I wont comment too much on the poem below. Allow inference. I am stranded in another airport for another few hours and the sunlight hates me. The big city vibe of this airport is nervous after the Iowa river sunbathing and its midnight conversations. I want to hide in poetry but the airport is never quiet, is it.
I wrote this poem a few days ago, not sure why. I am on my way to perform poetry at the City Of Asylum Jazz poetry festival in Pittsburgh. I have to choose a poem that a jazz collective will play to. Sounds a little frightening. I havent chosen the poem, I cant seem to. Should I be Palestinian? Or a lover? or a mourning daughter? or none of the above.
You get one shot to claim a persona for an audience of strangers. I might leave the choice for another person to make.
It is dangerous living with nothing but poetry on your mind. Everything real is so distant and I know the crash is coming. But what delight to have the labour of your day fulfilled by emails for poetry, blog posts on poetry, plane rides for poetry, updates to letters on poetry, and the reading of poetry on airplanes, turbulent.
I may have died a little and gone to language heaven. It will be a rude awakening come November.
Iowa City, Sept 6th, 2011
I have littered the room with cups of coffee,
all bits of bitter sludge
in the attempt aftermath,
At night, the scent of hazelnut- fake chemical– is noxious
in the room, but I keep them,
thinking maybe less sleep
is a gift given or dream interrupted or a chemically induced state of
resurrection of self.
I have vacuumed into my belly a hundred poems today
in torpor and angst
the arms ache from shaking across screens -transcendent lines-
whose words now combust with the radioactive
remains of all that brown sugar and late night thoughts of kisses I digest,
but even after this cleanup,
nothing is clean
sentences wobble on dust motes
the sun is phosphor glowing through
drooped eyelids stubborn but the rain would have told better
stories- I know, I have read them-
I tried to sleep
I am not sure if the poem is what always awakens you.
But the body must rise,
brush off the orange and purple
glance discreetly at the mute TV where they can sell me myself,
when I have lost everything. The body must rise and not stop to wonder-
who are these people yanking and shoving and screaming their lives out, like soda pop water, my mother used to always warn…It’s nothing but water and sugar and will rot your teeth..here, some fruit…how could they also share a world where your remembered lips are still so round, little tongue, mango fuzz, clean, little slip triangular at my unbecoming blushing, the dismantlement of all resolutions of resolve, the opening of thighs for life anew –
the body must rise, even to cold coffee cups and
a swollen tongue,
lingering of bitterness, teeth shooting complaints, fire.
Unfetter the eyes from glasses,
the hair from wrapped entanglement,
run water on everything you could not heal with a hundred poems.
Be naked with the silent TV, outside your
bathroom, where you question
and how far your fingers can reach.
Then you must paint.
and lace the body further –prettier, smarter, softer, healthier, stronger, better, feistier, forever-
set the sun outside for yet another meeting
of literary minds
who will speak of such calamities- of thousands killed in buildings that reflected another sunset–
your own longing
is minute now, a tremor.
Perhaps, you think, I can still learn something,
which is not read by a sorceress from the remains of a
coffee cup, the
way your grandma used to –the passing down of her Nazarene dreams, her warnings–
you should be able now to hear the door crashing behind you,
don’t forget your eyeliner –armor–
and you must then
-this here might need some preparation-
say thank you to the man who opens the hotel front door,
and you must find the right sentence that commands thighs to other motion,
and you must walk,
even after having spoken to no one,
even after being without.