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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"

Some newish poems

This one was for The Best American's Challenge. First, you had to solve this anagram to find the title of a past judge's book: HIT THE LUMP OF RICH SEAL and then write an acrostic poem out of his or her name.
The answer took me about an hour: "The Triumph of Achilles" by Louise Gluck. In graduate school, one of my teachers told me that Gluck had originally written the line of her famous poem "Mock Orange," I hate this as I hate sex as I love this as I love sex. This has always fascinated me, so I started with that, and fragments from about ten different past judges' poems and made this out of it, (which alas, did not win):

As I Love Sex

Long ago you kissed the names of the muses goodbye
Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
Under the door, and stop before me
I hate them, as I hate sex
Slowly along the flank
Even as she held it, to bring back the picture of what life…
Go to your room, to all the rooms whose damp, cold air you breathed
Like a tiny, African god
Unsay those orders
Companion, good company
Kindness, every unheld breath.

This one mostly combines language from the LSAT, parking tickets and Ulysses...

Silver Stallion

O please, Mr Policeman, I’m lost in the wood.
Between the lightning and the thunder.
soft soft soft hand. I am lonely here now.
Oh, touch me soon, now. Use of placebos
would not lower costs, since a predetermined
number of participants approached the sacrament.
Failure to answer as required shall be deemed
an admission of liability. Knows the taste
of them now. Old Father Ocean. That one
is going too. Privileges suspended. You express
a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws.
A cloud covered the sun, slowly, wholly, shadowing
the bay in a deeper green. The answer lies in the fact
that there are two types of laws. What did I say?
I forget. A conscientious proofreader attempted
to mend it at the surface. And what is death,
he asked. Your mother’s or yours or my own.
This response is not justified by the information
in the excerpt. Other interactions across cultures
can serve to disseminate ideas and discoveries.
Hat square on head. Buckles shined and cleaned.
Young shouts of moneyed voices. The discovery
spread to the Arab world as a result of warfare.
Phantasmal mirth, folded away: muskperfumed.
The detection of temperature by a finger touching
a cool surface. I remember only ideas and sensations.
The spread of papermaking technology, increase
in breathing rate while exercising. In my mind’s
darkness a sloth of the underworld, power’s blank
voice spoke. This relationship is not linear.
As I am. As I am. All or not at all.