Monday, January 28, 2013
50 short poem poems
by Glenn Ingersoll
The poems are philosophical, humorous, and often conscious of themselves. The book is small enough to slip into a pocket, handy for those moments stolen for contemplation or distraction.
I am trying to think up
a good poem. I would like it to be good
to make up for all the offenses
of bad poems. Though I suspect that's
too much to demand from my simple skills.
Even a really good poem would be able to atone
for little of the intolerance, torture, and warfare
conducted in the name of poetry.
poems from Fact have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Lilliput Review, Shampoo, Fish Drum, and Fish Dance, and other places.
Go to Alba for four Fact poems.
Go to Shampoo for seven Fact poems.
You can read Steve Masover's response to Fact at his One Finger Typing.
Jim McCrary says, "Glenn Ingersoll is a big poet. It is always good to see what he has to say." Read more at Galatea Resurrects.
As well as a review, the poet Jim Murdoch conducted an interview with me on his blog, The Truth About Lies. Roughly summing up, Jim says, "As a body of work [Fact is] thought-provoking and deals with many aspects of the nature of poetry." In the interview Jim asked about the title; I responded: "The poems did not think of themselves as fiction." Check out the post.
The poet Jan Steckel created a Fact page at Goodreads.com. Jan says, "I loved this little chapbook ... My husband and I cracked up reading its little masterpieces to each other."
price: $5 from the publisher
$6 from me - it's signed & includes a thank you card (while supplies last)
[Fact is currently out of print; neither the author nor Avantacular has copies for sale.]
Andrew Topel, publisher
1239 6th St
Orange City FL 32763
you may also direct inquiries to the author
2015 Cedar St
Berkeley CA 94709
[updated 20 June 2019]
Monday, January 21, 2013
thou. Sand castle, sandpaper. Let me find you, says the wind. The dog lifts her head, ears pricked, nostrils twitching. What did she hear? Something transdimensional? A worm turning? At one end of the world a bell rings; at the other someone waits, listening for an answer. We made it to the top of the mountain. To get any higher, hail an angel. Or a cyclone. Thank you, days, months, years, for counting. There’s not a minute to lose, yet here they are, all over the ground. How many have you squirreled away? Three two-minute segments, one five-minute, one one.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
body is waiting, no one in it. Will it let the breath in? The body’s not sure. Sometimes you have to say no. The breath could go back to searching. It’s always been a seeker, anyway. There are grains of sand to check under again. The telephone rings in the house. The only guest picks it up. “No,” he says. “I don’t know. I’m sorry.” When he hangs up the phone he feels bad. He goes back to his room. “You and me,” thinks the woman standing over the dog. She’s not intending to take the dog in. I and
Saturday, January 19, 2013
knack. You know how you can be so good at something it doesn’t take any thought? Typing, playing the piano, executing somersaults. When you started working on the task it was difficult, maybe seemed impossible, but you kept at it. At some point it became effortless. Your body no longer needed you to think out each step in the process. Perhaps her husband got lost. Finding a good night’s sleep had been impossible. He took a wrong turn. His breath returns to his body having not found him in the dust and ash, having searched the sands without luck. The
Friday, January 18, 2013
goat stew. The woman smiles at the dignified swing of the dog’s approving tail. The scrapings drop out of the pot into a washtub that long ago split down one side, some of the stew in burnt chunks and two bones thick as a fist. The pup ducks under his mother’s chin to snatch one and lope off for a lone and satisfying gnaw. The dog pretends she didn’t notice. The woman laughs. It’s her first laugh of the day. Earlier she was listening to her husband breathe. Breath didn’t seem at home in him anymore. Or he’d lost the
Thursday, January 17, 2013
If the dog knew she was really a princess, having been enchanted into this form by a vindictive fairy, she betrayed no hint of it. Her second litter was weaned by this time, though the most teat-addled of her sons still had to be bitten once or twice a day. He didn’t hold it against her and would curl up at her feet while she slept. This sunny but chilly afternoon the dog trots around to the back of the guesthouse, and finds the proprietress, serving spoon in one hand, pot to be scraped out in the other. Smells like
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
When a car or a donkey cart needed by, the dog would get to her feet, yawn, and move aside, doing this favor purely, you could tell, out of the goodness of her heart. With the traveler past she would return to the otherwise restful spot as it made sense to. She kept up daily rounds, reviewing the usual dumping places, keeping tabs on the comings and goings of other dogs and engaging in the occasional exchange over hierarchy, enjoying the infrequent scratch behind the ear by a friendly hand or dodging the less pleasant boot. She didn’t bark much.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I can only reply: You have beautiful lips. I love to see them move. They open, they close, they purse, they spread. You make fine noises. Such a variety of noises! I can feel their atmosphere, the conforming of air to your purpose. It’s a local, ephemeral sculpture. Paint it. Make a mold. Let it go. Once upon a time there was a dog. The dog had no name. None had been given to her. Other dogs recognized her by her smell, by the way she moved, the sounds she made, her shape and attitude. She slept in the street.
Monday, January 14, 2013
to let that good go. It’s built into you. It’s not like ungrasping something. More like taking your bones out and laying them on the table then loving the wondrous sensation of being boneless. You never knew you could relax so much. It’s not easy, that’s what I’m saying. To stop meaning. How can I express it in words? Words are meaning objects. They aren’t anything but meaning. Except noise. Some music maybe. The bodies making them. Squiggles on the page. So go with noise, bodies, traces left on surfaces. But can’t those be read, too? you protest. To which
Sunday, January 13, 2013
which the received version is surely garbled. You look it over. You think to yourself, I can fix it. The muffler, for example, it means that I was always a quiet baby. My mother’s smile symbolizes creative potential and it takes two to create. Stuff like that, you know. A dream doesn’t mean what it presents as, nonsense. It really means really profound shit. There’s a good reason you dreamed that. Right? Well, that’s your mind. Working away. Coming up with gods and symbols and finding faces in burnt tortillas. That’s your mind. It can be good. But it’s time
Saturday, January 12, 2013
with that, that’s unnatural. Surely an abomination. Like shellfish, like little piggies. Like aeroplanes and choo-choo trains and mechanical lambs eating plastic ivy. God isn’t dead. God was never alive so death had no opportunity to be involved. God is one of the many manifestations of non-life. Like a star, like a cold little comet whose gravity is just enough to keep its icy heart from breaking up. If I have a meaning I’m ignorant of it. I suppose I could be like a dream where the dream isn’t the answer but provides the opportunity to retell a tale of
Friday, January 11, 2013
car, whispered conspiratorially, you’re convinced, hatching a plan to boost your Cadillac. This is the sort of entrée your mind serves up when your eyes are shut and your breathing steady and it’s dark and it’s only you in there, only you and your meaning-making mind which is ever working, ever fiddling. Maybe you just want to rest. But that’s not the way it works. You’re a meaning-making animal. Letting that go, taking your hand off the wheel of the relentless inner drive and shedding the fear that meaninglessness will hurt you, living instead in meaninglessness’s inscrutable purposes and fine
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Indeed, sometimes you need to let go the frenzied grasping after meaning. Take pleasure in mystery. Live in it undispelled. Ignorance as sensuous experience. Your mind may thwart your intentions and present a meaning on a platter. That is its nightly habit. Every dream threads random objects into a vital narrative: your mother’s conniving smile, a rusty muffler, the aftertaste of carpet slippers. The mind tells you you took your mother to dinner and proudly asked for two orders of carpet slippers, the house specialty, but all during the meal she whispered to the rusty muffler from your dad’s first
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
fine. Understanding is overrated. Have you ever watched a foreign film without subtitles? Or read a modern poem? If it really doesn’t matter whether you understand you can appreciate other things. The music in language, say. Birds sing in the trees and we’re told they do it to attract a mate. Is that everything? It’s a lot, sure; everybody knows that who doesn’t have a date for Saturday night. But singing’s probably a pleasure for the singer, too. Maybe birds are sending sophisticated messages, messages we have yet to decode. I’m not saying we shouldn’t bother seeking meaning. Except sometimes.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
No doubt we’ll recognize it, having never been there before. I hope there’s a mattress. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a good lie down. The crocodiles were just the icing on the cake with the cake being death. It isn’t easy to eat. You want to have your cake and eat it, too. You know that saying, right? I’ve never understood it. What’s the point of cake if not eating it? Somebody explained it to me once and I kinda got it. But I forgot. I’m so over cake. If I have to die never understanding,
Monday, January 07, 2013
slip back under. Just as it disappeared, a second fin, slightly farther away, rose, the tip sparkling where the sun caught in the water on the skin. “I see them,” I remember saying and turned to my mother. She didn’t see them. It made me think, if she’s staring right at them and she doesn’t see them, what else doesn’t she see that’s right in front of her face? Only later did I think to wonder that about myself. Now I figure it happens all the time. The dolphins will take us to the place we’re supposed to end up.
Sunday, January 06, 2013
here. I’ve always loved dolphins. I had a friend once who was an angel or something and he brought me out to the sea he was actually my mother’s friend or he was the son of my mother’s friend and we went out to the sea it was all of us my mother my mother’s friend and my mother’s friend’s son and he showed us you could see the dolphins going by. He pointed out to sea and at first I couldn’t see anything but when my eyes adjusted I saw a fin rise out of the water and then
Saturday, January 05, 2013
we are too late for mermaids. You’re always too early or too late for something. What you have to figure out sometimes is what you’re right on time for. Ready? Lead on, Velma! Go! Yes oh close one yip ha missed me oof wet off! ugh! yeep! thanks watch out for no for that yes and that over oops yup whew yipe don’t slip faster good feint watch this! like that? almost there one two another whoops gotta go left no right no left no eek ah dolphins! Boy, are we glad to see you kids! Let’s get out of
Friday, January 04, 2013
a dragonfly in a pond near a monk’s house, as a fairy tale princess, and as, um, was it a dog? A wolf! Of course. Anyway, being as Velma is crocodilian herself she will know best how to navigate this island consisting entirely of crocodiles. She suggests we step primarily upon a crocodile’s shoulders, hips secondarily, and move on as quickly as we are able. As they all are large, being trod upon will rile them less than were they of an average size. On the far side we will meet up with dolphins. Or mermaids, although I rather suspect
Thursday, January 03, 2013
keep. Watch out for ferries! Oh the days go by like horses, the days go by like shoes, the meals are all in courses, and which toes that I don’t use I’ll have to put in purses to make sure that they won’t bruise. It’s a lovely day, isn’t it? Lowering clouds, lightning, hail, and sheer. Why, if there were any more sunshine we’d have to pour it in trays and freeze it for later. Ah, we’ve reached the Isle of Crocodiles. This is Velma, our guide. She is a caiman of exceptional grace and gloss who did time as
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
will gobble it up. My penmanship isn’t very good, but what secret is legible? There. Now take my hand. Step slowly, for your opposite below will be placing a foot just so and you must meet it. Just as the foot below will hold you up, your foot holds the other down. The water people would drown in air, as you would drown in water. And we don’t want any drowning. Not in the land of the dead. That would be too ironic! Have you got the rhythm? It’s easy once you’ve got the rhythm. We have an appointment to
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
that again. You could kiss your own, so you know what I mean. I like the way the tiny silver and black fish turns behind your brow, like it’s a thought, one you’ve been mulling for some time. It doesn’t look like a dreadful thought, that’s good. But it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. It looks like it’s going in circles, frankly. I am going to write on water. It’s a secret message. But since I’m going to write it on your forehead, the reflection of your forehead, I’m sure it will sink right in. Maybe your little fish