“In Baraka’s world, love of human liberation and the struggle for it is exalted.” Alexs Pate
Wikipedia Poem, No. 511
or still never rhyme
all over life
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Hi, Joanna. How have you been?
I’m well. You look well — I’m
Happy to hear you use that word.
Good. Good. Well, anyway, I’m
Concerned about your voice.
No, specifically the way you recite.
It’s … troubling. You appear snakelike
And arrested, harmless. That’s not the way.
It’s not. I wouldn’t say “short of breath”
Exactly. Let’s call it, Forked-god. Please,
Calm down. I’m going to ask you
A couple of questions about your sexual history. Is that OK?
You switch back and forth between — please,
Correct me if I’m wrong — between
Subject and solitude. That’s to say:
Radical loneliness and decimation. Correct?
Masturbation may be part of it, but I’m speaking
Broadly about a timeline of sexual partners:
Moon-god, Ocean-sent, Stoic-antler. Relevant?
Of course. Its right here on your chart, Joanna:
“Five-three, phenotypically retroussé nose,
Tumescent pout, cosmetically rebellious.”
So, why this affected staccato when you read?
“Reading poetry, if reading is even the word, was something else entirely. Poetry actively repelled my attention, it was opaque and thingly and refused to absorb me; its articles and conjunctions and prepositions failed to dissolve into a feeling and a speed; you could fall into the spaces between words as you tried to link them up; and yet by refusing to absorb me the poem held out the possibility of a higher form of absorption of which I was unworthy, a profound experience unavailable from within the damaged life, and so the poem became a figure for its outside. It was much easier for me to read a poem in Spanish than Spanish prose because all the unknowing and hesitation and failure involved in the attempt to experience the poem was familiar, it was what invested any poem with a negative power, its failure to move me moved me.”
Buy “Leaving the Atocha Station” from Coffee House Press.