Tuesday, September 14, 2010

These are pictures of butterflies and have nothing to do with the fact that I am reading poems in Iowa City tomorrow (Sept 15) at 10pm at the Mill downtown (Iowa City). A picture of a bear would have more to do with this, but I've yet to ever take a picture of a bear and didn't really feel like searching the internet for one. A picture of a bear, though, would be an apt way to tell you that I am reading poems tomorrow (Sept 15) at 10pm at the Mill downtown (Iowa City). That said, I do have pictures of butterflies flirting with big colorful flowers. Big colorful flowers also don't really have much to do with me reading poems tomorrow (Sept 15) at 10pm at the Mill downtown (Iowa City).

Schomburg's new chap, here.

Schomburg and Fry's awesome and beautiful Small Fires chap, here.

The dirtiest thing I read on the internet today, here.

Tomorrow (Sept 15) at 10pm, I'll be reading poems here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New book ends, and the heart they all share.

Yesterday, I sat in a park and read Matthew Zapruder's new book, "Come On All You Ghosts," out loud. It looked a little like that picture, but not really. My audience was generous for allowing me this. I felt a little like I was 12 and showing a new friend my room for the first time...

Here's the deal about this book. Frank O'Hara used to write poems about himself in the world he shared with his friends, for his friends. Zapruder writes poems about himself in the world ALL of share with him, capturing all the beautiful and grotesque and heartbreaking and joyful minutiae of our everydays.

It's been a long time since I've read a book that's purpose seemed to be the earnest search for a reader, since I felt a poem was being shared with me, rather than being displayed for me, since I had to stop reading because the experience of doing so became overwhelming.

Here's an extended taste:

Come On All You Ghosts
I heard a little cough
in the room, and turned
but no one was there

except the flowers
Sarah bought me
and my death’s head

glow in the dark key chain
that lights up and moans
when I press the button

on top of its skull
and the ghost
I shyly name Aglow.

Are you there Aglow
I said in my mind,
reader, exactly the way

you just heard it
in yours about four
poem time units ago

unless you have already
put down the paper directly
after the mention

of poetry or ghosts.
Readers I am sorry
for some of you

this is not a novel.
Good-bye. Now it is just
us and the death’s head

and the flowers and the ghost
in San Francisco thinking
together by means

of the ancient transmission device.
I am sorry
but together we are

right now thinking
along by means
of an ancient mechanistic

system no one invented
involving super-microscopic
particles that somehow

(weird!) enter through
your eyes or ears
depending on where

you are right now
reading or listening.
To me it seems

like being together
one body made of light
clanging down through

a metal structure
for pleasure and edification.
Reader when I think of you

you are in a giant purple chair
in a Starbucks gradually leaking power
while Neil Young

eats a campfire then drinks
a glass of tears
on satellite radio.

Hello. I am 40.
I have lived in Maryland,
Amherst, San Francisco,

New York, Ljubljana,
Stonington (house
of the great ornate wooden frame

holding the mirror the dead
saw us in whenever
we walked past),

New Hampshire at the base
of the White Mountains
on clear blue days

full of dark blue jays
beyond emotion jaggedly piercing,
Minneapolis of which

I have spoken
earlier and quite enough,
Paris, and now

San Francisco again.
Reader, you are right now
in what for me is the future

experiencing something
you cannot
without this poem.

I myself am suspicious
and cruel. Sometimes
when I close my eyes

I hear a billion workers
in my skull
hammering nails from which

all the things I see
get hung. But poems
are not museums,

they are machines
made of words,
you pour as best

you can your attention
in and in you the poetic
state of mind is produced

said one of the many
French poets with whom
I feel I must agree.

Another I know
writes his poems on silver
paint in a mirror.

I feel like a president
raising his fist in the sun.

How does one get over this? I mean, the last few books I have really loved have spent most of their time making new places to be, to experience. This book, with seemingly little effort, makes new experiences in the place we've always been. These are poems about walking out your front door and falling in love with sun. These are poems about being lonely and falling in love with the loneliness. These are poems about writing poems and falling in love with your poems. These are poems about being beautiful and terrible because the world around you is beautiful but also terrible.

These are poems that will fucking punch you in the chest and then send you off to write your own poems about being punched in the fucking chest because you love it...so much.