January 26, 2010

like a brown bird nesting in a texaco sign, i got a point of view

my best friend, stephanie, future politico/high power attorney, is taking her first poetry class and i get to hear about it!

January 19, 2010

you would think that we would know the present when it came

trailer for room and a half, a new movie based on the life of joseph brodsky. do you speak russian? i don't speak russian.

January 17, 2010

what if it cost 25 cents to wake up in the morning?

elizabeth bishop was a total recluse loner, which i like. also she only published about 70 poems or so. don't quote me on that number, but i know her collected work is of modest quantity. that's not to say she and her poems aren't awesome. most people probably know the poem "one art." great momentum. i guess i would describe the tone as eagerly destructive. then it slows down in the first three words of the last stanza and something more emotionally complicated seems to be happening.

anyway. i like this one more.

First Death in Nova Scotia

In the cold, cold parlor
my mother laid out Arthur
beneath the chromographs:
Edward, Prince of Wales,
with Princess Alexandra,
and King George with Queen Mary.
Below them on the table
stood a stuffed loon
shot and stuffed by Uncle
Arthur, Arthur's father.

Since Uncle Arthur fired
a bullet into him,
he hadn't said a word.
He kept his own counsel
on his white, frozen lake,
the marble-topped table.
His breast was deep and white,
cold and caressable;
his eyes were red glass,
much to be desired.

"Come," said my mother,
"Come and say good bye
to your little cousin Arthur."
I was lifted up and given
one lily of the valley
to put in Arthur's hand.
Arthur's coffin was
a little frosted cake,
and the red-eyed loon eyed it
from his white, frozen lake.

Arthur was very small.
He was all white, like a doll
that hadn't been painted yet.
Jack Frost had started to paint him
the way he always painted
the Maple Leaf (Forever).
He had just begun on his hair,
a few red strokes, and then
Jack Frost had dropped the brush
and left him white, forever.

The gracious royal couples
were warm in red and ermine;
their feet were well wrapped up
in the ladies' ermine trains.
They invited Arthur to be
the smallest page at court.
But how could Arthur go,
clutching his tiny lily,
with his eyes shut up so tight
and the roads deep in snow?

as jerry seinfeld said, "we don't understand death, and the proof of this is that we give the dead a pillow." this poem completely captures a feeling that is very specific to remembering childhood. it's the feeling where you remember something happening, but you're not really sure what the whole story is, or even if it really happened.