Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

People love stuff and people hate stuff. But mostly, people just kind of...have stuff? I don't know where I was going with that...or where I just went with that, so I'll move on.
I generally hate poems/lyrics on blogs. But I like them on mine, I guess, because I'm putting up a Tony Hoagland piece that I probably read once a week. It makes me feel indulgent to read such an impulsive poem.
If you haven't given poetry a try, whether it seems boring or hokey, the trick is to read it to yourself slowly, in your normal speaking voice. Don't sound sing-songy or unnatural. Just..ignore the line breaks for the most part. Trust me, if someone as impatient, illiterate, and self-conscious as Julia M. Rehder can enjoy a fine poem...well, you get it.

Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn’t make the road an allegory.

I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.

Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.

Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
in big black spraypaint letters,

which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.

Last night I dreamed of X again.
She’s like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I’m glad.

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.

Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;

overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,

dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,

so nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It’s been doing that all week:
making beauty,
and throwing it away,
and making more.


  1. i totally took your advise and read it.
    and i saw some hope. i am not as dense as i think i am. this is great news.

    i really liked the poem. the guy has my mind. so random. i talk to myself like that all the time when i'm by myself.

    i don't know what else to say.

    i'm just laughing.

  2. I have never read this one before -- I really like it.

    PS - I think you mentioned on another post that you decided not to get your masters in poetry? Whyyyy?

  3. I am in love with this poem. I love poetry so much now. My English teacher (Coach Swain) has introduced me to Billy Collins. I have only read a couple of his works but what I have read I have loved. Thank you so much Juju.

  4. That is so great. Can I share the poem I read once a week? It's by Quan Barry. Well, i'm going to whether you want me to or not. Sorry if you don't like it.

    Yes the moon is made of gunpowder because that’s how it smells-the whole Sea of Tranquility’s a CIA sham: it’s really a loaded keg, miles of galactic hotbeds waiting to blow those pinko commies off their asses should they ever land one of these days and POW! Right in the kisser and then where will Comrade Khrushchev go? I keep the moondust stored in a cool dry place in the third lobe of my right lung because Neil keeps it there too, I can tell from his hot bronchial breath that he’s hoping to corner the market on this organic powder thing, yeah, he told me as much over Madagascar when we crossed the terminator into the cold cislunar night, the vacuum between heaven and hell/New York City. I might add vacuum is no longer just a word to me like Rigel Formalhaut Altair. Holy mother of the eagle has landed! I was born here and I’ll die here against my will, against my will, I’m practically singing I’m so goddamn full of earthshine-