Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Mugged By Poetry by Dorianne Laux & What Are Poems by Marion
Mugged By Poetry
By Dorianne Laux
—for Tony Hoagland who sent me a handmade chapbook made from old postcards called OMIGOD POETRY with a whale breaching off the coast of New Jersey and seven of his favorite poems by various authors typed up, taped on, and tied together with a broken shoelace.
Reading a good one makes me love the one who wrote it,
as well as the animal or element or planet or person
the poet wrote the poem for. I end up like I always do,
flat on my back like a drunk in the grass, loving the world.
Like right now, I'm reading a poem called "Summer"
by John Ashbery whose poems I never much cared for,
and suddenly, in the dead of winter, "There is that sound
like the wind/Forgetting in the branches that means
something/Nobody can translate..." I fall in love
with that line, can actually hear it (not the line
but the wind) and it's summer again and I forget
I don't like John Ashbery poems. So I light a cigarette
and read another by Zbigniew Herbert, a poet
I've always admired but haven't read enough of, called
"To Marcus Aurelius" that begins "Good night Marcus
put out the light/and shut the book For overhead/is raised
a gold alarm of stars..." First of all I suddenly love
anyone with the name Zbigniew. Second of all I love
anyone who speaks in all sincerity to the dead
and by doing so brings that personage back to life,
plunging a hand through the past to flip off the light.
The astral physics of it just floors me. Third of all
is that "gold alarm of stars..." By now I'm a goner,
and even though I have to get up tomorrow at 6 am
I forge ahead and read "God's Justice" by Anne Carson,
another whose poems I'm not overly fond of
but don't actively disdain. I keep reading one line
over and over, hovering above it like a bird on a wire
spying on the dragonfly with "turquoise dots all down its back
like Lauren Bacall". Like Lauren Bacall!! Well hell,
I could do this all night. I could be in love like this
for the rest of my life, with everything in the expanding
universe and whatever else might be beyond it
that we can't grind a lens big enough to see. I light up
another smoke, maybe the one that will kill me,
and go outside to listen to the moon scalding the iced trees.
What, I ask you, will become of me?
I wish I'd written "Mugged by Poetry" because it perfectly describes how I feel when reading poetry. I'll read one poem that will lead to another and well, it goes on all night. I highly recommend all of Dorianne Laux's books. Her poetry is awesome.
I'm here for poetry. I blog because I want people to love poetry and to give it a chance, to read it, write it, breathe it, drink it, buy it and support other poets.
What Are Poems?
Poems are things.
Poems are living, breathing things with bloody, beating hearts.
Poems are salvation, damnation, birth, death, loss, life, rebirth, love, and hate.
Poems are endlessly ticking clocks, broken watches and treacherous friends.
Poems are why I'm alive, in this moment.
Poems take you out of a painful existence and give you peace and hope.
Poems transcend and uplift.
Poems are fiercely burning desire and ashes of unrequited love.
Poems save us from ourselves, then destroy us with their power.
Poems gently hold our angst and carelessly hold our joy.
Poems are razor sharp knives and cloud-soft sighs.
Poems are destructive storm clouds and bright blue skies.
Poems are guns and bullets and bombs.
Poems are windows and doors and cracks in the walls.
Poems make love to us, then leave us, never bothering to call.
Poems take us out of ourselves and show us who we really are.
Poems tear our broken hearts out, then tenderly stitch them back together.
Poems are our teachers, friends, counselors, gurus, saviors.
I wish you all Love, Blessings & Poetry,
"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." ~Anaïs Nin
"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop." ~Vita Sackville-West
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." ~Anton Chekhov