I have been reading this fascinating new book of poems, And, by Michael Blumenthal. All of the poem titles are really long, and begin with the word "and." For example: "And the Manic Energy of the Planets Shall Beckon to the Stars," and "And the World Has Its Own Conviviality, and Each is Privy to His Own Singing." Each title is italicized, making me wonder if they are quotes from some existing text (Blake?), but there is no acknowledgement if that is the case.
The poems are very discursive, long-winded (meaning sometimes they seem like all one sentence, or several long sentences, all building on the word "and"), at turns funny, at turns philosophical, at turns almost raving/manic, Blakean. As I sat with the book, and became more in tune with the voice, I really found them to be quite delightful. Here is an example:
And the Angel of Ointments is Not a Salve
The pockmarked angel who visits you regularly
but failed to come to the party you so kindly gave for him
is now in the kitchen. He is waiting for some dark
escutcheon of beauty to manifest itself, perhaps while you
are out, perhaps even before the morning paper is delivered
and the day's news leaks out over the wires, purposeful
and beleaguered. He is waiting, but he waits patiently, pours
himself a cup of coffee, examines the art in the living room
and the false Persian carpets you have laid in the hallway,
admires himself in the bathroom mirror. This angel
has a rather bad complexion, but he is hardly
beyond beauty. He knows that a scarred thing
grows lovely as it heals, that the first cardinal
who comes to your feeder will depart before sunrise.
If there are monumental things to be done to your day,
he is prepared to do them: He's brought his tools.
But nothing, he knows, that ferments a life upwards
can be yours without a bit of exuberance. He's waiting,
hat in hand, a smile on his lips, and all he has
to offer up to you is a single prayer, a mystic thing
that dazzles in the dark and knows its way home.
It's a good read. Check it out!
Dean and I went with John & Lanita to see Complexions Dance Group perform at the UW World Dance Series last night. It was a good show. The first two acts were new pieces, "Mercy" and "Dirty Wire," and you could tell: they were a bit rough, up and down, and needed editing (needed to be shorter, mostly). But the third act more than made up for it: a 30 minute suite of dances done to U2 songs: "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," "With or Without You," "Vertigo," and more. It was terrific!
Hoping to get some writing done today. We'll see how it goes.