Monday, April 8, 2013

Another Typical James Tate Poem

It's the word "chasteness" that the Earth hates so much.
That sound, for instance, is not a wheezing fridge
but a cricket accompanying dripping water.
Good thing I didn't kill it!

The cool winds are whipping the spring into shape.
Feeling at home is only a matter of getting the knobs right
in my Mansard-slate room at the top of this lit toy-train set
with names like Quotient of Pain (bread), Pinocchio's Pizza
and The Connecticut Muffin far, far below.

I am annoyed by the sound of my own breathing,
thinking it's another voice vying for attention
now that I'm the slattern catholic about incoming noises
be they door-handle gears, or geese cheering base-hits,
or the way the treetops moan each day at sunset.
I wish that you were here sometimes
to make me feel insane again, with your Chinese water
treatments and your entrances as sweeping
as they are traumatic to doors. A pitch-perfect prisoner thinks
these pirate broadcasts are catastrophies
to endure vicariously, when each and every semi-hemi-quaver
not approved by the FCC
is a reminder to be free...

like the postcard on the fridge from Mount Estes
reminds me of the grocery list, the door jambs, slippers, batteries
I need to start my new life
that has no past or future.

I look for clues in the entrails in garbage cans
and out comes my new friend the cricket
with what looks like a key to the moon.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Hugely quotable. Ingenious parts:

"Feeling at home is only a matter of getting the knobs right"

I can picture various knobs, various meaning.

"I am annoyed by the sound of my own breathing,
thinking it's another voice vying for attention
now that I'm the slattern catholic about incoming noises
be they door-handle gears, or geese cheering base-hits,
or the way the treetops moan each day at sunset."

The metaphor and personification is enviably well done. The sense of humor throughout the entire piece is gone from most poetry nowadays.