28 April 2009

Gabriel Gudding

[from Gabriel Gudding's A Defense of Poetry, University of Pittsburgh, 2002]

[footnotes from the title poem]

Just as the fog is shackled to the
dirty valley stream and cannot go
out loosely to join the loopy clouds
who contain hollering eagles and
whooshing falcons but must stand
low and bound and suffer the
scratch of a bush and the round
poop of deer and the odd black
spoor of the American black bear or
the bump of a car on a road or the
sick crashes of paintings thrown
from a rural porch, so also is your
mind bound to the low reach of
trash and the wet wan game of
worms and the dripping dick of a
torpid dog -- and unlike the clouds
above you you do not feel swell but
clammy and pokey and sweaty: a
leaf-smell follows you, odd breezes
juke your brook-chaff, lambs and
rachel-bugs go up and forth in you,
and when a car passes through you,
windows down, the car-pillows in
that car get puffy, absorbing water in
the air, and those pillows become
bosoms, gaseous moving bosoms,
and that is the nearest you come to
bosoms. . . .

Some have called your mouth
Bippy-Swingset, and someone who
seemed to resemble your physician
called the orifice in question the
birth-hole of a Raven, whereas it is
common knowledge all Ravens are
born in burning forests, for the beast
is a charred contraption, being well-
cooked and near dead. Some say
that Crows are born out of a sail's
white leeward wall, others that thun
Crow is as an millet-corporal to the
Raven's brook-colonel, that a pelican
has goiter and that a Crow is in
truth the silhouette of a gull
knocked loose from that gull, which
can happen in the case of an Sudden
Explosion, where, in the afterclap
and initial desolation, gulls will
breach the sky with such celerity
their silhouettes break free and fall
like dark packs to the ground, which
is why the Crow is a kind of angry
bird, being now without grace and
having a charred voice. Some insist
the Crow is in fact a drunk, though
at which saloon he find his beer or
how he should pay for it, or whether
he have beer, port, or an highball,
these "poets" will not aver: either
way he follows not the Doctrine of
Christ and is a derisive and
condemnable bird and ought
therefore to be avoided and never
frighten a gull. Another annoying
beast can be the Squirrel. For he is
midget blowhard.

Dear Housefly
by Gabriel Gudding

Today I whacked you, fly, who was making more fuss than
a ratty Volkswagen ascending a mountain:
I crushed you with the catechism of Augustine

(the German edition by Gustav Kruger,
which I'll wager
few have read, or will ever . . . ):

thus De Catechizandis Rudibus
has pressed out your worried buzz, brought you
to a thimble-fountain of maggot pus.

And had I sent you off to Paradise, odd fly out of Hadrumetum,
had you been, say, a disciple of Chrysostom,

or a little optimist following Origen, rather than
a broom-chased peregrine, I might have let you go.

But there you were
just back from bugging mules, Gaul-blown,

smaller than the small books of Hippo.
What a life you must have had,

swirled in the breath of running dogs,
your eyes domed and numerous

as the basilicas of Carthage.


Gabriel Gudding

A Defense of Poetry (Pitt Poetry Series)

No comments:

Post a Comment