I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately. I’ve noticed that the reviews on the covers, written I suppose by other poets, are often quite poetic themselves.
Found in review
Like the life of the poet, the life of the world
is saturated with pain and ache
not yet finished, not yet answered, not yet resolved.
The poet sends her words into a different
kind of darkness with steady exactness,
their arc of perception over and over striking true.
The poet opens up thrilling new worlds
by fearlessly inhabiting
poems of sorrow, survival, and identity.
The poet creates a haunting, echoing
distance, a sound
from some unidentifiable place.
The poet brightens the shadowy
corners of her world
with verbal pyrotechnics.
All the pores of her poetry
are open, exuding
her entire flesh and spirit.
Over and over, at each wild
leap or transformation, flames
shoot up the reader’s spine.
Each poem is a riddle; the answers may sometimes
elude us, but we continue to read, hoping
that we may stumble upon answers.
Reading Mary Oliver again; even her prose is poetry.
Time means little in the world of poems
To be contemporary
is to rise through
of the past,
like the fire through
Only a heat
so deeply and intelligently
born can carry
a new idea into
– Mary Oliver, A Poetry Handbook, p. 12
I find book titles such wonderful inspiration. This poem is made of words and phrases from the titles of a single author. (Bonus points if anyone correctly identifies who it is.)
In the lion valley
leave the crocodile of forgetfulness
on the sandbank of desire, the case
for love in the summer of a dragon moon
curse the borrower of night
in the street of four hundred pharaohs
silhouetted in scarlet and green velvet
the devil may care that the seventh sinner
is naked once more, but the Dead Sea is a cipher
and the last camel died at noon
The first stanza is an actual fortune cookie fortune. The second stanza seemed to follow from the first.
Variation on a fortune cookie
The river seeks its own level.
It will not fight the rock:
it flows around it.
The rock sits lightly
and does not fight the river.
The rock becomes its own center.
I’ve been collecting fortune cookie fortunes to use as prompts. These three seemed to form their own poem.
is the child of ignorance.
is the ability to fully experience life.
is a case for holding dead batteries.
A final found poem from Gary Shteyngart’s “Thinking Outside the Bots,” in the June issue of Smithsonian Magazine (pp. 78-80).
The cult of perfection
will extend to every part of us, and the cosmetic-surgery bots
will chisel us
and suck out our fat
and give us as many eyelids as we desire.
Our grandchildren will be born perfect; all
the criteria for their genetic makeup
will be determined in utero.
We will look perfect, but inside we will be
completely stressed out and worried
about our place (and our children’s place)
in the pecking order, because even our belt buckles
will come equipped with the kind of AI that could beat us
at three-dimensional chess
while reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets
and singing the blues in perfect pitch.
And so our beautiful selves will be constantly worried
about what contributions we will make to society, given
that all cognitive tasks will already be distributed to devices
small enough to perch at the edge of our fingernails.
Gary Shteyngart’s “Thinking Outside the Bots,” from the June issue of Smithsonian Magazine (p. 80), once again provided the material for this found poem.
As the great rush of technology envelops us
and makes us feel as small as the stars used to
make us feel when we looked up
at the primitive sky, we will be using our Samsung
NewBrainStem 2.0 to send out streams of emojis
to our aging friends, hoping to connect
to someone analog who won’t beat us at Go
in the blink of an eye, a fellow traveler in the mundane
world of flesh and cartilage.
Others of us, less fortunate, will be worried
about our very existence, as armies of Hubos, built
without the safeguards developed by kindly scientists
like Professor Oh, rampage across the earth.
And of course the balance of power will look nothing like
today; truly, the future will belong to societies – often small
societies like South Korea and Taiwan – that invest
in innovation to make their wildest techno-dreams a reality.
Can you picture the rise of the Empire of Estonia, ruled by a pensive
but decisive talking toilet?