On my entire obscene face
there is something I’m trying
to achieve. It is colorless. It
is self-published. It is inner
fatigue. It is so superfluous!
It is part of an addiction I hate
and depend on. It naturally
enters into conversations.
It will induce a kind of slow
intuition. It will be sloppy
and corrugated. It will smell
pleasant. It will be animals
playing on a farm. It will be
completely alone. It will not
be so bad. It will be missing
out. It will have a vague sense
of relief. It will be committing
without action. It will be floating
on the surface of everything.
It will be an amorphous tedium.
It will be sleep. It will be a party.
It will be a good lunch and supper.
It will be a whole day and night.
It will be an indefinite field full of
universal life. It will be a giant lack
of noise. It will look like the cult
of humanity. It will look like it is
“only a manuscript” in a Johnny-
come-lately style. It will be hunched
over an illustration. It won’t tell.
It, strictly speaking, won’t exist,
full like a thing full of feeling.
___________________________________________ Simone Kearney’s poems can be found in Ragazine (forthcoming), Bridge Journal (forthcoming), Post Road Magazine, Elimae, Maggy, Sal Mimeo and Supermachine. She was a recipient of the Amy Awards from Poets & Writers Magazine in the fall of 2010. She works as a lecturer at Rutgers and Pace University, and writes for the Thierry-Goldberg Projects gallery in the Lower East Side. She is also a visual artist, and lives in Brooklyn.
A simple poem would be content travelling
Back from the future to transfer its burden
Of knowledge about the present, but this one
Stays in that present, unable to see
Anything beyond the overrun square.
Or mistakes seeing for having just talked,
Waits there with permanent demands….
That one too is ultimately simple,
As simple as having something to say
About death (it’s partially total),
As simple as Egypt if Egypt were
To live forever on the edges of the square
(Twenty years from now the square is gone).
The complex poem admits all this
From a counter-present the future denies
All knowledge of, where talking looks
Like seeing and seeing writes it down
Whether or not in the order it should
It comes. The peaceful transfer of
Power from the past to the future
Sees the end of a present, escorted
By sand. It’s also the complex poem
Made simple, so everyone can
Use it as easily as a banner
And the crowd a crowd of conductors
(In twenty years the poem will be music)
For a time held wide enough open
We were the palm trees near the beach
Whose edges are ragged and not yet
Betrayed. And then there is
The compound poem, what happens when
The simple and complex meet
In the middle distance of live feeds,
A wind in the palms. Totally at last
The present is all talking parts.
_______________________________________________ Geoffrey G. O’Brien is the author of Metropole (2011), Green and Gray (2007) and The Guns and Flags Project (2002), all from The University of California Press, and coauthor (in collaboration with the poet Jeff Clark) of 2A (Quemadura, 2006). He teaches in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.
at Great Lakes bar and Chris Stackhouse’s apartment Attendees yours truly FitzgeraldKearneyGregorianStackhouse though not sure if he counts honorary board member maybe everyone’s welcome everybody’s autobiography something in Ashbery about that ‘Soonest Mended’ until too late in the morning almost the dawn Minutes: dogwoods Parliaments fire escape, five favorite poets, five favorite poets, Bishop, Dickinson, Crane, Ashbery, Kaufman, long board boys, Dryden, Milton, own poems, taxi cab, Boston — Boston comes up in a few of my poems, hm — Christian Dylan and the Shrinks, this is all so private, all so coded, forgive and be forgiven, redemption as sure as we are living. Now I am as the walking dead having woken up far too early but it was all worth it everything is worth it in this compressed spring leafing out before return to Los Angeles spread out thank you guys thank you all I am so happy to be here where the far is ever coming near and the shared neckline seems regularly to be plunging – throwback to fashion!