Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Cold Day Calls for Poetry

It has been a while since I gave you any poetry. This one has been on my mind for a while. I wrote the first draft of it in May. I had been watching some local slam poets, and I liked the sort of Beat-bombast of the delivery of a particular poet. I thought I would try to write something that would have that Ginsberg-meets-Saul Williams kind of feel. I don't know if I completely manifested Ginsberg or Williams, but I have some fondness for what has become of it so far.

OBLIGATORY ODE TO WALT WHITMAN

This is my obligatory ode to Walt Whitman!
Father, your beard is not my inspiration,
And I’ve noticed your breath lines got awfully short after your
death.

Could you rise, Walt Whitman, and sing the death song of Brooklyn,
As you hovered over the Williamsburg Br. sounding your barbaric yawp?

You can almost feel the rhythm of the carpenters as they plane their boards;
You can almost whistle the cacophony of the welders arcing sparks off of girders;
You can almost wail the siren of the prostitutes and bartenders selling their wares;
You can almost see Giants Stadium from here!

What might you recognize, O Father, on this concrete and steel island America?
Where monuments have risen and fallen since you contemplated the universe
In a blade of grass.

Would you comfort us, Great Nurse, Caretaker of the Nation’s Battle Wounds?
Would your song of humanity stretch as far as Baghdad?
Could you find another leader worthy of your own elegiac ode?

Perhaps you haven’t left us, if every atom of yours is also mine.
Do we all have a little molecular Whitman swimming around in ourselves
(Which we should sing and celebrate and shit)?

It must be, as I have the urge to sing my electric body—
Alive as it is with the blues and reds of horse nebula and whirlpool galaxies—
Crackling as it is with St. Elmo’s Fire and other charged elements—
Brethren as it is with spiders patiently, silently spinning.

I sing your electric body.
I sing my electric body.

Your electric body is static.

My electric body sings,
And, in a taut moment of transcendence,
I souse my poems with the spray of my Romantic imagination.

But, in these days, transcendence is only temporary,
And Romanticism’s imagination is judged by the quality of its computerized animation.

O Walt Whitman! You are dead,
Inspirer of Langston Hughes and Alan Ginsberg,
Who are also dead.
Sing Choragos of the Dead Poets’ Union
And bring me my paper from eternity!

1 comment:

La Fashionista said...

This work deserves more than a single read as I am catching up on all things interweb since returning from NYC with Monkey. (Another good reason to get an iPhone?) I love it when you share your writing (all kinds) with us. I may have more to say after rereading....

Thank you for allowing the cold day to inspire you to share.

Anon AMVB