Another great thing I was dragged kicking and screaming and whining to tonight was the Tony Hoagland / Naomi Shihab Nye reading, which wound up being one of the best readings I've ever attended hands-down. Both poets were fantastic and funny and clever and wonderful, but what made the event really magical was the poor, beleagured closed-captionist, whose tragic efforts to keep up with the frenetic pace of the poems will stick with everybody in attendance for a long time.
I was going to infringe twice on Mr. Hoagland's copyrights tonight, but his fantastic piece on too-much metaphor, "What Do You Mean When You Say She Looked At You Like A Motel Looking At A Highway?", isn't in What Narcissism Means to Me
(which, incidentally, you should buy immediately, along with Ms. Nye's
-- I did), and "America" is already available online
at American Poetry Review
. So there will be zero charges of copyright infringement leveled against the BCR
I will, however, reproduce my favorite stanzas from the latter poem.
And I remember what Marx said near the end of his life:
"I was listening to the cries of the past,
when I should have been listening to the cries of the future"
But how could he have imagined 100 channels of 24-hour cable
Or what kind of nightmare it might be
When each day you watch rivers of bright merchandise run past you
And you are floating in your pleasure boat upon this river
Even while others are drowning underneath you
And you see their faces twisting in the surface of the waters
And yet it seems to be your own hand
Which turns the volume higher?