Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jesse Glass and Chivers

"We are passing from a morning horse innocence to unusual vices, and we are not ready."
                                                                                                --Edward Dahlberg

The country I come from, Dylan sings, is called the Mid West, but is best known otherwise. My own home state even liked be considered the "heart" of America, perhaps for the ripe irony, for they are an ironical people, though of course entirely unknowing. The name comes entirely from its shape, which looks not so much like a downward curved organ as the snapshot of a spade as it just begins its plunge it heartless steel into barely worked earth. (I.e.,  Joe the Plumber came from up ol' I-25, but where he's going brings out the toxins in speculation, like spring the flowers along the interstate.) Oh, the country I come from is called one thing but known, if at all, for its paucity of spirit, ambient haze of confusion draped smog-like against horizon's trees, and the necessity to hate in order to attain a minimal sense of a being, if not identity, though without any actual object for that hate, they create one with maniacal inventiveness (e.g., KKK, John Birch Society), and those unable to enter into such inanities are given to nervous disorders and disruptions of the bowels. Any citizen thereof with an intelligence that might  eventually result in a thought is trapped in the gullet of dyspepsia.  The country I come from, indeed.

Then what better vision than Glass's lens: the dispossessed, swollen with light, fire in either eye, who writes (even in his long dying) in coffee and carbon, a pollen bearer of crumbs who we would best to attend (but most of that populous is happy only that he's on his way, not in theirs, which has never been considered at any length), a levitant above the sands whereon Whitman's skull rests, beached and bleached.

This apparently homeless prophet in a flaming chariot ("Ward 9" stamped on back) is followed, marvelously, by the a nearly "harmonic cacophony" in deep accord of praise (both of endearing affection and full support) of Love that Chivers sounds to realize the realm where everything rhymes (everything!), most importantly, with islands in the sea (how like being), with a wonderful silent music (words on the page) and the one of the most anticipated imperatives one might entertain. (Though not in the Mid West.)

the English language down to its knees
so it can mewl forth idiomatic Americanese

while the "trippers & askers" slink out of Weis’ Funeral Home
to panhandle quarters on the evening streets

before they return to lean in the lobby with cigarette butts
tweezed in fingers sutured to lapels in one grand Masonic gesture

of compassion for the maimed & humiliated, the degenerate
"disaffected youth" of your average American city who cannot hope to fill

the swiveling chairs of deceased secretaries, cab dispatchers & public accountants
in these decidedly no-brow times.

          & I rise from my diddling, the dictionary rattling
in my shopping bag; the waitress mildly concerned at the cruller crumbs I shake

from my rags right & left, takes count of the foreskins of napkins scrawled with shibboleths
          (once swollen with coffee I skimmed from my muttering lips)

          now dry as stubbed ashes in the gutter of my hand--
                    & sensing my Promise, forgives the non-tip…

                    For I carry a vision in my altar eyes
                    (two grails sunk in freckled flesh

                    gripped tight by a frowning fist of a skull)
                    I stagger alone; I sing with a twitching uvula

                    of the cancerous knot in my spleen & how it glows
          like a star in a tomb ready to ascend through my mouth

          & light some future operating room—a Catherine's wheel spinning sparks:
                              Kind thought for
                              When I'm about to glide
          like Krishna in his flaming car I'll leave behind in the charity ward

these armpits reeking of old wax, this grease coating each strand of hair
like the plastic wrap on a copper wire, these fingers fluttering

fatman high over the Nagasaki of any scrap of paper I can shatter
carbon across in the soaring declensions I learned at my Mother's charred breast.

          I shall look down upon one square mile of asphalt
                    & attempt to describe it to the angels

          as they crowd around me in their leather masks
                    & earn their questioning looks as they pierce me

                    with trocars of light & pump
          my cavities full of silence harvested

                    from tektite-covered graves.
          & I shall forget Sir Thomas Browne's praise of the hortatory

& will warble where Whitman is a skull teething sand,
          for language breaks down when it is most needed

          here in the pre-post-American, globally harmed, Middle West. 

                                                                                             --Jesse Glass


The Poet of Love
          --Thomas Holley Chivers

The Poet of Love receives divine ovation
  Not only from Angel's hands while here on earth;
But all the Ages echo back, with salutations,
  The Trumpet of the Skies in praises on his worth;
And all the Islands of the Sea
Of the vast immensity,
Echo the music of the Morns,
Blown through the Corybantine Horns
Down the dark vistas of the reboantic Norns, 
By the great Angel of Eternity,
Thundering, Come to me! come to me!

From the inflorescence of his own high soul,
  The incense of his Eden-song doth rise,
Whose golden river of pure redolence doth roll
  Down the dark vistas of all time in melodies--
Echoing the Islands of the Sea
Of the vast immensity,
And the loud music of the Morns,
Blown through the Conchimarian Horns
Down the dark vistas of the reboantic Norns,
By the great Angel of Eternity,
Thundering, Come to me! come to me!

With the white lightnings of his still small voice,
  Deep as the thunders of the azure Silence--
He makes dumb the oracular Cymbals with their noise,
  Till Beauty flourish Amaranthine on the Islands
Of all the loud tumultuous Sea
Of the vast immensity,
Echoing the music of the Morns,
Blown through the Chrysomelian Horns,
Down the dark vistas of the reboantic Norns,
By the great Angel of Eternity,
Thundering, Come to me! come to me!

The three Maidens (Nornir) who dwell in one of the fair Cities of Heaven by the Spring of Urdar, under the boughs of the great tree Igdrasel, whose names are Udr, Verthandi and Skulld—Past, Present and Future. They are Liosalfar—that is, Light Alfs—and are brighter than the sun.

                                                                                                  --Thomas Holley Chivers


Jesse Glass has lived and worked in Japan for 19 years.  Called "an over-looked American voice of the 20th century" by someone attempting to hawk a used copy of his 1982 book, Enoch, Glass continues to enjoy (and sometimes employ) mixed metaphors as he crawls in easy stages to the fame that undoubtedly awaits him.  Glass is currently involved in producing dry-point and etched editions of his poems and finds engraving copper plates good for the soul but hell on tatami mats.  An essay on visionary poetics is due to appear in N.Y.U.--Buffalo's Wild Orchids.  Books include The Passion of Phineas Gage/ Selected Poems and Lost Poet; Four Plays.

Glass is featured on Jack Foley's Cover to Cover (WKPFA), George Quasha's What Is Poetry? Project and Penn Sound.


http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Glass.php (Jesse Glass at Penn Sound.)

http://jacketmagazine.com/34/glass-jesse.shtml (Two poems.)

http://www.poetryvlog.com/jglass.html (Reading and texts of "Asthma Song" "To Leo" and "To Diana Di Prima from Japan.")

http://www.jackmagazine.com/issue5/poetjesseglass.html (Two poems.)

http://qarrtsiluni.com/tag/jesse-glass/ (Translation of the O.E. poem "The Ruin"--reading and essay on the poem and process of translation.)

http://www.sugarmule.com/28Glas-j.htm (Three poems.)

http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/yin-yang-eat-at-me/14257233  (Yin and Yang eat at me.  A play about language.)  

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