Paperblog A Brie Grows in Brooklyn

A Brie Grows in Brooklyn

"Mabel's not crazy... she's unusual."

Provisional Eternity
A woman and a man lay in bed. “Just one more time,” said the man,
"just one more time." Why do you keep saying that?" said the woman. 
"Because I never want it to end," said the man. "What don’t you want
to end?” said the woman. “This,” said the man, “this never wanting it
to end.”
—Mark Strand

Provisional Eternity

A woman and a man lay in bed. “Just one more time,” said the man,

"just one more time." Why do you keep saying that?" said the woman. 

"Because I never want it to end," said the man. "What don’t you want

to end?” said the woman. “This,” said the man, “this never wanting it

to end.”

Mark Strand

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I found blueberries on the street yesterday, and I give you an August poem.
You Can’t Have It All
by Barbara Ras
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown handsgloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old fingeron your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful lookof the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would biteevery sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,though often it will be mysterious, like the white foamthat bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneysuntil you realize foam’s twin is blood.You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell youall roads narrow at the border.You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the gravewhere your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,but you can have the words forgive and forget hold handsas if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be gratefulfor makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, gratefulfor Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towelssucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leapingof distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowdbut here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mindas real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pondof your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananasyour grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,but there is this.

I found blueberries on the street yesterday, and I give you an August poem.

You Can’t Have It All

by Barbara Ras

But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
gloved with green. You can have the touch of a single eleven-year-old finger
on your cheek, waking you at one a.m. to say the hamster is back.
You can have the purr of the cat and the soulful look
of the black dog, the look that says, If I could I would bite
every sorrow until it fled, and when it is August,
you can have it August and abundantly so. You can have love,
though often it will be mysterious, like the white foam
that bubbles up at the top of the bean pot over the red kidneys
until you realize foam’s twin is blood.
You can have the skin at the center between a man’s legs,
so solid, so doll-like. You can have the life of the mind,
glowing occasionally in priestly vestments, never admitting pettiness,
never stooping to bribe the sullen guard who’ll tell you
all roads narrow at the border.
You can speak a foreign language, sometimes,
and it can mean something. You can visit the marker on the grave
where your father wept openly. You can’t bring back the dead,
but you can have the words forgive and forget hold hands
as if they meant to spend a lifetime together. And you can be grateful
for makeup, the way it kisses your face, half spice, half amnesia, grateful
for Mozart, his many notes racing one another towards joy, for towels
sucking up the drops on your clean skin, and for deeper thirsts,
for passion fruit, for saliva. You can have the dream,
the dream of Egypt, the horses of Egypt and you riding in the hot sand.
You can have your grandfather sitting on the side of your bed,
at least for a while, you can have clouds and letters, the leaping
of distances, and Indian food with yellow sauce like sunrise.
You can’t count on grace to pick you out of a crowd
but here is your friend to teach you how to high jump,
how to throw yourself over the bar, backwards,
until you learn about love, about sweet surrender,
and here are periwinkles, buses that kneel, farms in the mind
as real as Africa. And when adulthood fails you,
you can still summon the memory of the black swan on the pond
of your childhood, the rye bread with peanut butter and bananas
your grandmother gave you while the rest of the family slept.
There is the voice you can still summon at will, like your mother’s,
it will always whisper, you can’t have it all,
but there is this.

Comments 12 notes

Poet of the Week: Philip Larkin

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I don’t have much time to write today because I’m meeting my aunt. Instead, I bring you a poem by Philip Larkin, whom I discovered on my friend Wes’s Facebook page yesterday. The poem I chose to post is for the insomniacs I know; the picture above is of Ellen Jong’s husband’s cock.

I think I only like love poetry.

Love Again

By Philip Larkin

Love again: wanking at ten past three   
(Surely he’s taken her home by now?),   
The bedroom hot as a bakery,
The drink gone dead, without showing how   
To meet tomorrow, and afterwards,
And the usual pain, like dysentery.

Someone else feeling her breasts and cunt,   
Someone else drowned in that lash-wide stare,   
And me supposed to be ignorant,
Or find it funny, or not to care,
Even … but why put it into words?
Isolate rather this element

That spreads through other lives like a tree   
And sways them on in a sort of sense   
And say why it never worked for me.   
Something to do with violence
A long way back, and wrong rewards,   
And arrogant eternity.
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Poet of the Week: Matthew Dickman

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(All photographs in this post by Bruce Jackson.)

I interviewed an artist yesterday, and he gave me a little book of poetry by Matthew Dickman. I read it last night in an Irish bar while the bartender, a man from Zambia, tried to start up a conversation with me.

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Dickman was the subject of a 2009 profile in the New Yorker along with his twin brother Michael, also a poet, which apparently caused ire in the poetry community stemming from those jealous of their swift rise to fame. 

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I haven’t read Michael’s poetry, but Matthew’s makes me believe in love, the power of language, the rightness of pursuing a career in writing. 

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All of the poems in the book I read last night are amazing (find out for yourself by buying the book from "fivehundredplaces," the printing press run by the artist). But the one I want to share here is about two brothers — one in a mental institution, the other outside. I don’t know specifically if the poems are autobiographical (although I assume they are), but I do know that the work reminded me of my relationship to my sister, who herself wages an Armada in her head, one that’s wild and scary and sick with living.

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I don’t have permission to reproduce the poem — but I’m going to anyway. It’s also printed on this website, and read aloud by Matthew in this video.

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Coffee

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“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…” 

“And I rose

In rainy autumn

And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…” 

Comments 9 notes
–I recall, I recall, since then I often think about it–

–I recall, I recall, since then I often think about it–

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Poet of the Month: Anhvu Buchanan

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It’s national poetry month, and in celebration, I decided to post a work by my friend Anhvu, whose first book is coming out July 9. Mark your calendars, bitches. Shit’s gonna be dope.

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Anhvu and I, upon meeting, clicked almost immediately. We share a lot of common interests for instance, he’s Catholic, he loves Kimmy K, and he thinks Drake is a poet, just like me. He’s probably the one person on earth that truly appreciates my best story, which involves Kanye West. It goes as follows:

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Poet of the Week: Tracy K. Smith

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I stumbled upon Tracy K. Smith this weekend, in my Internet wanderings. (That previous sentence=barf.) She’s a relatively young female poet (she just turned 40) who won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for her collection, "Life on Mars," which she wrote in the wake of her father’s death. He was a scientist who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope’s development; she is a beautiful woman whose work, from the very little I’ve read, deals largely with questions of God, the universe, and human existence.

The topics themselves seem rote, at least on the surface; what sets her apart is that she frequently explores them by speaking to an unidentified “you.” It makes them feel secretive, romantic. Like the two of you are old lovers, and you’re sitting at a table, reminiscing. 

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Poet of the Week: Rabindranath Tagore

I once worked for a photographer, who now is something of an uncle to me. He taught me how to travel as I do now—in the second week that I worked for him, he flew me to meet him and his crew in the jungles of Belize. I carried with me nothing but a tripod—which, when wrapped, looked like a grenade launcher—a few rolls of film, and his favorite kind of chocolate.

(A picture I took of the Zocalo in Mexico City on the opening night of one of his shows.)

Accustomed mostly to traveling to safe places, I brought with me some pretty dresses, and some cork wedges. I expected to be somewhere warm and tropical, and thus resort-like. When I disembarked from the plane, I was greeted by a man in a pick-up truck, who drove me two hours out into the depths of the jungle. There, I was deposited in a crude camp for a week. During the day, in the heat, I watched the crew film and photograph animals in muddy waters and insect-ridden forests, listless from the humidity, panicked at the emptiness of each hour. At night, I slept in an open air hut, with nothing but a mosquito net to protect me from the wild. If I lay still, the sheets roiled from all of the bugs in the bed. If I turned on the light to try to get rid of them, a jaundiced French camera assistant named Bertrand watched me from his own hut, ten feet away. In the morning, I woke up, and my sheets were speckled from blood from bites, and the bites were not from the Frenchman.

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Poet of the Week: Jen McClanaghan

It’s been a while since I last read a poem that really something struck me, in that deep, stomach churning, “I’ve lost something too” kind of way.

I don’t know why, but Jen McClanaghan’s poem, “My Lie,” which appeared in the New Yorker some weeks ago, really moved me. I first read it on the subway, surrounded by idiots, some weeks ago.

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Poet of the Week: Ethan Coen

I want to try to class this blog up, in anticipation of a piece I have coming out this weekend (which will drive traffic that will spike my analytics, and them promptly disappear, leaving me writhing on the floor, broken and alone). So I decided to do one of my abysmally unpopular “Poet of the Week” posts, which generally are pretty dull and cultured and won’t get me into any kind of trouble.

To begin, I did a little browsing on my favorite poetry sites—Paper Cuts and Harriet the Blog. On the former, I found a piece about apocalypse poetry published in honor of 9/11, and on the latter, when I typed in “apocalypse,” I came upon a news item about a new book of poems by Ethan Coen, the infamous director of films like “Pride & Prejudice” and “The Notebook.” Just kidding, fuckers, he directed (with his brother Joel) bloodbaths like “No Country For Old Men.” But could you imagine if he re-did “The Notebook” outlaw style, starring Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin? I can’t either, so I guess the idea is not that funny.

Anyway, Ethan Coen has apparently published two books of poetry—the first being I’m too lazy to look up the name, and the second being “The Day The World Ends.” The latter was released on the day after the apocalypse was supposed to happen in May, which is a witty “fuck you” to those of you who thought you were going to win the God lottery on judgement day!

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