Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vincent A. Cellucci and Whitman

Whitman's water washes well the wandering wonderer in world's worship. Or perhaps, in world's worship, Whitman's wanderer washes well with water, wondering. In Vincent Cellucci's poem, a boy like a drunkard (or a drunkard like a boy) contemplates "mortared cylindrical depth" (and its potential horror) as the well of possibility/life/desire above the dim pool of the spending and the spent, his obscure fortune in the dark light floating below, within the "blurred basement of his creation." Though Whitman, ever the pollen bearer, approaches as levitant, lightly, languorously, and Cullucci crowds though in a bungled rush with dreamlike funk, both poets ask the same thing at well's rim, at the bar of the self, "which is ahead?"

Women Wishing Wells and Whitman  
                         --Vincent A. Cellucci

Women at the bar wishing wells
the vagrants have coins the drunkards
spend theirs on wells ~ Penises purse pennies
roll and sack of semen spent like change
so many wishes never come
at last call comfort crawls to white azaleas
bed stains trailed towards matressing snores
it's easy to abhor mortared cylindrical depth
especially when a boy with no illumination
discovers the blurred basement of his creation
(might have lost him to the cavern)
I motion to those heaping buckets of water
cause of pulley’s design and elaboration
of leverage sustenance that saturates hydrates
highlights the mission of procreation  I think
Whitman had it right when he wrote: no more
heaven nor anymore hell than there is right now
urge and urge and urge
always the procreant urge of the world
Whitman urges this poem forward
I share the boy's allure of copper
or nickel ~ The fulfillment of desire
the completion and security of the first sip
of water out of the first city well
a desire forced by necessity
instead of whim ~ The precious success
when the wish submits and returns
by the bucket load an unrequited take
contaminates the well and the population
desires the rope and knot make it a double
knot or triple or quadruple tied tight
the night is the land settled on our city
nothing moves without first weaving
I’ve written nothing nice nothing
new just one true well
established position a young boy crowds
the circumference of a well
wishing he could multiply his body
like paper figure fences the girls cut
in school and surround his source
each fist clenched each fist clutches
the image of a man on metal
the treasure a currency
he will sacrifice his own
father or brother to abandon
in order to hear the plop
as metal breaks the water
he imagines the coin’s spins
displace the water settles
amongst familiar busts
that never reveal
heads or tails ~ If we do
anything we wish well

            --from: An Easy Place / To Die (LitCity Press, 2011)


 from Song of Myself
                    --Walt Whitman


I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied--I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread.
Leaving me baskets cover'd with white towels swelling the house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead?



Vincent A. Cellucci is the College of Art + Design’s Communication across the Curriculum Studio Coordinator at Louisiana State University.  He received his MFA from Louisiana State University and went to Loyola University New Orleans for his B.A. in English writing.  This past year he co-authored and presented: “Improving Concept Statements in the Interior Design Junior Studio Course” with Professor Jun Zou at IDEC, published his article “Trail of Livelihood: Using Textual Representation in Design Presentations” in Batture, and collaborated with the Louisiana Division of the Arts to develop and host three Artist Communication Workshops.  He has a background in the studio arts and he has been published in Exquisite Corpse, moria, New Delta Review, The Pedestal, and PresaAn Easy Place / To Die is his first book of poetry; he also contributed, edited and produced a collaborative (including Andrei Codrescu) audio novel, The Katrina Decameron, which was released on iTunes in late 2010; and he is the founder of River Writers, a downtown Baton Rouge reading series.

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