Monday, July 27, 2009

Bad poetry

Going down a bad, bad road. Hopefully Damien can help me out tomorrow as to whether I should turn back or head cross-country for a while or what. It's so hard to write bad poetry that isn't bad, how the fuck does he do it? Maybe like this:
If you consent to life, as I do, condescendingly,
It seems you get to fuck unendingly.
The woman on my bed plays mozart heartrendingly.
I drank too much last night - as usual - mind-bendingly.
The body on the bed is all eyes as I prepare to mount it.
There's the body's usual hopefulness. The thing is to surmount it.

I'm standing at the window, after, looking out and looking back,
Looking past my floaters, my swimming specks of black.
I'm shitting on the ledge outside, moaning in my awful way.
I rap on the window to make myself fly away.
My body on the bed gets up, smiling at the gorgeous day.
The winter sunlight sparkles diamonds down on Broadway.
From Sunlight. In so many ways that should be, and kind of is, a terrible poem. But for some (disturbed?) reason I like it. I like the humour in it (mainly in the over-the-top rhyme I think), the beauty at the end, the mind bending leaps of point-of-view between him the bird and the body on the bed and the amazing philosophical insight - '...consenting to life, condescendingly.' So it's all those things which individually would not be enough to make the poem work I think, but together somehow do. I wonder if part of it is the freshness of it all too, if I am being a little blinded by the fact that I've never read anything like Seidel before and what I mean by that is, maybe there is a way to do it better or at least different. Like if I can figure out exactly what makes his stuff so fresh and use that in my own way. I guess I need to be weary that for Seidel, bad seems to be a complete package. Bad rhythm, bad metaphors, bad rhyme and of course horrible subject matter/characters.

Interestingly on that note the stuff from his first book Final Solutions is quite different in rhythm and tone I think, he doesn't have that humour and his poems are a bit more mysterious like in After the Party
A window sighs.
The row of houses stipples and sways
As if seen through the windshield after a downpour.
A brownstone tries to say something:
But the chimney is too small,
Is intimidated by the dark,
Its fireplaces never used
or from The Sickness:
The way a child's hands stare through glass
Under the frost, pining so much
They lag behind the child, they pass
Their two hours, patients and their visitors, and touch
Each other's hands with all their love
The huge scarred Chinaman, a yellow boxing glove
(His neck and head), spreads out his wife's left hand
So I think, rhythmically, very different and also much more subtle, not as overtly disgraceful or cheeky as the later stuff. Apparently he had a 17 year break between that book and his next and it shows. Long time not to publish anything though. He's making up for it now though by the look of it.

Lots of stuff to think about and potential minefields to avoid I think.

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