Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pushing Daisy


She Didn’t Mean to Do It
Poems by Daisy Fried (Pitt Poetry Series)
Daisy Fried wrote about on line poetry forums a while ago for Poetry Magazine, and had some dour remarks recording Poetry Fray, the board where I hang my hat and dangle my participles . She evidently wasn’t impressed by what she saw, or rather scanned, and wound up calling those of us who opine and poeticize there “extraordinarily lame.” Since Fried doesn't’t seem to have followed any of the more energetic discussions the forum produces, and seemed to lurk rather than engage, she gave me a resentment, the same kind of distaste one gets when listen to a fool prate about something they’ve scarcely investigated. So this is payback. Fried, I have to say, is one gummed up poet.

These are the kind of earnest and stridently hip posturing that shows up in abundance in college poetry writing classes, with the worked over details of grit and snippets of overheard chatter striking one not as any kind of expression that freshly re-frames the perceived world , but rather the results of one selecting items from a set menu. . One would do just as well with the poetry magnets one can arrange on the kitchen door; if the words themselves don't nourish, one is at least has a food close at hand. Daisy Fried serves up a plate of undercooked material.

That said, I can calm down and say that Daisy Fried is actually quite a good vernacular poet--she can whip up a storm of conflated chatter and have it all echo with a Greek chorus effectiveness of announcing an irony undetected or casting a skewering glance at a future that remains doubtful to other eyes. Of course , I contradict myself from the previous paragraph, but I did say that this was "payback", an activity that isn't, by default, honest, rational, or fair in any sense other than shoring the boundries of one's permeable ego. The truth is that while Fried has room for improvement in her performances as a cultural journalist, she is , all the same, a poet worthy of her publications. A tart and witty tongue lives in the that head of hers. The title poem, below, is a hook-laden thing. Enjoy.

She Didn't Mean to Do It
Daisy Fried
Oh, she was sad, oh, she was sad.
She didn't mean to do it.

Certain thrills stay tucked in your limbs,
go no further than your fingers, move your legs through their paces,
but no more. Certain thrills knock you flat
on your sheets on your bed in your room and you fade
and they fade. You falter and they're gone, gone, gone.
Certain thrills puff off you like smoke rings,
some like bell rings growing out, out, turning
brass, steel, gold, till the whole world's filled
with the gonging of your thrills.

But oh, she was sad, she was just sad, sad,
and she didn't mean to do it.