THE OTHER NO. 5 SEEDS BATTLE

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 14:  John Calipari the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats gives instructions to his team during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena on February 14, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

No. 5 Stanley Kunitz (“Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation”) falls to Gregory Corso (“30th Year Dream”) in the East, 73-70.   Corso was anxious and fell behind early, but woke up and went crazy. Kunitz killed his chances with a disgusting image and his last shot: “Who can understand the ways/of the Great Worm in the sky?” fell short.  Corso dreams he is handed an address and told “Christ wants to see you,” and ends: “‘Damn/impulsive goon-faced proletariat-Shelley greaseball dopey fuck!/And cried, ‘denied…denied…denied'” Yea!  Go Corso!

Sharon Olds has no trouble with her opponent, the 12th seed in the South bracket, Robin Becker, winning 91-72.  “A History of Sexual Preferance” by Becker is about a giddy first date in historical Philadlephia and coyly references the ‘pursuit of happiness/pleasure.’  “The Request” by Olds may be one of the greatest love poems of all time, and we quote it in full:

He lay like someone fallen from a high
place, only his eyes could swivel,
he cried out, we could hardly hear him,
we bent low, over him, his
wife and I, inches from his face,
trying to drink sip up breathe in
the sounds from his mouth. He lay with unseeing
open eyes, the fluid stood
in the back of his throat, and the voice was from there,
guttural, through unmoving lips, we could
not understand one word, he was down so
deep inside himself, we went closer, as if
leaning over the side of a well
and putting our heads down inside it.
Once—his wife was across the room, at the
sink—he started to garble some of those
physical unintelligible words,
Raas-ih-AA, rass-ih-AA, I
hovered even lower, over his open
mouth, Rassi baaa, I sank almost
into that body where my life half-began,
Frass-ih-BAA—“Frances back!”
I said, and he closed his eyes in his last
yes of exhausted acquiescence, I
said, She’s here. She came over to him,
touched him, spoke to him, and he closed his
eyes and he passed out and never
came up again, now he could move
steadily down.

In the final 5 seed v. 12 seed matchup, over in the West, Stephanie Brown looked to upset James Schuyler with her “Interview with an Alchemist in the New Age” which begins

Someone, if you pay the price, can hypnotize you
and you can speak, from memory, oh so long ago imbedded in your soul,
about the past, and history, and your place in it, how you struggled
in the heat and the dust near the Great Pyramid of Giza,
how you gazed into the mirror of your beloved,
how you took a bow with your fellow thespians, in Greece,
how a sycophant betrayed you in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

And wouldn’t it be neat, she says.  The poem (one can see the chatty tone in the quotation above) doesn’t really say more than that, unless there’s some deep, ironic point I’m missing.  Go to the rim, Stephanie!  Make sharper passes!  (She fell behind early.)

Schuyler’s APR entry pulverizes a life into a candy roll and lays it out before us; a sample from “Red Brick and Brown Stone” :

He arises. Oriane
the lurcher wants
her walk. Out into
the freeze. Oriane
pees and shits…

…Off by cab to
Florentine palasso
racquet club: naked,
the pool, plunge, how
Many laps? Home. (Through
out the day, numerous
cigarettes. I forget
which brand. Tareytons.)
A pencil drawing of
a vase of parrot tulips.
Records: Richter:
Scriabin: Tosca:”Mario!
Mario! Mario!” “I
lived for art, I
lived for love.” Sup
per: a can of baked
beans, a cup of raspberry
yogurt. Perrier. Out?
A flick? An A.A.
meeting? Walk Oriane.
Nine p.m. Bed. A
book, V.Woolf’s let-
ters. Lights out, sleep
not quite right away.
No valium. The night
passes in black chiffon.

Shhhhh.  G’nite, James. Sleep well. You’ve advanced to the next round, beating the charming librarian from California, Stephanie Brown 71-64.  Well played!

Advertisements

10 Comments

  1. Stephanie Brown said,

    March 22, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Bummer! I was hoping to win and pick up my poetry Razzie award.

    • thomasbrady said,

      March 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      I found a video of you reading, ’twas charming;
      In person, you get laughs, you’re most disarming;
      Performing your poetry, you’d be all the rage,
      But March Madness (irony!) is competition on the page.

  2. Poem Support said,

    March 23, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Interview with an Alchemist in the New Age

    Someone, if you pay the price, can hypnotize you
    and you can speak, from memory, oh so long ago imbedded into your soul,
    about the past, and history, and your place in it, how you struggled
    in the heat and the dust near the Great Pyramid of Giza,
    how you gazed into the mirror of your beloved,
    how you took a bow with your fellow thespians, in Greece,
    how a sycophant betrayed you in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles,
    how he kissed you before the duel when he was murdered for you
    —in the country somewhere, in the South—
    and you were forced to marry the victor. Or
    how you didn’t starve during the famine that killed your child,
    that’s the source of the nagging pain in your side,
    and you can still feel—it’s still very real—the leeches placed on your chest
    though of course with these primitive mechanisms of medicine,
    you bled to death. Is this why
    you fear the scalpel so?
    Were you cauterized in a tribal-rite clitorectomy?
    Were you a castrato?
    When your teeth rotted in Spain in the 17th century,
    what had you done that was remiss?
    Where does it now fit?
    Was, perhaps, the Armada involved?

    Because it’s yours, it’s your Karma, buddy, it’s your problem
    It’s your history, and history is your problem.
    It’s your responsibility, now,
    to change the tire on your neighbor’s car
    because you once beheaded him because he once beat you at a game of chess
    when you were the King of France, when you were ruthless.
    And now you’re not ruthless: see, there’s a kind of symmetry involved.
    Just think,
    Albert Einstein may already have come back,
    maybe he’s a kid,
    maybe he’s in the womb and about to be born.
    Maybe he’ll arrive by space-ship.
    These are extraordinary times, of course—that’s why.

    Have we ever felt the tenor of the spiritual with such force before?
    Is this not the end of time?
    Oh, I don’t know. It’s weird, all right, and it’s kind of neat
    to bear the children while wearing a costume from the Middle Ages,
    to wait for the Pony Express to ride into town,
    to be the shaman for the Eskimos,
    to be the butler for Henry Ford!
    George Washington’s dentist—where is he now!
    History, after all, doesn’t belong to Cinderella, or to Henry VIII,
    or to Jesus—perhaps you wiped his forehead before the Crucifixion—
    Who knows?
    Well, wouldn’t it be fun to think about?
    And it might help you work out the problem you’re having with your father
    or with the guy at the 7-11 who constantly berates you,
    who once even hurled a doughnut at you—
    (You rowed together in a ship just like in “Ben-Hur”)
    Anyhow, who does it harm
    (since you were once Mozart, send in the harpsichord music now)
    if you pay to be hypnotized and to find out
    how karmic or unkarmic you are?
    Oh, no, it’s not just kidding around, really—
    You’ll never know for sure if you were really a monk once,
    but if you were—well, wow.

    Stephanie Brown

  3. Poem Support said,

    March 23, 2011 at 8:58 am

    A History of Sexual Preference

    We are walking our very public attraction
    through eighteenth-century Philadelphia.
    I am simultaneously butch girlfriend
    and suburban child on a school trip,
    Independence Hall, 1775, home
    to the Second Continental Congress.
    Although she is wearing her leather jacket,
    although we have made love for the first time
    in a hotel room on Rittenhouse Square,
    I am preparing my teenage escape from Philadelphia,
    from Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest continuously occupied
    residential street in the nation,
    from Carpenters’ Hall, from Congress Hall,
    from Graff House where the young Thomas
    Jefferson lived, summer of 1776. In my starched shirt
    and waistcoat, in my leggings and buckled shoes,
    in postmodern drag, as a young eighteenth-century statesman,
    I am seventeen and tired of fighting for freedom
    and the rights of men. I am already dreaming of Boston—
    city of women, demonstrations, and revolution
    on a grand and personal scale.

    Then the maître d’
    is pulling out our chairs for brunch, we have the
    surprised look of people who have been kissing
    and now find themselves dressed and dining
    in a Locust Street townhouse turned café,
    who do not know one another very well, who continue
    with optimism to pursue relationship. Eternity
    may simply be our mortal default mechanism
    set on hope despite all evidence. In this mood
    I roll up my shirtsleeves and she touches my elbow.
    I refuse the seedy view from the hotel window.
    I picture instead their silver inkstands,
    the hoopskirt factory on Arch Street,
    the Wireworks, their eighteenth-century herb gardens,
    their nineteenth-century row houses restored
    with period door knockers.
    Step outside.
    We have been deeded the largest landscaped space
    within a city anywhere in the world. In Fairmount Park,
    on horseback, among the ancient ginkgos, oaks, persimmons
    and magnolias, we are seventeen and imperishable, cutting classes
    May of our senior year. And I am happy as the young Tom Jefferson,
    unbuttoning my collar, imagining his power,
    considering my healthy body, how I might use it in the service
    of the country of my pleasure.

    Robin Becker

  4. Poem support said,

    March 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Red Brick and Brown Stone

    For Darragh Park

    He arises. Oriane
    the lurcher wants
    her walk. Out into
    the freeze. Oriane
    pees and shits. The
    shit is scooped up
    in a doggy bag, ac-
    cording to law: $100
    fine and is disposed
    of somewhere.
    The sun peers down
    and sees them. Ov-
    altine, a fag, WNCN:
    unspeakable Telemann.
    The dinner table is
    mahogany and silver
    gleams. A carriage
    clock chimes eight,
    sweetly. The front
    room north facing
    studio, its two long
    windows divided by
    a pier glass. Canvas,
    eight by six, cars
    charge down Ninth
    Avenue straight at
    you. Parked, a yellow
    cab. A bending tree.
    London Terrace, an
    eighteenth century
    house now a shop,
    work in progress.
    Brush in pigment:
    scrub stroke scour.
    Hours pass. Hunger
    strikes: Empire Diner
    silver metal art deco.
    A pork burger, salad,
    tea (iced). Home. Oriane
    wants out. So they do
    as before. Oriane goes
    home. Off by cab to
    Florentine palasso
    racquet club: naked,
    the pool, plunge, how
    many laps? Home. (Through
    out the day, numerous
    cigarettes. I forget
    which brand. Tareytons.)
    A pencil drawing of
    a vase of parrot tulips.
    Records: Richter:
    Scriabin: Tosca: “Mario!
    Mario! Mario!” “I
    lived for art, I
    lived for love.” Sup-
    per: a can of baked
    beans, a cup of raspberry
    yogurt. Perrier. Out?
    A flick? An A.A.
    meeting? Walk Oriane.
    Nine p.m. Bed. A
    book, V. Woolf’s let-
    ters. Lights out, sleep
    not quite right away.
    No valium. The night
    passes in black chiffon.

    James Schuyler

    • Noochness said,

      March 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      Is he spiritually preparing
      For hell’s lonely slog?—
      Though I fear when he gets there
      He won’t have a dog.

  5. Nooch/Poem support said,

    March 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    The spacing below
    May be unjust to Corso—
    But I hope I did justice
    In the main to the torso:

    30th Year Dream

    I dreamed a man unknown to me in a city no
    where on earth
    I am the architect of that elsewhere world for sure
    he was tall and a long black beard, and he stood in a tall hairy
    coat and Polish rabbi hat he told me ‘Christ wants to
    see you’ handing me a piece
    of white paper with an address thereon
    I refused it
    happily (or was it smart-alecky) refused it telling him ‘Like
    I know where He/he lives, And away I
    skipped down a winding street I don’t remember getting the asphalt
    for and when could I have steam-rollered it? still
    I am the architect of elsewhere world
    and the way the Lord built this here world
    is the way I, in dreams build . . . I think therefore it is
    or I dream therefore I build (?) Anyway away I skipped into
    an earthless yet familiar direction (where a place is familiar
    to me yet not of earth must mean that I possess recall of all
    these people and streets and buildings created by my
    dream’s mind) but soon found myself looking for His
    name on the directories of huge buildings all looking
    alike deadend lost O how I
    trembled to see the look on my face when I ran back to the tall
    man no more there
    that look of a smart-alec struck dumb
    with blix-eyed surprise
    the agony of self-contempt
    woke me up cursing me hitting me spitting on my legs ‘Damn
    impulsive goon-faced proletariat-Shelley greaseball dopey fuck!
    And cried, ‘denied . . . denied . . . denied’

    Gregory Corso

  6. Poem support said,

    March 25, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation

    Since that first morning when I crawled
    into the world, a naked grubby thing,
    and found the world unkind,
    my dearest faith has been that this
    is but a trial: I shall be changed.
    In my imaginings I have already spent
    my sightless winter underground,
    unfolded silky powdered wings
    and climbed into the air
    to sail over the steaming fields,
    alighting anywhere I pleased,
    thrusting into deep tubular flowers.

    It is not so: there may be nectar
    in those cups, but not for me.
    All day, all night, I carry on my back
    embedded in my flesh, two rows
    of little white cocoons,
    so neatly stacked
    they look like eggs in a crate.
    And I am eaten half away.

    If I can gather strength enough
    I’ll try to burrow under a stone
    and spin myself a purse
    in which to sleep away the cold;
    though when the sun kisses the earth
    again, I know I won’t be there.
    Instead, out of my chrysalis
    will break, like robbers from a tomb,
    a swarm of parasitic flies,
    leaving my wasted husk behind.

    Sir, you with the red snippers
    in your hand, hovering over me,
    casting your shadow, I greet you,
    whether you come as an angel of death
    or of mercy. But tell me,
    before you choose to slice me in two:
    Who can understand the ways
    of the Great Worm in the Sky?

    Stanley Kunitz

  7. June 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    The Family Jewels

    Cock stiffie woody plug
    Skin-flute boner wiener hot dog
    Hard-on fatty rod
    Get it on
    Hit a home run
    Get next to you (Whispered: I fell for that one)
    Go all the way
    Wet your whistle
    Lizard
    Love-gun
    O Play the field, Mr. Thomas, John;
    And Willy, Dick, and Mr. Schlong,

    Give the dog a bone
    Dog-style, backdoor knock—
    Or missionary: let her
    Lie back and think of England.
    Knock boots, boys
    (i.e., nuts stones cojones nards);
    One-eyed-wonder-worm meet

    the little fellow in the canoe
    & make him stand up
    & Eat at the Y:
    bearded clam
    fish taco
    sweet spot
    cherry pie!

    Stephanie Brown (from Domestic Interior)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: