14 February 2008

Geoffrey Young

[from Geoffrey Young's The Riot Act, 2008; I first read Geoffrey Young's work at Ron Silliman's blog]

No Single Effort

No single effort captures the essence of the human condition. But the completion of any day's writing adds its particular brush with experience to the master list of competing versions, even if no one reads it for a thousand years.


Because the time is ripe. We are still green. I look in vain for adults. Nothing but kids on this watch. Six or seven feet tall. Hard to discipline. A good sign in growing boys? Tell me a myth I haven't heard.

The lake of the mind stores wetness. Drying up is our worst enemy. For a person in my shorts I can imagine nothing worse.

It takes a meadowlark in a field. It takes a futon in a loft.

How much time do we have. How much face. You know more than I do. Three chords worth. I've never seen such music.

Call it a self-knockout.

Will Prospero set us free?

A black line traps the image. We suffer people too much. Grainy landscape with noon train. Roll the credits.

Turning Pages

Benny "Kid" Peret fluttered
against the ropes
like a titmouse beating his wings in cream
while Emile Griffith the Donatello of the Hotel Champion

pummeled the Kid with smashed potatoes and fireball
jabs, and we leaped off the king-size bed
yelling "Stop it! Stop the fight! He's out on his feet"
to the referee who didn't see it

as Griffith's fists loosened the head
of the Kid from its spinal axis until
finally the leather that was shaping it
could have been fingers turning

pages of a windblown book
no one will ever read again.

Riot Act


  1. this is brilliant.

  2. A black line traps the image. We suffer people too much

    I need a glass of wine.