Thursday, May 31, 2012

Exit Strategy

Photo:  Still life.     David Graham

Well, it's been a lot of fun, driving this TRUCK for the month of May.  Thanks again to Hal Johnson for the chance to feature some poems by poets close to me, along with a scattering of my photos.  And thanks to anyone who has stopped by, with or without letting me know about it.  

On my final day I'm afraid I am going to indulge myself by posting a small sheaf of poems I wrote myself (always remembering Robert Creeley's favorite post-reading query, "are those real poems, or did you write them yourself?").  

Don't know if the following are real poems, but I did write them myself.

See you around.

A Weed Among Weeds

In a past life
I was a farmer’s field, and my wife was the rain.
                  --Brent Goodman

My wife is the rain, I say:
she covers my fields each spring
with the needed solution. Just
because it's predictable
doesn't mean it isn't miracle.

So my wife is a miracle,
I say to the sky, as if I could
conjure a great amen from
the wind, but of course I cannot.

I found my wife in the sky
so long ago it feels like
a story, I tell the clouds
as they drift, dissolve,
reappear above the tree line.

So the clouds have no comment,
nor does the fire in the west
singing its usual song tonight.

And my wife sings in languages
I cannot even speak, but I love
to lie in bed listening as pans
clatter, the kettle boils, and she
quiets the panicked phone
just by talking to it, slowly
and carefully, as you would
gentle a frightened dog.

I'm just a weed among weeds
and lucky to rise a good inch
above ground most days, wavering,
bending, trembling.  I'd like
to be the rain sometime, I say,
and of course she says You are.

--David Graham

Photo:  "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower"     David Graham

Not Sure What

Long ago I realized I could never think
very hard about customer service, propriety,
matching colors, gas mileage, or pardoning
my French.  I'm not proud but sometimes
annoyed at the world for reasons even I
don't follow.  It's hard to share a world,
as every toddler knows.  Die early and avoid
the fate, Frost advised, and I think he
probably meant it.  Kind of a jerk, he was,
but so is your uncle.  Even as a kid I read
more books than I knew what to do with.
I've been trying to cut back lately, but
everywhere I find questions posed,
answered, beautifully evaded.  Yes, I love
theme-and-variations, but often have to  
wonder:  what's the theme?  All I see
some days are variations, rich and hard
to read as a pot of lobsters.  When you don't
remember something, speak loudly,
someone once said, I forget who.  I said,
I forget who!  Oh, I suppose I'm proud enough,
but guess I don't much feel like talking about it.
Cigarette smoke curls in musical air, never
quite vanishes even while vanishing.  I take that
as an emblem of something, but not sure what. 

--David Graham

Photo:  Old Business.     David Graham

Love is some movie you've seen before, but

--after Richard Brautigan

Love is some movie you've seen before, but
you fell asleep before the ending.

Love is either that wicked great dream you had
instead of the true ending, which was sweet
and delicate as a caterpillar sneezing
in the basement,

 or else

it wasn't like that at all, and involved
George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson
loping through a shopping mall that's on fire
with gunshots from all directions and glass
exploding into beautiful disaster in orange air,

or maybe love is the alternate ending
that you have to get the DVD extras to see,
the one where George Clooney can't stop
laughing, take after take, when he tries
to recite a poem to dear sweet Scarlett,

and even after he finally nails the poem
and puts a take in the can, nobody
in the test audience liked that ending at all,
so they changed it to something
probably really lame, so you were right
to fall asleep and dream your
breathtaking dreams after all.

--David Graham

Photo:  Realism.     David Graham

Against Whitman

-- I teach straying from me, yet who can stray from me?

Today I woke without a hero
in my head, not even Whitman
who usually brims my pockets
with jingly treasures, sweet breath
swelling laundry on the line,
but today just seems a big gasbag
heard at a distance on a tinny
carnival P.A., drifting in and out
with summer's sourest breeze.

Contains multitudes, yeah yeah yeah;
sings the body electric, sure,
whatever; hears America
singing, well, duh!  Walt, we just
don't need you anymore, now
we've got cable, we've got
radial tires, we've got Google.

But thanks anyway for your
transcendental cloud-puffy beard,
your Jesus eyes and too-friendly arm
draped over my shoulder
up and down the Broadway bus line.
I really do appreciate your
Wal-Mart vastness, it's just that
we have Instant Messenger now;
we have reality TV, Disneyworld,
the Apollo moon photographs
of our great rolling earth
postering our living room walls.

We have laser-guided missiles,
email, disposable diapers,
electric wrenches, Valium,
closed captioning, adhesive tape,
time zones crossed by jumbo jets
filled with businessmen with
cell phones and laptop computers;
we have the interstate highway
system and grocery aisles thick
with kiwis, curry, and arugula.

What could you possibly add to that?

Or to the kid in Sunday school
who gives his Christ a posse
of gangsta disciples to guide
the ascent from emptied tomb
to graffiti-tagged heaven,
all of those Bible boyz packing
serious heat and draped
like Christmas trees in bling,
all rising, democratically,
toward the great big satellite
in the vanished sky, Walt,
and who could stray from that?

--David Graham

Photo:  Chicago Sky Puddle.     David Graham

No comments:

Post a Comment