Saturday, April 7, 2012

NPM: "Often I Imagine the Earth..."

Alright, alright. Let's clear the table of these cured and chewy New York/New England windbags and proceed. This next piece will be a sip of peppermint tea to cleanse the palate before the next course arrives.

But first, some words on National Poetry Month and the art it celebrates from the mysterious traveler Owl:

Mario Vargas Llosa describes fiction as a reverse strip tease where the writer “goes through the motions of getting dressed, hiding the nudity in which he began under heavy, multicolored articles of clothing conjured up out of his imagination.”

Poetry is just a strip tease. It’s all about the truth, and like strip teases there are two options. Either the audience is completely enchanted and there is no need to say anything more, or the audience is…not enchanted. The less said here the better because everyone’s trying to self-oblivate. The intimacy of poetry makes it vulnerable to such failure....Poetry has to be about the truth, raw, naked, glistening....

It is far easier to be violent, to veer off into the comfortable land of satire and half humor, than to peer at yourself in the mirror, to see how weekly your pulse throbs in your throat, how limply your smile curls across your face, and how behind it all, there is deep seated hunger for everything that is raw and living, blood, tears, twisted love—in short, everything that is poetry.

Fuck yes.


Sometimes -- even often -- I abide nostalgic thoughts of my years employed at a bookstore café (belonging to a certain now-dissolved national chain). Among other things, I miss taking magazines behind the register on slow days. I miss taking undeclared ten-minute breaks to flip through the poetry rags on the third shelf.

One night I was reading Poetry magazine and happened upon this shortie by one Dan Gerber. I immediately ran to the back room and xeroxed the page. In retrospect, the better thing to do would have been to buy the book and support both the publication and the poet -- but in my defense, I was on a retail salary.

Often I Imagine the Earth
By Dan Gerber (1940 - )

Often I imagine the earth
through the eyes of the atoms we’re made of—
atoms, peculiar
atoms everywhere—
no me, no you, no opinions,
no beginning, no middle, no end,
soaring together like those
ancient Chinese birds
hatched miraculously with only one wing,
helping each other fly home.


  1. Thanks for showing me this guy, he has some really great stuff. I really like 'Doing Nothing,' and 'Advice.'