Friday, January 23, 2009

Another from Frederick Seidel

" A Fresh Stick of Chewing Gum"

A pink stick of gym unwrapped from the foil,
That you hold between your fingers on the way home from dance class,
And you look at its pink.  But you know what.
I like your brain.  Your pink.  It's sweet.

My brain is the wrinkles of the ocean on a ball of tar
Instead of being sweet pink like yours.
It could be the nicotine.  It could be the Johnnie Walker Black.
Mine thought too many cigarettes for too many years.

My brain is the size of the largest living thing, mais oui, a blue whale,
Blue instead of pink like yours.
It's what I've done
To make it huge that made it huge.

The violent sweetness in the air is the pink rain
Which continues achingly almost to fall.
This is the closest it has come.
This can't go on.

Twenty-six years old is not childhood.
you are not trying to stop smoking.
You smoke and drink
and still it is pink.

The answer is you can drink and smoke 
Too much at twenty-six,
And stink of cigarettes,
And stand outside on the sidewalk outside the bar to have a cigarette,

As the law now requires, and it is paradise,
And be the most beautiful girl in the world,
And be moral,
And vibrate into blank.
-- from Oooga-Booga, by Frederick Seidel

My hunch is that Mr. Seidel will forgive me for putting up one of his poems now and then.  I'm guessing his work is not for all markets, though it slays me.

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