Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Basket of Rain

The poem dilates in turmoil. Syllables engorge with blood. The feeling is violet and silly, but I’m not authorized to be sticky. Vertigo is good for you. Please believe me. If I tell you there is a cow wandering the garden, it does not necessarily mean I have a new wallet. It means that the lobster has turned into a prince and an aging widow is gazing out of the window. This is how words work. They groan into action, lifting big ideas out of a well encrusted with lichen and moss.

If I happen to say anything at all, it’s because I have to go to a wedding next month. I will arrive, white eyebrows under a black fedora, and introduce myself as Walt Whitman.

Or Madonna. Growing a personality is hard. It’s an ugly process, and has very little to do with writing poetry.

Please sit down and tell me what you think. About anything. As for me, I never thought I’d live long enough to see the end of capitalism. I savor the taste of maladjustment. I love its awkward speculations and tart atomic enzymes. There is no true answer for the phantom bikini as it crashes through a wall of Montmartre plaster. Life is a beautiful disease. One might speak of an Ovidian feeling, or pound or two of effervescent poverty, but nothing compares to the fierce sexuality of nitroglycerin.

And yes, life can be lonely. It helps to float through a conversation, meander in talk, follow a strange eccentric thread of meaningless jabber, enter a bistro in muddy boots or open a box of incandescent perception. My name is Abraham Lincoln and I approve this message.

Here comes the night. Darkness hugs the horizon. A sheet of paper offers itself as a trampoline for the bounce of ideas. I carry a basket of rain and spill it onto the paper where it becomes a gardenia, a long augmentation of muscle. The sky weeps. Trees argue with the wind. Hope explodes and the walls drip with scarabs and hummingbirds.

Creation simmers in the sugar of a word. Whorls of color in the hollow of a shell.

I was asked, just the other day, what I thought about innovation in poetry. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I was totally at a loss for words. And that’s when I realized that the force that drives biology is the same as the force that drives poetry. Letters crawl toward the vivifying power of breath and the syntax of existence incubates in appearance. That’s all anything is: appearance. Fill an alphabet with breath, though, and those appearances can awaken the most distant stars frozen in eternity.

I remember when I was in high school trying hard to learn algebra. Algebra taught me a lot about language, which can be dissolved by boiling. Sex is faster than language. It is similar to the flickers of television in a late night living room when no one is paying attention to anything but their own strange feelings and sensations.

The retina is buttered with color. The chiropractor explodes into cats. Don’t worry. Think of me as a misdemeanor in the mirror. Think of me as a glandular malfunction. Opals and denim applauding the smell of light. I have sewn these syllables together for a reason. Not a very good reason. In fact I forgot the reason. There is no reason. There is only December. Chimney sparks. The naked splendor of a lost black shoe.

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