PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine – Procuring Poetryafter Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer – Charles Bernstein – PN Review 247

Procuring Poetry

after Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer

Charles Bernstein

No fake verses about what’s going on.
No creation or death before poetry.
Compared to which, life’s a static sun,
with no heat or illumination.
Affinities, anniversaries, personal anecdotes – don’t matter.
No fake poetry with the body,
an excellent, complete and comfortable body – senseless for poetry.

Your spleen, your fits of pleasure or pain in the dark – make no difference.
Don’t share with me your feelings,
which reek of equivocation and beat around the bush.
What you think and feel, that is not yet poetry.

No singing about your city – leave it in peace.
Songs aren’t machine music or family secrets;
and they’re not music heard in passing
nor rumors of the sea on streets lined with spume.

Song’s not nature
or community.
Storm and light, fatigue, fright – are of no importance for song.
Poetry – no taking poetry from things! –
elides subject and object.

No dramatising, no invocations,
no nagging. No wasted time lying.
No belaboring.
Your ivory yacht, your diamond slippers,
your manias and mazurkas, your family skeletons,
disappear in time’s tunnels, worthless.

No reworking
your buried and melancholy childhood.
No oscillating between mirror and
disappearing memories.
What disappeared wasn’t poetry.
What broke was no crystal.

Penetrate, with stealth, words’ dominion.
Poems are waiting to be written.
They are paralysed but without despair.
Calm, fresh, membrane intact.
Mute and brute, immaculate as a dictionary.

Let the poem live within you, then write it.
Be patient with obscurity. Calm down when provoked.
Wait for each poem to become real, consummated
with the power of words
and the power of silence.

No forcing a poem out of limbo.
No picking a lost poem off the floor.
No adulating a poem. Accept it
like it accepts its concrete form concentrated
in space.

Each one
has a thousand secret faces under the surface
that ask you, without interest in the reply –
bad or worse – that you devise:
Did you bring the key?

Notice:
bereft of melody and conceit,
words, still humid, pregnant in sleep,
hide in the night, tumbling in a difficult river
transformed to scorn.

This poem is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May – June 2019.

Source: PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine – Procuring Poetryafter Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer – Charles Bernstein – PN Review 247

  1. Ponge’s Crate

    Halfway between crib and cage the French language puts crate, a simple slatted box for transporting those fruits that fall ill at the least lack of air.

    Built in such a way that it can be broken down effortlessly after use, it is never used twice. It is really more perishable than the deliquescing foodstuffs that it carries.

    On the corners of streets that lead to the markets, it gleams like white wood without wood’s vanity. Still very new, and slightly surprised to find itself in this awkward position, having been thrown into the gutter without hope of retrieval, it remains a most likable object on whose fate we will not dwell for long.

    • dmf :

      Ponge’s Crate

      Halfway between crib and cage the French language puts crate, a simple slatted box for transporting those fruits that fall ill at the least lack of air.

      Built in such a way that it can be broken down effortlessly after use, it is never used twice. It is really more perishable than the deliquescing foodstuffs that it carries.

      On the corners of streets that lead to the markets, it gleams like white wood without wood’s vanity. Still very new, and slightly surprised to find itself in this awkward position, having been thrown into the gutter without hope of retrieval, it remains a most likable object on whose fate we will not dwell for long.

      that human condition. did you write this?

      • i wish i had some talent for poetry, that’s by Francis Ponge
        sorry for the confusion.

      • Now I recall you once wrote that you don’t write poetry, which is a startling revelation to me, the ways your mind plays, ludic cerebration (Mary Daly). . . lucky for me! Haven’t read Ponge. Ought to.

        • dmf
        • May 29th, 2019

        wish i could, i struggle to write even prose of any real length sometimes even commenting gets tricky.

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