Monday, June 4, 2012

"The Eyeless Night Will Rob You of Your Road," Charles Plymell

 Charles Plymell

"The Eyeless Night Will Rob You of Your Road"
Charles Plymell

Jewels of nature are no longer found along the
roadside, no scraps of tin from ancient tinker man
they buried now by the tossed Budweiser can
and  reflective shards of bottle moonlight glint
distant bulb kitchen light alone on prairie sod
like a lantern flicker in the corner of the night.

Rusty diner neon signs gone with waitress love
an apron in roadside rubble cactus blossom rot
lost kiss against numb thruway battered cheek
the gas attendant gone, the sunflowers tip their
heads to sundown and pack the night mysteries
of the universe so tight a flirt of coffee cup drips.

No thought given void and matter if truth did beckon
words stuck to vipers tongues ready to strike if
banned from new vocabularies of the smart phone.

The denver sandwich now the western omelet
and menus the extent of word consciousness
of dead walking in human form ghostly rhythms
of the earth leaking like contents of a broken jar
one thing no longer illuminates another dead end.

"The Eyeless Night Will Rob You of Your Road" appeared at Rusty Truck, which is curated by Alan Catlin. Plymell moved to San Francisco in the early 1960s and became friends with the Beat poets, sharing a house with Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassady. Plymell taught at a Quaker school near Philadelphia and then in upstate New York, and wrote that "Sometimes with lower grades ... I would use a book of Magritte plates I had separated to pass around. These were already visual juxtapositions so any descriptive words came out poetry." His many collections include Hand On the Doorknob  (2000) and Some Mothers' Sons (2005), a book of poems and photographs. Of his early writing career he states:  "I was moved to write a book of poetry by a third grader. She was playing at recess with our class on a beautiful spring day. The grass was high and the kids were picking clumps of it and throwing it on others and rolling in it. I thought it irresistible poetic play, so I rolled in the grass and put a bunch of it in my hair. When I stood up, the little girl approached me with a puzzled look, eyes squinting in the sunshine and asked in an very inquisitive tone trying to determine a grown-up and asked simply, “Are you a kid?” I titled my book that."

(Photo of Charles Plymell by Phil Scalia from the site Desolation Angels)

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