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MochaMike

MochaMike

Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Mating
Norman Rush
The Unknown University
Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy
Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960 (20/21)
Amy Hungerford
The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
After-Dinner Declarations - Nicanor Parra, Dave Oliphant

While hardly a fan of poetry, it doesn’t mean I don’t, occasionally, stumble into/onto poems, or antipoems, that make an impression, catch me up, make me reconsider—if ever so briefly—that I might be missing out. This collection of the author’s antipoems, given as ‘speech-poems’ at award ceremonies (his receiving the Juan Rulfo prize and an honorary doctorate) and testimonials celebrating Vicente Huidobro and the Chilean educator Luis Oyarzún, are compact insights into the author’s erudition, humor, ecological awareness, and deep, deep concerns for people. I’ve omitted some samples that require formatting I’m unable to accomplish on GR, but I hope one of the following might speak to you:


I SEE THAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO FALL ASLEEP
That’s the idea
I work on the theory
That the speech should be boring
The more soporific the better
Otherwise no one would applaud
And the speaker would be considered a rogue

SILENCE SHITHEAD
Two thousand years of lying is enough!

WHAT IS POETRY?
Existence based on the word
Poetry are you
Everything that moves is poetry
What doesn’t change places is prose

But what is poetry
Everything that unites us is poetry
Only prose can keep us apart

Yes but what is poetry
Life in words
An enigma that refuses to be deciphered by professors
A bit of truth and an aspirin
Antipoetry are you

[Untitled]
Peace over the singing constellation of waters
Colliding as shoulders of the multitude
Peace in the sea to the waves of good will
Peace upon the shipwrecks’ memorial stones
Peace be to the drums of pride and the darksome pupils
And if I am the transla(trai)tor of the waves
Peace also to me

THEY ASK ME IF I WERE TO BE BORN AGAIN
Would I write once more what I have written
By all means Ladies & Gentlemen
Of course reserving to myself the right
To modify the form & content
The only thing that I would keep the same
Is the title the Complete Works
Opera Omnia
Garbage for everyone

And the dedication
To God
Whether He exists or not

THE END OF HISTORY
I don’t know
How is something going to end
When it hasn’t even begun…

THE INTRANSIGENT HETEROSEXUAL
Will never be able to consent
To the mysteries properly such
Of the never well-pondered Hellenic culture
According to the author of The Earthly Nourishment

Only for Plato & Co.
Were those dishes seasoned to taste

We vulgar & uncultivated mortals
Will have to content ourselves
With what we have
Unless we switch to the other team

Let the truth be told

AND NOW
Here come a few unavoidable thoughts
On the subject of human rights
The respected public will ask
Do I read them or do I not?

—Read them of course!

—Perhaps it wouldn’t be prudent
They could offend the Armed Forces
That is the State-run Railway

There’s much talk of human rights
Little
Nearly nothing of human responsibilities
The first human responsibility is
To respect human rights

I WOULDN’T WANT TO LET THE TRAIN PASS BY
Without recalling an artifact
That continues to be quite illustrative
No matter how obsolete it may at first sight seem

They’re all dictatorships my lovely friend:
We are only permitted to choose
Between theirs & ours

YOU SEEM LIKE GOD
Luis Oyarzún told
His unlikable interlocutor:

You are everywhere
& nobody can (stand to) see you

SO WHAT’S THE DECISION?
I’ve already answered that question:
To write as readers speak
Period