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Unread 07-02-2018, 06:30 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 3,156
Default Thank you Matthew Zapruder

So, over on GT the poet Matthew Zapruder's ideas about 'conceptual rhyme' are being discussed with some earnestness. Nobody seemed to actually know his poetry, though, so I looked some up and posted a couple. He has about half a dozen on Poetry Foundation. It seemed a certain 'type' of poetry to me. Entertaining, but so free-associative as to seem easy to do. I had a go. I went full stream of consciousness. My point is, what started in a spirit of mockery (never one of the best spirits) began to feel wonderful! Thanks Matthew!

Poem for Matthew

It's something when even saints
are bored. When the two o'clock last helmers
bus their way out, spend the evening
discussing Russian literature
with ghosts on the internet in exchange
for selfies of dead scientists.
I drink my coffee, think of my neighbour Annie
who didn't mind my hair gel on her couch.
For shame she said, her own hair flying
and spreading across the sky like butter,
I only wear this dress to spill
my gin on, don't think I'm as juniper
ready as that my dear, my chuck.
Oh wear a high collar a turtleneck
and cross your legs in the corner
like twine, right over left and
foot behind the ankle. Stare
at the book, yes, but earwig for your name
it will come it will come it will.
Here they all keep candlewax in purses,
now soft now brittle but glowing always
with dream translucency that melts
and makes us moths.
England doesn't deserve you
it coughs into its newspaper, belches,
hands the last scrap of Blake's illuminations
to any passing online poker sting.
See how your mother still brings in washing,
pins in her mouth, singing the wrong words
to a song she should have been dancing to.
See the chalked stones you remember,
the blue bike you gave to the boy with flesh tape
on his glasses, his soft cry of refusal.
The watering can. See the whole sky
in quick reverse, the child you were
before the penny dropped.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-03-2018 at 05:41 AM.
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Unread 07-02-2018, 06:54 PM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,425

Mark, your Zapruder seems to have also tapped into your inner Billy Collins!

Your mention of the Coffee Muse drew only this from me:

A Coffee Epiphany

Many mornings brewing coffee
while suffering through the TV gab,
I think about my growing flab
like a bear rug that's hugging me.
Reflected in the toaster, I see
my gut has added globs to grab
and I recall my huge bar tab.
This is not what I want to be!
I vow to get my old form back,
to exercise and consume less
cheese, fat burgers, quarts of beer,
eliminate the sausage snack—
then caffeine jolts my vow’s duress
awakens truth: perhaps next year.

Last edited by RCL; 07-05-2018 at 05:03 PM. Reason: fixed a rhyme; fixed meter
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Unread 07-02-2018, 07:41 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA; Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 10,724

From Russia With Love

I think today I'll write about
Potemkin Villages
while sipping my tea -
hell, I'm Russian,
or at least my father was born there,
and I even wear a big gold ring,
a double eagle coin
with the Tsar of All the Russias
trapped face down
kissing my finger,
so the description of these villages -
propped up house-fronts
nothing behind them
erected quickly
fits right in -
and I can even use it
to write my daily
Potemkin Poem
because it gives me something,
to talk about
some starting point
and piece of reality -
good images,
the ring,
all those Potemkin housefronts,
maybe sheathed in ice
in a hard Russian winter,
while I scribble
scrabble dribble
words and pictures down a page
as quickly as I can type
and make sure to
line breaks
so it looks like a poem
and it's amazing
how many people
regard it as a poem,
even me,
even though all I did was
quickly write
whatever came into my head
scrible scrabble, dribble, drabble,
for fifteen minutes,
and here's my latest
Potemkin Poem.

Confession: I did write this in about fifteen minutes to mock something or other - maybe Zapruder (who remembers?) - but it was many years ago. I added the tea line (I assume that's a suitable substitute for coffee) just now.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 07-03-2018 at 06:16 PM.
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Unread 07-02-2018, 08:11 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 3,156

That's funny, Michael. I realised after about the third line of mine that I don't do parody. I'm clearly not cynical enough. Instead I just really enjoyed myself...
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Unread 07-02-2018, 08:26 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,444

We were talking about Michael's latest
poem and how he needed to loosen up
a little with his line-breaks and perhaps
even consider subverting the whole idea
of what a poem was, when Mark said
he'd consumed more than enough coffee
poetry and called over to order his third latte
from the waitress who looked a little like
the woman from that soap opera
from the seventies that neither of us
could quite remember -- except she had
lank hair, and slightly dead eyes,
like a fish. You wouldn't find hair like that
in a soap opera, Mark said, and fish
surely don't belong in a poem
about coffee. He started back in
on his theory about how every good poem
should end on a conceptual rhyme,
and I started to tell him how my father
had once visited the local docks on a school trip,
and there was a diver there, decked out
in baggy 1950s diving suit and one of those
big metal helmets, who'd played a trick
on all the other kids who watched him
submerge into water that was black
as an Americano, bubbles floating up
like the froth on fresh-poured cappuccino,
and then, after the the longest time,
just as their interest had begun to waver,
he'd surfaced holding up a fish, which,
and this was the joke, was actually a kipper.
But by then Mark had fallen asleep.

[I think I'm probably channelling ultratalk more than Zapruder, but I had fun anyways]

[for non-Brits. A 'kipper' is a smoked fish (typically herring). 'to kip' is to 'to sleep']

Last edited by Matt Q; 07-03-2018 at 08:52 PM.
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Unread 07-02-2018, 09:11 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 14,580

(you'll ask what took me)

Zapruder happened to film
JFK's head being blown off
onto Jackie's lap, but somehow
didn't catch the second
gunman, but me? I wonder
who laid the seed on that knoll
to make it grassy in the first place,
and what does it matter?
It's true: the happenstance
of Zapruder's celluloid
made his name notorious,
but the money came in handy,
so who am I to argue? I wasn't
born when all this happened,
and for all I know it didn't,
the way history books lie these days,
and truth is in the mind of the poet,
once again exposed on the film of Zapruder,
the lone gunman of metaphor.
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Unread 07-03-2018, 01:00 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 3,156

Matt, Roger - brilliant, brilliant.

Matt - 'Ultratalk' eh? You're a veritable glossary. I just read an article about it (didn't have to use quotation mark or anything!) Yes, that's exactly it.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-03-2018 at 01:20 AM.
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Unread 07-03-2018, 05:18 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,444


Was it David Grahams' essay? You might also find Tony Hoagland's essay, "Fear of Narrative and the Skittery Poem of Our Moment" interesting. It covers related/overlapping ground.

I like a fair bit of Mark Halliday's (also Tony Hoagland's) poetry, and have a couple of collections by each of them that I've not read for a while, and will now probably dig out. I wrote one a couple of years back kind of influenced by Halliday's style that was published here.


p.s. Just occurred to me that the conceptual rhyme "kipper"/"asleep" is probably lost on non-Brits, and googled, and "kip" meaning "to sleep" does seem to be a British-ism. Oh well.

Last edited by Matt Q; 07-03-2018 at 06:05 AM.
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Unread 07-03-2018, 05:37 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Staffordshire, England
Posts: 3,156


Yes, it was that first article. And I got the 'kipper' joke (sorry, 'conceptual rhyme' ) even if nobody else did.

Thanks for the other link. It is interesting; I'll check it out. Cheers.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 07-03-2018 at 05:39 AM.
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Unread 07-03-2018, 01:41 PM
Allen Tice's Avatar
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 4,506

Michaelís is very good. As good as good can be, for this kind of cavalier approach to creativity. The others are fine as well. Now I understand what this forum is all about; I never looked at it before recently! Count Potemkin would not be amused. I am.
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