Thursday, September 07, 2006

Michael Palmer's Poetry

I love trotting this poem out every now and again, with its high lyricism and awkward curves, and its touch upon the anxiety and conflicted nature of the age, it continually brings me back to an awareness of how much power poetry has to enact the space it's in. Amazing stuff.

Notes For Echo Lake - 4

Who did he talk to

Did she trust what she saw

Who does the talking

Whose words formed awkward curves

Did the lion finally talk

Did the sleeping lion talk

Did you trust a north window

What made the dog bark

What causes a grey dog to bark

What does the juggler tell us

What does the juggler’s redness tell us

Is she standing in an image

Were they lost in the forest

Were they walking through a forest

Has anything been forgotten

Did you find it in the dark

Is that one of them new atomic-powered wristwatches

Was it called a talking song

Is that an oblong poem

Was poetry the object

Was there once a road here ending at a door

Thus from bridge to bridge we came along

Did the machine seem to talk

Did he read from an empty book

Did the book grow empty in the dark, grey felt hat blowing down the street, arms pumping back and forth, legs slightly bowed

Are there fewer ears than songs

Did he trust a broken window

Did he wake beneath a tree in the recent snow

Whose words formed difficult curves

Have the exaggerations quieted down

The light is lovely in trees which are not large

My logic is all in the melting-pot

My life now is very economical

I can say nothing of my feelings about space

Nothing could be clearer than what you see on this wall

Must we give each one a name

Is it true they all have names

Would it not have been simpler

Would it not have been simpler to begin

Were there ever such buildings

I must remember to mention the trees

I must remember to invent some trees

Who told you these things

Who taught you how to speak

Who taught you not to speak

Whose is the voice that empties


At 9/08/2006 7:02 AM, Blogger Matthew Thorburn said...

Nice timing with this, John! I just saw on that he won the big prize from AAP. I have to admit I hadn't read any of his work before, but I really like this poem a lot. Thanks for posting it.

At 5/15/2008 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Palmer has to be one of my favorite poets. Hands down never really found anyone that struck me the way his writing does. I'm not even the biggest poem fanatic I came across his work when NJ post-hardcore band Thursday used some of his works to inspire the writing for their record, "Full Collapse" and "waiting"


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