Monday, July 23, 2012

July 21, 2005

If Ernest Hemingway
were not dead
but instead a vagrant
at Justin Herman Plaza
he’d be wearing a dirty red shirt
and filthy jeans
a fishing cap
and scowls for his bench mate
(who bears a striking resemblance to Lionel Moise
and talks like William Faulkner
about the dope boys
and city hall cops
all bought off)
and he wouldn’t even have
2 bits
from Rexroth in his pocket
for spite or spit
as he sits around the varied corners
down the streets
from City Lights and porn shops
beside financial districts
on his cheap straight pipe
and bad tobacco

but he doesn’t have a Bloody Mary
on this sunny afternoon
still undreamt from somewhere else,

and this San Francisco
not of Cuba
is instead a hangover
writ by London and his Barleycorn
from parks and too much sitting

if he didn't have
this ample hesitation
and a risk
of growing older
this personal tragedy
tangled in his unkempt beard
if he were not
unhid from sight
and hurting like hell
like an immoral problem
or a strangled pigeon
if he were not
a last mismanaged panacea
of terrible depression
and he sat here
in the artist’s reward

his motion
might be mistaken
for action
but not defeat
by the world
but not stronger

might quote Bukowski
“It takes special talent to be a drunk.
It takes endurance. Endurance is more important
than truth.”
might quote himself
“Always do sober
what you said you’d do

If Hemingway were not dead
he’d be here chasing pigeons
in Justin Herman Plaza
throwing his cap
with a deadly aim
and cursing with his little words

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Feet in fading precision

Walls of sun-dried clay
Valleys of ruin
Unearthly hours
Under a sun-dried gaze
To admit our repetitions
This was dreariness
The unmistakable boundary
The smell of dust
The heads of dry water
The graves we dig
The front steps that sag
The bare facts
That haven’t been properly gutted
Sticking their necks out
Silently across the border
Shrouded in redundancy
& Pure shining bodies
& Pocket bones

a tedious way of living
a dreary way of living
in redundancy and thirst

In a way this is living
In a way of dying
In a very dull way of being
In a dying odor
Hands on hips
Fused into claws
For dénouement
Forced but undetectable
Eyes bleary
Even without a body
Completely decayed
Busy with dying
Beneath the dreary motions
Beneath a sun-dried sun
A sad way of living
An empty coffin
A meal of dust
A gray windblown furrow
A dirt poor measure
A complete understanding
A clear dry rivulet

Friday, June 15, 2012

Certain themes repeat themselves

a thought with dark wings

an act of love

what we take for granted

at our mothers’ knees

arthritic knees

in the early morning

with nowhere else to turn

small joys

and wave upon endless wave

of disenchantment

only deepening

these chiseled outlines

between self

and other voices

narrow-hearted, without a breath

our sheltered hoaxes

curved with dreams

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I shudder to think

I shudder to think
            in the Marxian sense
of a proper grammar.

Its structure of domination.
The flood and buffering.
Of an industry.
Spoken or typed.
By which we neglect.
The conditions of conflict.

Our right to contend / with fissures of text

     for the concept
     the predictable
     means of production

(The implications ...)

Any linguist will tell you
These truths lie with their utterers
Conceived in tongues.
Like the meaning of Class.
Into all these periods
Of linguistic slaughter.

We adapt / evolve / conceiv'd over drinks

Contractions. For nothing.
As quick and immediate
As history itself.

     we only think
     we control words
     Assume their identities
     & bury our brackets
     in the onus of redaction

"Talk about grammar / Punctuation and explosives."

[The actual use of guns]

& Libation
Our normal drunken banter.
A shared tongue
in the gutter of meaning.

Listeners / living out a séance

on the battlefield.
of self-censored eggshells.

     Only language
     Leans upon its triumph
     Like a complete moron,
     Its format and pronunciation
     Always spelled correctly.

For example, this clause—
                   To thrust his ellipses / into her flesh ...
—is an English purist.

An operation.
Of misguided violence.

"In a small town / Where everything is known."

The villagers vote
a little disheartened
on the issue of words.

Their non-dimensional voices ...

As Syme once said to Winston
in the furtherance of silence:

                   "Our language / is almost stupid"

(but not quite.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Best Poetry Book of 2011

Culture of One by Alice Notley

Of course, it's the only book of new poetry I bought and read all year. Does that still count?