Basic Poetics – (David Cope – 5)

David Cope – Three Early Volumes (with cover drawings by the author) – Poems (1974), Neon Eyes (1975) & Waking (1978) – all three published by Nada Press

Allen reading  the (early)  poetry of David Cope continues (and concludes) today

“The Beating” – “The dreamers wake to screams;/ down the corridor a man is beating his wife/she runs into the night air/ …. …. the police are summoned and she is carried away covered with blood/ people huddle under the stars speaking softly” – (Again, a good little description, a sort of short-story description)

“The hat, the cane the tailored suit,/the open mouth,/ the “polysyllabic terminology.”/the latest bestsellers/the hair combed and parted perfectly” – (A little (quick) character sketch – “the hat, the cane….”)

“Three drivers wait for their load./ their chatter pierces the brick wall;/beyond the wall,/another chatters on the telephone.”

“The Morning Sun” – (I guess this is a statement of his philosophy) – “Today I have my yellow telephone/& a vase of roses/ these things are enough this morning, /and the sun is bright thru the window.” – (So “these things are enough this morning”, would be his general take).

and.. what happened?.. 1977 – let’s see if there’s any stuff that…

End of the Shift” – “women stream out of the factory/swearing down the boss and the union./ the shift is over, the long day,/& tho’ it’s a bright afternoon they hardly notice./stumbling below the tracks below the expressways/they gossip & rogue, worrying about traffic./when they get to their cars, /they find them vandalized, here a battery stolen/here, a windshield smashed out/ here, the tires taken off, the radio ripped out” – (It’s called, “The End of the Shift” – really awful – but it’s true, you know)

“Moonlight in West Virginia” – “The full moon, pale yellow in the haze/floats over the mountains shining on stark rock/into crevasses where in dreams light would never shine…”… “..this peaceful light fills the whole car” – (Pretty solid)

“The Old Black Woman” – “On the radio we hear a conversation with an old black woman. She talks the old days…” ….. “All this in a sweet voice full of  humor”

Coquina Beach –  “tall thin grass covers the dunes/ & over the rise we find a worn keel,/ remains of a shipwreck…”…. “what am I waiting for?/into the ocean/the salt on my tongue.

Here he gets political. It’s something interesting, to see what he does with a larger subject   – “Arlington” – “At dawn the guards and caretakers still sleepy-eyed..”…. “I’ve come here to see John Kennedy’s grave..”.. ” The sky is full of jets and military helicoptors rushing somewhere/I recall my hopes and dreams, where we’ve been all these years”…”The day grow full, our eyes full of tears…”It’s time to leave and go on” – (That’s actually pretty good as a political comment, without getting into an editorial. Simply saying, “I recall my hopes and dreams”, juxtaposed with “the sky’s full of planes and military helicopters, rushing somewhere…”)

Well, it’s getting late (and) there’s a lot more. What I’d like to do is..

[Public Address System loudly barks out  – “It’s now 9.30 and we ask all students to leave the building. Thank you”]

ok – I’ll finish it – “The Crypt” – “Duke Chapel, North Carolina – “down the stairs/ among white pillars/ the air is cool/silence”  – (this is called “The Crypt”) – “a kneeling-bench lies before the window/A golden cross, light falling all around it/the Bible is open to Matthew/ – forgiveness and a quiet heart/ Now the tourists enter curious to see what is here.”

–  I’ll finish with that. I may continue with this and then go on to “Piers Plowman”

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately eighty minutes in and concluding at the end of the tape]

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