Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Molly Russakoff's party...

Molly is moving beyond poetry, or maybe not. Maybe into poetry in a new and better way--a way untold, unpredictable; the young men and women she is inviting into her space... for that's what they are, young men and women, however we are want to dismiss them by the names we give them. Though it may not be poetry--or anything like it; their lives will open into their very own unforeseen becoming.

What could be more like poetry?

A bookstore is an education for explorers. When explorers are few, and discouraged if not despised in the usual venues--the public schools, purposefully mismanaged and underfunded to insure the perpetuation of compliant ignorance, and their capitalist alternatives designed to turn out cooperative, relatively better remunerated slaves... what is a poet to do?

But open her store to the store of freely available knowledge?

And so she has begun to do.

A party tonight to kick it off... vintage South Philly. Wine, cold cuts, good conversation... a near look-alike of Penelope Cruz... (well, that's not everyday South Philly... then... what is?) probably her much smarter sister. But nice to look at out the corner of my eye.

Who, other than Ron Silliman, has read even a fraction of poets published in the last 50 years. How to keep up? I am hopelessly behind. But that sometimes leads to a private discovery--for me, tonight (the commercial and pragmatic purpose of this party was to exchange books for cash for the next venture) was in finding in the sack of books I took home, a name I probably should be, but was not aware of... Donald Finkel.

I may not like much else (I bought 3 of his books, so should soon know) but the epitaph in his What Manner of Beast, "There is no abyss between man and animals; the two domains are separated by a tiny rivulet which a baby could step over." REMY DE GOURMONT, The Natural Philosophy of Love ... for one like me... with profound animal friendships... this looked promising.

Here's the poem I opened to, from The Detachable Man.


The mongrel licks his thorn-torn forepaw
doggedly, a dithyramb of licking.
an epic of cleansing.
His wound glistens, naked as water,
as unashamed.

We let our wounds skin over,
a crust of desiccated gestures,
old grimaces stiffening into masks
while we look away.

Then we worry them with our thumbnails,
working relentlessly inward from the edges
till at last they bleed.

... an echo of Kafka's ax...

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