Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Fever

Lorine Niedecker

from Next Year or I Fly My Rounds, Tempestuous

January 1935
Wade all life
backward to its
source which
runs too far

The satisfactory
emphasis is on
Don't send
steadily; after
you know me
I'll be no one.

Jan.-Feb. 1935
To give
heat is within
the control of
every human

March-April 1935
Her under-
standing of him
is more touch-
ing than intelli-
gent; he holds
her knees with-
out her knowing
how she's boned.

April 1935
I can always
go back to
kimonos, wrap-
arounds and

July 1935
I talk at the top
of my white

Sept.-Oct. 1935
All night,
all night,
and what is
it on a post-


Oct.-Nov. 1935
That's sweet
on a target -
nobody'd know
the ham line.
Holes are too
late nowa-
days. One
freak ass to

December 1935
tiation of acro-
bats, moon-eyes

and downward
mouth. Round-
acres intrude
a nose where
no listening
ever came.
Smooth out the
substance of your
acetelyne worry.

These are selections from a found poem of Niedecker's that Jenny Penberthy, who edited Niedecker's Collected Works, discovered during her research. Each aphoristic poem was pasted on one of those desk calendars, the kind with the hopeful homilies, apparently as a gift to Louis Zukofsky. Penberthy says the poems reminded her of Dickinson and I felt that too as I typed the excerpts -- thought of D's Wild Nights. I'm drawn to the form and fragment. She wrote them by hand and punched holes in them and tied them all together with red ribbon so there's the making of a day book in a way. And the freedom of her language -- so unconstrained. Sometimes it's good to break away from the boundaries of the blank page and see what happens.

When Ecstasy is Inconvenient
Feign a great calm;

all gay transport soon ends.
Chant: who knows -
flight's end or flight's beginning
for the resting gull?

Heart, be still.
Say there is money but it rusted;
say the time of moon is not right for escape.

It's the color in the lower sky
too broadly suffused,

or the wind in my tie.

Know amazedly how
often one takes his madness
into his own hands
and keeps it.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Great to 'see' you in blogland, Pam. I love Niedecker. Thanks for posting these.