Thursday, June 16, 2005


I was writing this thing for Stoker’s mom today. It goes along with something she’s giving to her parents on their 50th or 55th wedding anniversary. Anyway, I got into it so deeply that I couldn’t see it any more. The words on the page were floating at my face in this broken way, the sentences were unstringing themselves right before my eyes and when they reached my brain they no longer made sense*.

I needed a break. I thought about reading the news while I ate my peanut butter and jam sandwich, but realized that would just make me feel more fragmented. So I got out one of my poetry anthologies. A poetry anthology of a type. It’s Garrison Keillor’s selection of poems creatively called Good Poems (creative in that it’s un-creative). I read four or five poems, among them David Wagoner’s “Lost,” Stephen Dunn’s “A Secret Life,” Charles Bukowski’s “the way it is now,” and Anne Secton’s “Courage.” All of them were very good.

Then I went to Poetry Daily to read more poems. I went to their archives and found another excellent poem by Stephen Dunn, from June 14th (click here to read it, or just keep reading, I’m going to include it at the bottom because I liked it so much) and two poems by Stephen Dobyns (that’s how artistic types spell “Stephen”). I met both of those poets when I was 16, at a writing conference. At that time I wasn’t able to appreciate their poetry because I hardly read poetry then, I just wrote (crappy) poetry. I bought one of Stephen Dunn's books and had him sign it, because that’s what I thought I should do. Not because I cared. I care now and read the poems he’s been writing lately and think, wow.

It’s just sad that I couldn’t appreciate it when I was 16. Over the past 10 years I’ve read more poetry than anything else and I have to say, I don’t think a person can write good poetry without reading good poetry. I’m considering starting a blog dedicated to poetry. I’m not sure about copyright laws and stuff. I’ll have to find out about that. For now, I think I can get away with including just one poem by Stephen Dunn. Don’t be afraid, just read it.

The Kiss
She pressed her lips to mind.

— A typo

How many years I must have yearned

for someone's lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.

She kissed me again, reaching that place

that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows

to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she's missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,

this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek's ear,
speaking sense. It's the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.

She was in. We married as soon as we could.

Stephen Dunn
The Georgia Review
Volume LIX, Number 1
Spring 2005

*And that's why this entry barely makes sense, because words barely make sense. I'm barely scraping by right now.

p.s. I added a link on the right to an itunes mix I just made.


Dainty Fairy said...

Love the poem and love the idea of dedicating a blog to poetry. I sometimes try to write poems but they are crappy.. though I am 16 too heh. Anyway sorry just thought I would post because your blog interested me. I saw it on the recently updated topics.
Alex x x x

Aries327 said...

Thanks for reading, dainty fairy. Just because I wrote crappy poetry at 16 doesn't mean everyone else does. Even the best poets had to start some time. The key is to keep writing, your whole life and, of course, to read good poetry. (For a list of good poets, email me.)

Anonymous said...

My day needed those words..... -m

Erica said...

Love that poem! I would love a blog about poetry. Especially one written by you. Your comment about "barely scraping by" reminded me of one of my favorite songs: this song