Monday, March 31, 2008

Gradus ad Parnassum

I had not planned to take any time off from blogging, but it seems I did. I attribute this to a couple of factors. Exhaustion (I have been very busy at work), poor internet connection in Queens (where I have been living on salmon, sweet potatoes, blood oranges, sex, and string beans with Yasu in Jackson Heights for the past couple of weeks), and a pitiful lack of ideas ( an endemic problem with me).

I returned to Connecticut last night. Today's burden of work is a bit lighter, and I find I have a bit of extra time to jot down a few lines of poetry.

I am going to take a self-consciously different tack toward writing. I have been doing a bit too much mock-epic, narrative, preeing, violent, quasi-cynical crap for a while, and I would like to try something more...mature? adult? nuanced? readable? I am not sure what the appropriate adjective here is. I am open to suggestions (even four letter ones.)


The point is: times change, people change, and poetry changes. We must keep up with ourselves, and with the times. I have been in an artistic rut. I have been reading my new collection of Elizabeth Bishop with great delight, and I have been thinking more seriously about finishing that MFA I started at CCNY a number of years ago, so I want to try something a bit more serious in tone. I want to start taking steps toward something larger. A poetic career? Who knows. Let's see how the next few months go.


So, here are a few baby steps toward that end. A transformative experience from 1977.


While I was sitting underneath the table
Whizzing marbles around my fruitcake tin,
Enchanted by the orbit one white marble
Traced in blue, thin slippers padded in.

Dad, did you hear? Ben Crosby's dead.
They just announced it on the radio.
Dropped dead in Spain, while playing golf. They said
A stroke. No—Bing? The radio said so.

My marble whizzed around a few more times
Before it shot off, like a bullet, straight
Across the kitchen as the doorbell chimes.
Must be the paperboy, collecting. He's late—

It's quarter to eight.
The slippers shuffle out.
Ma, the neighbors say they've lost a kid!
And thawing stewed rhubarb under the spout,
An apron dipped,
Go, hide yourself!

I did.

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