We are already ghosts.
Archive for the ‘Confessional’ Category
Though I wouldn’t tell her
I see tattooed ships
across her breasts,
from the main,
a sailor appears in her sleep
and hands me scrimshaw
wrapped in butcher’s paper.
Until morning we arrange
shells into sentences
that I send away
as ransom notes.
I’ve updated my post on A Conventional Weather, because it’s such an incredible book of poetry, and really deserved more. I am going to stick to saying more about the books, but the one a day thing I set for myself was kind of killing me. I’ll still try for that rate, even though I’m behind now, but my main goal will be to simply complete the books on my current roster by the end of the month.
Otherwise, there’s a new Wheelhouse, after a very long time, and I have two poems in it: Family Narrative and Many Stories. It’s an issue full to bursting of amazing poetry and prose; well worth checking out.
Such is the way of windows, of gravity and rock– conventional weather.
–John Pursley III, from A CONVENTIONAL WEATHER
Pursley writes flawlessly, with profound insight and emotional depth, of the conventional lives of conventional people in environments so compellingly drawn as to be both inseparable from, and nearly separate, characters themselves. The Ground Is Swollen & Black: the Air Not Moving at All is a portrait of Pursley‘s father fully wrought with love and pain; almost unbearable to read. The opening lines introduce his father:
Tonight, my father walks the narrow row of railroad ties, now delicate
As the dirt itself & crumbling, the way a mushroom will, when
It begins to dry & draws its moisture to the surface, like a protective skin
and our image of him is inseparable from the land the man is walking: railroad ties, dirt, dryness. Read the rest of this entry »
My accomplice is an animal, that’s why I often have an animal’s head.
–Karl Parker, from DESERT PLACE
Not everyone has the ability to bring us into their heads, but Karl Parker does, and it is a trippy, animalistic place. At 130 pages, Personationskin is a substantial book of poetry, and the poems within are successively, often simultaneously, apocalyptic, tender, naturistic, fantastical.
For instance, the fantastical and tender A Hospital-Bird describes the effect on hospital patients of the visit of A large bird wearing a hospital gown as the sick ones grew less tired, less borne down upon. This poem ends with a humorous, suitably understated discovery, which I wouldn’t spoil for the world.
Fog At Morning is at once apocalyptic and somewhat naturistic as it juxtaposes zombies and fog, again, humorously, yet tenderly, sadly:
Zombies appear in the mist.
They take you to the mall, where they make you try on clothes.
These are just two examples, but these poems are often skillfully hitting on multiple cylinders.
These are the titles I won’t be posting about for National Poetry Month last April, but instead will be doing daily in September. I’m pulling them at random from a suitcase right next to me to determine the order. There aren’t quite enough for an entire month, so if anybody has a poetry book they’d like me to talk about this month, feel free to comment, or e-mail me at oddcitrusdotcamiatgmaildotcom and we can figure it out. Any leftover days will be for poetry publications and anthologies, I think.
Sept. 1 – Personationskin, by Karl Parker
Sept. 2 – Cadaver Dogs, by Rebecca Loudon
Sept. 3 – God Damsel, by Reb Livingston
Sept. 4 – We Were Eternal and Gigantic, by Evelyn Hampton
Sept. 5 – A Conventional Weather, by John Pursley III
Sept. 6 – Say, Poem, by Adam Robinson
Sept. 7 – In Another Castle, by Matthew Shindell
Sept. 8 – Feign, by Kristy Bowen
Sept. 9 - MC Oroville’s Answering Machine, by Mike Young
Sept. 10 – In the Particular Particular, by Stephanie Anderson
Sept. 11 – The Forgiveness Parade, by Jeffrey McDaniel
Sept. 12 – Lamu, by Steve Timm
Sept. 13 – Arbor, by Melissa Ginsburg
Sept. 14 – Exit Interview, by Paul Guest
Sept. 15 – Radish King, by Rebecca Loudon
Sept. 16 – The Emperor’s Sofa, by Greg Santos
Sept. 17 – make-believe love-making, by Ana Carrete
I have 3 pieces in the new Artifice (#2), coming out in October.
Never piss off a poet, unless you want them to give you free books. Reb Livingston lets us know in no uncertain terms that reviewing poetry books is good, and then seriously backs that shit up. I am so on board, and will be reviewing Laurel Snyder‘s The Myth of the Simple Machines for Galatea Resurrects. Besides Galatea, there are quite a few places that solicit reviews of poetry books, even aside from posting on your own blog or website. I’ve listed a few below, but there are many more:
Boxcar Poetry Review first run books only, no chapbooks
The American Poetry Journal
The Quarterly Conversation
Broken Pencil as of 8/5, seeking reviews of small press poetry book titles
Valparaiso Poetry Review
This seems like as good a time as any to announce my plan to review a poetry book a day in September. I have bunch of books stacked up, waiting to be talked about, and had planned to do this for National Poetry Month in April, but then life went crazy. Things have settled down now, and I can. I only have about half a month’s worth of books, though, so I’ll do it until I run out, unless anybody has something they’d like me to review to fill out the month, in which case I can do that. They’ll probably all be good, don’t worry. Some better than others, though.
The Answer to the Puzzle
The answer to the puzzle
is the mauled bird on the sidewalk,
and the feathers.
The answer to the puzzle
is that things keep getting less lovely,
but more interesting.
When the girl falls
through the air from the top
of a very tall building,
she sees everything
rush past her in great detail
but with little promise.
Onlookers see, “Some girl
cutting through the air
like a knife cuts through water.”
They gasp and say, “How terrible.
That poor girl. It’s just awful.”
And it really is. A moment.
I’ve lost interest in poetry-related blog projects for now. Which is not to say that nothing will happen, only that I am unreliable, as usual.
The most revolutionary thing I could think of to do today was to buy a shovel.
I went to Very Small Dogs yesterday, and read it. It had been awhile. In the meantime, Joseph Young had added much sublime stuff. This in particular is something I could read in a 300-page volume bound in stamped leather, or faux-leather, or something fancy or serious. Something that, after finding my place, moving the ribbon marker aside, and reading, I could just shut and enjoy the weight of in my hands while leaning back in my chair, full and quiet.
I also read one of my favorite stories by someone I sort of know, Mike Sposito’s You and Your Plane Crash at Stirring. I first read this years ago, and came across it again yesterday, and was once again so struck by the pitch-perfect tone, the black black humor, and the elegance of the writing. It’s a sort of diorama of a couple whose contempt for humanity has transformed into contempt for each other, to the point where an event as dramatic as a plane crash in their garden becomes just another setting to one-up each other and inflict pain. Think Garp, with fucked priorities.
So, I’m considering a project involving this blog, and poetry, which I will post about tomorrow. I had originally planned this project for April, National Poetry Month, but my world got put awry that month, so I’m considering September now, which should be safe. Who knows? Anyway, that’s a tease.
There are days you just don’t feel like talking, and today is a day like that for me, but it’s also the day that everyone is posting about Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2010, so I will say that when I got mine, I thought, “this is heavy!” which I liked, and then I opened it up to read a story at random, and read Amelia Gray‘s Cube, about an obelisk discovered by picnicking families at a park. I was impressed and taken by the story’s grace, intelligence, and humor as the group struggled to cope with the monolith’s sudden, weighty presence in their world, and when I was finished I thought, “Okay, that was one random piece of literature out of what, 95?” and have been taking it to bed with me ever since.