* Donald Justice & the friday influence

The Assassination – Donald Justice

It begins again, the nocturnal pulse. 
It courses through the cables laid for it. 
It mounts to the chandeliers and beats there, hotly. 
We are too close. Too late, we would move back. 
We are involved with the surge. 

Now it bursts. Now it has been announced. 
Now it is being soaked up by newspapers. 
Now it is running through the streets. 
The crowd has it. The woman selling carnations 
And the man in the straw hat stand with it in their shoes. 

Here is the red marquee it sheltered under. 
Here is the ballroom, here 
The sadly various orchestra led 
By a single gesture. My arms open. 
It enters. Look, we are dancing.

(June 5, 1968)

***

*carnations*

This week on the Influence: Donald Justice.

Picked up the poem above from reading through John Drury’s Poetry Dictionary.   The assassination in the poem is that of Robert Kennedy’s in 1968.

Drury places the poem in the chance poetry category.  In writing this poem, Justice wrote words on cards and picked them out at random as he wrote.

I sense some of the risk-taking of this practice in the “charged” words of the first stanza, and in the phrase “soaked up by newspapers” in the second.  It’s only a guess, but on my third reading of the poem, the phrase struck me as masterfully plucked from its context of what to do about a spill and given a new life in this poem.

I am moved by the menace and epic feel achieved in the indirect take on the subject.  Here you have a poem about a political misfortune that delves into the human aspect of it – how news travel into our lives.  I noted on each rereading of the poem how the word “it’ becomes sinister and carries the emotion of the poem to the end.  The end itself drives home a sense of mortality, of interrupted life.

On a lighter note: the carnations are brought to you courtesy of last week’s birthday celebration.

Bought them on the fly before dinner.

***

Also: I have two poems in Turn, an anthology of poems about seasons put out last month by Uttered Chaos Press.  Copies can be purchased on the Uttered Chaos website here OR on Amazon here.  Special thanks to UC editor Laura LeHew.

***

Happy uttering!

Jose

* a birthday poem

This week on the Influence: BIRTHDAY!

My girlfriend’s, Ani, in particular.

She is from the Pacific Northwest and is accustomed to cloudy, gray birthdays – a lovely scene at times made lovelier by the blooming of the local cherry blossoms.

This year she’s a bit bummed because they have yet to blossom – so I’m bringing them to her.

I am dedicating this post to her and posting a poem I wrote for her back in 2011 which features the aforementioned tardy blossoms.

With these words, may there always be flowers somewhere near you, my dear.

*BIRTHDAY*
*HAPPYBIRTHDAY*

For her birthday 030811

 

you have never needed me

you yourself

 

point out the cherry blossoms

that return in time

 

trembling pink and white

when you smile

 

days before

days after

***

Happy aftering!

Jose

* photo found here.

* post-birthday-post (whoa.)

So.

Totally turned 30 this weekend.

Among the gifts my thoughtful amazing lady showered me with was a copy of Florence + The Machine’s “Ceremonials”.

We drove home from the Oregon coast during a small rainstorm, going around turns lined with green, under a gray sky, with this woman’s amazing voice raising hell up to heaven.

Also: Florence is a Virgo.  Like me.

Also x 2 = We spent my birthday afternoon in a town called Florence.

Cool.

Happy shaking!

J

p.s. Florence!