on merv griffin way the jaws of life pulled
me from a wreck of bunting and epaulets
miles from the motorcade, entangled in
a middle passing between the meekness
of the first martyr & palm fronds but nowhere
near a reflecting pool . . .
FROM inaugural poem -- 21 Jan. 2013, pulversised goldenrod,
spit & glue, 1 x 4 pine, vanilla flip
AKA figure 54
goldenrod makes me sneeze -- but I've been there -- was there -- I walked those streets following the JFK martyrdom
on the other hand, I don't recall ever being on Merv Griffin Way, which leads up to the old Beverly Hilton, which Mr. Griffin once owned -- That's the same Merv who once did bidness wid one Donald Trump, the two of them ego wrestling towards Atlantic City -- but this isn't about my autobiography, or even everybody's --
Robert Lowell wrote his Notebook as a series of unrhymed sonnets -- this ain't that, I'm glad to report -- but Ken Taylor has brilliantly sequenced these boxy sort-of-sonnets, little boxes suggesting lives to be lived, having been lived, occasionally livid -- the epigraph invokes the Creeley of Pieces:
My plan is
These little boxes
The next little box in Creeley's sequence reads:
from such I
makes such declaration.
I keep hearing Jackie Wilson singing "My love keeps lifting me higher."
Only recently did I come to know Ken Taylor as photographer. The cover of this amazing book is one of his works, titled there may be harmonicas. That got my attention. Still, I had not known what a melainotype was -- now I do --
catching how meridian
mississippi didn't need the 3-day blood test
wait alabama did. grasping a stripling grip
remove: cotton mill town fluster of my dad.
roll the viscera rushes: baptist bringing up:
some motel room on any side of the state
Meridian, too, was a place of martyrdom. Andrew Goodman, James Cheney and Michael Schwerner were driving the miles from Longdale back to Meridian, by way of the quicker night time route via Philadelphia, when they were blood tested, totally immersed, left in the rushes. When you look at their photos now, they seem ancient tintypes in little boxes.
But this is before, and after: "inciting incident / 1956, blood, skipping rocks, Melainotype / in the oral trad."
Taylor's new book is by turns scalding and exhilarating. It is the proverbial formal tour de force.
Available now from Pressed Wafer Press. (pressedwafer.com)