It’s been a long time since I’ve indulged in any poetry at the site. Been a long time since I’ve haunted poets.org to look for just the right verse to suit a picture or a mood.
This week, I oiled my inner poet and set it on its creaky way only to find out that poets.org has undergone a rather significant reorganization. Faced with ‘new’ and wondering if there was anything in there for the inner geek as well as the inner poet, I explored about.
One new feature, or at least, new to me, is many of the poems now is have a topic association. For instance, if a poem is related to aging, other poems related to this topic are listed in the sidebar. This goes beyond groupings of poem by poet, period, and era. It definitely goes beyond keyword searches. It’s given me much thought, and new ideas, in my own continuing search for the case-insensitive semantic web.
The site also has a listening booth, though perhaps it already had this and I didn’t notice. Anyway, the listening book contains readings by poets and readings about poets, including my favorite Dylan Thomas.
Having satisfied the geek, at least for the moment, I returned to the poet, though poet is inaccurate and even a conceit, because I can barely walk and talk at the same time, much less rhyme. If, though, code is poetry, then I wield a mean curly bracket with the best of them. As for loops, you should see me loop–sexiest thing since fishnet stockings.
Returning to my poet, I accessed the improved search engine and searched on the keyword “words”; finding not one but two really great poems from contemporary poets among those returned. Since I’ve been remiss in letting my inner poet out for a walk, I’ll publish both.
Sorry, no photos to accompany the works. The weather continues in the 90s and heavily humid, and I have had no desire to sweat and puddle my way through new venues (though I must break out of my cave tomorrow morning before I bite the cat from cabin fever).
A Quick One Before I Go by David Lehman
There comes a time in every man’s life
when he thinks: I have never had a single
original thought in my life
including this one & therefore I shall
eliminate all ideas from my poems
which shall consist of cats, rice, rain
baseball cards, fire escapes, hanging plants
red brick houses where I shall give up booze
and organized religion even if it means
despair is a logical possibility that can’t
be disproved I shall concentrate on the five
senses and what they half perceive and half
create, the green street signs with white
letters on them the body next to mine
asleep while I think these thoughts
that I want to eliminate like nostalgia
0 was there ever a man who felt as I do
like a pronoun out of step with all the other
floating signifiers no things but in words
an orange T-shirt a lime green awning
How can you not love a poem that has a line like o was there ever a man who felt as I do like a pronoun out of step with all the other floating signifiers? This poem should be required reading for everyone who has found the truth. Then it should be required for everyone who thinks they have lost it.
All She Wrote by Harryette Mullen
Forgive me, I’m no good at this. I can’t write back. I never read your letter.
I can’t say I got your note. I haven’t had the strength to open the envelope.
The mail stacks up by the door. Your hand’s illegible. Your postcards were
defaced. Wash your wet hair? Any document you meant to send has yet to
reach me. The untied parcel service never delivered. I regret to say I’m
unable to reply to your unexpressed desires. I didn’t get the book you sent.
By the way, my computer was stolen. Now I’m unable to process words. I
suffer from aphasia. I’ve just returned from Kenya and Korea. Didn’t you
get a card from me yet? What can I tell you? I forgot what I was going to
say. I still can’t find a pen that works and then I broke my pencil. You know
how scarce paper is these days. I admit I haven’t been recycling. I never
have time to read the Times. I’m out of shopping bags to put the old news
in. I didn’t get to the market. I meant to clip the coupons. I haven’t read
the mail yet. I can’t get out the door to work, so I called in sick. I went to
bed with writer’s cramp. If I couldn’t get back to writing, I thought I’d catch
up on my reading. Then Oprah came on with a fabulous author plugging
her best selling book.
Another brilliant line and somewhat, oddly sad: I regret to say I’m unable to reply to your unexpressed desires. But now I have a highly original way of apologizing for unanswered email. What is your excuse?