This is the first draft of a poetic-ish commentary on the Dean Young reading I went to last week. If you read the previous blog post, you’ll see that it was a benefit to collect money in a variety of ways to help heal the heart of a beloved writer, by his community. They, as poets, were not used to selling things. It was endearing. I thought of how we poison our own bodies, sometimes with garbage food, sometimes with poisonous people, sometimes with our own thoughts. This naturally led to some majorly cheesy questions and the poem below. Those of you who know me will probably forgive the silliness of wanting to write about hearts at a poetry benefit.
Iowa city, Sept 5th, 2011.
Sometimes, the heart plunges outside of
the tucked self, refuses
that purpose, its sole ticking mission, crumbles the rules, unwritten by you.
A wastepaper basket of all what should have been.
You can beg it, but it has moved, and left
you no stone trail. In its invisible structure,
decisions have been made,
while you were out drinking,
searching for brighter stars.
The hum of the air conditioning is louder than my heart,
and what comfort. The trees wobble outside, and I know a sunrise can be counted on.
Even the sky is still blue, as I will
it to turn over, close its eyes, so I can be naked.
Some hearts are not so pliant.
You may need health insurance, stitches, your
children, a nurse and private weeping you
may only imagine on your wife’s face, upturned to her own god.
You can perhaps imagine how they all sat in silence.
Expected, respected, your words were
masters, from a far away time we have
not abolished. Poetry is concrete around these weightless figures, in a bookstore,
where not even feet made themselves audible. Your poetry was at stake,
but could also save, could even play
hunter to hearts that fled, with abandon.
Your friends, that word never quite
synonymous with visceral spheres of action
and speech and all that handholding entailed,
your friends have gathered to save your heart.
What is in the heart, but blood pumping common matter?
Why all the squalid love stories?
What you required was money, and what
you could offer was poems. And
in an alternate fiscal system, there was enough to barter.
beloved by many
and your heart
and their money
and your words
and their time
and your legacy
and their energy
a young driven woman with tresses
whose older poet lover also sang lines, a stake through my own center.
In poem after poem, we sat,
stood, crossed stealthy our ankles,
remembered, yearned for precise revelations of what
language could still offer,
in the recedes of our faces which knew too much,
a room of books and lovers,
a plain for solitude as far as the mind can think, a brink, the precipice
of expression, tugging at clefts in my own boundaries,
while they kept wading
to save your heart, waterlogged in congenital spells and damnation.
They ventured out as far as the worth of poetry is measurable.
Down as far as the imagined sea pocket was deep.
I kept thinking of my own heart,
not blighted at birth,
I know humans die alone,
but what of the multitudes who will protect you from the journey?
in a bookstore where
the pages ought not scare you. My knees shook from all
that I do not know yet. And all that leaving behind of what I once knew to be true.
The questions on inherited heart disease, how
that forms future rows of plastic chairs
and the drinking of wine, and the distribution of song.
What would you store in the heart to brew evil?
How do we ferment what is fresh?
Was I born lucky?
What could you write if you were ending.
Do fingers offer more to the mind on slow decline?
You must wake up, and speak to the body of sunlight,
for a poetry reading can save you.
To hide away from the malice of the heart,
start with a hand on your breast, pray to nothing but skin,
and what comes in between.
How will love live there?
Find an answer.
Brown eyed man, who could not see beyond the breast and my laughter,
who could not unite life force with a history,
I have mistreated my heart long enough.
I clog it up with late night commercials,
with the sugar and grease of traveled gravel and
necessary pit stops, with the filth of
daily news and massacres, elsewhere, stored
It droops with flashed images of what
is pornographic in its hunger,
as the chaste heart gallops, saying I, to every river.
The clouds are still white, and my teeth solid, in anger.
Beaten muscle, thank you.
Set aside the nicotine, and the
caffeine of buzzed skin rubbed on steaming
curved corners, the traces
of salt survival in every vein, the morphine
of happiness we drip like smiles,
clutching at semblances of a lone sentence
to finish one poem that will keep you,
benign, untarnished, sheltered.
This here is
tremor of faith in aortas that stride,
that withstand Palestine,
and the wilting of jasmine flowers,
If this fist sized secret can conquer sunlight,
and understand the moon,
it can serenade my sister,
hold a child who deciphers it,
leave always a window open for the scent of my mother,
why would I allow you room for rental?
If a poetry reading can save you,
why summon in the sorceress of malady, the harbinger of sickness?
Brown eyed man,
this here, is notice
is the last paper slip of eviction.