Sunday, October 28, 2012

Enjoy the show

It's been a while since I put any poetry up here, so what better time?  This is from a 2011 collection by Tracy K. Smith called Life on Mars.  Yeah, Bowie will be happy that he has black female fans beyond his wife and daughter.  Beyond that, though, she's just really good.  Like most contemporary poets, she's not beholden to rhyme and meter.  She stands out in her willingness to use them, though, and in her recognition of poetry as a sound medium you can play with.  And she is playful.

Anyway, without further ado.

The Universe: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The first track still almost swings.  High hat and snare, even
A few bars of sax the stratosphere will singe out soon enough.

Synthesized strings.  Then something like cellophane
Breaking in as if snagged to a shoe.  Crinkle and drag.  White noise,

Black noise.  What must be voices bob up, then drop, like metal shavings
In molasses.  So much for us.  So much for the flags we bored

Into planets dry as chalk, for the tin cans we filled with fire
And rode like cowboys into all we tried to tame.  Listen:

The dark we've only ever imagined now audible, thrumming,
Marbled with static like gristly meat.  A chorus of engines churns.

Silence taunts: a dare.  Everything that disappears
Disappears as if returning somewhere.


susan said...

I'm happy enough to read poetry when I find it in front of my eyes but rarely go in search of it. After I read this one I looked her up and read a few more as well as her bio. She deserved the award and the sample you chose to post is very beautiful.

Ben said...

Yeah, the book I read/am reading has a lot of beauties, so it wasn't easy to choose. The fact this one had a fun title helped.