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    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    National Poetry Month: Poem for the Day

    by Alice Notley

    can't get to the island reserved for me
    the rich hold me back
    I have to make the rich a cup of tea
    they've shown up unexpectedly this
    morning; so, out buying tea for the rich
    I pee all over myself, under
    my housecoat, walking down the street.
    The pee evaporates quickly after all;
    if I can just get the rich out of my
    house I'll go off to the island.
    My lover's rented it for me to be alone on,
    for a day and a half.


    All that stuff about E's was because
    all that stuff about E's
    was because I kept seeing E's graven
    on the cave walls
    a most common letter?
    E is for pee, the flood of commonality
    produced by tea, commonality
    The rich always have to have some of everyone's.


    Fell into a despair
    yesterday afternoon
    the moment I was coming down
    with a light cold
    grieving, grieving for what, grieving for the future.

    An American West of colored plates
    in a library, library books:
    watercolor-pale sagebrush
    and paloverde trees, is a dream. Is it over?

    Pick up that cherry pit. Throw
    it away, it's sterile.


    I saw him, what a jerk
    well he was acting friendly
    I ran past his car; felt guilty, a little
    but I had to keep on running
    stay faster than he was in order to stay so
    fast, to be just this fast. He
    always pretends to be nice, but he's
    dominating as hell. Everyone, for some
    reason, says, "What a nice man!"
    I ran right past him, forever?
    Is no such thing, I suppose, no such thing
    as hardly anything we do. All the best craftsmen,
    oh yes he's one of them...I'm better, but what's that --
    a full grail? What's that? He thinks he knows
    what poetry is: what he and his friends write.


    Dead roses from Neuilly.

    I crawled into the tumulus, that tomb,
    to see what was in there. Now I'm
    in here. I
    knew that --

    the Will is dead here. I mean Mitch
    is sort of dead.


    The grail's full of pee which
    smells like herbs.


    A tall building in Barbe's
    an apartment on the top floor, un-
    remarkable, large; I visit it casually
    prepare to leave but
    the owner wants me killed for having seen it

    his "man" chases me
    I make it to elevator
    door shuts, descent, struggle of buttons
    as I'm halfway down, with his "up" button
    he tries to pull me back up but
    I press my "down" button hard, hold it
    I win. I escape temporarily
    I think, what a tacky movie!

    later that night, on the Bowery, in a 40's
    movie with The Bowery Boys
    I've been accepted as dark
    in the bodega, they said I was
    dark enough to hang out on the stoop
    I'm young and beautiful, denim skirt, jewelry.
    The man called The Snowman
    gets out of his car and says repeatedly to me,
    "I'm gonna shape you up!"
    I laugh; I don't have to do anything but be a poet.


    Heads of state, males dressed like sheikhs
    kiss each other on the lips
    they're really vying to perform a favor
    for an international celebrity -- another man
    an athlete or singer --

    in a large empty room with a microphone --
    they're pecking, pecking.


    ...a radiant
    paloverde tree
    a heavenly tree in
    my mother's backyard:
    a dream.


    Enter earth through narrow cave as at Sisteron
    walking through corridor, behind others
    holding candlelights, haloes.
    Then room dark, people asleep on the ground
    in a rose formation, bodies curved petals.
    And there's nothing else here, right now
    all my mysteries are up there in
    the fragile upper air.


    Once more evinced
    a cruder personality
    to talk to someone who's difficult
    for me.

    World of half-light

    Don't really have to take care of myself

    I've come down to the ground floor; now
    I'm coming up to it

    Thanks to the East Village Poetry Project.


    Blogger Bitch | Lab said...

    ha! I know you've been doing the NPM thing but didn't matter. I saw this post come up in my reader and I read: "national potty mouth month."

    I'm in! Where do I enter!

    1:12 PM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Oh Bitch, you're already in! No need to enter. :)

    3:14 PM  

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