/written in October of 1991
There are two kinds of poetry in America today: academic and public.
If airy flights of discomfort amuse you, fine
stuck in the cells of snobbery to back-pat fellow snobs
chuckling on the way to your teaching bank with more than time off
after the absurd battle of tenure
But if you think poetry has an oral tradition as the scholars say
then it can in no way be forced into library cells
imprisoned for the chuckling snobs of academe.
It will be read aloud, real from the page
or turning pages in the memory, looking you, singing
in the eye.
Popular as a pinch of sports, as a sincere declamation
of everyone who wants to, as the world is going down.
Anyone who wants to can put pen to paper
who is reasonably literate
who wants to figure out the dire situation she or he is in
or who wants to laugh a lot on and off the page
can stand to stand up, maybe get to like it, pitching his inner voice
out of himself, herself, her voice, prompted and delivered.
Only intelligent people listen to fools proclaim.
Because they know that in the fool is a little of themselves.
Because they want a little alternative madness in their lives.
Surrogate happiness, a surprise launch into the unknown
with real bodies, real human bodies together to hear
what is near.
Listen to the music coming from afar, as old as the oldest proclamations
that were chiseled on the tongues of the unknown.
Perhaps we will find what it all means, this evening, this announcement
as fragments of what was, come together in the whole of our
secret meeting here
our secret meeting here
to announce the public nature of the 1st Amendment poet
the intensity of now to throw our weight into solutions
that is, to problems, of which everything is.
Singing the unknown, the a-b-c’s, the storytellers goosed
into song word-song.
What is the story? Listen, John Q. Public. Jane Q. too.
The public is history, the poet is its truth.
/larry goodellNote: Pablo Picasso was born on this day, October 25th, 1881. Geoffry Chaucer, our first great public poet of English died on this day, 1400, possibly of the plague, at age of about 57. And he was one of the first commoners, and the first poet to be buried in Westminster Abbey.
/ placitas, new mexico / from Fugitive ABC’s, poems from 1991