Sunday, April 02, 2006

LOADING MERCURY WITH A PITCHFORK

The late Richard Brautigan has been called, among other things, "the last of the Beats." I don't know if this is entirely true, as Brautigan died in the 70's and Beat was more a product of the 50's, but I can easily see how he truely might have been. In any event, Brautigan is my favorite poet and one of my favorite authors. The following poems are taken from his book, "Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork", which is now out-of-print. Whatcha thunk of 'em??

POSTCARD

I wonder if eighty-four-year-old Colonel Sanders
ever gets tired of traveling all around America
talking about fried chicken



LOADING MERCURY WITH A PITCHFORK

Loading mercury with a pitchfork
your truck is almost full. The neighbors
take a certain pride in you. They
stand around watching.



IT’S TIME TO TRAIN YOURSELF

It’s time to train yourself
to sleep alone again
and it’s so fucking hard.



INFORMATION

Any thought that I have right now
isn’t worth a shit because I’m totally
fucked up.



AUTOBIOGRAPHY (POLISH IT
LIKE A PIECE OF SILVER

I am standing in the cemetery at Byrds, Texas.
What did Judy say? “God-forsaken is beautiful, too.”
A very old man, who has cancer on his face and takes
care of the cemetery, is raking a grave in such a
manner as to almost (polish it like a piece of silver.
What am I doing out here in west Texas, standing in
a cemetery? The old man wonders about that, too.
My presence has become a part of his raking. I know
that he is also polishing me.


RIGHT BESIDE THE MORNING COFFEE

If I write this down now, I
will have it in the morning.
The question is: Do I want
to start the day off with
this?



FOR FEAR YOU WILL BE ALONE

For fear you will be alone
you do so many things
that aren’t you at all.



“GOOD WORK,” HE SAID, AND

“Good work,” he said, and
went out the door. What
work? We never saw him
before. There was no door.



I’LL AFFECT YOU SLOWLY

I’ll affect you slowly
as if you were having
a picnic in a dream.
There will be no ants.
It won’t rain.



UMBRELLAING HERSELF LIKE A
POORLY-DESIGNED ANGEL

Umbrellaing herself like a poorly-designed angel
she falls in love again: destined to a broken heart
which is the way it always is for her. I’m glad
she’s not falling in love with me.



WE WERE THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK NEWS

We were the eleven o’clock news
because while the rest of the world
was going to hell we made love.



FUCK ME LIKE FRIED POTATOES

Fuck me like fried potatoes
On the most beautifully hungry
Day of my God-damned life.

3 comments:

Flannery Alden said...

I really like these poems. He can't be a beat poet because he doesn't immediately piss me off.

He reminds me of another poet, one Roy Bentley.

The thing I like best about these poems you shared: I feel I've shared a moment with him. These are very intimate poems, as are Roy's. It's what I aspire to in all of my writing. I don't think I've ever gotten anywhere near these two, but I'm trying.

There is a certain tugging at the heart that these poems do. I feel like I've been let in on something. They are so quiet. They are definately not hammers. This is art.

Big Orange said...

Yeah, a lot of Brautigan's poetry reads like this: small, clear moments that ring troo to the soul. I also like the "nakedness" of the poetry: a lack of pretention and arty-fartiness; a warts-n'-all sort of poetry wherein what the author is REALLY feelin' is right thar, on da' page.

There are, of course, dozens MORE poems in this one book that I've not put in here for obvious reasons (if you wanna read 'em THAT bad, get the book), but I will put some more choice ones here later.

Big Orange said...

besides, there's some delightful euphamisms herein: like walkin' up to your mate with a rakish grin and askin, "hey, baby... ya' wanna fry some potatoes??"