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Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Use of What Uses Us

The poem is what uses us
Hayden Carruth spoketh thus
We are all but hollow vessels
Of a truth beyond apprehension
But as diligent poets we practice our craft
And as stenographers and cartographers
We keep record hoping it may prove useful
For generations hence
Of the heights and depths
We have traversed along the way
But in truth our poems emerge
In the moment from a mix of things
Not fully responsible
Inasmuch as we remain
Beholden to an ineffable
All the same we are never
So completely laid bare

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Today is Hayden Carruth's birthday, which I learned thanks to a tweet from Copper Canyon Press ...  I don't know too much about Carruth's work but I plan to learn more soon.  With a conversational style, he seems to come from the Mid-Century School of Angry American Poets.  Here is an excerpt from one of his poems written in the Holiday Inn in Washington DC in 1994, the tone of which seems just as apt more than 20 years later:

Fucking each other’s wives in the dens and laundry rooms and pantries.
This is called a party. Some are Democrats, some Republicans, all are fuckers.
They are emboldened by bourbon and vodka and the anticipation of power,
Tomorrow they will arise hungover and wield the resources of the nation.
Sweetheart, it’s a long way from home, miles and miles from your warm bed.
Melodiously at the door: “Are you all right, sir? Are you all right in there?”

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