Tuesday, December 10, 2013

feature poem of the week (reprint f


as i sd to my
darkness sur
always talking i
caught maybellene
at the top
of the hill drive
he sd for christ
sake john why
can't you
be true i sd but
john was
not his name
his name was not
sd his name
no not was
never his
name i was not
his john though
as i was
over the hill i
saw him come his
cadillac sitting
like a ton
of lead sd sur
why not i caught
john at the top
of christ i
sd christ which
was not his name
maybellene mary
i sd which
was not his come
why can't you be
true drive he
started back do
ing the things
he sd john he
sd christ my
cadillac you
used to do what
can we do
against it why
can't we be
true for christ
sake look out where
yr going john
was not his name
came yr going
not look out
where not his
not no one
to witness to
adjust drive he
maybellene mary
i caught at
the top of the
cross was not
the darkness sur
creeley sur
berry sur
rounds us shall we
and why not
why can't you
be true drive
he sd for
christ sake you
can't be true
why can't can
we do against
and why not buy
maybellene a
goddamn big
car a god
cadillac to
witness and
adjust no
one to drive
he sd for
buy buy look
out why
can't you true
at the top of
the hill as
i sd to my
name which was
not why can't
why can't you
be true

Note: a collage of phrases from Robert Creeley's "I Know a Man" and Chuck Berry's "Maybellene," plus a few from "To Elsie" by William Carlos Williams.


—I think this is the only "appropriation" I've done, though on the other hand maybe all my poems are appropriative in the sense that they were influenced by other better poems and are in fact inferior failed versions of what other poets have successfully written.   Anyway, I was reading the Creeley poem for perhaps the hundredth time in my life not long after I had somewhere heard the Berry song and somehow they fused in my mind. And as I worked on the "poem" (not sure you can call it a poem) the lines from Williams arose and seemed 'appropriate' for the content (if you can call it content)  . . .


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