A HYBRID NOTEBOOK OF POETICS AND PORNOGRAPHIES

Pornography Disclaimer

This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered  all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.

8.8.11

MIDNIGHT GREEN

Bach this morning, and coffee.

The Trondheim Soloists' recording of violin concertos, whose recording of Vivaldi's 4 Seasons with Anne-Sophie Mutter, if you haven't heard it, is to die for.

Marine Layer, mountains deep. As in, all the way to Pasadena, white and gray. My face, peeking out from underneath a car tire. Bleak car.

Cars all crashing through redundantly and far, like the sea. The highways heave.

Then a fly wrecks my coffee like a dead asterisk. Exploded star.

Also with Wallace Stevens' last collection, The Rock, which, the more I read it, reminds me of Frederick Seidel. Unexpected arrows. I haven't sat enough, or stared vacantly enough, or walked enough barefoot over the grass, or got undressed and watched the nervous glitter of the leaves on the Chinese Banyan through the window, or lined up the bones of my dead hummingbird, or just sat at the bottom of the helix-hinging wild of the pool with my eyes closed to say exactly what I mean.

Take "The Green Plant":

Silence is a shape that has passed.
Otu-bre's lion-roses have turned to paper
And the shadows of the trees
Are like wrecked umbrellas.

The effete vocabulary of summer
No longer says anything.
The brown at the bottom of red
The orange far down in yellow,

Are falsifications from a sun
In a mirror, without heat,
In a constant secondariness,
A turning down toward finality--

Except that a green plant glares, as you look
At the legend of the maroon and olive forest,
Glares, outside of the legend, with the barbarous green
Of the harsh reality of which it is part.


I wish I could think of a Seidel poem to read along side of this, because I feel the echo of it everywhere in his Collected, in his declarative end-stopped lines, his qualifications, his prepositional repetitions, juxtaposed with the momentum of that last 3 stanza sentence. . . Stevens predicted something like Seidel's work, if only by writing "the grotesque is not a visitation. It is / Not an apparition but appearance". Seidel appears, and plenty of critics have said how frightfully. He does murder well. He does it so it feels like a beautiful hell. But my favorite of his poems relate a cosmic brutality to some tender vulnerable weakling.


"Midnight"

God begins. The universe will soon.
The intensity of the baseball bat
Meets the ball. Is the fireball
When he speaks and then in the silence
The cobra head rises regally and turns to look at you.
The angel burns through the air.
The flower turns to look.

The cover of the book opens on its own.
You do not want to see what is on this page.
It looks up at you,
Only it is a mirror you are looking into.
The truth is there, and all around the truth fire
Makes a frame.
Listen. An angel. These sounds you hear are his.

A dog is barking in a field.
A car starts in the parking lot on the other side.
The ocean heaves back and forth three blocks away.
The fire in the wood stove eases
The inflamed cast-iron door
Open, steps out in to the room across the freezing floor
To your perfumed bed where as it happens you kneel and pray.


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Poetry Disclaimer

My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.