Saturday, January 19, 2008

Amanda Carver is awesome

So last night I did the introduction for my friend Amanda Carver who is an awesome poet and person. She's in the MFA program at UofM with me. I adore her. Her reading was all things a good reading should be: entertaining, moving, thought-provoking. Though I sadly don't have anything of hers to post here (there is nothing online and I would hate to post a poem of hers here and have someone somewhere consider it "published" and thus screw her out of an actual future publication or something). So instead I am posting a couple of poems by poets I know she likes. Barbara Hamby and David Kirby are married. To each other. And they're both really good poets. Amanda and her husband are also both poets. Coincidence? I think not.

Betrothal in B minor
By Barbara Hamby

All women bewail the betrothal of any woman,
beamy-eyed, bedazzled, throwing a fourth finger

about like a marionette. Worse than marriage
in many ways, an engagement, be it moments or millenia,

is a morbid exercise in hope, a mirage, a romance
befuddled by magazine photographs of lips, eyebrows,

brassieres, B-cups, bromides, bimbos bedaubed
with kohl, rouged, bespangled, beaded, beheaded

really, because a woman loses the brain
she was born with if she believes for a moment

she of all women will escape enslavement of mind,
milk, mooring, the machinations of centuries,

to arrive in a blissful, benign, borderless
Brook Farm where men are uxorious, mooning,

bewitched, besotted, bereft of all beastly,
beer-guzzling qualities. Oh, no, my dear

mademoiselle, marriage is no déjeuner sur l'herbe,
no bebop with Little Richard for eternity,

no bedazzled buying spree at Bergdorf or Bendel,
no clinch on the beach with Burt Lancaster.

Although it is sometimes all these things, it is
more often, to quote la Marquise de Merteuil, "War,"

but war against the beastliness within that makes
us want to behave, eat bees, buy beef at the market,

was with Fab, betray our beautiful minds
tending to the personal hygiene of midgets.

My God, Beelzebub himself could not have manufactured
a more Machiavellian maneuver to bedevil an entire

species than this benighted impulse to replicate
ourselves ad nauseum in the confines of a prison

so perfect, bars are redundant. Even in the Bible
all that begetting and begatting only led to misery,

morbidity, Moses, and murder. I beseech you,
my sisters, let's cease, desist, refrain,

take a breather, but no one can because we are
driven by tiny electrical sparks that bewilder,

befog, beguile, becloud our angelic intellect.
Besieged by hormones, we are stalked by a disease

unnamed, a romantic glaucoma. We are doomed to die,
bespattered and besmirched beneath the dirt,

under the pinks and pansies of domestic domination.
Oh, how I loathe you--perfect curtains, exquisite chairs,

crème brûlée of my dreams. Great gods of pyromania,
begrudge not your handmaiden, your fool, the flames

that fall from your fiery sky, for my dress is tattered
and my shoes are different colors, blue and red.

(From Delirium, 1995 University of North Texas Press)

Broken Promises
By David Kirby

I have met them in dark alleys, limping and one-armed;
I have seem them playing cards under a single light-bulb
and tried to join in, but they refused me rudely,
knowing I would only let them win.
I have seen them in the foyers of theaters,
coming back late from the interval

long after the others have taken their seats,
and in deserted shopping malls late at night,
peering at things they can never buy,
and I have found them wandering
in a wood where I too have wandered.

This morning I caught one;
small and stupid, too slow to get away,
it was only a promise I had made to myself once
and then forgot, but it screamed and kicked at me
and ran to join the others, who looked at me with reproach
in their long, sad faces.
When I drew near them, they scurried away,
even though they will sleep in my yard tonight.
I hate them for their ingratitude,
I who have kept countless promises,
as dead now as Shakespeare’s children.
“You bastards,” I scream,
“you have to love me—I gave you life!”

(From Big-Leg Music, 1995 Orchises Press)

No comments: