The Dogs on Main Street Howl

August 27, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Posted in personal, poetry, travel | 3 Comments

As you have no doubt noticed, I’m having a hard time figuring out what to say to this blog lately, since my academic thoughts are all getting funneled into my dissertation. But two out of my three most recent posts have been collage-poems, so I figure I may as well share with you another poem in order to keep this place from going completely dark. Lately in places other than this blog I have been experimenting with another poetic technique of constraint, wherein I take every Nth letter of an existing, usually rather famous poem, and write a new poem connecting those words in the order that I found them. The best results of this I have been hoarding with the ambition of getting them published someplace, but tonight’s poem hits that place between “potentially publishable” and “do not show to anyone ever” that blogs so happily occupy — and besides, I think it’s kind of fun. Instead of a poem, I used “The Promised Land,” one of my favorite Bruce Springsteen songs, as my source text, because it’s my last night in Jersey until December. Enjoy.

Thirty miles into Utah and the
radio stops working. Barefoot driving
turns me part machine; soon the cops won’t know
who to tell to step out of what. They all said to live
in the moment, like a moment was a place where you could
wipe your feet and hang your hat. I don’t know anymore
what I’ve done, just that I’ve got a long way to go.
Your eyes can’t tell when somebody’s gone cold-hearted, so just
remember this: when you get cut and somebody else bleeds,
the dogs understand. Cut yourself into ribbons,
boy; believe in the dark spaces between them.
I’m heading straight for the twister,
so either you’ve gotta blow apart
your tomorrows or you’ve gotta leave the keys
in the ignition. They all said to live in the moment
like a moment was a goddamn split-level condo.
I believe in starting fires and running
for the horizon.

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3 Comments »

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  1. I rather enjoy this poem. Certainly the subject matter appeals to me, but I also love some of the ideas expressed within. Bravo.

  2. Keep ’em coming and I’ll keep reading. I love having at least one friend that can write things I enjoy reading (and that don’t involve geeky projects with recursive acronyms).

  3. I like this. The beginning felt like the beginning of a Richard Hugo poem. Do you know him? Trying to think of a poem (my Hugo Collected, “Making Certain It Goes On”, is not here). More limited choice online. Something like the beginning of “Shades of Gray in Philipsburg”:
    You might come here Sunday on a whim.
    Say your life broke down. The last good kiss
    you had was years ago. You walk these streets
    laid out by the insane, past hotels
    that didn’t last, bars that did, the tortured try
    of local drivers to accelerate their lives….


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