The nice bloggers at The Great American Pin-Up are posting video of me reading at AWP with Craig Arnold, A.E. Stallings, and Jacob Saenz. Even if it weren't very echoey (the room was enormous -- I think that's where they put Paul Muldoon two days later) I would want the text available. Grateful acknowledgment to Poetry, where it was first published (and which was the raison d'etre of the panel).
Reaching for the vinegar over the range hood (still dashing grass wisps on the gas flames from the exhaust vent where we booted that brooding sparrow)
I remember the rabbit in the Tiergarten that perched on its spatula feet where the grass had just started to green. The German clouds were unibrow.
It’s not the stretching, slightly weaving, that recalls it, it’s the tang of vinegar, Easter egg-dye solvent. And my gallimaufry gets going, guests for dinner, the requisite foofaraw.
In the soffits of the staircase a rag and a featherduster. In the eaves the nests made of frass and cellophane. “When it rains on a golf course it’s called Irish dew—” Father-in-law’s jackstraw.
“Dundee, is this an Aussie shiraz? Put it in the croc au vin.” Cellophane and frass. Everything in the canon went into Gargantua before he was born from the ear beneath his mama’s cornrows:
Augustine, Aquinas. Aristotle and Plato. Virgil and Homer. Goliards and troubadours. Thus an ort peeking out from a nostril, skin flakes, a slight acne, undercoat all colors, like a farrow;
the chuffer, snuffler, grunter, farter, pecker, whelp, head half the size of the requisitioned teat (Googling “mastitis” and finding “ewe,” ew) —the whole shebang
reeks of bedstraw. On the radio, transrational statistics; Brigitte Bardot lashing out at the leash law in Zurich; on an uncle’s fourth percussive sneeze the baby wakes —interrobang—