Saturday, January 23, 2010

"my north is leafless & lies in a wintery slime..."

America Mix-Tape, Track 9
When sanity grew tiresome, I went walking through the ghetto.
I bought kidneys, watched buildings crumble,
offered no hand, no kind word.

The sky didn’t seem right and I said nothing,
my stomach rumbled yet I said nothing, not wanting my hungers known.

The river blackened, there were children jumping from tire swings,
their songs weren’t scored,
no trumpet touched them.

I was Cajun, I pickled old business cards, I saw the cattle to slaughter.

I stretched in the mornings
and settled my bar tab nightly,

the moonlight wanted me, the very stars.

I walked these hills in a long black veil,
weary at heart but light of step.

this poem plus 2 others here.

i remember reading ashbery for the first time. it was "lithuanian dance band" & the voice i heard when reading the poem seemed like the voice in my head that spoke to me most of the time. ashbery kept writing w/that voice through a wave(1984), abandoning it in his later years for a more abstract, dissociating style. the aloof lyricist had gone down the rabbit hole of language as a next logical move in understanding himself & his place & process of being.
i'm hearing something of the early ashbery in mr. myer's poems. he's certainly more direct than, say, another ashbery protege, ann lauterbach. it's not clear if the words will begin to pile up & start to seem useless. he's young & going on his nerve right now. son, what is your alibi?

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