Sunday, November 18, 2007

One of My New Favorite Poems

Steve Cramer's "Curses" perfectly captures everything I recall about childhood curiosity. The times spent with my brother, testing the sounds of curse words as they left our mouths. Every other word was an explicative. Its always admirable when someone captures the common human experience in a way that's not boring or cliched, its the job of the writer and what makes you want to pick up a book and keep reading.

From his book Tongue & Groove:
Gleamed from gutter mouths, we knew their muscle before
meanings, the monosyllables raised to hallowed refrains
on our tongues. We glorified it, the older world of vice
& impiety. So just as we both wanted to be the fugitive
in cops & robbers, my best friend & I hid downstairs
& scrawled out a barrage of vulgarities—the heavy hitters,
of course, but then the half-dozen declensions of ass,
the lumped phrases of defecation,
the whole shameful lexicon
of anatomy. Then, those white
sheets defiled (microcosm
of our own soiled tabula rasa),
we crumpled them &—like shoving a bottled note to
the sea's blind tug—threw them to the ditch at wood's edge.
It was the same fertile gully where I'd picked, years before,
palmfuls of fruit &—the words monk's hood, nightshade
still a decade off—swallowed them. I hardly even remember
being sped to the ER to have my stomach pumped. Of course
our ink-spangled pages
never went anywhere,
though I wish I could hold
one now, dim record
of childhood's vast
testing ground—the
necessary absurdity & litter
of it all. Instead, those lost
notes were draped with stray
leaves, coiled with briars
which could never quite
keep from reach those
sweet-looking berries
we were told not to touch
but had to. And did.

Via Beatrice



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