some think poetry shows education and elevation, high class and classy thoughts — special feelings and less wrinkles. one of the men in the image below received a Pulitzer for poetry in 1952. the other was thrown out of princeton in 1955 for cheating on a creative writing final and then went on to found Poetry Cincinnati, a magazine of verse. Both were expelled from PEN in 1962 for standing in front of a window in Oxford, Mississippi in their underwear, but not at the same time. both are dead now, dying from drug overdose or murdered by their junky friends for naming them to the police. they’re buried in a dumpster outside a closed mall in buffalo.
i’m not a poet unless i’m writing a poem. even after i’ve finished one, i’m not a poet, just a reader. readers aren’t poets. we don’t read poetically, don’t get into an arty dress and feel the tragic/comic sense of life passing through our lips as we recite some poem.
i’m not a poet because i feel poetic and start saying beautiful thoughts in a cute way; i’m not hemingway, faking out a macho. i’m not dylan or morrison, faking out a rimbaud rap to get liked; watching them watch me, saying to the crowd, “written poetry is dead, the only real’s what you do in bed.” i’m not that ‘do you like me, mr.?’ kid anymore.
i’m not a poet when i write poetic prose, cutified lawn fauns, like i do. nor are you.
i feel verbal, feel like making words. i start by saying stuff, lie to the page — “the air is round and my heart is high.”
i’ve no idea what this really means, but i see ‘air’ and ‘heart’. that’s the core, and i can visualize and make the necessary connection between them — ‘heart is like…’, ‘air is like…’. if i can find a connection that FEELS emotional to me, i can start to write poetry.
‘heart opens, air closes,
life slips in.
you take off your shirt
slip in the covers
now i’m at the point where i should start writing poetry, try to find the real in this and what i really want to talk about. start seeing this shirt and this bed — the things the reader can see — and wonder what they’ve really got to do with me.
there’s a problem with poetry today. inferior teachers are teaching us that anything you like is real, without showing you more to like than what they know or can handle. you’re not a poet because you feel poetic, you’re a poet because you’ve written something you can see in a year and not cringe at, because you’ve honestly worked to find the poetry in the poem you’re writing.
this is just my opinion, and all writing is an experiment. i look forward to reading what other writers
think is real about poetry for the poet.
mind stuff is fixed in the ideal, poetry gives life to ideas. if ideas are a music, then poetry is the music inside music.
you can make me the center of your target zone;
drop the bomb down, you can bomb on my home.
separate my shin from inside my skin…
just want some liebensraum, now, is that a sin??
I’m a hiroshima woman, i like to rock and roll…
blast your isotopic fission, umm, strip me to the bone.
well, it’s shred me up,
and nuke me down.
pulverize my head
with the rest of the town.
turn me into plasma; gamma x-ray…
nuke those folks,
i didn’t like them anyway.
red cloud in the sky,
have a hiroshima day.
and, here’s some more stuff i gotta say,
in a jail house rock kind of way:
now, tojo told me, “honey,
‘need more stuff in Japan!
hell with roosevelt, got to break out the ban:
get me back to the safety of the frying pan!
and, i really need all them sumatra monkey glands…”
let’s fook. everybody, let’s fukushima!!
“nuclear is bad, bad yankeeees!!”
— umm, hitler said to hiro,
“turn the bums to glue.”
hiro said to tojo,
“cat, that’s what you should do,
cause, that whole population of China
don’t do what i say….!”
… oh, been to nanking,
watched’um chop some heads.
army boys be thrifty,
did not waste no lead.
and, some things,
you know they never go away:
have a hiro, i mean a foo-koo-shima day.
the sea is full tonight,
running currents from asia —
round and serene — it flows
from japan — fukushima,
where death grows in water
so green and still —
deep wells with melting rods, containers,
melting boy and girl —
isotopes eating the land.
a bird, a land bird,
floats upon strontium;
spirit on the sea. and, i see outside, the vivid sunset
reminds me of melting worlds now, fire and death;
and, i cannot shake the fear that my bones
are filling with poison: when i love in you,
i am giving you cesium. i cannot love you anymore;
i cannot kill.
i want to sing a floating song in the wind,
but, the waves and clouds spiral into cesium;
children will die,
birds will die. i want to sing a song
that shouts out happiness — but, the liquid
caress of radioactive water bathes hilo,
covers the beach at waikiki —
the sands, the trees; the people. children
will play, mothers will nurse, people will vote, happy
to pick their team for the series.
leaders of the world, politicians — labor, communist,
fascist, republican realists, democrat souls: vanity boys
and girls. they didn’t tell you? did you ask?
i want to sing a song where i’m not afraid,
afraid to look outside, green planet…
to walk downtown and not look down,
to not have to see the pain,
they know they’re dying — the food, the air and water.
because, the sky would be blue;
birds from far away…
you didn’t tell,
and, hell, i didn’t care —
except you teased
my launch to mars,
called it ‘kiddy kar’,
like i’d stolen mercury
and misaligned your star. yah,
you reinvented your history,
like a last month’s christmas tree,
bangling oggles, stretched out wooble:
wooden wingless wigs on trump’s fedora —
i implore ya not to get too hip intensitied,
cause mr. leprosy has got your back.
and, i’m so mellow here in porkland,
watching pigs roll down the feathered hill —
chilling with the leprechauns and demons,
such a fright. and, nights are wizard,
with each drop from fremont bridge
into the frigid willy-met: splash of skum
presents on stage the final biosphere,
and we’re rejected for the future
we’ve just passed.
you didn’t kiss, and, well,
i wouldn’t tell you how to shoot;
your girl’s a fool for masturbating when
you’re raving in the rust belt far and gone;
getaway, to contemplate the station
guide in some small world of plasma space —
learn things we thought we thought were worthless: grin and glow.
if i must pick apart the slivers of my memory,
pinch each punctured line and redefine
what’s life or art; what kept us far away —
replace the sadness meat of history, of you and me,
with something smileable to play me while you’re
puking in the bar.
i didn’t tell you how so beautiful you looked last night;
i forgot to bring the orchid for your wedding gown —
i’ve often felt i should adore you more, to be polite,
but, polite’s what the clown tripped over, leaving town.
so, would you would you hesitate to play?
all the things in store you’ve heard of —
things you’d like to do, the most?
night and day, and charge on amex,
rooms of cashew ginger peanut butter french fries,
spread on toast.
and, arthur rubinstein would sing our brand new birthday,
tatting on the keys — no mystery here, it’s only play.
the fold and fold of fingers bending years inside
beside themselves; fleeting rushes kissing loving….
wrapped inside time’s feathered gown;
let’s dance a double curve back through
our history… instead of faking moments: time don’t pay.
and, make a song we’ll sing again, invent a ghost gray Saturday to hide inside
you’d sing a song to wake up sleepy willow trees,
you’d tap dance on the floor of xanadu. and, all the while,
where would you could you with the other girl who’s listening,
who’d stop your pitter-patter with a smile, and you’d be gone.