Friday, February 24, 2006

Answering the mail

Answering the second most often asked question: Yes, many of them, but mostly in small, obscure places, here and in the UK. Denver Quarterly, Colorado Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Wallace Stevens Journal, Descant, Dekalb, Staple, Orbis, all the way down to places so de minimis that they seem to have been printed to entertain the editor's dogs and cats. Don't worry, though, if you're an editor. Just ask: I have more.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Poets' blogs

tell me more than I want to know. When you first read The Jungle Books, were you dying to know what Kipling ate for breakfast* and what color his socks were? Did your discovery of "The Eve of St Agnes" make you think, "Did Keats take Flintstones Chewables?"?

I don't want to know about blogging poets' medications or their troubles on moving day or how the cat produced her hairball. I don't care if the latest boyfriend, so cool that even his dick is dyed black, finished off the Pantene Pro-Vita. Your mom doesn't understand you. Your daughter doesn't understand you. Your editor, your best friend's girl, your supervisor at the Zoo: none of them understands you. I understand you, and I find the experience disappointing. Write a poem instead.

I don't really get blogs, do I?

*Mr Kipling's Cakes, I expect

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Botanic Gardens

Here's another really old one. It was printed in Plainsongs.

King Louie Bonga-Bonga. The flowers have
names so bizarre you'd never think to smell them,
only to wonder what they're doing here
and who knew how they'd come out of their bulbs
in this planned mix of stripe and sepal, thinking
Rainbow Delight on Thursday from the first.

And none of us knows what he's doing here,
except that the Zoo is crowded and too big
in heat like this. How about the Arboretum,
with fewer bugs and orchids on the air?
That's an idea whose time will never come.
No one can stay inside, where there's a bo
tree, but not a soul in contemplation,
unblasted figs and aloes, but no point.
A garden is outside. In hip-high boots
and a funny hat, a man moves very slowly,
making his own waves, walking through the pond,
pruning beneath the water, plant by plant,
naming the names of lilies as he goes.