Mark Lamoureux

From It’ll Never Be Over For Me by Mark Lamoureux

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From It’ll Never Be Over For Me

by

Mark Lamoureux

YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR INTEREST LIES

after Dana Valery

A green veil on the bird,

serrated lightning on the perimeter;

into the milk afternoon flies

the big Wheel, it barfs rain

onto the flagstones.  Like this,

this is another city—now

buds open with alien colours.

You should be in a pink

6-wheeled car, it would have been

so Technicolor, a death match

to the quick divan.  Jewels

of bright Bugs in the grey

climate.  Shiny skin up to here,

the walking hinge.  What lies

within is terror.  So far, Penelope,

a jumpsuit of shrinking veins.

Wait for the last switch.

You thought the light was on,

but now this hurts your eyes.

 

Natural Harmony

As far as I can tell, something like a modern hedge witch, all the chakras in a line, kicking up their boots.  Couldn’t you have guessed that’s where this was headed? Milan to Johannesburg to London to New York.  Ed Sullivan & disco & the most original softdrink in the whole wide world.  Yes, you’re going to love Lenny’s Steak & Chops—lay your hands on me, Dana Valery.  What’s left to do but set wounds, set to spinning the music of the spheres: vibrating Virgo, pulsing Pisces, spine arumble with hot water through the pipes?  Radio, television, peeling back the strata of the spiritual onion.  Big bright eyes, all that energy—the future right there in the past, what we forgot about as the dirty water rises to chins,  wrong energy a cloud of black ballpoint ink above this shuddering firmament.  Set us free, Dana Valery.

 

DON’T LEAVE POOR ME

after Big Maybelle Smith

Advancing blacktop, always

at the behest of

shrinking leaves, the last

of whatever came

before—                what falls

chaos pink & white of flowering

trees, scattered

wounds puckered on rock

turf.        Don’t green to grey,

sail away the ripples

toward shore, banking waves

a klaxon.  Always vectored

continuity, a pointing arrow a sword

like macaroni overhead

that points at sag & fall,

gelatinous jowl

of tentacles. To lord

over just groans. Who once

struck the silver gong

for me                    now going

habitually into

abyss mists           Miss so-&-sos

who were               the greyscale

actresses

now dust.

 

May Queen

In another time, you’d have been a Queen.  Big Maybelle Smith, the Queen of May, The Queen of the Bells, ringing out across those post-industrial badlands.  Orson Wells’ last gig was as a planet in “Transformers: The Movie,” & likewise you should have had your own atmosphere, but instead you did “96 Tears” & left with a question mark, a mystery when everything about you was plain to see, like a tree, thick with magnolias like the one that peeked out from your shimmering hair.  Even a young Johnny Coltrane could not attain escape velocity; you both proved the body wants what the heart can’t have: some sweetness, a moment’s peace, beloved anodyne.  Sunday’s still gloomy & you’re out there, way past Pluto, waiting to swallow the sun at exactly the right moment & to thunderous applause.
I’LL DO A LITTLE BIT MORE

after The Olympics

Transom, what was—

I’m no good.

Does the movie

still play

when there’s nobody

in the audience?

Projectionist, long gone

like the lighthouse-

keeper.  That was then,

etc.  What is

a book? A slab

of grass.

Shrinking & mundane,

what grows from

last light, the clock

the highest fascist.

Grey that supplants,

irrevocable

voice, still singing, stinging

the Sibyl.

A million records, good

only for breaking,

the hungry stylus done.

Prodigal, digital,

has no leverage in this the 5th

world.

 

The Olympics

U.S. champions in “Good Lovin’.” Walter Ward got gold in losing your girl to fake cowboys & gunshots.  Eddie Lewis got silver in the 500m Hucky Buck. An army of judges agree.  Walter Hammond bronze in “The Bounce.” Charles Fizer failed to place in the 1000m run from National Guard guns in Watts, Los Angeles.  Melvin King got gold in losing your only sister to an accidental bullet.  Trigger slipped.  On account of they can’t all fit on the Wheaties box, try a milk carton, the obituaries instead.  Have you seen these men?  Not since 2006.  Angels arrived with chariots full of gumdrops & lemonade.

Poetic Statement by Mark Lamoureux

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Poetics

Poetics is a tricky subject.  It seems to start as many fights as religion, albeit less violent ones with a few exceptions.  Likewise, it is about as empirically provable as religion is.  What is poetry?  What is god?  Do either really exist?  God and poetry have been declared dead about as many times, yet books & magazines & churches & temples still exist.  I prefer books & magazines to churches, so that is all I will say about god.  People like to complain that there is something wrong with contemporary poetry.  Most of them haven’t read much contemporary poetry.  Our poetry needs to change, they say, in order to be of greater interest to society, when what really needs to happen is that society needs to change to be of greater interest to poetry.  Society runs screaming from poetry & complains that poetry is getting too far away.  Poetry that gives chase winds up out of breath & stranded in a strange town where Justin Bieber glows on flat screen televisions & everyone is famous.  We need to let society run spastically into the CGI sunset & leave us alone with poetry.  Wasn’t this what we wanted all along?  That, I suppose, is my poetics.

 

Everything you need to know about poetry is written on air.  This statement will make many people furious.  Therefore, it is poetic.

 

* * *

To put it another way, poetry is a manner of speaking that differs from speech, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t say anything.  Of course it says something, or it wouldn’t exist.  Some will say that contemporary poetry means nothing.  This is impossible since words do nothing but mean; they are meanings in & of themselves.  To say poetry can mean nothing is like saying abstract painting is invisible.  If it were possible for a poem to mean nothing, it would be the greatest poem of all time. In Shavasana in yoga the mind tries to empty itself of itself, but this is mostly impossible; the mind attempts to extinguish itself in a crackle of memories and images, disjointed from each other and not particularly attached to anything—a kind of static that is as close as we can come to emptiness—never necessarily empty, but as divorced from ordinary thinking as we can be & still be alive.  Poetry functions like this as well; even poetic narrative leads to emptiness—a state where language is no longer necessary.  Mere language can only ask for a hunk of cheese, but it is all we have.  This doesn’t mean we should not try to get past language, to outgrow it.  That is what poetry is for.  “Shavasana” means “corpse pose;” everyone knows death and poetry are old friends, even the ones who want to run with celebrities.  A yogi(ni) in Shavasana is like a corpse in the same way a poem made of words is like a poem.

 

* * *

 

I like to write next to things: paintings, songs, trees, people, which is not to say that I like to write about them, but they are there nevertheless;  have you ever tried to ignore a tree?  Or a Miró?  The poems here were written next to a bunch of songs that were popular in some clubs in England in the sixties, seventies and eighties.  It is difficult to say how the idea came to me, but nevertheless it came.  I listened to the songs & then wrote the poems; this is about as explicitly as the process can be described.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc would suggest that they aren’t actually related in any way, but fuck logic.  The poems are accompanied by prose pieces talking about the people who wrote the songs because it seemed like the right thing to do.  These pieces do something very different from the poems, so I really consider them to be prose, although they do not sound much like your garden-variety expository writing.  Some might call them prose-poems, but I call them prose &, ultimately, they are my children so I can call them whatever I want.  Like siblings who don’t necessarily get along with each other, they both happen to have the same parent & neither one can deny this.  Most of my projects are very different from each other—the only thing they have in common is me; this is a failing of sorts insofar as the best poems will eventually abandon their authors. I try to let the poems do whatever they want.  Some people might say I am a bad parent, but these peoples’ poems probably grow up to hate them.  Their poems will grow up to become lawyers & accountants.  My poems will probably wind up in jail.  I am so proud of them.

 

 

From It’ll Never Be Over For Me by Mark Lamoureux

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From It’ll Never Be Over For Me

by

Mark Lamoureux

K-JEE

after The Nite-Liters

 

Slinky

descending

a staircase, yellow,

plastic & full

of air.  Something pale

from the automat,

headlong, sidelong into

the wireless future.

The kiss of a suture,

the cinnamon spark

that eats up

the fuse.  What results

is something

that one saw

coming, from the vantage

above the food court,

where the fountain reached,

deaf & dumb

toward the lacquered ceiling.

They fill it

with pennies.  Pennies

for ice cream, pennies

for the long afterlife.

The mute slot like a weeping

snake-eye.  Multiple sixes

to the nines.

It’s not the end

of the world.

Dance dance dance

under the fireflies, under

the seeking planes, crucifixes

dripping antifreeze,

UFO pips, the stupid translucence

of the inside

of the dice.

 

Lucky SEVENTEEN

Morning, noon & The Nite-Liters.  Nothing light about a band of seventeen whose biggest hit would peak at seventeen, heavy numerology.  Brothers & sisters tattooed by trumpets & guitars, some groovy sans-serif.  Not the only good thing besides Kentucky Fried Chicken to come out of Kentucky, quipped the Channel 13 DJ on November 1, 1972 as he proceeded to bungle the dudes’ names while they killed it onstage in matching baby blue sailor suits to an all-black crowd, PBS still segregating acts in ’72, the real deal not much like Sesame Street ,but it sounded cooler at any rate.  Becoming New Birth to summarily die—they had it & lost it all in the Hollywood Haze, hemorrhaging members across the decade, done by ’79—Nite-Lite(r)s out, enter monsters.

 

EARTHQUAKE

after Bobbi Lynn

Lined up behind the dull chrome of the clouds,

the armies of ruin, prepped to drag premises all along

the neglected ground.  Brown dirt the universal principle

of absence, world opened like an orange.   We perturb

its thin skin only.  What waits for us in the alien core,

geoded bubbles harboring air unblemished by the stain

of our being.  What lies below: iguanas the size of dinosaurs,

three-lidded demons or some abhorrent mycelium,

immortal, uninterested in us.  No shaker of earth,

this God—so who to curdle & still the shifting plates

that sleep below our folly?  Fear always what lies

below, but look always there.  You, named to bury

your dead.  Conjugal bed of mind & universe, the union

so poisonous to skin—that bower that calls to us in low

frequencies, whips up the puddle of the oceans.  This life

a mad dash away from Mother’s arms until we are called

home by the booming voice, inexorable but inexplicable,

but we still too young to answer.

 

THE ELUSIVE BOBBI LYNN

You know in life, some people try to make it, some don’t.  Some keep trying, some give up.  I tried to make it & this is my story.  Well I was born just around the corner, about half a block from Opportunity Street.  I lived 18 years of good memories; I’ve had 27 since, every meal to eat.  I met a boy just around the corner about half a block from Opportunity Street.  He had charms at 20 nearly drove me mad, but he stole my love, took everything I had on Opportunity Street.  It seems to me that I could see there must be another way, but some don’t get another chance & I guess I’ll have to stay.  Now a word to all you people, about half a block from Opportunity Street.  Listen to me, if you lived the life you planned to be, just make about face & take a look at me: Opportunity Street.

 

Statement:  These pieces are from a project called It’ll Never Be Over For Me, which is a meditation on the Northern Soul youth culture in the U.K. in the 70s and beyond, whereby the kids formed this kind of cargo cult around obscure African American soul records from Detroit & elsewhere, among other things.  The book takes the form of lyric glosses on the songs themselves coupled with prose investigations of the (often tragic, sometimes privileged, sometimes unknown) lives of the songwriters.