Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jack Gilbert Dead

I heard about this on a poetry listserv from one his close friends.  It doesn't seem to have hit the mainstream media yet. This is a fairly recent article by John Penner celebrating the collected poems. It's a sad damned day for me.


BERKELEY — In a spacious, humane skilled-nursing home, a man sits with his elderly neighbors arrayed in their wheelchairs as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald sing. Several guests arrive to see the man, and after the last note of "Cheek to Cheek," one of them takes up a microphone and reads a poem.
The reader, startled by a resident's pained moans of distress, stumbles over a word or two of "Looking at Pittsburgh From Paris." He finishes, and the man brightens in his chair and points at his heart, mouthing to a visitor holding his arm, "Me?"
Yes, Jack Gilbert. That's yours.
The poet is 87 and small in his wheelchair, mostly unable to talk, his brain diminished by disease. He is dying. But as for anyone with Alzheimer's or its variants, the end has not come quickly. It is a long receding. More.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Poem Draft


Eggs from Anywhere

The codicil to my third will (the official one) reads:
One, don't give nothing to anybody. Take the money
in cash and throw it under the mud-packed wheels
of your car in the bumfuckingest place you can find.
If you can find a place that was on reality TV, cool.

Two, don't eat the nachos from Chili's or the eggs
from anywhere; they are related in that ingestion
might kill a weak woman or a tweaker man. I wish
the birds would not twitter in my ear when I make
decisions. It's fucked up enough in here. I wish for

you, number three, the magic number, that all the days
of your life you will find roses in the tassels of your horse's
mane billowing out into better metaphor and a landslide
of clean fill that temblors down the back roads
of the choked creeks that yield orange rocks, no fish

but the pretty stones stained with runoff and the greasy
pizza pieces left over by a million students who sit on the banks
stoned thinking that they're feeding the fish; god knows
the fish don't eat that shit either. Back to number four,
I'm afraid. I'm afraid all the time. I sit in my closet floor

and caparison myself to no avail. The world wants my body,
I say, and slam the door. Monopoly and Risk fall on my
head, and the little man in the top hat runs into the other
room to fuck my wife. Is that all? the voices say. It simply
can't be all. But that's the thing itself. This IS ALL you get.