Alexander Calder, 20th century neglected master, said a piece is finished when the dinner bell rings. Clearly he knew truth was ass-backward. Beethoven’s Ninth is pretty good backward too; maybe better. Poor guy, a captive of his times, pressured by the Imperial Court. He had to code his message but he should have outfaced the constabulary and started with the hosannas and cheering and work back thru the darker parts, slogging thru piles of hubris. It’s clear it’s music about a type of joy that’s temporary. Myself, I always bear this in mind. Anyway it’s finished when it’s finished, when it’s as good read backward as forward. Some agree saying put Molly Bloom at the beginning. Others disagree. They say, when looking at Pollock or Gorky you must always start in the upper right hand corner. And there’s Beatrice in a short skirt. I’m in the subway. It’s always full of Dante’s people. She’s pulling her skirt down to cover her panties and anyway how can she, Beatrice you know, make a skirt the size of a handkerchief into a curtain and I can’t tell if it’s modesty or the metal seat’s cold. How many eyes are glued on her? All the scholars for sure. This one guy’s hitting on her and Virgil’s the conductor so it’s getting pretty heavy here so let’s climb up a couple of circles and talk in peace in a little coffee shop as the snow quiets the streets. Then I’m going to my dermatologist. She deals in surfaces. She has special lighting/magnification equipment to get all the details…
— by George Spencer
George Spencer’s Obscene Richness of Our Times is due out in 2009 (Poets Wear Prada). He is translating poems from the Ecuadorian slam series he started, to be published as Slamming in Quito. Recent poems appeared in CLWN WR, Poetry MidWest, Caveat Lector, Stained Sheets, NewVerseNews, Phoenix and 63 Channels.
Copyright ©2009, by George Spencer. All Rights Reserved.