Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 6:30 pm
535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York City
Clark Coolidge is the author of more than forty books of poetry and other writings, including Space, Solution Passage, The Crystal Text, At Egypt, Now It’s Jazz: Writings on Kerouac & The Sounds, The Act of Providence, and, most recently, 88 Sonnets and A Book Beginning What and Ending Away. His Selected Poems 1962–1985 is forthcoming from Station Hill Press. In 2011 he edited a collection of Philip Guston’s writings and talks for the University of California Press. Initially a drummer, he was a member of the Serpent Power with David Meltzer in 1967 and Mix Group from 1993 to 1994. In September 2013 he traveled to Paris where his work was the subject of a symposium at Université Paris Est Créteil. Currently he has returned to active drumming in duos with Thurston Moore and the ongoing free-jazz-band Ouroboros.
A Nervous Gesture Is In Order
My father is a sort of fruitless Henry Fonda
hugely concerned with our door gotta give me
a ride to the ni . . . where I’ve got dialing privileges
our lives are variously horrible the people
we’re stuck with should return to their drugstore
if only my father’s a stupid historian
we live in an undercover police site no matter what
the overload of Crown Vics around here so help me
move this ebola van or can’t you speak Truck?
let’s go to Canader land of the acoustic woods
a good idea to rig some corn but first
I have to touch doesn’t matter who or what
coat has a hole usually I cram vistas
if that isn’t anybody’s can I have it? most
girls don’t live in a bus but the ones I know do
there’ll be another one soon are we over?
we’ll produce a baby this afternoon the way it sticks
my shiny star I used to have a rug store
sudden burst of gumballs consider yourself lucky
alright but really okay? a double fault not your own
I drive away smooth keep your eyes on the toast
we are entering the Haldol Stanzas a green hole
in all these guess they came back?
so much blood on your deeds parcels okay?
meanwhile elsewhere the cops are taking a break
one looks for his teeth just as well mutter
as get closer have a platter of cornflakes
and here come those rolling help-outs again
don’t like to wait on the water heavily
social or what? just an instant another?
you’re afraid of fish? of wine? of what’s left behind?
throw it I’ll spit up for you then put
the fish to bed instead of getting things for you
but how many eggs does a butter man eat?
our hobbies are ghettos those big silver automatics
now watch your feet or I’ll watch yours
must you repeat bracelet body? well if you must
or else what next? guess that’s it
to pick up what drops a whole store full of products
must be destroyed the shelving too then the young
one shoots you and no one even to argue anyway
they take what’s left away and that’s the end
one end to Niagara Niagara I may jump
Edmund Berrigan was born in Colchester, England, and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He received a BA in Literature from State University of New York at Purchase and has since lived in San Francisco and Brooklyn. He is the author of two books of poetry—Disarming Matter (Owl Press, 1999) and Glad Stone Children (Farfalla, 2008)—and a multi-genre memoir, Can It! (Letter Machine Editions, 2013). He is editor of the Selected Poems of Steve Carey (Sub Press, 2009) and coeditor with Anselm Berrigan and Alice Notley of The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California Press, 2005) and The Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan (University of California Press, 2010). He is also an editor for Vlak, a poetry magazine based in Prague, and is on the editorial board forLungfull!, a poetry magazine based in Brooklyn. He is also a songwriter, recording and performing under the name I Feel Tractor.
Trying to get home, trying to get home
Home is a place you pay for, walls and space.
I pulled on the chin link until your coffin tipped.
Later, you came home. Welcome to your corner
above the books. Meanwhile I asked you to follow
me as far as I could go. You’re already farther
than that, thinning predators for history.
History being the first sign that we should
have ducked. Is changing the story the tiniest
bit really enough? Should we execute the principles,
or just the ones we wish were dead? I’ve changed
the story a little bit, though I’m not sure anyone noticed.
A little Cuban-sounding brass now from
Haitian players, mid-tempo, humid horns.