Pale Wire (Popscene)

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Books on the Radio

Before the Scissor Sisters' show at Double Door last night, (which was amazing, by the way) I stopped in at Myopic Books on Milwaukee and picked up a couple cheepies. I got the revised second edition of William Upski Wimsatt's Bomb The Suburbs and Vice, a compliation of selected poems by the persona poem master Ai.

I haven't looked at the Wimsatt yet, but all the hip hop blogs sure do seem to rave about it. We'll see.

As far as Ai goes, if you don't know her, you should get to know her, cuz her is awesome. Her writes some bombed-out, emotionally-supercharged, hard edge verse.

Take a taste.

for James Wright

Last night, I dreamed of America.
It was prom night.
She lay down under the spinning globes
at the makeshift bandstand
in her worn-out dress
and too-high heels,
the gardenia
pinned at her waist
was brown and crumbling into itself.
What's it worth, she cried,
this land of Pilgrim's pride?
As much as love, I answered. More.
The globes spun.
I never won anything, I said,
I lost time and lovers, years,
but you, purple mountains,
you amber waves of grain, belong to me
as much as I do to you.
She sighed,
the band played,
the skin fell away from her bones.
The room went black
and I woke.
I want my life back,
the days of too much clarity,
the nights smelling of rage,
but it's gone.
If I could shift my body
that is too weak now,
I'd lie face down on this hospital bed,
this ice water called Ohio River.
I'd float past all the sad towns,
past all the dreamers onshore
with their hands out.
I'd hold on, I'd hold,
till the weight,
till the awful heaviness
tore from me,
sank to the bottom and stayed.
Then I'd stand up
like Lazarus
and walk home across the water.