Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Life After Arts

For Dennis Cooper

“You get to feeling like a fixture,
set in 1966,
time came that we drifted apart,
drifted apart,
to find an identical twin.”

– Stephen Malkmus, “Old To Begin”

I'm a poem that can do five things.
I can rhyme career with Korea.
I can say Kankoku.
I can do a variation of that with:
Sea of Korea, career.

I'm a lazy poem.

Without social grace, with no sense of taste,
as you've seen, and totally unacceptable.
You could argue those first three things
are hardly unique, and moreover,

But at least I do those pretty well.

The other two things I can do are to say
that this girl I was nuts about in high school is now
incredibly successful, upper level and climbing
names with initials firms successful,
and that she has a monozygotic twin,
who maybe I once lost sleep over.

But I can't tell you she's Korean exactly. Nor can I explain
things about that, Japanese and American people,
and language, with contexts for all of it in the sense of
outlining the environment for which these events
occurred, while actually illustrating something else,
something about me, or vice versa. Though, you should know
an event can be anything.

Oh, but I can almost do something else.

I can almost talk about what I'm feeling in an interesting way.
I'm also practicing humanizing an obsession by getting over not
taking a Latin class eight years ago. Which might be partially why
I'm in my second year of Japanese. And, I feel so blank at times,
so much so that it feels I might stay that way forever.

Or maybe I'm confusing something for myself that's really something else. Something that's not part of me. Maybe all I really can do is be a poem that steals a possibly misheard couplet from a Pavement song, all the while trying to talk about this girl I once could say I knew in a way equal to the beautiful somethings
I'm supposed to have experienced. Which I can't seem to do.
And maybe only one of those things was ever interesting.

Anyway, apparently she gave up arts for something to do with money.

1 comment:

catachrestic said...

i'm too tired to be insightful but i can't seem to sleep till i've lain awake lonely for two hours at least. i really like all three of these poems a lot. i think "a life after arts" is my favorite because i relate to it the most, especially the 8th and 9th stanzas, and cause the whole thing's just so clever and heartfelt. i think you're doing something really striking inside the sonnet form, too, but i'm too gone to articulate it better than that. i hadn't heard of yayoi kusama till i read your poem for her, and it was a compelling introduction, and googling her afterwards made me about as excited as i can get at this hour on a school night, so thanks for that.

also, i love your soul protector painting. i think i need one of those, my soul's so small and easily confused. do you do commissions?