October 11, 2006

All alone in your zoo of numbers and clues

Jonathan Monk, Today is Just a Copy of Yesterday

-- by klipschutz

The poet’s duty is this
To improve on the blank page
I doubt if it’s possible.
- Nicanor Parra

When I got to the party
the guacamole was history
and all the good jokes had been taken.

A guy who gophered on movie sets
held court with the film students with one about
"the Foley artist, the best boy and the grip. . ."

The MFAs amused themselves
over an unwieldy conceit featuring "Email"
("Call me. . .") and his main man Captain Rehab.

Until Daria started throwing cliterature around
like she hadn’t heard she was extinct. Wham!
Her G/F kissed a dude in front of everyone.

A "Turn the Page" parody failed
so the hippie with saffron teeth
stomped out. Again, who is Bob Seger?

I licked the wooden bowl clean as a baby’s—
scratch that—then bummed an American Spirit
off that vegan who wears fennel undies.

Upstairs the Lincoln-Douglas debates raged on:
firmly on both sides of the fence.

Betimes, in fifty years no one will know
Brit Hume from Harry Hamlin from
Hephaestus. Guacamole, mon amour.

Portrait of the Author
As a Young Anarchist

-- by Kenneth Rexroth

While things were going on in Europe,
Our most used term of scorn or abuse
Was 'bushwa.' We employed it correctly,
But we thought it was French for 'bullshit.'
I lived in Toledo, Ohio,
On Delaware Avenue, the line
Between the rich and poor neighborhoods.
We played in the jungles by Ten Mile Creek,
And along the golf course in Ottawa Park.
There were two classes of kids, and they
Had nothing in common: the rich kids
Who worked as caddies, and the poor kids
Who snitched golf balls. I belonged to the
Saving group of exceptionalists
Who, after dark, and on rainy days,
Stole out and shat in the golf holes.

-- by Paul Celan

Dull sun
across a black gray desolation.
A tree-
high thought
grasps the shade of light: there are
still songs
to sing past

—Translated from the German by Franz Wright

Southern Comfort
-- by Nin Andrews

Whiskey on the rocks. That was my dad's evening drink. As a girl, I liked to hold the glass, feel the cold against my cheek, then lift it up so I could see the light coming through the liquid, golden like the hairs on my father's arms, like the meadow that stretched out behind the barn. Sometimes I'd sip it, and if Mom were out of town, Dad would serve me my own drink, mixing lemon, sugar, whiskey, and water, letting me taste fire on my tongue, throat, and deep inside. Does it burn you, Daddy? No, he'd say. Not with just one drink. Then he'd pour himself another to take the edge off the day. And I'd watch it happen, the edges of the day dissolving, everything that had been the day, moving away from us, no longer true or obvious like the black and white of the clock-hands moving towards bed time. When at last it was dark and late, and all that was left were two pools of lamplight, tiny 40 watt islands, just for us, my father reading on the couch, me on my belly, head cocked sideways, staring at picture books I'd read a thousand times, I'd play a game in my mind, trying to hold on to that moment, make it last, just a little longer, and pretend, this is all there is. Just this, this whiskey light, the two of us alone, together, in a single summer night.


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