Monthly Archives: September 2007

Monday’s Verse 9-24-07

What? Paul Muldoon again? Awww… Like little kids getting served
broccoli, that’s what you are. But you know it’s good for you! Well,
those in need of a more regular fix can at least pick up a New Yorker
and find a couple Paul Muldoon-SELECTED poems, since the man has just
been named poetry editor of that fine literary publication. The
outgoing editor, Alice Quinn, “worked with a range of poets that
included Joseph Brodsky, Jane Kenyon, Louise Glück, Yusef Komunyakaa,
John Ashbery, Charles Simic, Eavan Boland and Mark Strand,” according
to the NYTimes. Poets, it should be mentioned, who have all graced
these pages (with the possible exception of Jane Kenyon. Anyone know
her work?).

But we’ve probably printed more Muldoon than anyone else, just because
he’s my hobby horse. When critiquing a Muldoon poem, it’s hard to know
where to begin, because it’s also hard to know where to end–that is,
there will always be something more to unlock, something more to say,
trickster that he is. But we should not forget there is blood and life
in his poetry too, and deep emotion. Here’s one that seems to speak a
little more for itself, sans finery. I can’t remember how old it is
but I believe 80’s era.  -ed.

THE SIGHTSEERS

My father and mother, my brother and sister
and I, with uncle Pat, our dour best-loved uncle,
had set out that Sunday afternoon in July
in his broken-down Ford

not to visit some graveyard—one died of shingles,
one of fever, another’s knees turned to jelly—
but the brand-new roundabout at Ballygawley,
the first in mid-Ulster.

Uncle Pat was telling us how the B-Specials
had stopped him one night somewhere near Ballygawley
and smashed his bicycle

and made him sing the Sash and curse the Pope of Rome.
They held a pistol so hard against his forehead
there was still the mark of an O when he got home.

Monday’s Verse 9-17-07

Point counterpoint. Here’s a companion piece to last week’s anonymous
lyric, another meditation on kissing and time, this one by famed Brit
Ted Hughes. I can’t figger out when this poem was written, but it was
written by a guy who was born in 1930. Last week’s poem was written in
2007. So which camp are you in now? What about the title? And how
’bout the imagery of that last stanza?

And why am I sitting late reading a property textbook? F this, I hear
there’s a hell of a universe next door; let’s go. -ed.

SEPTEMBER

We sit late, watching the dark slowly unfold:
No clock counts this.
When kisses are repeated and the arms hold
There is no telling where time is.

It is midsummer: the leaves hang big and still:
Behind the eye a star,
Under the silk of the wrist a sea, til
Time is nowhere.

We stand; leaves have not timed the summer.
No clock now needs
Tell we have only what we remember:
Minutes uproaring with our heads

Like an unfortunate King’s and his Queen’s
When the senseless mob rules;
And quietly the trees casting their crowns
Into the pools.

Monday’s Verse, Sept 10, 2007

Hi all,

Are you feeling the end-of-summer blues? Are you regretting the slow
painful death of your summer fling? Or is that feeling easier to let
go now that age (for some of us!) makes it harder to capture in the
first place? Do the songs from “Grease” have any relation to your
life? Are flutterings in the stomach more likely to be caused by
Szechuan food than flirtation? Those kinds of questions made this
anonymous poem make a lot of sense to me. I like this one: the
anaphora in the penultimate stanza is really appropriate for its
(nearly!) nihilistic idea. Seriously, someone’s gotta have a personal
reflection to enlighten us all here. And no, it’s not gonna be me. I
hate Mustangs. -ed.

Making Out in a Mustang

We kissed in his Mustang
Arched over the center consul
Smelling the warm beer on his breath
His arm reaching around my waist

Hardly a word spoken
We had chattered on all night
Only kisses exchanged now

It was a moment of satisfaction
After months of interrupted flirtation
Now uninterrupted

I felt fifteen again
The next morning I felt fifty
Hung over and tired

What a fool for having a crush
At my age–as if I never learned
From my first round of puberty

He did not call
Nor did I

I am not sure what I was expecting
But there was a spark?
Our banter did have a rhythm?

We sought each other out at every opportunity
Heads tossed and knees touched at communal meals
Then we kissed, after a late night in a crappy bar

No exaltations
No divine visions
No glimpse into each other’s souls

Just the smell of beer
The feel of hands over skin
And the feeling of being too old
To go through it all again.

-2007

Monday’s Verse 9-10-07

Hi all,

Are you feeling the end-of-summer blues? Are you regretting the slow
painful death of your summer fling? Or is that feeling easier to let
go now that age (for some of us!) makes it harder to capture in the
first place? Do the songs from “Grease” have any relation to your
life? Are flutterings in the stomach more likely to be caused by
Szechuan food than flirtation? Those kinds of questions made this
anonymous poem make a lot of sense to me. I like this one: the
anaphora in the penultimate stanza is really appropriate for its
(nearly!) nihilistic idea. Seriously, someone’s gotta have a personal
reflection to enlighten us all here. And no, it’s not gonna be me. I
hate Mustangs. -ed.

Making Out in a Mustang

We kissed in his Mustang
Arched over the center consul
Smelling the warm beer on his breath
His arm reaching around my waist

Hardly a word spoken
We had chattered on all night
Only kisses exchanged now

It was a moment of satisfaction
After months of interrupted flirtation
Now uninterrupted

I felt fifteen again
The next morning I felt fifty
Hung over and tired

What a fool for having a crush
At my age–as if I never learned
From my first round of puberty

He did not call
Nor did I

I am not sure what I was expecting
But there was a spark?
Our banter did have a rhythm?

We sought each other out at every opportunity
Heads tossed and knees touched at communal meals
Then we kissed, after a late night in a crappy bar

No exaltations
No divine visions
No glimpse into each other’s souls

Just the smell of beer
The feel of hands over skin
And the feeling of being too old
To go through it all again.

-2007