Friday, September 9, 2016

Jack Scott writes

Charles Potts

We were catapulted
into some kind of sky
together, strangers.
They told us it was up,
but withheld Astronomy.

They washed their hands
in our innocence,
then warehoused us
out of sight, above.
They didn’t want to deal with us,
so they dealt us out.

They couldn’t deal
with blossoming,
or how to nurture those
who are the most of them.

Charley, choose,
I told you
before it’s done for you,
quick before you bore on in,
be somebody else:
Pick! Quick!
Just now
who would you rather be?

“You,” you said,
“I would rather be
in your place
than where I am.”

Thank you, Charley
for that curse,
that millstone,
that fiction to fulfill that I could never.
They threw you on a trampoline,
but you bounced back and stuck.
You rubbed their nose
in what went wrong,
showed them
they were part of that.

You believed the ground was hard,
so for you it was.
You flattened,
bottomed out.
You landed hard.
I haven’t landed yet.

I hadn’t thought of you
in twenty years,
but freshly feel your wound.
They buried you alive, I think,
but they could not catch me.

Where did you land?
I should go back
to measure your impression,
and your silhouette.
Did they name a street for you?

I’d like to think
you lived and healed
and made a ripple,
not a dent.

I’m safe.
They disremember me,
but you,
if you survive
still in their midst,
who now
would you rather be?

1 comment:

  1. Charles Potts was an American projectivist poet. (In 1950, in “Projective Verse,” Charles Olson called for "open field" poetry, an improvised form that would reflect exactly the content of the poem. Each line would be one unit of breath and one unit of utterance, and the poem, then, would be "one perception immediately and directly (leading) to a further perception.") Since his first appearance in print, in “Wild Dog” in 1963, he was a prolific poet in his own right as well as a tireless publisher and promoter of poetry, founding the Litmus publishing company (and “Litmus” literary magazine) in Seattle, Washington, and Berkeley, California, and, after moving to Walla Walla, Washington, in the 19080s, Tsunami publishing, “The Temple Literary Magazine,” The Temple Bookstore, and The Temple School of Poetry, and produced The Walla Walla Poetry Party. A Master Practitioner in the Society of Neuro Linguistic Programming and an Accomplished Toastmaster, he made many appearances on TV and the radio. In addition to his literary work, he was a real estate broker, a director of the Washington Apartment Association, a member of the Washington State Democratic Party executive committee, and a candidate for city council and port commissioner.

    Yesterday I renewed
    Without hesitation
    My permit to carry a concealed weapon.
    It’s gotten more explicit.
    It now reads:
    Permit to carry a concealed pistol.
    I paid $42 to exercise my right,
    $10 extra because
    The previous permit had expired.
    You never know when some overwrought poet
    Will feel like getting shot,
    As the Rabbi Simon once reminded me:
    Verlaine shot Rimbaud.
    If I had a dollar
    For every time some crazy poet
    Walked into a reading or otherwise
    Waved a pistol in my face,
    I’d have 4 dollars.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?