Thursday, July 28, 2011

Verse of the Day - Walt Whitman

I'd like to think my soul came out at night like Walt Whitman's but to be honest after a night of writing dry legal content, I fear it's shrivelled up and died in a corner of this silent house.

Inspiration can be a fickle thing, flickering when you least expect it and draining away when you want to call upon it. Coffee can keep me going through midnight but it's a poor awakener of the soul. The reality is we move in the same places, drive the same highways and go through the same motions every day. The possibilities are out there spread across an indistict horizon that becomes more abstract everyday.

So do we stick to these designed roles? Do I walk everyday into the same wordless lunchrooms and see the same people cowered over their sandwiches? Or can we seized the abstract, do the unexpected and finally change who we are?

I'm not sure what this has to do with Whitman, but mainly I hate this poet and see him as overrated, not that I've had much time to study his work. He looks like a beardy old  bore, though, the type of guy who would harrangue you at the railway station when you are trying to read your book - so there.

A Clear Midnight by Walt Whitman

THIS is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,

Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou
lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Verse of the Day - George Oppen

If It All Went up in Smoke by George Oppen

that smoke

would remain

the forever
savage country poem's light borrowed

light of the landscape and one's footprints praise
from distance

in the close
crowd all

that is strange the sources
the wells the poem begins

neither in word
nor meaning but the small

selves haunting
us in the stones and is less

always than that help me I am
of that people the grass

blades touch
and touch in their small

distances the poem

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Freeze Tag by Suzanne Vega

Ever heard a song that sounds like poety, until you look up the lyrics and they turn out to be prosaic? There are too many examples to mention

But I'd say Freeze Tag is something of an exception, as well as being a great song, at least to those of us who cling to the eighties as if the era was a long, lost religion. And during these long, listless and sweaty days it's pleasant to think of dark night and the sharp tang of snow under the brown trees.

Freeze Tag by Suzanne Vega

We go to the playground
In the wintertime
The sun is fading fast
Upon the slides into the past
Upon the swings of indecision
In the wintertime

In the dimming diamonds
Scattering in the park
In the tickling
And the trembling
Of freeze tag
In the dark

We play that we're actors
On a movie screen
I will be Dietrich
And you can be Dean

You stand
With your hand
In your pocket
And lean against the wall
You will be Bogart
And I will be

And we can only say yes now
To the sky, to the street, to the night
Slow fade now to black
Play me one more game
Of chivalry
You and me
Do you see
where I've been hiding
In this hide-and-seek?

We go to the playground
In the wintertime
The sun is fading fast
Upon the slides into the past
Upon the swings of indecision
In the wintertime

We can only say yes now
To the sky, to the street, to the night
We can only say yes now
To the sky, to the street, to the night

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kinky sex with Ken and Barbie

I stumbled on this poem today and thought WTF? But, it's been a boring day dominated by dull meetings about ordinances. How better than to spice it up than with a poem about Ken, Barbie and sex.

I have no idea what's going on in this poem. Which is probably just as well.

Kinky by Denise Duhamel

They decide to exchange heads.

Barbie squeezes the small opening under her chin
over Ken's bulging neck socket. His wide jaw line jostles
atop his girlfriend's body, loosely,
like one of those novelty dogs
destined to gaze from the back windows of cars.
The two dolls chase each other around the orange Country Camper
unsure what they'll do when they're within touching distance.
Ken wants to feel Barbie's toes between his lips,
take off one of her legs and force his whole arm inside her.
With only the vaguest suggestion of genitals,
all the alluring qualities they possess as fashion dolls,
up until now, have done neither of them much good.
But suddenly Barbie is excited looking at her own body
under the weight of Ken's face. He is part circus freak,
part thwarted hermaphrodite. And she is imagining
she is somebody else—maybe somebody middle class and ordinary,
maybe another teenage model being caught in a scandal.

The night had begun with Barbie getting angry
at finding Ken's blow up doll, folded and stuffed
under the couch. He was defensive and ashamed, especially about
not having the breath to inflate her. But after a round
of pretend-tears, Barbie and Ken vowed to try
to make their relationship work. With their good memories
as sustaining as good food, they listened to late-night radio
talk shows, one featuring Doctor Ruth. When all else fails,
just hold each other, the small sex therapist crooned.
Barbie and Ken, on cue, groped in the dark,
their interchangeable skin glowing, the color of Band-Aids.
Then, they let themselves go— Soon Barbie was begging Ken
to try on her spandex miniskirt. She showed him how
to pivot as though he was on a runway. Ken begged
to tie Barbie onto his yellow surfboard and spin her
on the kitchen table until she grew dizzy. Anything,
anything, they both said to the other's requests,
their mirrored desires bubbling from the most unlikely places.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poetry Society petitions are delivered in a red wheelbarrow

It seems Britain's Poetry Society has been rocked by a series of mystery resignations.

Sio what better was for members to deliver letters of concern than in a red wheel barrow, in the spirit of William Carlos Williams' famous poem.

Read more in the Guardian.

The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

So much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white