Tag Archives: long poems

Best Thing I’ve Read Today: Kelin Loe in NOÖ Weekly

2 Sep

Recently, that old scoundrel Nick Sturm put together his own version of a NOÖ Weekly, testing the flex and the stretch of us all with a hunk of long poems and series.

And there I saw this intense oomph from Kelin Loe. It goes like a mighty wildfire. Wow. It made me walk laps and sweat. That’s a good thing. Kelin has a great way of talking is the best I can say it.

clydesdales , hot dogs and dollar shots  —  meet me here OR no oven mitts on fire in here ! ! !

i will make these lasagnas in 15 minutes wearing nothing but those panties !

tracing my umbrella now. how the rib meets the rod is unclear .

penises hanging everywhere and nobody is worried but me   !

 

! ! !

 

somebody please quit making out in the library it sounds like eating stew !! and please tell me if i need to poop or otherwise —

been eating cereal like its meal so much corn and so much time to eat the corn and grind grind and i believe you followed the trail of sugar to find me yesterday so

HERE    I    AM    , HONEY POT ! ! !

i keep opening the internet like there is food in there  .

 

! ! !

 

before my husband was my husband i learned that men don’t wipe after number one  .

and, as an aviator , how do you feel about my relationship with my husband ? ??

can you or can you not see it ? ?

please is it made of MATTER HOW much can it mean ? ?

banana bag !   NOW !!  and a middle-aged man to tell me FACTS  .

 

! ! !

Caroline Cabrera told us all about Kelin and her goodness back in this interview, remember? If we weren’t paying attention yet, now’s the time, okay?

Check out more great sprawling stuff from Mike Krutel, Matthew Yeager, S.E. Smith, and more in that issue, too!

 

A Long Poem I Love: Reckoner by Adam Fell (from I Am Not A Pioneer)

4 Jun
  1. At four pages, is this a long poem? I can’t spend much time with your question, sir, but I can be honest in a jiffy and say, Sure, it is. I call this a long poem for both how it stretches its story and expands its situation further than its four pages, how big and heavy this thing is (more in just a moment on that, patience please), but also for how long, geesh is that the best I can come up with?, it lingers with me after I’ve read it, the first poem in Fell’s rad book I read two months ago.
  2. It opens: “Overnight, the lake invents itself.” And as this lake beats against the city, wallops the townspeople’s steadiness, they, the people of the poem, panic and begin to throw fire, cars, the nature surrounding, and buildings into the lake, an offering of sorts.

Our fingers calloused round and gripping
the handles of shovels, thousands of us,

filling the lake with beach sand, shore sod,
the expensive audio equipment
the wealthy use around here as wavebreaks.

We keep filling, keep dredging.

We dump parked cars in the lake.
We dump parking meters.

We dump the bags of change
collected form the parking meters.

  1. What’s that reaction called? Fight or flight? Here they fight with what’s around them, what they can toss at this thing they’ve named “a terror.”
  2. I can’t read this poem, think of this poem, type words about this poem without a giant Mouth appearing above the page, above my head. The Mouth is what is this poem, the lake as mouth, the mouth of the townsmen like Mike and Bill and others with their advice given and gone against, the speaker’s mouth telling this story whomever wherever he is, the mouth of the writer (that exists somewhere still surely?), the we’s that talk (or choose to stay silent, only act) throughout:

We vote to close debate without debating.
We vote to gather our rifles and torches at shore.

Or

Bill says, I wonder if some of us shouldn’t,
you know, throw ourselves in as a sacrifice
to the cause of wiping out this, you know, terror,
this sudden unknown destroying our…

Bill stops.

We know he’s been awake all night
perfecting his speech in the mirror.

  1. Through all the talking, the solutions emptying the town around the lake, the narrative, where are the mouths with the questions as to exactly what the problem is? How terrifying, more so maybe than the lake, is that lack of debate, is that settle on the “fact” that this lake is an (THE) issue.

We’re running out of things
running, running, things, things,

but the lake still calmly takes
what little we give it.

It opens and swallows, opens and swallows.
Never a complaint.

Around midnight we run out of rubble.

  1. When does an act of safety, of protection, of a good decision, become a damaging act of presumptuous repetition? The throwing mimicking the lake’s returning against the shore, the poem mimicking the townspeople’s repetition, as time moves forward.
  2. If I may, I’m gonna, take a second for a personal bloop. I tried getting married young, the family thing, the steady thing, then the doubts and the fears, my own lake, beating daily against my skull, my lake eating my family, both born and created, my poems, my happiness, and eventually me. How strange for something so lovely, so possibly soothing, just by being there, just by returning, just by making its presence known daily and definitively can disrupt and disturb, despite all its goodness.
  3. Yet when it comes down to self-sacrifice, giving up oneself, it becomes something easy to turn back on, something to end on, to choose flight in the end (SPOILER ALERT MAN):

We all volunteer to be martyrs.

But by morning
none of us have gone through with it.

  1. What is it with throwing away our defenses, but not ourselves? People want to take away protections like birth control and the justice in the justice system. People want to take (and/or give?) away happiness and love, both for themselves and others. People want to throw away their surrounding nature and their health. The fear, it creeps, but why are we limiting that wall between that and us?

Buy I Am Not A Pioneer by Adam Fell, a totally awesome book kicked off by this poem, from H_NGM_N Books, right now if you know what’s up.

A Long Poem I Love: Hallelujah, Giant Space Wolf by Daniel Bailey

16 May

1. Daniel Bailey’s long poem “Hallelujah, Giant Space Wolf,” from his new book of the same title, is this dude at his finest, thirteen pages of his stare snapped on those Big Things, religion and existence, belief and human relations, and in true Bailey form, he has created this hunk of confession and feeling, one long blip that doesn’t worry about rests (won’t find any periods here), or where it moves, only that it is moving and never stopping until he’s expended all his self can muster.

2. The stepping stone into this poem has God’s name on it, that’s where he’s going, he’s stepping up, reaching up, jumping up. He says it: “I am fighting god again.”

3. Reminds me of that Modest Mouse song, from that scrappy lovely disc The Lonesome Crowded West, about “Cowboy Dan” (this Dan a little meaner, a little greedier perhaps than our friend Mr. Bailey, but definitely the running towards the fight with God similarity is evident here): “Goes to the desert, fires his rifle in the sky and yells ‘God if I have to die, you will have to die.”

4. But what’s really incredible about this poem is the emotion and how it explodes out uncontrollably and scurries around but it never feels like Bailey is giving us too much to handle at once or that its for any purpose besides expelling his true innards:  “I have about a thousand emotions/and love is the spine of them all.”

5. Take this huge chunk, the second half of page one, where Bailey gets ramped up, where he challenges himself and us to rethink what we see as ourselves and possibilities and the earth and good things, a something he whittles away at for the whole twelve pages:

Jesus God,

let us flood the earth with laughter tonight

let there be more juice about the earth tonight

let tonight be the earth’s rebirthday and let it be born

as something new and let it not remember its old life

let it be a fly

once when I was born I looked at the earth like a fly

at the bottom of the ski-lift of ceaseless miracles

when I am young and getting younger I could be

a maggot that loves the entire earth, that can only love

and look at the earth with its love and say “I love you”

in a small fly voice

tourists of the future, where are you

we are breaking bread over the volcano

do you sleep through the world’s disasters?

uh huh, I sleep through the good things too

6. And he goes from there, ruminations of what it means to exist and belief and not belief and die. Battles with Jesus, this Giant Space Wolf, a “you” that seems to change but hold a cup with some valuable juice to quench what. And the best way I can describe it is attacking, bursting, busting, these extreme words basically meaning “to leak” but where at the end it is major huff and puff tired. What I’m saying is, this poem shreds itself, its man, until exhaustion in its many forms.

7. What is it about graduating college, or even just being in college, that makes young adults tackle their beliefs majorly, shouting into the sky, walking around for hours looking/thinking/turning their hands over, crying why? At least a dozen of my friends went through some spiritual switch battling their Christianity and plopping into some sort of Agnosticism/Atheism during college and I see their stories in this long poem, see their inner spirits slapping for a heavenly one:

mine eyes have seen the glory, as they say

and it always rides away in the form of some disappointed child

Or

 on earth, before all of this, I remember staying up late

walking to the bathroom, brushing my teeth

washing a line of ants down the basin of the sink

and then going to sleep and not thinking about it

I feel like a vulture who does not wait for death to prepare his meal

8. This poem is a collection of those moments of untrapping oneself from the snare of blind faith, unpacking the feelings and actions and thoughts of those days, dictating the what ahead.

9.  Sure, here here here is a complaint I hear about Bailey’s style, some of that unpacking can get messy and a little wild. But that’s fucking life, man. And poetically, there’s so much goodness here, too, where the emotion bends into this poem shape. Form is function highly highly here. It wanders because it is the wandering (also the wondering).

10.  Reading this poem reminded me of my favorite of Bailey’s Drunk Sonnets, Number 14, which begins “IF ANYONE KNOWS WHAT IS GOING ON EVER THEN HEY/I AM HERE IT WOULD BE NICE TO TALK SOMETIME” and ends “GOD IS LIKE BONO—SOME DICKWAD NO ONE WILL EVER MEET OR LIKE.” That poem as it moved between those two fences trying to know what the fuck is up (i.e. be happy) and dealing with this umbrella called God that is supposed to help meet that goal. And this long poem seems to be Bailey going after that same help in knowing what is going on, or at least figuring out what to do with the fact that it might not be possible/God might really be a dickwad.

11. I love the booming spirit of this poem, even when covered in worry and maybe fear, the nerve to accuse, assume, wonder: “don’t think of life in terms of right and wrong/because what is the second coming if not a terrorist attack.” Yeah, this is contradicting, where much of the rest of the poem seeks loving and human compassion (doing right?) to battle this big opponent. Point is, admirable is Bailey’s willingness to speak through all the ugliness of doubt, through the bitter feelings, and have that blasting glimmer of hope.

12. It’s not always about just fighting God though. The loving and the compassion, it’s a true concern here. Sad drops of that we’re-all-connected idea, like “for every baby that’s born/there are two people who want a baby/but will never have one” and “the best compliment you can give anyone is/‘I hope you don’t die today’/because you are with them/and that should not be taken away,” are the bits of that control I was talking about, where another weapon of human nature, that downward gaze to the other living heads around us, gets revealed and the poem shines a little brighter, maybe in hope, but most certainly in sincerity.

13. At the top of the last page, for all the pondering and wondering and talking, Bailey has seemed to come to terms with moving beyond higher thinking to this self-decision of going with the feeling, as how to dictate one’s own life:

you will die eventually anyway

you will

if I am unhappy

I am

if I am happy

then I am that too

I cannot possibly understand this thought that is life

which is why I am done thinking

it is all feeling from now on

the loving

the hating

the fearing

the crying, etc.

the loving

14.  Seen that happen so much, good or bad, people wanting to know why loving, pursuing happiness, being a feeling being is not enough. And as Bailey makes clear earlier in the poem, that way you’ll die to, like all other ways of thinking/being, but you’ve moved (beyond?) and at least you’ve been this flailing ball of realness when you’ve reached the other end of life (heaven, hell, nothing, giant space wolf), in life or in long poem.

*

Buy this book from Mammoth Editions. It’s good, really good, big bold and booming.