I.

__

The ideal candidate: vigorous

easily connects with others;

Prefer stubbornly offers.

Please send resume, cover letter, and salary requirement to

 __

Dear

Kate,

 __

what if I find a stupid one, a lunatic bitterness that pleasantly

I presently found, what a kind one, your invitation and what a stupid one

am I, having just now found your envelope, pleasurable archival

I cannot make it to your lavish

 __

II.

 __

Dear William,

sweet, what a kiss

yes, I’m a confident panic,

without the pomp

brocade, bluish and blush, I’m a grocery store fire

through the night awake, aware, whimpering, alarmed with waiting

glass, glossy, fogged up or, worse, opaque,

me, the fragile circumstance on the eve of an electric engagement

public, through which they all saw, fooled about lying

and ceremony in the manner of the procession

to honor and to keep at bay

fooled about liking me

in the quake of the proceedings, the golden spectacle,

I prefer vigorous

dead stones, lifeless taffeta, crisp curls deflated, limp lace

like a backwards someone

impinging

God I can’t stop talk

so this will have to do—

moon and, honey, the crowning to the sumptuous

our postprandial travel panning out in sips,

tip by angled tip, the brine, twinge, and prick of the nuptials,

God I can’t stop, think—

your habit of smiling out at strangers

what if I

thinking you’re the habit of sitting, doused in vacant expression, inside

stalled cars, stalked idly,

end up dead, with dead diamonds and a pork chop in my ear,

will be more profit,

I mean will be more proud if I

already know, but far be it from me to tell you things

can profit on a cool evening in Northern

the tulips were falling out over their

fur and leather wedding gowns’

seams

I would

prefer difficult no’s, stubbornly offers

a lunatic future, riches, treasure, yes I’d love one,

some. but why be sneaky,

nice knowing you. glad we love so much we lost,

could love so much we shot them down.

I wonder when it’ll air or tear, the hail and gusts come walloping down

so much northwesterly warmth and so much green outside the Narthex

the tulips falling wide, talking idly amongst themselves,

fondly I remember first the offer

fondly I remember first hearing from

too bitter for me

and hence more detrimental

what if I find a nun? or a younger man?

whether I’ll err, what if I?

why are you wrong? this song is not at all over

or else gone to code

why are you merry? this is not yet sung

I shall be one,

so easily connects to others

I shall be

so in the future

connect the other way

the cry of the nautilus shell,

Gods, and pegs I think too big

I think I’m a virtual place to revise

more possible long-range

I need to burn

the world needs to learn to be more

fondly I first remember hearing from

I don’t know when these things heir

this absurd policy, how much?

a bunch, went well with

the longer term

I’m just curious

I’ve been a held note so long

I think I’m a

boiled away

I’m scared, seems I would

so long

nice knowing you some

 __

III.

__

Dear Kate, I regret to inform you

your application, though kind and brutally charming,

cannot be accepted

at this time

 __

IV.

__

Brain abuzz,

entirely overwrought,

hard work is overrated

overdone, overworked, I was once…

 __

Kate, I must decline your kind invitation

you, an old friend who’s made me very, very sad

to the royal banquet

and friendship is hard, Fran

 __

Hesperion cadges

the castanets in un chanson amist the casa

de locos oranges and greens deranged

doing dishonor

 __

I think my spleen is coming undone

my seams are ripping apart

each foot drop pounds

a million  __    __    __

 __

ashes into the turf, aerated

oils celebrity addiction,

swigs of disordered destinies

chugged afast, abrupt

 __

dripping sweat from the tripod, robotic legs

branching, forked tongues latch

onto one another, clasp the meaning of trust, grasping

a fine but grandly misguided love

 __

the pattern will emerge,

so hopes your falt’ring seam,

and what can you do,

what is left to do

 __

Grille your ideas

Business your taste

School your desires

Fashion your instinct,

 __

end up

penniless, groveling for mercy

to the Merchants of Miracles in the purple square,

tantalizingly alone

 __

Being dinosaur,

Hesperion, to Saint Andrew and George,

brain abuzz, entirely overwrought,

“I think your spleen is coming undone.”

 __

dripping sweat from robotic legs,

branding one another in fire, misguided love,

grandly loping up

clasp one to the other

 __

School your desires,

dishonored dinosaur,

pauperized,

and what could you have done?

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Named By A Poet

April 2, 2011

We live, we die. We’re fragile, more fragile than we care to notice. In a snap of the fingers, it can all disappear. And on the flipside, if you live long enough, everything you came to know will disappear, and an entire landscape of the unfamiliar will expand out before you. It’s that sort of heady stuff we tend to shirk from, because it’s just too overwhelming. It’s part of why we drown out our confusions and preoccupations in a haze of television and other bright screens. The modern world is just a fantabulous cataclysm of marvels and mayhem.

Avalon, Mad Men, Imitation of Life… Plenty of big and small screen creations tell the stories of our chaotic times tremendously well, what with all the frenzied changes upon changes unleashed by the Industrial Age.

I’m in such a weighty mood after watching that terrific eighties film, Avalon, again after many years. (It features a young Elijah Wood, if that’s what it takes to get your attention.) I couldn’t keep from crying, even though I already knew the scenes were going to play out the way they did. Serendipitous, really, that I wanted to watch that film today, when in my grand plans for National Poetry Month, I’d already slated today’s spot for R.E.M.’s classic single, “Imitation of Life,” itself titled for the fifties film starring Lana Turner, perhaps the style icon dearest to my heart.

What attracts me to poetry is the way it cuts through all our layers of b.s. and puts us face to face with our own fragility. Mortality, after all, is the poetry at the heart of everything, from theatre and film to sunflowers and sunsets. For me, nothing encapsulates that truth more than my own little staged funerals as a four year-old. Even as a young’n, I was attracted to melodrama, theatricality, movement, family history, the geography of a sterile Soviet concrete fortress of an apartment building, through the fact of death. Our ultimate fates are difficult to acknowledge, but it’s best if we face the music sooner rather than not soon enough.

“Imitation of Life” was prevalent on the airwaves back when I obsessively listened to my hometown’s rock stations, before I dabbled with Christian radio and hip-hop and then completely gave up on radio for a decade (TMI? Yeah, probly). At one point, I got the melody stuck in my head, along with the word “sugarcane,” but internet search wasn’t as good back then as it is now, and it took me years to trace the song back to R.E.M., even though I had some of their other tunes, such as “The One I Love,” perfectly squared away in my mental musical ledger. (I remember I had something like “na na na” and “sugarcane” scrawled on a faded blue Post-It note for years, and I tried my hardest not to lose it. Good thing I did not.) Hold tight to your childhood loves, my friends, for you never know if, or when, words like “sugarcane” will be all that you have left.

In the words of the poets…

Imitation of Life

Charades, pop skill;
Water hyacinth, named by a poet–
Imitation of life.
Like a koi in a frozen pond,
Like a goldfish in a bowl.
I don’t want to hear you cry.

That’s sugarcane, that tasted good,
That’s cinnamon, that’s Hollywood.
C’mon, c’mon, no one can see you try.

You want the greatest thing,
The greatest thing since bread came sliced.
You’ve got it all, you’ve got it sized.
Like a Friday fashion show teenager,
Freezing in the corner,
Trying to look like you don’t try.

That’s sugarcane, that tasted good,
That’s cinnamon, that’s Hollywood.
C’mon, c’mon, no one can see you try,

No one can see you cry.
That’s sugar cane that tasted good.
That’s freezing rain, that’s what you could.
C’mon, c’mon, no one can see you cry.

This sugarcane,
This lemonade,
This hurricane, I’m not afraid.
C’mon, c’mon, no one can see you cry.

This lightning storm,
This tidal wave,
This avalanche, I’m not afraid.
C’mon, c’mon, no one can see me cry.

That’s sugar cane that tasted good.
That’s who you are, that’s what you could.
C’mon, c’mon, no one can see you cry.

That’s sugar cane that tasted good.
That’s who you are, that’s what you could.
C’mon, c’mon on no one can see you cry.