Friday, April 03, 2009

Are you ready to become the man
you came here to be? Why do I present
this ironic facade, instead of asking
a genuine question? What is the question?
Why is it marked thus? What's the history
of that mark?

Is that a lotus behind my head? How far
from the last question to the last one? Am I
just happy to see me? Why do these questions
keep spiraling off, instead of delving deeper?
Why do I want deeper delving? Are the sexual
possibilities lost on me? Is that a real question?
What was the question? What was the gap?

What is performance? Does it involve that
tight feeling in the throat? That lonely olive
on the shelf? The presence of anything? Huh?
What? Paint? Tea? Stop now?

This poem, which fails somewhat miserably, owes its inspiration to today's reading: Steve Benson's Open Clothes. Benson's improvisations, all of which seem to involve the setting up of situations of vulnerability, uncertainty, probable embarassment and a great deal of brilliant surprise, are a recent inspiration to me. I've been meaning to really delve into his work for years, and this most recent book has me hooked. It'd be an interesting job to compare Benson's long sequences of questions with the questions that make up Ron Silliman's "Sunset Debris."

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