It was interesting to hear Alice launch into these "death poems" since the last week or so have been filled with tragic passings. We lost the great poet Tory Dent, who died of an AIDS-related illness on Dec. 30. Dent's poems were often long and self-indulgent, but the work was so powerful that it could not be denied. I admired her candid style, and her decision to write what she wanted, how she wanted, despite her critics. Her collection HIV, Mon Amour is a staggering piece of work. If you've never read Tory Dent, it's time to discover her now. Her poetry will live on. Her poem, Palea, is at the end of this post.
Yesterday we also heard of the death of Lou Rawls, who had one of the best voices in R&B and soul music ever. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine still gives me shivers when I hear it. That deep voice and all the emotion he put behind his songs, not to mention his work with charity. He will be missed.
Also this week, the tragedy of those coal miners in West Virginia, dead in an unsafe mine owned by fatcats who allowed the families to believe for three hours the men had survived. Shameful. I hope the families sue the company right out of business.
I've only ever wished death on one person...publicly anyway...and that's Pat Robertson. This week he said God had punished Israeli PM Ariel Sharon for ceding parts of the Gaza Strip to Palestine. Oh, Pat, you dumb motherfucker. Why can't you have a massive stroke that completely eliminates your ability to speak? The only one who needs a little smiting by God is you, Pat.
by Tory Dent
Only my mouth taking you in, the greenery splayed deep green.
Within my mouth, your arm inserted, a stem of gestures, breaking gracefully.
Into each other we root arbitrarily, like bushes, silken, and guttural.
Palaver, we open for the thrill of closing, for the thrill of it: opening.
The night was so humid when I knelt on the steps, wet and cold, of prewar stone.
A charm bracelet of sorts we budded, handmade but brazen, as if organic.
I cannot imagine the end of my fascination, emblazoned but feather-white too.
The gold closure of this like a gold coin is, of course, ancient.
Why can't experience disseminate itself, be silken and brazen yet underwater?
A miniature Eiffel Tower, an enameled shamrock, a charm owned by its bracelet.