Read some of Deborah’s poems here and find links to some of the things Ben and Deborah talk about in the interview.
Click here to see some of the poems Ben Mirov reads and find some other links to items from the interview.
Ben Mirov, Part 1
Ben Mirov, Part 2
Anthropology, publishing houses in elementary school, estrangement, ants conferencing over Frank Zappa. Morgan Parker describes herself as equipped with the eyes of a surrealist, ears of an ethnographer, tongue of a cynical comedian, and heart of a brooding sixteen-year old.
Morgan Parker, Part 1
Morgan Parker, Part 2
Sarah Schweig, neighbor to airfields, estrangement, mythology, imagination, opens up about how she came to be a poet of departures. Pardon my inability to pronounce Catullus.
Sarah Schweig, Part 1
Sarah Schweig, Part 2
He’s just a west-coast boy, living in New York City, he took the express train to where good poems reside. I must be tired or going insane, but Josh Bettinger is without a doubt on his game in these five poems—five because he claimed they were all shorties, but it’s not long into the interview that we see how stocky these poems are—look at these guys the wrong way and they’ll tear your face off.
Josh mentions this movie trailer several times in part 2, he insists you watch it: It’s all about the three parts of the trick.
Josh Bettinger, Part 1
Josh Bettinger, Part 2
Of course, the first guest on the show to grow up in one of the largest wilderness preserves in the United States, Yosemite National Park, provides me with a photo of herself taken indoors. Dawn Marie Knopf’s poetry feeds off a particularly American mythos: old wives’ tales, Farmer’s Almanacs, the revered stories of American pop heroes before they made it big. Playing both sides of the coin, Knopf enjoys both the extension of these fables to a magical extreme and the reduction of them to a sorry tall tale. Does the ball ultimately land in- or out-of-bounds? Listen to the interview to find out.
Dawn Marie Knopf, Part 1
Dawn Marie Knopf, Part 2
I’ve never seen Evan Hansen wear a cowboy hat, but his pensive look in this picture displays the same concern he shows in his poetry for people and the tremendous, unspeakable burdens they carry on a daily basis. While the characters in these poems at times find solace, it is by no means permanent, and Hansen makes us wonder if a lifetime of momentary relief might be the best we can hope for. With that in mind, here’s to the upcoming long weekend providing us all with a little more time to relax our way into the summer.
Evan Hansen, Part 1
Evan Hansen, Part 2
Today we’re reposting the 3rd episode of Scattered Rhymes: an interview with Josh Bell.
I dropped down against the mosque wall
curled my shoulders in
let my feet fall apart
tilting toward the rubble-dusted floor
tried to still my lashes
as rifles came clanging in
their muzzles smelling out scent
heated off a pulse
I was playing dead
between the dead
a beast caught sight of my breath
blew off my face
“Now he’s fucking dead”
– – –
WATER sign of life: can hold a world of fleets at once: requiring a new OCEANOGRAPHY: useful to mimic waves in an assault and hit shore at same time: see also HELICOPTER WAVE: SCHEDULED WAVE: descends from garden hoses to rinse asphalt of brain matter: to rinse body on steel slab prior to shroud: streams on land: in gutters: excellent solvent: ask child you want a toy: then ask you want a grenade: watch him jump and startle: date fronds shaking with rain
– – –
The streets bend toward the Tombs,
a Chinatown of basement doctors,
and funeral parlors, of hell money and paper telephones
for the fire, and LOOK, how the BRANCHes
FLARE with cherry blossoms, how the knees
stay polite in their poetry reading seats.
LOOK, PULSEJET and RAINJET
but no blood jet.
LOOK, my father’s old Econoline, toolbox
for a back seat, his amber ashtray
and undershirts in front of the TV.
LOOK, our worried parents, the drink,
the bathroom with toilet paper chained to a pipe.
LOOK, the girl pushed to the ground
is still lying there, alkali in her mouth.
LOOK, the blindfolded HOSTAGE thinks
of oatmeal and house slippers and
no newspaper in the morning.
I teach myself to say yes
as restaurants collapse
their cold weather doorways and throw open
their windows. Women ride by in shorts,
miles of legs, flanked by bridges
and tunnels, an island
against itself. So often the TELLING
is good enough, is all I have,
the mouth willing to open
to its own surprise. I talk
to strangers on the subway,
even ask about a Dan Brown novel
to keep the face turned toward me.
On the SURVEILLENCE tape
the woman rides down the elevator
with her killer, watching the floors light up
until ground level over and over.
LOOK, the murderer is beautiful,
cheekbones and a white tee
and shoulders he hasn’t grown into yet,
slouched over the interrogation table.
I am the bully in the swivel chair
getting him to confess. I want
to MOUNT him without removing the gun
from his inside his head.
LOOK, my father HOLDs my floppy neck, worried
he’ll break me in those road-laying hands.
My mother brings me home to an Istanbul motel.
I see now how young she is,
how certain, already done
with writing and architecture. It will have to be me
Solmaz’s first publication found in here:
A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans
DOD Dictionary of Military Terms Highly encourage you look up all the all caps words Solmaz uses in her poems
One of Solmaz’s sources of inspiration Our Lady of the Flowers
Three of Solmaz’s poems at The Association of Iranian American Writers
Solmaz in DIAGRAM
All poems printed or reprinted with permission from the author.
Photo by Bianca Stone.
from Welcome to the Future
so it came time and
no day like that is ever
good in the coming
the bleeding like satin
the river flowing down
and heavy and to the east
dark with soot
crossing the night bridge
the river flowing down
and heavy and to the east
there were roads into bitter
heads between knees
the diminishing systems
bleached and diagonal
the river flowing down
down and no sound
all night the breathing
all night the breathing continued
in lieu of
welcome to the future welcome to the new
I have come into the aware
where the gilt edges are
look all the men
and the distance sitting in the roar
with knotted blue glass
we are aware
as if all is tunnel and paper
there are bodies and
bills in these flattened villa
one waves as we pass him
and home isn’t here
and home isn’t there
and randomly we plead with the officers
to get down from their cophorses and help us
worry the river over its banks
the train into flames
worry the black rain into the city
the troops into times square
worry the windows cracked acidblack
and the children feverblistered
worry never another summer
never again to live here gentle
with the other inhabitants
then leave too quickly
leave the pills and band-aids
the bathroom scale the Christmas lights the dog
go walking on our legs
dense and bare and useless
worry our throats and lungs
into taking the air
leave books on the shelves
leave keys dustpan
telephones don’t work where you were
in the chaos
desolate oblivion face me along the bar
nothing will rest tonight in the high empty room
the nothing closes forever
in a shop-window
and forever opens the heads wide again
the streets bob up incessantly
height is felled wire rises
the glass is laced together with tunnels
the fathers are all glass
all air and windows
Drinking with Richard
Richard propped up the bottles
like bowling pins
I had fallen into despair
did this bother him
when Richard left I broke
my throat I bit my tongue
cracked teeth my mouth split my lip
smashed chairs in the bar trashed
poems I was writing
all this breaking was very expensive
there is no Richard but I think it was Richard
who had the idea of pouring libations
because of the stumbling thirst
because our lives are like that
I am writing this to do as right as possible by Richard
think back to the bed look out at the bar
the fragrant medicinal flasks
I don’t care to drink anymore because when I drink
it makes me hopeless
Richard, are you going to come back
to the bar where you belong
or just leave me here
here is a flask
I am tired of being metaphysical
our bar is a winter bar
at night we need the dream
of all the objects lined up in a row
from Dear Someone
my emptiness has a lake in it deep and watery
with several temperaments milk cola beer
at night the selves are made of water
all the openings flooded streaming with rain
my emptiness has an aqueduct in it
selves rushing through channels
dissolving washing away in streaks
my emptiness has a fish in it
a piece of seaweed liferaft a rocky strait
all night the selves are breaking themselves
again and again on the sandbar
you can’t get out from the drowning
nightwatery the blacksparkling pools
my emptiness has a nowhere reef an island
at night the immersion comes deep-running and sudden
it washes us under and sudden
In the interview, I think I am more talking about popular usage turning compound nouns into contractions while Deborah is on the money with elisions which even Catullus liked to use.
Deborah was not far off when she said I probably wasn’t born when PS122 was a new and exciting thing.
The Last Time I Saw RICHARD.
The Last Time I saw Richard SIKEN.
All poems reprinted with permission from the author. You can, however, see more of Welcome to the Future at TINHOUSE and the excerpt from Dear Someone at THE PARIS REVIEW. Also, one of Deborah’s poems at BEST AMERICAN POETRY BLOG and a blurb and excerpted poem at ANHINGA PRESS.
Posted in tandem with www.scatteredrhymes.com
Pick it up.
Consider it a machine.
Put it down.
Remember you need it.
Go back to where you left it.
Airport terminal, donut shop
seventh grade. Are you scared?
It’s ok. So am I.
Take a wet rag. Put it on your head.
Let’s retrace your steps.
Do you love your wife?
Is she made of dolphins?
I love my fucking life.
Even my secrets
and the terrible things I’ve done.
They’re like small smooth stones
in a green plastic bottle
with no label. What were we doing?
Driving down a long dark street?
Does it feel exactly right?
Little fist that pumps the blood.
The flicker in your empty.
We go out for drinks and attack a dumpster. D takes off his pants and tries to have sex with J. My lighter is busted. I run to catch the 22. “The next step is to think like Brian.” D escapes through the kitchen. I forget to lock up the knives. Her drawer is full of strawberry condoms. I look for the green bunny poem. She drops me down the building’s side. It’s sober day. Thanks for coming to the show. There is no origin. Your emails wince. I wish they were something else, not alone. J calls me shitface with tears in his eyes. We meet at 8 and grab a bite to eat. Someone says my name is Booth. She gives me my third drink for free. Z laughs whenever a kid starts a fight. There isn’t enough sex to go around. “I can’t believe they killed-off Bodie.” I manage to see three shows a week. I’ve decided to stop sleeping you. It’s a bag of baseball bats I hand the kids. Most of the day is spent on the floor. I never open the envelope marked C. I walk down Valencia over a grate.
When Time and Space Collapse Return This Poem to its Source
Do you ever think about love?
I believe love is Michael Burkard.
There are many disturbing facts
about the nature of reality. Burkard
takes the L to Lorimer St. and transfers
to the G. He is meeting friends for dinner.
All matter is just empty space revolving
around a pinhead of energy growing
more and more tired each moment.
Sadness is a kind of purity that Michael
Burkard uses to drain the darkness
from his fingertips. When droplets of rain
fall from the branches into the water
below it creates concentric ripples moving
outward into everything and cannot be stopped.
Michael Burkard is thinking about this poem
he won’t write until seventeen hours
in the future, while he sits alone in his apartment
feeling like a ghost. Purple light passes
through curtain after curtain until it reaches
the retina and escapes. Michael Burkard
is eating spaghetti with friends. He is rewriting
a line of poetry again and again in his head.
He is writing the Selected Poems of Michael Burkard.
Links to things mentioned in the interview; they will all open in a new tab so you can indiscriminately click without interrupting the show:
A missing Pleiades in the viewable cluster of stars cannot deny us motion though we cannot master its name: there is something you are not telling me standing at the standing stone detained neither by chicken wire nor the upright megalith we imagine pulsing and in so thinking feel the earth beneath us breathe: looking at anyone on the strip mall concourse I can imagine pausing in front of a mirror to let down his pony tale with his my hands pulling down her blouse to our waist but the thirst from being 25¢ short for the vending machine and the dull anxiety of strangers coming to speak with me is my own: the land around the standing stone half browning grass half greening turf folds into itself for miles and I don’t know what season it is.