The last two poems were written on fumes. Like when the lawn mower falters--you know there's a thin layer of gas left in the tank and it's swishing around, not getting down into the feed line--and the thing surges a bit and then dies. I like how a week ago some of the strongest poems came--or if not strongest, certainly different. I need a week in a hammock (I'll string one up inside here, and shine a massive SADs light in my general direction).
At least I can't compare it to the way the Chicago Bears have simply coasted bumpily down a dirt side street after a mildly okay start to the season. Then the wheels popped off, the radiator cap blew sky high, and the doors fell crooked on their hinges. Poor Jay Cutler. He's really made a nightmare for himself. I have no doubt what's happening isn't reflective of his talent, but it's reflective of something emanating from Cutler I could do without. Of course, I've suffered the abuse of once watching--I must have once hoped something good would happen although I can't recall such a thing now--the Detroit Lions, so maybe my judgement isn't so hot anymore. The Lions are playing Cleveland in a duel for worst team (in any sport in any country) this Sunday, and it's been the best reason to watch Detroit since the day they broke the record for worst losing streak, I believe, ever. Poor Matthew Stafford. Poor Barry Sanders before him (at least he bowed out quietly and never dissed the team). Which makes me think of Matt Millen, who now appears to be everywhere--on Monday Night Football, and in the broadcast booth on NFL Network. No shame.
It seems like a decade's worth of waiting, but The Nervous Filaments is up at the University Press of New England site, waiting to be made real. Here's the link. Jordan Davis has some ink there, and there's a sentence by Christine Garren, and the quote they are using--I shit you not--from my text is the following:
"may I suggest you seek the advice of a mental health professional"
All I can say to the person who selected that line is thank you. How could anyone resist buying the book now? The line comes from the title poem. The cover is from a photograph by Brad Miller (thank you for the pic Brad). In the meantime Peyton Manning is flooded with good Karma--witness last week's game against New England. (Enough of this blaming Belichick crap already.) The Tale of two quarterbacks--Cutler and Manning. Just how good and how bad can it get? We'll see.
Good stuff to read--Graham Foust's new one. Leszek Kolakowski's Modernity On Endless Trial, and Padgett Powell's first "novel" since the year 2000, Interrogative Mood.
"In February, the overcast sky isn’t gloomy so much as neutral and vague. It’s a significant factor in the common experience of depression among the locals. The snow crunches under your boots and clings to your trousers, to the cuffs, and once you’re inside, the snow clings to your psyche, and eventually you have to go to the doctor. The past soaks into you in this weather because the present is missing almost entirely."
I came to in the middle of the sermon. The house flashed in shadow. Rain fell in the street. Every lawn in the city soaked up the sounds from the working buildings, the churches funneling water, the hymn now I was camping under.
I fell another day to waking, where lines and fire seemed an essence of the rain, falling before compassion, soaking up the trees and cities. I put my work aside and stepped into the rich, cool grass, somewhere a radio still dreaming.
The preacher wearing furs and rags stopped speaking. I felt my heart in sleep, glassine. The animals and kids were eating. She covered my mouth, the rain had never been, the buildings shone as light through window, the bed now damp but cool by evening.
It wasn't snowing, and we sat under a heat lamp watching it rain on TV. The constant metric of living in pairs is an almost irredeemable human phenomenon--fire trucks blaze past at two a.m . . .
You can tell the men had grown weary, no bridge is worth this . . .
In the sunlight, by day, we read pamphlets designed to ameliorate mental disease implementation.
Sensible as farm, was one. Liable to be hypnotized was another.
The smaller of these animals, heavy of incisor, sat in a harbor of lamplight reading individual sentences.
Ouch, she said. Or Oh my God.
The glass of seltzer left burning on the mantel released a few fissures of crystallized vapor--very much like taking a breath or waking in a stranger's bed and opening your eyes to two glowing sky lights.
After that, after your own face, and the faces behind you, have ooobecome more obvious than is a pleasure to oversee, you reach for the switch that makes it start snowing inside.
Author of eight books of poems, most recently The Coldest Winter on Earth (Marick Press). Also author of The Nervous Filaments (Four Way Books, 2010) and Orphan, Indiana (Akron, 2010). 2010
also saw the release of Sky Booths in the Breath Somewhere, the Ashbery Erasure Poems (BlazeVox), as well as The Other Life: the Selected Poems of Herbert Scott,(Carnegie Mellon)which I edited. My new book, Animalities, will be published in 2014 by Four Way Books.