Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Monastic Gigbook Poems

I can't help but go around accumulating gigbook poems, assembled from the most enigmatic and arresting things said by the people around me. This batch is from The New Monastic Workshop.

Most of these lines were said by the widely traveled and ever quotable John Eiler, but I also hear Robert Goetz and K. Curtis Lyle in here, as well as me. The illustration above, somewhat in the mood of the poems, is a detail from Michael Lynch's trashcan.

Fellow chronic notetakers may enjoy knowing that all of these lines were scribbled on the back of an off-print of Page 11 of the Diversity special section of the July 24-30, 2008 edition of The St. Louis American, which I kept folded in my pocket throughout the weekend's events for just that purpose.

Oh, if you feel like you're not getting it, there may not be much to get; but I'd suggest imagining a blunt, Midwestern John Ashbery or really elliptical, emotional graffiti before you decide there's nothing here for you.


1 Boy in the valley

This is the year between camper
and counselor – lag
bolts. It’s all on the edge: different
edges, at different

Show your scar, sister
lovers. I knelt down. Calm
down, I calm down.
I was not made
to hurt.

A little white boy
in a purple satin shirt.
Where is she gonna go?
What is she gonna do,
in a minute, when this is all

“Deep calleth to deep,
all thy songs and billows,”
I also grew five inches.
I didn’t know anybody
in the valley.
Everything I do
I do in a dark room.


2 Can we agree?

I volunteered that night
to hand out cigarettes,
I was looking for mixed-
use property on the South Side.
We were looking
at plumbing together.

Just because I can speak your language
doesn’t mean I’m not trying to keep you away.

Keep off the elephant grass,
keep off the monkey grass:
It seems like somebody in this movie
is always trying to tell somebody else
in this movie they need to make a sign!

How do you learn
about opportunity?
Try missing one. Can we agree
not to move
the disappointment

It was like the house you never noticed
because you didn’t know who lived in there.
We’re going to go to Oregon
and go to sleep.


3 Good at grunt

I’ve got a lot of Three Stooges
reference points. I’m good
at grunt. Don’t carry a gun, boy,
just drive a machine.
Especially on a full moon, hop
the farmer’s fence.

He was an ethnobotanist at the right time,
way before PCP came to San Francisco,
a little embarassing for people
who are not easy to embarrass.

The rooster is news!
A butterfly is a woman.
You have to add that
to the schwag bag.

I was one of the asshole line
cooks, 20 tops, going nuts.
I could make a lot more money
at the front of the house.
All the coke deals that went down
in that town went down in there.

I’m doing okay drinking
without interruption.


4 Invitation not to kill yourself

This is an open-source invitation
not to kill yourself
that works
at the level of marrow.

I’m never surprised
by the people
who go through all that
and don’t overcome.

It’s hard enough to blow a trumpet.
Try taking down buildings with chainsaws.
It’s probably all in the sweat lodge FAQs.

If you didn’t need more
Mommy or Daddy, you’d never
tolerate the mysteries and deceits
of the opposite sex.

All you need to do
is put a death notice in
the paper; she’ll show up.

His mom was in the opera, fucking
some italian guy.
Joey is dead – I’m hanging
back with Cathy, and

Maybe he could have aged gracefully.
“You’re never going to hear from me again?”
That’s supposed to be the dead? No!
You’re going to hear from them tomorrow
And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

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