Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Sometimes I take a Vicodin and listen to Joni Mitchell."

I read most of The Totality for Kids on the train back from Portland. It's a good read, albeit a bit heady at times. I like the voice in these poems: a mix of academic theory talk, art talk, deadpan humor, French, and pop culture references. Including an index at the back, which is just a hoot ("Tears for Fears, 36"). I recommend it. Here's a fun one:


Peoria! With your unshaven boys
Smooching on the street corners or talking
On the phone while skating headlong into
Tourists who throng the ghostly avenues
Of Peoria! With your grand soirees
And jubilations pushing out against
The weight of history — Peoria
"Capital of the nineteenth century"!
With your cloud of excess signs and gold leaf
Settling on the eyelids of black-haired
Women glowing from terrace cafes
Which line the stone banks of Kickapoo Creek
Flowing like blue milk under bridges
Of Peoria! And your swank manners
And red suburbs and no future and movies
Where strangers swap philosophical gems
And fall at once to bed — never have
So few of all possible kisses
Involved me as in Peoria
Midwestern city o' lights! And so off to
Glamorous Vernon city of canals
Five-step bridges with arcane graffiti
With its three million atavistic
Pigeons at the heart of a jewel-box
Labyrinth and its ancient library
Drooping langourously into the lagoon
A few inches per annum bearing Tom Swift
Down to the Doges. Vernon and its dead
Ends and no vistas and supermodels
In their sunglasses and autumn exile
Like the four figures in "The Mystical
Marriage of Saint Catherine" (attrib.
Parmigianini) seemingly torn
From a glossy and glued to the abyss:

Everywhere at once I must be with you!


Happy reading . . .

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