Friday, July 8, 2011

As if by saying “morning” on January 8th, by Michael Palmer

In this episode of Poetry Crossfire!, we put two pundits on the hot seat and ask them to stare into the great sphinx of San Francisco. Nobody blinks. Including the sphinx.

The guests:

Brad Liening is the author of Ghosts and Doppelgangers, from Lowbrow Press. He’s poetry editor of InDigest Magazine and runs Hell Yes! Press. He lives in Minneapolis.

MC Hyland is the author of Neveragainland, from Lowbrow Press. She runs DoubleCross Press and the Pocket Lab reading series and lives in Minneapolis.

The poem:

As if by saying “morning” on January 8th
by Michael Palmer

As if by saying “morning” on January 8th
the light would be set forward
along the megalophonous shore

Was there anything else you wanted to know
about the body where I belong
how the torso is cut off from a waving arm

by the yellow space in the background
and how the head has been put on wrong
or not wrong. Each looked into the water

and w
as frightened by a different thing
of his or her own making
One was frightened by stripes

and the other by a turtle
even though I knew it wouldn’t bite
but would take me for a ride

It was the time when the phone always rings
to dissolve the mediating scene
in which a phone always rings

to help us with our counting
I say
hello to the lateral darkness
who answers guardedly

in painted fragments. The drop of a hat
If the shoe fits. A thin bird flaps
before it sits. Who answers noiselessly

Hans Memling is watching from my matchbox
the serpent lives
This is his nest

Ready, set, crossfire!

Brad Liening: That's funny, I go out drinking with that serpent all the time and he's never mentioned any of this. And I'm pretty sure that giving rides to poets but not biting them is a turtle's idea of hell.

M.C. Hyland: Unlike the turtle, I bite every poet I see -- tenderly.

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