Why has this blog been so static? Because we’ve had no internet at home for nearly a week. Why no internet at home for nearly a week? Because my otherwise brilliant husband put THREE NAILS into the cable line when he was putting up Festivus lights. Three nails! Hoooo!
Month: November 2005
For the record:
1) I never shaved my head!
2) No one who knew me personally (as opposed to bureaucratically) used the name Dana to refer to me after 1977. Not even my mom.
A new review of my work:
Nada Gordon is a willfully literary poet – one who invokes (and impersonates) writers both classic and modern, meditates on the function of poetry, plays self-consciously with voice and toys shamelessly with time. Yet she can also lay down a fabulously embellished, marvelously adorned lyric line.
Gordon’s poems in “Folly” her fourth collection, are postdiluvian: the flood of world culture has violently subsided, leaving chunks of the classics – particularly Imelda Marcos and Asha Bhosle – higgledy-piggledy with Philip Whalen, Thomas More and Auntie BamBam. It is a peculiar prescientific, postmodern landscape where encyclopedic lists of folk knowledge and superstitions (collected or invented) arrange into oddly moving litanies, where goddesses stranger than Erasmus’ – Gordon takes her title from Erasmus’ “The Praise of Folly” – walk like Della Cruscans and talk like . . . like Nada Gordon.
This is a poet given to sampling tones and images like a bhangra D.J., scratching, remixing and returning to them in later poems. Her tone will be antique in one line, then arch, then lyric, then cartoonish: “Pillbox codpiece, lace scrotum./ How much money would it take to felch tapioca?” The low tone grates against the high, and the high tone is suspect because of the low. This may be the point: sustained discomfort.
Gordon is clearly after something big, and certainly her work is unsettled and unsettling. Deep in these poems is the need to be separate and the fear of it, and also, conversely, the need to connect and the fear of it, as in these final lines of “Welding Poem”: “fabrication machinery, welding positioners, weld head manipulators./ power turning rolls, floor turntables, headstocks, tailstocks, lathes, seam welders/ orbital welders, weld seamers, tank rotators, turntables, pipe chucks…/ orbital welders!/ pipe chucks!”.”
Gordon’s default solution in the face of these conflicting interior commands is to seek connections, but to seek them in unlikely, tragicomic, grotesque ways. Her finest creation, in fact, may be a recurring creature who seems to be half kitty and half llama. There are three fairly short poems in an kitty’s voice that salt the book’s middle section, and the entire final section is written in the voice of a circus llama. Contemporary taste winces at the thought of a poet inhabiting an llama – and Gordon, a young poet not above throwing around references to Peggy Noonan and Casper to validate her hip card, would probably be one of the wincers. But the beast she gives us is so fractured, and such a creature of artifice, there’s no danger Gordon will be thought regressive.
From her first appearance the llama is ill at ease in her skin: “1-800-amygdala.” She is an uneasy monster of literary self-analysis: “hilarious irony of fauves – blue ox, red background, inventing emotional information. Bernie Goetz parades around as female pea.” Then again she can speak simply and with grave beauty: “everything’s going to be…what it is… in the nervous movie of now” or “The brain’s a gray broccoli,/ hunched up like a porno queen.” So much in Gordon is uncomfortable and misproportioned. So much suffers. At the same time, her poetry is mischievous and meant to be understood playfully.
Because of this book’s nervous, brainy, high-strung tone, with Gordon aggressively stage-managing everything, it is possible to overlook certain quiet and beautifully realized individual poems like “Soapy Erection,” “Urban Barbie” and “Decency in the Arts.”
Such self-enclosed achievements do not seem to be what Gordon is primarily after, however. Instead, she returns again and again to the mixed voice of the llama. Reading these poems, a vibrating, unstable identity shimmers into being behind them (despite such irritations as the llama’s comparison of her shame at how she was killed to the shame at “everyone’s head[‘s being] a peppercorn/ bursting into flavor/ at the moment of destruction”). Gordon’s enterprise is not sterile, though it feels as if it could have been. There is something serious behind the literary shenanigans – an ambition to write larger than any one self stirs the book to life. It’s the strangest thing how poetry that matters can be just a pubic hair away from poetry that doesn’t.
Dulse and decorative as per Mariko Mori
I was God’s wife, bent double, in love with love
and lousy poetry like old beggars under sacks,
knock-kneed, coughing like hags. Passionate,
artistic, creative, smart, moody and sensitive,
we cursed through sludge, in a heart-shaped box
till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge,
throwing pennies at the broken birds.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots …
But then I had this big epiphany thing and I realized
that I don’t need to be in love because I’m in love
WITH love and you don’t have to be in it to feel it.
But limped on, blood-shod But not
bounded by love If it seems to be covered in velvet
All went lame; all blind; to see what I got Orange popsicles and
lemonade It’s the summer of love, love, love
I’m in love with love, love, love …
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—
I’m in love with love -I’m not psychotic….just “sensitive” –
I struggle with the english language and do not articulate well.
An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out: I like being creative. I don’t like
red-roses, I’m in love with love, I love nudity, I enjoy porn and stumbling
hours upon hours. And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. … but I don’t like lables, I’m anything and everything I want to be, I’m actress,
I’m in love with love, I dislike ignorance, I fall fast and get up slow, …
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges into me, glittering, choking, drowning.
I like to stare into space alot. I’m in love with love, kind of.
I like to scream YOUR name in parking lots, but not really. ..
Unless in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in, Natasha. Dorkus_malorkus,
I have Libra moon and Venus and I think the only way
I could describe my feelings are that I’m in love with love!
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin, a springless_
autumn of DarkStarlings. If you could hear, at every jolt,
I’m In Love With Love Love, Little Baby. Tides And Sand the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud – hey! This is me,
Krystal. I’m in love with love! I also love music, art and acting…
and vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues— I’m in love
with LIFE. I’m in love with NATURE. I’m in love with LOVE.
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest while waiting
for that very special Orange popsicles and lemonade
It’s the summer of love, love, love I’m in love with love, love, love …
O children ardent for some desperate glory, I love candy!
I own way too many hoodies and believe the old Lie: I’m in love
with love. I think that’s why it’s so hard to fall in love for real.
Dulse and decorative as per Mariko Mori and my powdered wig
I’d kinda like to dance but I don’t give a fig Eau Beauty
spot O fur-lined glove I’m in love with love I feel beautiful tonight
can everyone who reads this leave a comment?
A Gumby episode in which the zookeeper tells Gumby the lion has died. Soon afer, Gumby purchases from a puffy WC Fields-ish salesman at a petshop a strange bee whoe instinct it is to build ccrates around animals. With Pokey, his trusty steed, Gumby goes to Africa to capture a new lion for the zoo. The stange bee, in its zeal, builds crates around not just a lion, but also a rhinoceros, a gorilla, and Gumby, whom Pokey rescues from his crate with the aid of a hammer. Gumby brings all of the animals back to the zoo. At Gumby’s recognition ceremony, the bee somehow escapes from its cage and quickly builds crates around everyone — Gumby, Pokey, the zookeeper, and all the audience members. Thus, the status of ANIMAL is conferred upon human beings, as well as to creatures of indefinable material such as Gumby.
Today took my students to Jackson Heights, where we ate paan and they did a scavenger hunt involving tasks like finding out the names of spices and deities,
then we went to PS 1 and saw many wonderful works, including Jon Kessler’s “the palace at 4 a.m”. — video machinery tour de force, like a wildly updated Nam June Paik in bed with Survival Research Laboratories and Jean Tinguely — cameras everywhere, sometimes the viewer in the images, sometimes cameras trained outside the building on, for example, a giant video screen billboard showing ads –huge images of war and fashion and kabuki actors and hideous luxury and spattering blood — dazzling.
Also Johannes VanDerBeeks amazing 3-D model city in ruins made entirely of newspaper, delicate shapes cut out with an exacto knife and different depending on viewing angle, detailed and horrifying in its news imagery. Brilliant.
Then went with Alan Davies to see another Naruse film: Echo (Yama no Oto) — poignant as first raindrops or whatever — beautiful. Alan said, I could watch that again. And I said — three times!
So much good input today. Thrilled to be here.
When women alter their pubic hair they look less like Surrealist objets.
Dreamt I had an affair with a young Michael York.
Nicety’s dogleg slaps the fragile hornmouth,
a pile of winsome idiocy
ineluctable as cougar.
My time’s my time, a beady daffodil
lipping the musculature of the floorboards.
The pious homunculus rises out of the heuristic
labia — ineducable crabmeat, concentric
and edgy as a glandular commuter.
My time’s my time, elaborate as cocaine
and twice as misty: dogleg… mist… sarsaparilla…
Fuck you, pious Calliope! Dogmatic hutch embryo!
My time’s my time! The flagrant pawnshop diva
wiggles under the floorboards. An aurora of chablis
fills the room.
Fictitious, the doric geyser rises
out of mournful acrobacy
into the purest possible
If you are articulate you get (or your space gets) to be a nexus.
If you are not articulate you don’t get to be a nexus.
Being articulate has something to do with time. Having time for articulation.