Is there a deceased poet who was alive in your lifetime but you never met, and you wish you had met? A poet you would LOVE to correspond with, but it's too late? Take notes about this missed opportunity. What is your favorite poem by this poet? Write it on unlined paper by hand (no typing). If we were gods we wouldn't need to invent beautiful poems, and that's why our lives are more interesting, and that's why the gods are always meddling in our affairs out of boredom. It's like the fascination the rich have with the poor, as Alice Notley says, "the poor are more interesting than others, almost uniformly." This poem was written by a human poet, and we humans love our poets, if we have any sense. Does something strike flint in you from the process of engaging your body to write this poem you know and love? Notes, notes, take notes.
The poet for me in doing this exercise is Jim Brodey and his poem "Little Light," which he wrote in the bathtub while listening to the music of Eric Dolphy, masturbating in the middle of the poem, "while the soot-tinted noise of too-full streets echoes / and I pick up the quietly diminishing soap & do / myself again." Take your handwritten version of the poem and cut it into tiny confetti. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and toss the confetti poem in. Add garlic, onion, parsnip, whatever you want, pepper it, salt it, serve it over noodles or rice. Eat the delicious poem with a nice glass of red wine, pausing to read it out loud and toast the poet, "MANY APOLOGIES FOR NOT TOASTING YOU WHEN YOU WERE ALIVE!" Take notes while slowly chewing the poem. Chew slowly so your saliva breaks the poem down before it slides into your belly to feed your blood and cells of your body. Gather your notes, write your poem.
Love Letter to Jim Brodey
Dear Jim for those whose acid trips were a success only twice I've met men who are high exactly as they are sober both became my lovers both died one like you died Jim he played music too loud at parties to gather us into a single frequency feel healed for the length of a song nothing works forever there was something in the air that year Jim and you put it there a rapt center in pivot looking to face love again learning to accept what's offered without guilt to be reminded of nothing my favorite day not dragging the dead around they're looking for Lorca in the Valley of the Fallen Franco's thugs would understand "developing countries" means getting them ready for mining diamonds drilling oil teaching them to make a decent cup of coffee for visiting executives if I'm not going to live like this anymore I must will every cell to stand away the History of Madness 725 pages is too much to not be normal scorn is very motivating I'm vegetarian unless angels are on the menu mouth watering deep fried wings shove greasy bones in their trumpets the cost of scorn is often unexpected I see my fascist neighbor from downstairs "Did my boyfriend and I make too much noise last night?" his glare the YES that keeps me smiling
Copyright © 2010 by CAConrad. Used with permission of the author.