Monday, January 24, 2011

I downloaded 60 pages of "Jubilate Agno" fragments
this was after Googling "Jubilate Agno" and finding recordings
since apparently it has something to do with Christianity,
which figures, given Christopher Smart wrote it
he who was sent to the nuthouse for spontaneously praying
in public, and nudging others to join him. That
would have been uncomfortable, like the orator
outside the University of Washington HUB
in the 70's who railed against I don't know what
though I was impressed by his passion. What
was uncomfortable was that he heckled from his pulpit -
stopping people walking past to ask penetrating
ill-advised questions about their beliefs. A chat
not particularly welcome, though the spectacle
was entertaining if you could stay invisible.

I Googled "Jubilate Agno" and found I could buy
the surviving fragments for $150, so I Googled
Google Scholar and found, from there, the text
I wanted, and downloaded those 60 pages.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today it's MONOLOGUE with 8th grade fictioneers.
Yesterday in the frigid classroom and I do mean frozen cold
though it was 52 degrees outdoors I exhorted them to play
deeply and they sat in their seats. One boy asked if
a character could - as in "Hurt Locker" - de- rather than e-
volve. So someone was awake and curious, so hurrah.
I said absolutely not. I did not. I gave permission.
I am a permissive creative writing teacher which is why
I need that master teacher in the room -
Oh three are enough lines beginning with I.

Have you read "Jubilate" by Galway Kinnell?
It celebrates Christopher Smart's "Jubilate Agno"
which I didn't know was more than the "To My Cat
Jeoffry" section. Kinnell's poem is in the latest
American Poetry Review, which I subscribed to
after seeing my friend Martha Silano had poems
published by them last issue. Huzzah!

Kinnell celebrates Smart and smartly celebrates
the celebration in '79 when poets gathered
to read 30 line sections of "Jubilate Agno"
to a "large and ardent audience." Huzzah!
Kinnell calls Smart Kit, calls the reading
... a source of joy and truth
the lung-ether of the living loving the long dead.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sloshy snow walk this morning
rain water under snow cover
every step to the coffee shop
our shoe prints little ponds
for tiny seals and river otters.
Was that a narwhal surfacing
at MLK and Madison?

A mutation of clones
a tribulation of crones
an arbitrage of lawyers
a distress of foragers
an abyss of hopes
an archipelago of hankies
a diminution of questions
an actualization of fears.

Netflix brought us "Howl"
even real Allen at its close
the whole poem I think
and every word said
an actual word said
from the record whether
court or interview
or the poem. We aren't
the beat generation
Allen said, just a bunch
of guys trying to get

Another day another peek
or peak or wallowing swamp
We speak in lisps, rasp
our rage or ragas atop Etna
or stare at sky in Hanoi.
Understand the ante
there is nothing sadder
than a post football Namath
bells, whistles, alarms
that toll for thee Anita
for Larry, Curly, Moe
and more for Lauren
oh she of lovely mien
I mean was not insane
but then more sights than
scissors are torn from hemp
and sitars.
Oh lively ram
what you might tell us
in the talus of your glare.
You were there
a young pessimist
within a gaggle of Megs
amid a wreckage of tacos.

Wackos born every minute
determined actions
dedicated factions
easier to hate than live
forgive, forgive.

Monday, January 03, 2011

2011, so new it's still damp,
the unfolding green of its leaves
still furled so we can imagine
they could take any shape,
even our own.

I've committed to a budget,
and have made a chart,
an excell spreadsheet,
but now I have to enter
money actually spent
and I don't want to.

I claim I don't know how.
I don't understand Excell,
can't even spell it, and
my daughter's dog wants
me to throw the Kong
over the railing so she
can flail after it down
the hardwood stairs.

I don't want to throw
the Kong either. I don't
know what I want.
I want a cape with a P
on it for Poet or Prophet
or Princess or Priest
or poopoo head perhaps.

My clothes are too tight
my head is too foggy
the air is clear and bright
but I'm not.

I'm turning a big age
this year - turning as in going
off or bad, rotten enough
to be thrown into the compost
or off the deck to roll
downhill until I lean against
the railroad tie wall
maybe next to the lost Kong
or last year's pumpkin.

For my birthday
Pharmaca will give me
a lip balm and a chocolate bar
if I give them a penny.

My mother is on morphine.
She forms words like
a dental patient fresh
from the novacaine shot.
Her sentences drift off
into the football game
which she may or may not
be following.
She's dying of cancer
but I thought she
had months.

I have years and years
and here's to that
and to making new
thoughts and plans
and living within our means
and living with meaning.