Thursday, February 24, 2011


Last year I helped put together an exhibition of writing
and art. One of the writers I solicited was Nick Flynn.
I've long admired his work -- poetry, memoir. He wrote
the poem hello, birdy based on the Motherwell print
above. And now that poem is included in his new
collection, The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands.
I'm reading this book now. It's a collision of forms,
voices and images. It has some stuff to show me,
not only in the meanings but in its architecture.

How the book and the work are made and then
I like the changes he made in the two versions.
The note card image is my fiddling by writing
his poem.

Here's another poem from the book.

haiku (failed)

The thin thread that hold us here, tethered /or maybe tied, together,
what / do you call it -- telephone? horizon? song? Listen / to yourself
sing, We are all god's children / we are all gods, we walk the earth /
sometimes, two sails inside us sometimes / beating, our bodies the
bottle, a ship inside each / until one day, for no reason, it sails --
hello? / damn phone -- until one day it sails / out of sight, until one
day it cuts out of / earshot, bye-bye muttered into your cupped palm,
bye-bye / boat, bye-bye rain -- Look / maybe this is the place we've been /
waiting for, maybe this place / is the day, inside us, inside each /
corpuscle, the day, that day, everyday is / inside, my body, your body,
everyday is / this thread, everyday you said, come / get me, everyday
you said, it's been way too long / you said, bye-bye, bye-bye, not a day /
went by, the thin, the thread, so thin, this thread, are you still / here,
is it still, your heart, is it well?


Cathy said...

Very happy to have found you here, via Deborah Batterman's link. I'll be back for a long wander.

Pam said...

Hi Cathy, Thanks for the walk-about!

linhelen said...

I love his work. Heard him read at the AWP Conference in DC. I read the memoirs recently and am now reading his new poetry book. Amazing!

Pam said...

Yes, his memoirs are terrific. I appreciated the inter-weaving between personal narrative and the Abu Grahb torture issue that he attempted in The Ticking is the Bomb..a really difficult endeavor. Lucky you that you heard him read. I'm hoping he does some for the new book.