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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh My God! Not Another Poet

I don’t often present these little indulgences, but this one so fit my present mood and mode.

(circa 1976)



I seek no special inspiration

from love or pain or mystery;

only.... Still I seek it.

Language harbors language, words harbor words,

action harbors life, and life harbors poetry.

A polemic: sad as standing on one leg before a city.

Experience, great teacher--my fool --

cuts, then heals

as an aggravated and enraged soul climbing

-- a great candle lighted shadow--

up from my dim past

comes to split my body and the world

like rolls of soft bread

readying them for the sweet cow's butter of love.

Do I need it?

The word harbors the word, and the word harbors

the action, and the action harbors life....


My poetry has been lost--shut out--

eaten through my skull and, light as it is,

sprung into the brain of a hummingbird, or

an ostrich;

sent the poor weak brain to dim ancient urgings

for flying, for nesting in trees,

for even having teeth or, as with me,

to be amphibian, fish and worm.

I see it all now: Poor weak worm in the dry of veldt

surrounded by surprised vultures, an unhistoried ostrich

killed to the undeath of original planet dust,

unable to fight off my escaped poetry.


I will not seek poetry in language.

Still it is a pretty thing;

waves moving pebbles on the shore.

But even great seventh or forty ninth waves,

striking with the force of inexorable logic

are spent by the beach--it is its nature.

Not the wave, but time is the master of pebbles.

Slap language around as you would an unfaithful mistress,

if that is what you do, or

cry with her and make love some new way

using puppets and #3 wash tubs.

She is still your mistress and you love her.

You only hurt her if you take your love away,

run wild in the land fucking oak stumps and

piles of used bricks;

trying to fuck life into the dead

while letting the living die.

This is why I will not seek poetry in language.

Language harbors words, words harbor action,

action harbors life, life harbors poetry.


My many fathers and many mothers

reached out through the dark sky to the moon

and in through the dark womb to the soul.

They strung poetry between shells and bear claws,

wore it in their hair,

and roasted it next to the bodies of small birds.

I've tried praying to soup cans,

gluing feathers on a crew cut,

and making necklaces from

bottle caps and condoms:

It hasn't worked yet.

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