To Repel Ghosts
During his reading last night in Providence, Anselm Berrigan mentioned that much of his recent poetry focuses on tragedy--as in this tragic hour we all inhabit. Which was somehow comforting to hear. To know that I am not hallucinating when I see evil in so much, everywhere.
Hurricanes, electronic voting fraud, endless civil wars, all the lovelies that feed my paranoia ("I may be paranoid, you tried to fade me").
Berrigan read sections from the poem "Zero Star Hotel." Writing does not diminish suffering, at least not for me. But hearing poems I like read aloud allows some respite.
"speaking from cycle
to cycle, I assume
ghosts in the neighbor-
up the hotel stairways
roach ghosts, pigeon
ghosts, bacteria ghosts
unparanoid in deed
rattled by documentation
despite their billions"
(Zero Star Hotel, 81)
After years, the ghosts become more visible. They appear when I open books or when I begin to fall asleep. Fictionalize them until the notebook is filled up. Wait for payday and go buy another one. Stare at the blank canvas, at the lined ghosts aligned with specters.
My Caracas Notebook continues to fluctuate between ghosts and architecture. Its meter might be the awareness of evil and our relative inability to do anything but dodge it for as long as we can.
I want to write but can barely do it. I like slowness and silence.
Jean Grae also sounded great last night:
"A burnt sky scorched the earth's flesh
At the same time, the murderous text arose
Like a phoenix with the glow of death
A poet, too, steps ahead like Noah just left..."