Thursday, July 31, 2008


I am reading Sam Pink's Yum Yum I Can't Wait To Die. I like it. Jaguar Uprising Press published it. It is either a really long poem with many sections or a many untitled short poems. I am reading it as if it were the second choice. It is written in first person. I like poetry when it is written in first person. It is easier to follow.

Sam Pink has joined the ranks of the poets who I like. There are not many:

Russell Edson and Charles Bukowski.

And Joe Wenderoth's book, Letters to Wendy's. Tao Lin's book, you are a little happier than i am, James Tate's last two books and a handful poems from his third to last one. Like this poem:

New Blood

A huge lizard was discovered drinking
out of the fountain today. It was not menacing
anyone, it was just very thirsty. A small crowd
gathered and whispered to one another, as though
the lizard would understand them if they spoke
in normal voices. The lizard seemed not even
a little perturbed by their gathering. It drank
and drank, its long forked tongue was like a red
river hypnotizing the people, keeping them in a
trance-like state. "It's like a different town,"
one of them whispered. "Change is good," the
other one whispered back.

I also like Michael McClure's poem, "Fuck Ode." And Gregory Corso's poem, "The Whole Mess...Almost," is probably my favorite poem ever:

I ran up six flights of stairs
to my small furnished room
opened the window
and began throwing out
those things most important in life

First to go, Truth, squealing like a fink:
"Don't! I'll tell awful things about you!"
"Oh yeah? Well, I've nothing to hide ... OUT!"
Then went God, glowering & whimpering in amazement:
"It's not my fault! I'm not the cause of it all!" "OUT!"
Then Love, cooing bribes: "You'll never know impotency!
All the girls on Vogue covers, all yours!"
I pushed her fat ass out and screamed:
"You always end up a bummer!"
I picked up Faith Hope Charity
all three clinging together:
"Without us you'll surely die!"
"With you I'm going nuts! Goodbye!"

Then Beauty ... ah, Beauty --
As I led her to the window
I told her: "You I loved best in life
... but you're a killer; Beauty kills!"
Not really meaning to drop her
I immediately ran downstairs
getting there just in time to catch her
"You saved me!" she cried
I put her down and told her: "Move on."

Went back up those six flights
went to the money
there was no money to throw out.
The only thing left in the room was Death
hiding beneath the kitchen sink:
"I'm not real!" It cried
"I'm just a rumor spread by life ..."
Laughing I threw it out, kitchen sink and all
and suddenly realized Humor
was all that was left --
All I could do with Humor was to say:
"Out the window with the window!"

And I've liked the few poems that I've published in Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens. And let's not forget the Indonesian Ryan Manning's poems about girls. I enjoyed those.

I think most poems are too fragmented. I cannot understand them. A lot of them have nice sentences. But the sentences do not connect with each other. They feel like they are cut-ups. But instead of cutting up random words and phrases, the poet throws together random sentences. I do not get anything out of poetry like that. I do not feel. It seems like most poems that I stumble across these days are like that.

I like poems with discernible narratives. Poems that tell stories that would work better in the form of a poem than it would in a short story.


sam pink said...


Mike Young said...

They're not "random." You only think they're random because you're looking to connect them via narrative and not other types of language movement.

Bradley Sands said...

Can you be more specific about "other types of language movement?"

Mike Young said...

Surprise and sound are big parts of it. Basically: play. Language not like dispensing information ("here is the story, here's what happened, here's what happened next") but language of wordplay, soundplay, reinventing language. All narrative's ever done is cause metanarratives like good vs. evil, and all metanarratives have ever done is cause Holocausts.

"The strange country of childhood / Like a dragonfly on a log dog chain" isn't really much of a story, but it makes me imagine this funny picture of a dragonfly tied to a dog chain, and it makes me think about the freedom/constraints/frustrations/wonder/wanderlust of youth, makes my thoughts swirl rather than jump from one scene to the next. I can never figure "out" that line. That line puts me in itself and never lets me out, out to the next thing. It "resists intelligence almost successfully." Which is fine by me. It's the same reason people who act "weird" are fine by me, jokes are fine, unplanned adventures are fine. Stories where things happen are fine too, but most poems I read not to watch things happen; instead I watch the language itself happen.

Bradley Sands said...

Thanks for that. You are now my professor.

How about an example of two sentences that you like rather than one sentence? Two sentences that I wouldn't think of as connecting. Tell me why you like these two sentences when put next to each other. Tell me why you like reading them next to each other rather than reading them apart.

Use your own work as an example if you like. Tell me why you chose to have one sentence follow the other sentence.

I think I am trying to understand poetry. I am really trying here.