good cleaning, bad poetry

I keep finding things as I clean out the cobwebs of the new mac (Clio), leftovers from the transfer of the dead mac's data (Glinda the Good Witch). By things I mean writings. Little poetic nibblets I try to place into some context. Given my melancholic nature, I could have written them at any time, but combined with my need to close doors in verse, I would assume they all bear some sort of date-stamp of my comings and goings. The "you"'s are likely direct addresses, even if, like all such attempts at addressing, there are many addressees, many receivers, and the wonderful chance of destinerrance.

They are all bad, in any case, these little things: that's certain.

What about this one, which I found in a series having seemingly the theme of being up all night, for example?

what do you care if I say what I have to say
speech is my weakness
search now or search later
you’ll find me in your shoe
you don’t even know how to look

so many nights end like this without end
I hate to be your cliché

you look away because
you know how to
but what you don’t know
you think I have

There is a name I think belongs to this. There is, of course, the obvious Vallejo reference (the shoe, the seeking in the everyday object). There is the Lacan (the subject-supposed-to-know, being or having the phallus). And now I think this "you" is me, that I've addressed myself from the position of another; accused myself of being incapable of looking, except for looking away.

In the same series (and by series, I simply mean within the same word document, separated by a string of &&&&&&& signs), I find this little snippet.

there are nights voluminous
with my longing

there are days that knock at the back door
with my functioning

it is never too much when you want it

Again, a hint of Vallejo. Coupled this time with Sappho? Or is that accidental? It reminds me of the recent reader's report I got to an article on Stendhal that suggested that the article had been translated from the French. An odd insult which I took rather as a compliment. What tell-tale traces marked it as enmeshed in a French that was only channelled (not translated)? That is a bit like the feeling of the Sappho I get here -- a fragment, missing something, translated from an archaic idiom -- it makes everything perhaps both more blunt and more mysterious than it need have been. But seriously -- voluminous nights? A new low. On the other hand, certainly I recognize here the feeling of being cursed with functioning; the lack of collapse or total breakdown; the desire that keeps growing because of this.

And, finally, the piece de resistance in this found triptych of bad writing:

We feed each other ugliness with dime-store spoons
the soft gurgle of your throat’s drunkenness interrupts a peal of laughter

We cling to each other’s extremities with bloated attachment
a confused cupid sits gaping and cross-eyed in the fireplace

It’s a processional of miserly misnomers--
a litany of lingering impossibilities

We don’t even know how to desire what desires us
the long jagged straws begging for a match

As my questions litter the ashtray
your need crushes the cigarette’s last ember

Beauty, beauty --
and our ugliness grows fattened like veal

I have no idea what to say here. This is really bad, but it evokes the most feeling from me. I can feel the sad and pointed disgust, the exhausted accusation of the 'we'. I think this one is perhaps most directly about B, the artist, whose desire for beauty was so strong, but even stronger must have been some secret sensation that beauty could only exist if he hollowed a place out of himself and filled it with pain and shit. But I'm not sure this had anything to do with that relationship. It may well have been written before it, for all I remember.

My hard drive is full of these things. Some of them I remember well -- a big spurt of writing from Paris left pages and pages of poems in its wake -- others I recognize only by guessing at which poet I'm aping, which lover I'm mourning, which "you" of the me I'm accusing. Even bad poetry has its place.