memorial for a brilliant woman

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Digging up the past (again)

from the melic review- a poem I had forgotten about...

Every so often I'll do a google search and an old poem will appear, like this one from summer, 2000
written after returning from the Austin International Poetry Festival that spring- it is mostly true.


This is the Gospel truth, most likely it was
on a olive seed in a Greek restaurant Friday night,
somewhere in Austin after I did a poetry reading.

It cracked in two pieces like a well-made biscuit splits,
clean but crumbly, next to last molar on the left side.
Didn't take notice right away, I was drinking at the piano bar

in the Driscoll Hotel, figuring it was a hard piece of gristle,
or a chunk of tortilla chip jammed way in the back,
I chewed and jawed all night with abandon,

Too busy carrying on to worry about it much,
I ignored it, acting as if food might be outlawed
by the weekend, and me starving for everything Texas.

I was inhaling barbeque, steak, grilled chicken,
red beans and rice, tortillas off my plate and
into my mouth like I hadn't been home in years,

(I hadn't) I let it fester, digging at it with my tongue.
In the airplane on the way home I ate my pack of nuts
on the other side of my mouth, and didn't crunch my ice.

By chance and fate, I had a dentist appointment
the very next day, so I took my kid in my place
hoping for a reprieve and time to heal the tender spot.

She took one look, rolled her eyes, sat me down
and said, "We gotta get to the root of this one right now,
You want shots or the gas?" and I was stuck for the morning.

Now my temporary crown has abdicated into two monarchies
a week until the real one arrives from the molar factory,
but it was worth it all, at least I broke a tooth and not my heart,

like I did thirty-three years ago in Pasadena when Greg Lind took
Patrice Jordy to Homecoming back in nineteen sixty-something.
Bring me an aspirin and a cold co-cola and I'll tell you all about it.

here's some others from Melic, a right fine journal in its time:

Throwing in the Towel winter 1998
Driving Icarus summer 1999
(I wanted to)  autumn 1999 also apppeared in The Best of Melic, in print 2003
A Parable spring 2000
I have let you autumn 2000
Not by the Book (poems about sex with Martha Stewart) fall 2001
When Billy Collins reads (poems about Billy Collins) fall 2001

After 2001, I was a first reader for poetry (on and off) and CE was a stickler for not publishing the staff unless the work had appeared somewhere else first. I rejected more than one poet who is well-known today. During the next few years I also edited issues of La Petite Zine (prior to Daniel Nestor). I am very proud of my work there (archived here and here) but CE had warned me about working with the publisher. I should have listened.

1 comment:

מבול said...

I think you know that CE has a blog which he uses rarely. It is being hacked. If you go there and if you can get by all the spam bots and go back to the entry of November 11, you will find CE’s discussion of depression where I left a number of comments. At some point I will use my blogger login to delete these comments.

In the first place the blogosphere is no more, replaced by Apps/Tweets/Facebook. There have been a number of iterations: Geocites/forums/blogs and now Facebook. In due course Facebook will go away also. The shape of things to come is equal to way of all flesh.

I don’t think anybody remembers Melic/Natter. By memory, I mean something that is on a piece of paper, not on the web, which instant oblivion. I did two paper documents, both unpublished manuscripts although both have ISBNs. One of these documents contains Jaimes Alsop’s 1998 pic with the bowler hat. You may know that Alsop died in California this past year at about the age of 70.

Although I make no mention of it, and have no record of it, it was an encounter on Natter of 2004 vintage which led to my other document, or at least a major revision of it.