, bob for balance,
their black heads undulate.
Walkers watch the tightrope,
count the birds in their lines.
But black eyes scrutinize
passers-by, check movements
for hostile hints in arms
and hands and walking legs.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

comments on "The Alphabet Song"

Here is another poem from 1984. You have leave to think it awful. Why would I be posting bad poems from old notebooks? After all, somebody might form a low opinion of my work by reading LoveSettlement!

I don't know why that doesn't bother me. It's supposed to bother me. Allowing mediocre work out under my name, as though I approved of it! The work as my representative in literature. Only the best, only the best should be seen. All crap should be burned! Or moulder, at least, in a bin.

I could mumble that I'm not showing my worst poems. But I probably would show a really bad poem if I thought it Fun bad. Come to think ... yeah, that's pretty much what "The Alphabet Song" is. It's an exercise. An attempt at an abecedarian, a poem that starts each line with a letter of the alphabet in, naturally, alphabetical order. And I think it fun. Unsuccessful. But fun.

The Alphabet Song

Alive upon the
Broken Universe the
Drums a tune. He
Elucidates the
Gradients, achieving a
Hierarchy of
Interior numerology. But
Just the jay
Kawing on the
Limb of a nearby
Only he is
Persuaded in the
Quietness before the catbird
Reads aloud. All the other birds
Sing, strewn along the
Tailings of the
Universe. There with
Whistles they
eXonerate all the
Young eagles, panthers, ants, and
Zebras unable, among them, to speak.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

absolutely limitless

I'm contemptuous of Slate Supreme Court watcher Dahlia Lithwick's crush on Justice (sic) Scalia. But she seems to be getting a clue about Bush, "The endgame in the war on terror isn't holding the line against terrorists. It's holding the line on hard-fought claims to absolutely limitless presidential authority."

Friday, January 12, 2007

I hate craigslist

Poetry & Pizza can survive without craigslist. Say that again, Glenn.

Poetry & Pizza will do just fine without craigs-fucking-list.

The admin folks at craigslist just deleted the announcement for today's P&P.

They did it once before, claimed the prohosting site was "a commercial site" ... I wrote them a protest letter which they ignored. This deletion was done without comment.

The prohosting site is a free site. Used to be free was the thing around the web. Presumably craigslist is still free if they decide to let you use it. I don't know what their beef with prohosting is. Unless it's something else entirely. Like they're fucking anti-Semites and want to make sure we don't collect any money for Rabbis for Human Rights tonight. Yeah, that's probably it. Craigslist is run by a bunch of Nazis!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

it's a lovely day in Berkeley

I dropped off the Poetry & Pizza postcard design at the copy shop, plan to pick it up this evening. There are about 250 people on the P&P mailing list. It takes maybe 40 minutes to put the address labels on the postcards, rubber stamp them with the restaurant's return address, and add the postage stamp, especially if Kent helps, which he did last time. Don't have enough stamps. I'm not sure the grocery store sells postcard stamps but if they do I can finish the whole mailing tonight. If not I will buy more stamps tomorrow morning, finish stamping at the post office.

We ate lunch at Saul's. Kent had eggs scrambled with lox. I had a Middle Eastern fried bread thing with two eggs over easy.

Kent is upstairs watching Constantine, which I kind of want to see, but the TV room gets so much sun you can barely see the screen. I'm wearing an overshirt I just took out of the drier. I finished writing up the sources for my favorite poems of 2006. I suppose I'll post that list on DIR.

It's actually pretty warm out. Shouldn't this global warming thing worry me? It's not unusual for it to be this nice on a day in January. When the sun goes down it'll get cold. I think I am going to take a walk. Where should I go? Over to Solano and poke around Pegasus Books? Take the path to Indian Rock? Or just stroll the neighborhoods?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

comments on "Struggle"

Another 1984 poem, this one from September. I am not going to revise it.

It's built of rhyming couplets, some nearer than others (darkness/hiss, cot/not, always/space), with the last line orphaned as I think I just stopped writing. I won't even try this sort of thing these days, mainly because I don't find it fun. I don't care much about rhyme schemes and I'm not likely to try writing a nocturnal fight with a knife in a close room into a poem, so this is a glimpse of the road not taken, I guess. "Struggle" is not something I would include in a book I'd want people to pay for, but I thought it rather giddy so here it is.


She dropped the act
and swiftly attacked,
sliding the dagger
from her garter.
It flashed silver
briefly, moving quicker
in the darkness
with an inaudible hiss
through the folds
of his robe.
And there beneath
the cloth it would meet
his unprotected skin.
But the thin
blade tasted no
blood, thrust into
nothing, slashed only
the robe’s weave.
For the man was not
asleep upon the cot
in the night-encrusted room.
Wracked by June
fevers he had stirred
incessantly, his blurred
consciousness never fully
dampened into sleep.
The sheets in sweaty creases
swaddled his limbs. Pieces
of portioned moonlight illumed
his arm. The nocturnal sounds exhumed
insolent memories.
And like virulent flies
molested him always.
But in a moment’s space
when his breathing was still,
the delirious summer ill
giving him sun-edged clarity
between heat-induced insanity,
a shadow tinged his wrist
the way a snake’s tongue flicks,
swift and silent.
Only instinct sent
him backwards, escaping
the shimmering steel scraping
his garment. He was
against the wall, the buzz
of delirium poured
from him. The torrid
heat momentarily forgotten,
he leaped from the bed, dropped and
rolled, the gritty boards
emitted raspy chords,
impatient music of her
small weight moving quicker
than a striking snake,
of his heavier form, awake
and fully aware now,
his reflexes rapid. How
they fought in the snatches
of moonlight, each watching,
calculating the implied motions
of the other, how their positions
mimicked that of the eagle
and the cobra. Eyes seeking meager
outlines in the dark.
She had made no mark
until freeing the knife.
She had been the life
of the vine, without sound
but constantly moving. She found
an opening, darted forward
but her blade scraped the board
wall, slicing the dark where
the man had been. A stair
creaked, loud even in their
battle. She froze. Who was there?
She was in shadow, opaque,
allowing no light. But the squeak
of the stair was silence to him
as he rushed to pin
her where she hid.
She slid
down and to the side.
The door latch was being pried,
and she heard every rattle
of the metal on metal
with empty ears.
At the wall the mirror
picked out the door frame,
the wiggling knob. The latch came
with a ratchet, snapping free.
The knob turned fully.
Her head was yanked back,
his hand dealing a slap
that jarred her inside,
but her arm swung wide,
the dagger aimed for his chest.
But the light bulb dressed
the barren room. Filling all
the unseen regions, the white wall,
bed, rumpled sheets, window,
streaked portrait, snub-nosed pistol
firing, firing, firing. The lead
bullets shrieked, blasting into the head,
thrashing her away from the man,
her hair left in his hand.
He was frozen in time,
his hand still trailing her fine
hair, his robe whispering from the draft.
He knew the woman as she laughed,
knew her from the glinting gun,
from the way her face twisted all at once,
from her brushed-back black hair,
the way she cast him a contemptuous glare,
he knew her well.
The blood on the white-washed wall
oozed quietly toward the floor.
Crumpled at his feet, four
fingers grasping motionless at naught,
his night time opponent had caught
every shot in the face.
At the back of his throat a taste
bitter and brackish swelled to his tongue.
His face felt numb.
Only thirty seconds had gone
since the dagger had dragged him from dreams.