Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Tristan Tzara

happy birthday Tristan Tzara
a.k.a. Samy Rosenstock
a.k.a. monsieur antipyrine
a.k.a. monsieur aa l’antiphilosophe
what is it like being dead
do crabs yawn
as the sun drags itself across the horizon

of a kettledrum
go ahead, fold the lake into opium

the shape within the rock cries to be released

into a circus of words
if you cut the air into pieces you will find
quixotic emotions
details showing the digestion of experience
prayers bumping into echoes
chronicles of thunder

how would you describe death to an extraterrestrial
for whom death is a haircut

let’s go for a walk into the sky
and explore the color black
we are imprisoned in ideas
about liberty and leap year
mass is energy dreaming itself as a diving board
or goldfish
that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know

there is a cloud riding in my eyes
and stilts and coffee

are fundamentally hydrogen
and even the sun

reeks of consonants
you can parachute into Denmark
like Hamlet
but can you parachute out of Denmark

like J.P. Morgan
this is why I feel a certain affiliation with collar studs
and the poetry of pain
echoes among the bones
of a blue jay hopping down for some peanuts
on the crumbly sweet earth
which is healing and particular

like coffee, for instance, or indecision
the French language has swallowed its own crisis
and hoisted it into the brain
of a glazed potato

my other leg is a stove

for the stern winds of knowledge
simmer in a stew of ovations
smelling of desire

as it bounces down the street
disguised as a present tense
if the main objective of living is to reproduce
why does the pattern of most careers follow the trajectory
of the housefly

beating against the window
of a porn shop
I hold in my hands an inflatable doll
we all feel the need to explore

which is why the movement of water
has a special fascination
and symmetry is disquieting
on a branch of visceral oboes

shape is the termination of resistance
pasta fulfills the destiny of the fork

and somewhere on planet earth
a boat languishes in the rain
dear Tristan
is there a cemetery for balloons
or must we drift through life

tasting the weight of ourselves
at the end of a string
400 miles to the west
Arthur Rimbaud feeds elephants in Norway
and shadows grip the afternoon
like an infantry of fingers
describing the medium of teeth
to a tempting democracy
dribbling ideas of freedom
I am armed with metaphors

hooks for hanging a lake
in the closet
we are nearing the border of thought
those of you who do not like to think
may want to consider getting off
at the next stop
where there are no thoughts only glockenspiels
and Montmartre drugs
yesterday I walked by the sound

of a dying god
moaning with pleasure
in the voluptuous folds of a disbelief
and found a piano
simmering in my sinew
my fingers are episcopal
they have become a hypothesis
like mountain horses annotating the undulation of the hills
blood slides into perception
threading the junction between mint and enigma
pull a rumor of heaven out of a rock
as Baudelaire arrives with a shovel
and Picasso cooks an eggplant
in the salon of a cosmic rhododendron

everything smells good when the gravity
of a goose bump calls for squalor
and a young woman folds a dollar

into a will-o’-the-wisp
there are many possible feelings of which this is one
here I am sneezing, coughing, breaking my toe
against the magazine rack
how can one evaluate the force of the wind

in a bridal gown
with a pool of words
forming the shape
of a misanthropic gong
it’s raining on the strawberries
and I don’t like gardening

I am the owner of a dry cleaning store
and today I am having trouble
with the corset of Emma Bovary
it will not stop bleeding

sometimes words happen in my head
like Minnesota minnows in a North Dakota bucket

swirling around an opinion
about April
and the meaning of free will
as it pertains to napkins
emotional outbursts and inscrutable umbrellas
here I am hunting a giant language
the last of its kind
I plan to shoot it

with a camera
made of air
the sublime shames the banality of guns
I salute the consonants of young women

as I salute you dear Tristan
what can I get you for your birthday
I am attracted by swamps
would you like a veranda
bristling with scenery

in Zurich
or an orchid in the bayou

with the face of a woman
leaning against a religion
mutate into art
beauty calls for the necessity of headlights
large emotions
a cloud rolling through oblivion
breaking the sky into little diamonds
here take this it is a limousine of straw
you can feel it ripple through your brain
as it moves from word to word
creating eyes
and a radio spitting birds
affirms the insurgence of spring


Mickey o'Connor said...

Samy Rosenstock would have, does like this poem...I dig the list of words collected as 'labels" hydrogen liberty opium stilts coffee goldfish

John Olson said...

Thank you, Mickey. Yeah, the words at the bottom become a poem of their own. Hydrogen liberty opium stilts coffee goldfish is dada distillation.

Steven Fama said...

"Every page must explode, either by profound heavy seriousness, the whirlwind, poetic frenzy, the new, the eternal, the crushing joke, enthusiasm for principles, or by the way in which it is printed."

         – Tristan Tzara, “Dada Manifesto 1918" (translation by Manheim, in Motherwell, Robert, editor, The Dada Painters and Poets, Second Edition (Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc, 1951), page 78.

This poem here is a BLAST!

Thanks John!

John Olson said...

Thank you, Steve. Yes, The Dada Painters and Poets is a marvelous anthology, a must-read for anyone drawn by the magnetic fields of dada and/or surrealism.