Sunday, April 19, 2009


Poetry In Motion

...that was the name of a program sponsored by the London Underground when I was growing up. Riding the district line back and forth to school, I came to automatically memorize the poems posted in the subway car. I miss it. On foot in L.A, often staring into space at bus stops, my mind has become its own subway car and I've started memorizing poems again. When I speak them out loud, the only witnesses are generally wild flowers and crisp wrappers. Most recent:

No one
has lots of them
Lays or friends or anything
That can make a little light in all
that darkness
There is a cigarette you can
hold for a minute
In your weak mouth
And then the light goes out,
Rival, honey, friend
And then you stub it out.

Jack Spicer, 1957

I don't know what it says about me that the legendarily melancholic Spicer was my way back into poetry recital (except I do know) and I've tried it with several intonations. My favourite is to read the unspeakably bleak words with the joy and zeal of a Pastor preaching the light.

ps: just saw 'State of Play'. Bloody fantastic, Kevin McDonald is such a gifted director. Throughout the film, Russell Crowe looks like Lemmy from Motorhead if he took a job as a geography teacher, plus he is seriously the fattest person I've ever seen cast as a dramatic lead. It's as if, sometime around 'Gladiator', his attractiveness level became a national concern and there was a court mandated order that he should start gaining weight. And he's STILL so attractive, charisma in action, and just brilliant (can you imagine an actress ever being given a shot like that? Fat as total irrelevancy rather than plot point?)

***The empty crisp wrappers approve***

Why ever, but the term "lays" just brought back vivid memories of my time at university...especially towards the end...I had to think of the 'Lais of Marie de France'.
They were written in Anglo-Norman French, a medieval variety of French.

Life is strange sometimes...just today I was contemplating going to Brittany in the summer and checking out the Channel Islands of Guernesey and Jersey...
Coincidentally, Anglo-Norman French is still being spoken (at least by some people) on the Channel Islands.

I know that the peom is quite gloomy, but the term "lays" brought back sweet memories...Gawd, I loved linguistics and Middle English literature!!!
I really miss the uni...
(Insert gloomy mood)
Kathy Bates - Misery
I love short things ... small things that have impact on whatever is going on upstairs, though often there are things I want to impact me, but I stay like a rock all the way to my core. Nothing and no one can get in there. By impact, I don't mean it's necessarily moving mountains because poetry moves each in different ways like paintings, songs, etc. It may only nudge you, but nudging is good. You get me, right? Right?I like this one 'cos I've been in search of some "light" that probably has been staring me right in my big ass, confused face!
I like reciting REM lyrics in my gruffest Yorkshire accent.

"That's me in t'corner, that's thee in t'spotlight" etc

(can you imagine an actress ever being given a shot like that? Fat as total irrelevancy rather than plot point?)

Absolutely not. but I'll think on
Hi Emma
Just back from fab, sunny weekend in Galway.

This poem totally depresses me. Lets see where this peom takes me.

No one
has lots of them
Lays or friends or anything

Do we need lots.Surely quality is what we're aiming for.

We tend to have more lays/men when we're younger. But quality top drawer men, I don't think so. I look back with rose tinted glasses on those days. Drunken nights in the POD snogging handsome young men. But lets be honest here. When it comes to sex young men are like Golden Retrievers (full of excited, enthuasism but clueless).


Same for friends, I have five/ six close friends that I can count on. To be honest, you never really know who your true friends are until you need them. A friend in need .....

Rival, honey, friend
And then you stub it out.

Rival honey friend. I have people in my life who are all three of these things.It has yet to be decided if I'll stub them out.

Saw Arthur Millars "All my sons" in the Gate in Dubln. Absolutely brilliant.
Welcome back, Cleo!

My strange enjoyment and pleasant digestion (without gagging) of this poem is how I know my mind is truly f*cked ... or truly weird.
The thing I love most about poetry is that the poet puts his or her words out there and no matter what the intent, each reader reads it and takes from it what they will. I love this poem. I love the ending - And then you stub it out. For me, and then you stub it out is big. Huge. For me, it's about letting go of the lays and the friends that don't belong here anymore. It's not about hanging on to what's lost but choosing to stub out what's gone. But that's me now. All respect to the writer of the poem. I don't see this as unspeakably bleak no matter how hard you try to make it so. I choose to let go.

Love chubby Russell Crowe. Did you know that Brad Pitt was attached to this originally? Haven't seen the movie but can't wait. From the stills I've seen, Russell isn't all that fat ...
Poetry is gorgeous. The poem that has always touched me most is actually a lyric but it's poetry to me. "Four Seasons In One Day" by Crowded House.

"There is a cigarette you can
hold for a minute
In your weak mouth
And then the light goes out"

That part actually hit me most somehow. Or let me put it this way; it brought it to life. Well, I'm a smoker, what can I say? A lot of things in life are like cigarettes, I suppose.
Thanks Akilah
PS thanks for email with link really lovely.
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