Saturday, March 15, 2008

"The New Americans" & "Days of Forgetting"

Besides Mary Ruefle and Larry Levis, Jon Davis is a poet I must reread periodically. Scrimmage of Appetite is a book I have trouble getting my head around, but I'm convinced that it's the real thing.

Here are two poems:

They are rising from the duckweed shoals on slippery haunches,
front feet changed into grasping hands, thumbs and
forearms thickened for commerce, mouths too bony for
They will breathe through their skins.
Their eyes will be keened for motion.
They will be maculate, stricken with appetite.
They will lunge with purpose, long tongues speaking the
language of capture, shouting the single verb of longing
in the dialect of hunger.
They will grunt and snore nightly in the tall grass.
While gods, made in their image, bellow beside the river of
heaven, they will jockey in the weedbanks.
They will turn, nothing human in their eyes, just the hard
measure—the precision, the unswerving focus.
They will be mystics wired to the gods’ wishes.
They will leap before they know they are leaping.

These are the days of forgetting, of sensation and synapse.

When, in the cartoon, the video creatures leaped from the
screen and began wandering through the rooms of
the house, the artist, the writer, the machinery of the
discursive formation stumbled onto a truth.

Instructions: Shake it and it begins snowing.

“Wherever you find yourself,” someone, perhaps in the
mid-sixties, once said, “there you are.”

The world is “whatever is the case.”

Whatever is the case, where “whatever” is a loping crane,
where “the case” is a construction worker’s
inappropriate, but, to some, flattering scrutiny.

Staple your heart to a paper flower and fold once.

Hit the space bar until the corn begins rustling in the breeze.

When the tourists discovered, at Chaco Canyon, that they
had stepped over a rattlesnake on the trail up, they
returned to taunt it with a stick and a camcorder.

The tiny man, bare to the waist, kept kicking and flipping
even when his handlers left the room.

“That’s how I want to be,” said one of the boys, making
himself stiff as a machine, spinning and kicking at the
family dog.

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