Friday, April 9, 2010

what my juke joint book is about

Big Star, Columbia: Live at Missouri University 4/25/93 (lala)
Charles Simic,
Sixty Poems (Amazon)
Frank Sinatra, A Man Alone (lala)

I consulted a friend to see if posting a Charles Simic poem would be cool; I know he was the Poet Laureate and all, but I wasn't sure if that's a good thing, like maybe Rod McKuen was also a Poet Laureate. McKuen wasn't, but badass William Carlos Williams was appointed twice and didn't serve. Turned his red wheelbarrow right around on'nat! My friend said Simic's a million times better than Billy Collins, so that works.

And I've been known to defend Rod McKuen. Frank Sinatra did a beautifully schmaltzy album of his songs and poems, which has got to be at least as cool an accolade as being poet laureate, if not better.

And poetry generally defies justification, right? Isn't that what makes it poetry? If it could be justified, then wouldn't it be something else? But anyway I found Simic's Sixty Poems in the library while trying to find the new book of Sam Shepherd stories and the one below spoke to me. I think this is what my juke joint book is about.
Country Fair
for Hayden Carruth

If you didn't see the six-legged dog
It doesn't matter
We did and he mostly lay in the corner.
As for the extra legs,

One got used to them quickly
And thought of other things.
Like, what a cold, dark night
To be out at the fair.

Then the keeper threw a stick
And the dog went after it
On four legs, the other two flapping behind,
Which made one girl shriek with laughter.

She was drunk and so was the man
Who kept kissing her neck.
The dog got the stick and looked back at us.
And that was the whole show.
Another thing that needs no justification is the Shrimp Tuscan at Zeeland's, pictured above.

1 comment:

  1. I don't read a whole lot of poetry but I do really enjoy it when I sit down and thumb through some lines. Anyway, I did a thesis paper on Irish Poetry during the Struggles when I was in school over there. It will never see the light of day. But, it did leave me with an affection, in not quite a love for modern poetry. As I said, I don't read too much of the stuff. Once a year, when they roll out the new Pulitzers, I buy the poetry winner and this generally gets me through. I liked Robert Haas' Time and Materials (2008) a good deal better than W.S Merwin's 2009 winner The Shadow of Sirius. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood. I say all of this by way of applauding your choice of Simic for some inspiration.