Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Us Them Poems

Last night there was a poetry reading event at ACA Gallery and I had the pleasure of hearing a friend read some of his works. It was held by a small publication company/community BookThug and the evening featured some young experimental influential poets as well as music performance by one guitar strumming singer/songwriter.
Not only was I captivated by the gallery environment which was exhibiting a group show of mostly 18th and 19th century paintings (and also included an amazing spray painting groovy Judy Chicago painting/diary entry), I was happy to be part of such an engaged audience as these eclectic poets, and musician, put on a thought provoking awe inspiring performance.
Below is a poem by my friend Evan Kennedy published in the Chapbook titled Us Them Poems

We are spoonbenders in a town of
horrendous restaurants. In our homes
are jars of bent spoons and we bring the
jars to our mentor's tomb. Our step is
as light as men on th emoon our brains
soggy balls of yarn. Where else we ask
do these jars belong these modest jars
of spoons. Our plate-faced loves wait
behind bushes. They know the jar of
spoons will reappear at the restaurant
tables straightened. There is always
more time to unbend the spoons than
to bend the spoons. At the edge of town
this stupidest of towns is a wall we climb
and beyond that a valley of abandoned
knives as dull as the daily specials here.

This poem as well as others in the chapbook are rife with automatic wordplay, the stream of consciousness directed in myriad directions jumping to and fro leaving us in absolute wonder. The repetitive almost droning tone creates a choppy rhythm, and as Evan quotes becomes a conflict between musical and narrative. Each poem creates a vivid surrealistic story of spoonbenders vs. restaurant owners such as above, whistleblowers vs. bellringers, and the like. They are simultaneously optimistic and ominous, energetic and anti-climactic, playful and all too sober. It inspired an art project idea to take each poem and paint its story on a huge wooden sphere creating an other-worldly diorama of fantastical daydreams.
Click here to purchase Us Them Poems, I highly recommend it.

Let's end with another:

We are hat eaters letting our hats digest.
The reason one must eat his hat still the
same. There are always more hats to
eat so we wait for a train this train to a
place where hats come huge. The heads
wearing the hats sitting up on high.
And we hat eaters eat from a suitcase of
unclaimed hats. First around the brim
then deeper where thoughts are stored.
There is a thought that hat eating is not
what mankind is for but nothing is kind
about man. And it is always the hatless
who have to eat hats. There is nothing
left for us hat eaters but to eat their hats
and say we're through. Through with
their hats and with our mouths and
our minds for now. And we're smiling
though we haven't heard the latest news.

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