Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mark Doty

100 Poems, 100 Days

The day before the inauguration we sent out a call to poets we admire to write poems that respond, however loosely, to the presidency, the nation, the government or the current political climate. More than one hundred American poets responded immediately. The first 100 poets were each assigned one of President Obama’s first hundred days in office, and each will write a poem reflecting on the state of the nation and the world on that day. A new poem is posted every day.

The group of poems is called Starting Today: Poems for the First 100 Days. I studied Mark Doty in my poetry class in college (everytime I say "in college" or "when I was in college" I feel SO old!) and he is amazing! His poems are always very vivid and the content is always unexpected. I LOVE HIM! He has a facebook page and that's how I found out about this 100 poems for 100 days thing. I think it's fabulous! It's a blog here on blogger that you can follow if you like. I am! As well as Doty's blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day #32: Mark Doty
Skulls Are So Last Year
(including half a line by Thomas McGrath)

Unattended money may be searched or destroyed
Woman in the doorway of Dunkin Donuts
reciting will you help me get
something to eat will you help me
get something to eat will you
help me get something painful revision of WCW's
modernist syntax of insistence

Please hold on money is leaving the station

In New York at five past money
many small vacancies open

Debt clock broke down whirling exhilarating
proliferation of zeroes we just don't have
that many lightbulbs

Do not accept money from persons unknown to you

In New York at a quarter past money
I'd put my queer shoulder to the wheel if I could find it

Be careful when opening money as contents may have shifted

Put my shoulder to the wheel but I'd go tumbling
through the absence of value to the lack of a floor
flat on my face in this fiction of a symbol

That can itself be sold
or you can sell the absence of the symbol
bundle the absences and divide them among a multiplicity
build a whole towering extravagance

Something like the way in Tallinn this month
the Estonian Philharmonic is holding a Festival of Perfect Silence
so we are planning to celebrate the completed

Vanished tower of abstract money

A little reminiscent of that fading fashion for vertical foods in restaurants
an edible structure that would allow your meal to rise from your plate
toward you mirror of an entire economic architecture shimmying upward

Into the thinning atmosphere the most tenuous needles of money

And maybe why today the barrista who's charging me
do you want cash back with that
wears around her neck a cameo
no antique but sly parodic black oval
upon which a coral-red skull and crossbones are looming

That's why skulls were everywhere last year
on jeans pockets backpacks wallets china your wristwatch

Sign of piracy

Would you like another transaction

Mark Doty's most recent book of poems, FIRE TO FIRE: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins, 2008) won the National Book Award for Poetry. This fall he'll join the faculty at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Posted by Arielle at 7:30 AM

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