Wednesday, April 08, 2009

unmanned drones

pretending to be unmanned drones


I sing the body acoustic.
In this field, where becoming's pushed to such a speed
that we are robbed of the experience, the observation,
the sensation of change, and can only note that it has passed,

I write: POEM FOR--
--not a blank to be filled, but a direction of dedication, the possible
and the actual on equal terms.

The pretense here: I have not written such a poem.

For each stone from an old, old wall
meant not to mark territory, to make as permanent
as can withstand coldly the laughter at such pretense
the division within and between possible communities,

meant in quiet, forward-looking and defiant stead
to bank up the root place of the olive grove,

for each such stone--no longer in, but from--
and for the power to imagine, in each,
the memory of one now torn tree

--for each such stone a poem.

A lousy poem. Really notes toward a possible poem, for Palestine, or elsewhere. I am reading John Berger's Hold Everything Dear the best book of essays I've come across in some time. Dark, condensed responses to atrocity in the last nine years. Great writing, owing a good deal to Benjamin or the Adorno of Minima Moralia, or maybe not "owing"--it doesn't seem imitative, just unflinching and rich in similar ways.

Today's reading: Barbara Guest's The Blue Stairs. Guest's sense of form was phenomenal. I'm particularly struck by the title poem, and by the two in the middle entitled "The Return of the Muses" and "A Reason." There's a great variety here. As with many of the real "masters," I get the sense, in trying to figure out what it might have been like to write a given poem, that she "just did it," followed her compositional sense without question, but with an ongoing critical observation. It's not that there's any "ease" to the writing, or that it's particularly easy or difficult) to read--in fact, it's often upsetting, or thrilling in a kind of scary way--but that the poems seem so unapologetically what they are. Much to be learned from more reading of Guest.

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