“John Cage Engaged and Uncaged”
Sunken funkin' telepumpkin Tell a country bumpkin who I am And then let him tell you Both will tell it true Though their perspectives seem contradictory I'm born of hickory and rectory Blind Bartimaeus and insightful inspectory True tale and muddled myth On an identical trajectory John Cage or someone like him (is anyone like anyone more than anyone is unlike?) Said disharmony does not exist Though even we peaceniks are pissed Corn isn't hominy But hominy is corn And care isn't clothing Though care can be worn And all can be born And all can be torn And loved and forlorn And warned and scorned And according to some bother or brother or other Reborn. Sunken funkin' telepumpkin Born of a couch potato And a pureed tomato An almost dead and buried berater Blind hate hater Lover Elater Thin ice skater War abhorrer Saint and horror Mental And governmental master Baiter And sooner or later Repeat reincarnator. I am a living death An awakened dream Ash unconsumed And a silent scream Reconcilable so-called contradiction And factual fiction John Cage Uncaged Inadequately aged and yet Timeless A sublime mess Subconsciously clothed and consciously undressed Said worse and better are no less than best Corn is hominy And there is no disharmony Only harmonies to which our ears And our fears Are unaccustomed
“Redux Isn’t Pronounced Ray Do, But That Hasn’t Stopped Me”
I once said I don’t want to be anyone but me, man, really but then I tend to forget I’m you and he and she and the world is a poem and whether or not we write a word we’re all part of it and each other King Solomon is said to have said there is nothing new under the sun and he never saw cell phones or personal computers as far as I know But what do I know? I never met King Solomon or even saw King Solomon’s Mines though I know it starred Richard Chamberlain And in a sense we’re all this poem’s stars: each daughter, doctor, dog, tree, rock, sun, king, Richard, amoeba, chamberlain, comedian comprised of star stuff, the same atomic matter and energy that have been around since long before Solomon’s time So when you slap down your brother you’re slapping down star stuff as well as yourself because there’s no me except we and we’re as large as we are wee and everything’s relative as well as correlative whether or not we’ve seen the movie or touched a hem and every identity crisis is a closing of eyes and also an opening and may I never write another careless word out of hurt or hate or bravado or lack of empathy but embrace the symphony of all that is and live and love and learn to dance with the stars
Valéry assures me a poem is never finished while Rilke asserts that no feeling is final Dickinson replies that seeing summer sky is poetry outside of any book Cocteau says a poet listens, does not invent while I detect an emerging theme Weary of obsessing about who said what and what to say I embrace the poem’s lack of finality and walk my dog in warm wooded air smile watching him run with abandon
John Burroughs is a nationally touring poet and performer who was born and spent his earliest years in Richwood, West Virginia, before his family moved to Ohio (quite a few of them have since moved back). He is the author of Rattle and Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 [Venetian Spider Press] and over a dozen chapbooks. Since 2008, John has served as the founding editor for Crisis Chronicles Press. He recently served for two years as the Ohio Beat Poet Laureate and currently resides in Cleveland. In September 2022, John was honored by the National Beat Poetry Foundation as their new U.S. Beat Poet Laureate.
5 QUESTIONS: With U.S. Beat Poet Laureate & WV native John Burroughs: September 1, 2022: John Burroughs, a native of Richwood WV, had his life saved by poetry back up in the Appalachian hills. Now, he is the National Beat Poet Laureate and a national touring and performing poet.
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