Search This Blog

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan

I
t's not enough that we have the same first name and the same Irish second initial, my attraction to Berrigan's poems was the rather unbelligerent way he ignored the constricting formalities in poetry and rendered something of a record of his thoughts unspooling as he walked through the neighborhood or went about his tasks. "Where Will I Wander" is the title of a recent John Ashbery volume, and it might well be an apt description of Berrigan's style; shambling, personal, messy, yet able to draw out the sublime phrase or the extended insight from the myriad places his stanzas and line shifts would land on. The world radiated a magic and energy well enough without the poet's talents for making essences clear to an audience needing to know something more about what lies behind the veil, and Berrigan's gift were his personable conflations of cartoon logic, antic flights of lyric waxing, and darkest hour reflection , a poetry which, at it's best, seemed less a poem than it did a monologue from someone already aware that their world was extraordinary and that their task was to record one's ongoing incomprehension of the why of the invisible world. Things To Do In New York City:

"Wake up high up
frame bent & turned on
Moving slowly
& by the numbers
light cigarette
Dress in basic black
& reading a lovely old man’s book:

BY THE WATERS OF MANHATTAN
change

flashback

play cribbage on the Williamsburg Bridge
watching the boats sail by
the sun, like a monument,
move slowly up the sky
above the bloody rush:
break yr legs & break yr heart
kiss the girls & make them cry
loving the gods & seeing them die
celebrate your own
& everyone else’s birth:
Make friends forever

& go away "  --Ted Berrigan

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated due to spam. But commentaries, opinions and other remarks about the posts are always welcome! I apologize for the inconvenience.