197.1: Doug Anderson:: Control & Dear Clever Poets & Aesthetic Statement 197

The American grain was first addressed by great poets of our past: Whitman, Melville, Dickinson, Williams, Stevens, and Crane, among others. They sought a poetry that means something about this place we all inhabit in the States. Doug Anderson knows that grain. He recognizes this is a place of quick and perennial desire. A place where a woman can turn your day inside-out even on a simple matching of glances. Read these lines from “Dear Clever Poets:”

        But I’ve been distracted once again by that woman with
        the paisley aura inviting me to go straight to Hell with her.
        I doff my hat: she holds the door for me on the other side
        of which our moment burns on its foetid oil stick.

These are the lines of a man who indulges in a moment with beauty. This is not all or nothing. This is all and everything. This is also a rare moment when we publish the author’s aesthetic statement, where an author talks better about his own work than my careless prose can accomplish. He is that man whose poetry propels him to ride “butt naked without a helmet whereas prose makes me want to choose my clothes more carefully.”

Ride on, Doug. Ride on. Cody Todd

Control


Every surface in her house
was covered
with tchotchkes, glass animals,
ceramic this and that
so that I had
to move as if
I were probing for mines,
fearful to displease her
by knocking something over.
Every shelf,
even in the fridge
was so organized
I feared I’d throw
something out of synch
by reaching in
and her place was so
CLEAN it screamed:
I felt like some
insidious germ
entering a room,
so when — I think
to please me —
she put the corset on
and cinched up her
already considerable breasts,
I thought,
where is the whip?
Certainly there is a whip.





Dear Clever Poets


I too could put an eye in the palm of a naked woman’s hand
as she lounged on a low branch of a boabob tree,
or put a strobe inside the fish that circumnavigate
the womb where we float waiting to be born.
In fact, I’ll ride my amniotic sea with a Plymouth Fury,
Dolly Parton bumpers up front and propellers on the back,
chromed four hundred horsepower throbber under the hood.
Now, watch me interrupt the narrative as you require:
see how that fetus walks hand in hand with that fat pastor
on his way to Scully’s pub to play the spittoons with his cufflinks!
But I’ve been distracted once again by that woman with
the paisley aura inviting me to go straight to Hell with her.
I doff my hat: she holds the door for me on the other side
of which our moment burns in its foetid oil slick.





Aesthetic Statement


There is something about poetry that is pre-language. Something that happens just before the word is shoe-horned into syntax. That’s why it’s so flexible compared to other forms. It can bend language the way a jazz horn player can force a riff above and below the melody line and turn it inside out. In any case, that’s where I like to hang out. Sometimes wit takes over and the duende hides in a dark corner, but it doesn’t really disappear. Ditto politics, thought in general. I ride butt naked without a helmet whereas prose makes me want to choose my clothes more carefully.