Saturday, June 30, 2007

On sad suburban afternoons of autumn by Reginald Gibbons

On sad suburban afternoons of autumn,
the piercings, leather and tattoos that bought
these bungalows from mixing bowls and golf
barbeque and drink beer, watch football, eat,
laugh like ponies--everything has changed
and not a lot except which music blares
through the meat-scented smoke and streaks of sun.
Big motorcyles drip dark staining oil
where Oldsmobiles once waited between breakdowns.
Slightly aslant on windows are the self-
adhesive souvenirs of stadium concerts
by rockers getting osteoporosis;
T-shirts advertise five-pointed leaves;
kids are neglected in the age-old ways,
unkempt and shrieking as they run--or older,
buy their own weed, sneak drinks, ditch school and fuck.
In front yards, back yards, alleys and dead ends
may all these signs convince the distant gods--
or Fate, or The Fates, an absent "G-d," a Christ
somewhere or other, not right here, an Allah
with gnashing prophets, or a great magician,
or the chance events that can destroy a life--
that there's no need to bring down any more
than customary miseries and brief
illusions of good luck on such old, young,
different, same, frail creatures of a day.

first appeared in Ontario Review #62
posted with author's permission

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gypsy Caravan

... a doc by the heroic Jasmine Dellal opens Friday. It's the "Buena Vista Social Club" of Gypsy music...

Green's Catullus

... sounds almost like Frank O'Hara. Prompted by TMP, Jeannie Vanasco writes us:

"His Catullus feels less like it belongs to Green, a distinguished
professor emeritus of classics, and more to some smart sexed-up
barhop, as it should. I have heard (and seen!) that classicists are
the wildest bunch. One classicist I know--an OLD classicist, who shall
remain nameless--drank absinthe on the rocks by Lake Michigan then
stripped and started quoting the most vulgar Catullus to me. I didn't
know what to do! Guy Davenport also has a fantastic intro to Anne
Carson's "Glass, Irony, and God" in which he mentions some classicist
who swam laps naked in the college pool every day before teaching (or
some such detail--poor Carson's packed in a flap-lock box in NY and
I'm in cow town)."

6 by Catullus, translated by Peter Green

Flavius, that sweetie of yours (Catullus speaking)
must be totally inelegant and unsmart-
you couldn't keep quiet otherwise, you'd tell me.
Fact is, it's just some commonplace consumptive
tart you're mad for, and you blush to say so.
Look, your nights aren't solitary: silence
won't help out when your own bedroom shouts it--
stinking Syrian perfume, all those garlands,
both your pillows, on each side of the bed, all
rumpled, and the gimcrack bedstead shaken
into sharp creaking, loud perambulation!
It's no good, no good at all, your saying
nothing. Why? You wouldn't look so fucked out
if you weren't up to some inept adventure.
So, whatever you've got there, nice or awful,
tell us! I'm after you, man, and your lovebird,
want to ensky you both in witty poems.

sent to TMP by Jeannie Vanasco, posted with permission of the translator

Liz Smith, poet, on the Sopranos finale

"There they sat in a restaurant, four not terribly bright, craven, greedy, clueless, messed-up people--one a violent killer--pondering the possibility of manicotti."