Books I’ve Got Poetry to Keep Me Warm
posted by June 26 at 11:51 AMon
During the Great Blackout of Aught-eight, I did, in fact, read poetry aloud. I’ve got shelves packed with books here in the office and skinny little poetry books often get lost in the jumble. As soon as our computers lost power, I started picking out the narrow books and reading bits aloud.
The first poetry collection I grabbed was Mark Svenvold’s Empire Burlesque. There is a poem called “I Recall Being Beautifully Stoned,” subtitled “Seattle 1993,” and it’s about a failed suicide attempt and hitchhiking and being picked up by Ezra Pound in drag. Here’s one bit:
“She stopped for me, said, “Get in,” lit a joint, said: “The perfect BLOW-JOB’S every man’s true EL DORADO— Don’t let anyone tell you different.”
and it ends:
—”What is this place?” Pound said, at last. —”North 85th and Greenwood,” I said, helpfully.
—”No, no,” with a sweep of his hand
That took in the Piggly Wiggly & the strip northward
clear to Canada
—”No,” he said again. “I mean THIS!?”
I turned the page and there was a poem called “White Pages” that was about King Kong. This part was the real genius bit:
Terrible, lusting, big-fingered Kong,/crushed, bereft, knowing it’s all wrong—
Then I abandoned Empire Burlesque and picked up City of Corners, by John Godfrey. I only read one poem from that, called “Across the Way,” and its last stanza was something else again:
Full-term rotundity/in steamy daylight/Her posture:/Magnificent
But then I picked up a book called Wideawake Field by Eliza Griswold. There were some bad poems, there, but there were also some good ones. The thing about good poems is you have to read all of them to get why they’re good poems. And so I sat quietly and read it until the lights and Information Superhighway came back on, at which point I immediately forgot about poetry and fired up some porn.