Thursday, March 18, 2010

A kind of ["a"-word] poem that's not stupid!

Elisa Gabbert on HTMLGIANT writes about matters concerning the concepts we know as accessibility and plainspokenness in poetry. It is a good post.

My favorite book of poetry among the books of poetry I'm currently reading is Bill Kushner's Head, which came out in 1986. It uses ordinary language in a way that makes it more than ordinary. Kushner is not the only person who writes poems like this, but he is one of the best I'm pretty sure. I hate to say the poem you're about to read is accessible, because that makes it sound stupid. But it's not stupid. It's great. It's:


Oops you knocked over the South Seas you silly
What they just cancelled St. Louis? never
It gets a little hairy up here in heaven even the weather
You just can't get sex off of your fruit mind can you hardly ever
Is that a hardon or you got your wings screwed on
Backwards? what's it like down in HoHokus? sheer hell
& between your armpits it never rains well almost
I'm hungry I'm cold I've got the most torn heart & underwear
In the world & you expect me to be perfect as a life
Say well lived well forget it I was born to bitch
& if you asked me to become your wife upon your knees
Would I? The sun comes bouncing upon the snow
I've got a poetry reading to give & don't I know no one will show I
Just wanted to bring you this rose to match your nose



  1. Great choice of poem. I wonder if Bill Kushner is related to the playwright Tony Kushner?

  2. Remember last year when you abandoned poetry? I'm glad you came back for it.