31 oct. 2006

Mayhew's Mood

I am brilliant but not too smart

about things I ought to be smart about--

that argument overheard in 1975--

was I part of that?

If so, am I a Turk in love with a Swede

or a Swede in love with a Turk?

Do Danes know irony?

What would Henry Gould say?

I think the answers lie

in nonchalance.

That, and choral music--

lists of things to do.


All attack and no sustain.

That's the mood in the land.

To spare the life of a locust--

that's something I haven't done too much of.

Lately, I've been feeling...

That's it, lately I've been feeling.


I'd like to have a radio show.

I'm not very articulate though.

It doesn't bother me not to know a thing's name.

Since Creeley died I haven't been the same.


One blue, of the sky

One blue, of the sea

They argue, which one will give its name

For the blue of the ink?



comfort. What is


Should I feel



"These poets are narcissists with whom friendship would be perilous."

It's been months since I felt the cold. I miss that.

Each day I revise some slight thing.

A dysthymic, arhythmic avoidance.

Yeatsian swagger, layers of smells.


I broke the seal.


Schooled in disdain,

in inanity.


Construyo negligencias; el punto y coma como una araña insuflada de insuficiencia.

Según el poeta japonés, el viejo perro pone cara de escuchar el cántico de los gusanos.


Don't talk to me about the ghastly portamento.

The chickens are roosting;

Henry is clean-shaven.


What if we could only kill bugs with our hands,

only fight rats with rose water?

What if Ornette were a race-horse?

Squirrels fight but won't scratch each other's eyes.

Are there rules?

This is my new style. You like?

Me neither.


I will no longer transport clean laundry across state lines.

A gleaming exhaust vent will carry fumes to the roof.

Raucous flocks will leave that particular tree.

The junior high school band will play without rhythmic mistakes.

I will no longer be desperately unhappy in my life.

I will be an expert on breeds and languages of dogs.


The screen is warmed by the sun.
Nothing should ever be parsed
past the point of return.
If I were Clark Coolidge I would write like this,
forehead warmed, timed by belts.
The sky is not object,
cannot exist like salt or wicker.
I am not, cannot.


My attention alights on the world.

That is not my mood.

She transports steaming liquids
across town
sells her hair.


Yet "men die every day for lack of what is found there."


Here is what is left out.
The nitty gritty.
For your eyes only.

Ink smudged on watch.

21 comentarios:

Jordan dijo...

The Danes invented irony.

Henry Gould dijo...

wait a minute, Jordan - I was GOING to say that !!!

I will have to post a very long explanation of this - perhaps on a seventh new blog I will set up - maybe on Tuesday??

On Tuesday I will be in Belgium, which is near Denmark, at least on the map I have in front of me.

I will be in Belgium - looking for one honest Dane.

Jonathan dijo...

You need a blog just to explicate my poetry and correct my errors in judgment, Henry.

Henry Gould dijo...

I may be able to combine those two procedures, Jordan. But I will have to move to Belgium in order to do that.

The trouble is, my Danish is pastry. I will have to learn "breakfast" all over again.

Actually, that might work out OK. I'll just skip lunch once a week. In Belgium. On Thursday.

Or I could just create a new "lunch" blog, ex nihilo.

I will keep considering your suggestion, ad infinitum.

Thomas Basbøll dijo...

Conditions (on the ground) in Denmark are not tractable by means of irony.

Danes did not invent irony, but owing to a number of historical contingencies, we may have been the first people who, as a people, were forced to take it seriously.

Which is what I think Henry is trying to say about the item he insists on calling a "Danish".

Cheng ming, it's not.

Henry Gould dijo...

You're getting warmer, Thomas. & I mean that literally. I don't have an iron bone in my body, though I may have a smidgen of Viking blood in my small earlobe.

There's a blog there, somewhere.

Speaking of which, has anyone seen my peat? I miss my usual breakfast every day here, in Belgium.

(Peat is a warming agent for "Maypo", an old Scandinavian cereal. Tractorable, too.)

I'll be home soon. It's Friday, here. I'll be in dear old Elsinore, land of wee hamlets and we Hamlets, why, "before dunce inane doth come to Elsinore".

Henry Gould dijo...

Here's a photo of me, near Denmark (in Belgium. Fishing in the Dulle Canal.)

That's me, in the photo.

Over there, to your right.

Take a good look - you might not see it again for a while.

I may not comment again for some time, you never know.

Henry In Belgium Without Iron Bone in Body.jpg.

I still look like that sometimes, when I've had my Wheaties.

The dark glasses were purchased from a mysterious street vendor named Carlos the Jackal. I was in Paris at the time, but I thought it was Belgium until the barricades went up. I quickly obtained the dark glasses so as to avoid arrest by Interpol, that "Guy".

Then I leapt the wall and landed in a mysterious garden, which turned out to be the Paris Zoo.

I was in the jackal cage. Unbelievable. Luckily I had on the dark glasses, & blended in quite well with those feral canines. They thought I was a Funny Wabbit, ha-ha.

That's how I ended up in Belgium so precipitately.

Allen dijo...

I don't mean to intrude, but I liked this poem. the asterisks seem unnecessary, or let me just say unslightly. you don't need to hear that from me. I think I remember that argument in 75.

Jonathan dijo...

Thanks, Allen. The asterisks are simply to divide sections from one another. I've changed them to percentage signs. It's a work in progress. I'm writing it on the blog itself and will soon have more sections.

Gary dijo...

I loved this poem, Jonathan! Very nice to read upon waking, with coffee still in hand.

Jonathan dijo...

Thanks. I'm still writing it and new sections will be added.

Laura Carter dijo...

I overheard that argument from the womb.

Peli Grietzer dijo...

Good poem you have going on there. I think the second section is the strongest.

Jordan dijo...

test - word verification has been showing up on my create-post page - trying to figure out why... it's shut me down today -

Jonathan dijo...

That's odd. Maybe they are testing it out on random people. I've been able to post fine today.

Richard dijo...

What Peli said -- it's a really good poem.

The Hungry Writer dijo...

I enjoyed this post very much. Full of conflict, contrast, and most of all condenscension. It, for me, taps into the very existence of the poets voice. Very nice, very unassuming, and, unlike most poetry blogs, very honest. thanks for sharing. I will be back. I just moved from KCMO to Chicago.

Jessie & Steve dijo...

Nice. I'm not sure if that's "one poem" or "several poems" but I like it.

Jonathan dijo...

Thanks Steve (and or Jessie).

John Gallaher dijo...

You write:

"If I were Clark Coolidge I would write like this"

I can see many more sections to the poem starting from this premise. Timed by belts. What a nice phrase. Sounds like the title to me.

Just, whatever you do, don't start thinking like Billy Collins.

Jonathan dijo...

Thymed by belts? Thymed by Belz? Timed, bei Belz.