Wednesday, October 21, 2015

David Cope - 4






                                                                 [David Cope]

Allen Ginsberg reading David Cope continues 

"Walking, driving,/ everything is business, nothing is still./ across the river the city gleams,/  voices roar in the metal traffic" - [that's pretty good, "voices roar in the metal traffic" ]

"This is an AMERICAN POEM,/ accept no substitutes,/no surrealism or symbolism, this is the asphalt under your feet"  - [Well, I think he can say that very accurately - great! - "The asphalt under your feet" - Isn't that like a declaration,  an Americanist declaration, such as the 'Twenties poets used to make? 

"Baseball"...  no,  "Two old friends…" - "Two old friends appear out of the crowd/and we're standing in the rain yakking./still I've got to go, & going up the hill/wave them goodbye/turning to see faces on a city bus,/ staring blankly into the misty city" -  [It's a common experience, saying goodbye and, after the moment of rapport, you know, you  look at your friends and they're like corpses!]

"Baseball" - "The farmboy's proud of his uniform/ with the red trim/under the white lights/ he & others play baseball/they're dazzling on the green,/ a hit!/ the crowd stands up mouths full of popcorn!/the ball goes high over the lights, disappearing over the bushes at the field's edge/ into the dark river beyond" -  [So he's taken this little Pop Art moment and then made it into a funny symbolic thing - On the other hand  he's stuck with "disappearing over the field's edge into the dark river beyond".   
So it's literal, but at the same time, it's symbolic, but he hasn't departed from the literality to make a little symbol of the degeneration of this red-trimmed joy
It's a little Magical Mystery Tour, it's like a mind-jump. Is that obvious?

Student: The ball's lost

AG: "Up Front" -  Yes, the ball's lost, you notice, but also, it's sort of lost in the mystery of  "the dark river beyond", you know, It begins. - the kid's proud of his white uniform - "farmboy's proud of his white uniform/ with the white trim/under the white lights/ he & others play baseball/they're dazzling on the green,/ a hit!.." - It's also right on, you know, hitting the nail on the head.  Then, at the end, "disappearing over the bushes at the field's edge/ into the dark river beyond".  It's also on the nose of reality but at the same time there's something magical that happens…

Student (A child's sport too)

AG: Yeah. Denise Levertov does that quite a bit too

Student  (Open-ended)

AG: Yeah, Well, it's just that  'dazzling... a hit!", you know, all this enthusiasm, and then, all of a sudden, it all goes into death, you know, or it all goes into" the dark river beyond" -. There is a "dark river beyond" on the other side of the baseball field.. It's just, it's sort of like a little magical twist he's got, without (emphasizing) the point. 

"An old woman leans against a tree/alone in the cemetery, the wind at her back./ now she turns back to her car/the highway, home, coffee with friends" - Just that. At the beginning he has the tree in the cemetery. .."the highway, home coffee with friends" - (Perfect)

"Evening" - "evening./ a fisherman jerks his line;/ It goes taut/ the eye of the fish,/ silver & shallow./ he frees the hook./ his knife opens the white belly,/the guts spill onto the sand" - [What I liked about that was "the eye of  the fish,/ silver &  shallow" - That's one of the best descriptions of the eye of a fish I've ever seen. I mean, you've all bought fish from the fish store.You've all seen the eye of the fish and it is silver and it is shallow. It's like, just a really accurate phanopoeaic minds-eye picture description of a fish-eye - "silver & shallow" - "the eye of the fish, silver & shallow" - Perfect

"Crash"  -  the cars lie, one on its side/ a rear wheel still spinning,/ & the other upside-down./the bodies are scattered across the cornfield,/ bent & broken on the frozen ground./ two ambulances pull up/ the attendants arrange and cover the dead./ cars pull over to the side of the road,/everyone shuffles,/ eager to help, hands in pockets " - [Okay, so he's made a commentary on one's shocked numbness, selfishness, inability, or whatever, but he hasn't had to make a comment, (he) just.."everyone shuffles,/ eager to help, hands in pockets" - "No ideas but in things" - He's got the idea across without having to make a generalization just by "hands in pockets", he's got "shuffles"…hands in pockets."

"Lines of headlights extend to the horizon./horns honking, flashing lights,/& overhead the high thin poles/are silhoutted before the lavender sky" - ["It's just a little Chimese painting again but it's a very delicate one - ""Lines of headlights extend to the horizon" - 
He lives around Detroit. It's Michigan where he is writing, actually. "Lines of headlights extend to the horizon" - It's a kind of..  It's almost like the Iliad in a way, it's a kind of  classical monumentality to that - ""Lines of headlights extend to the horizon./horns honking, flashing lights,/& overhead the high thin poles/are silhoutted before the lavender sky" - It's very delicate at the end 

"The evening streets are full of ghosts /pleading for mercy./sunset washes the windows red & they flash/over the river, the night comes on/all sirens & bowling tournaments""  -
[that's pretty spacious -  "The night comes on,/ all sirens & bowling tournaments"]

"Detroit" - "twilight, a white bar owner/ thinking a black dude's/breaking into his car/shoots him down in the asphalt lot./ the bar's in flames,/ patrons scatter, the sirens begin./ police arrive & the crowd's/all over the street chanting/gas masks/electric megaphones/ rifles, bottles, swinging clubs." -   ([So) fast (like) a television program! - "twilight.." - (shall I do it again?)  - it's really swift and modern. He's got the whole terror of that street scene - Fast! -  "twilight, a white bar owner/ thinking a black dude's/breaking into his car/shoots him down in the asphalt lot./ the bar's in flames,/ patrons scatter, the sirens begin./ police arrive & the crowd's/all over the street chanting/gas masks/electric megaphones/ rifles, bottles, swinging clubs." - "rifles, bottles, swinging clubs."- Perfect.


However, here's the most.. here's where the observation turns over into the uncanny almost, something so subtle that it's uncanny - "waiting for a bus.." - it's called "Lunch Hour" - "waiting for a bus,/ some laid-off workers shoot craps"  - that's a line!  - "some laid-off workers shoot craps".  I mean, that's an amazing line for (some) poetry - "some laid-off workers shoot craps" - I mean, they never would have got away with it in 1890! - they would have insisted on "the murmuring of innumerable bees" and memorial doves and "In Memoriam" [Tennyson] -  In this case, it's  "some laid-off workers shoot craps"  - "this one's won.." - I'll start again - "waiting for a bus,/ some laid-off workers shoot craps/this one's won, he's dancing around/slapping at the losers" - [ That's weird, but the picture is absolutely real - "waiting for a bus,/ some laid-off workers shoot craps/this one's won, he's dancing around/slapping at the losers" - Is that familiar? or is there anyone that doesn't understand the particular mood and picture and mania? - Glee, a funny kind of glee is observed - dumb idiot glee. It's very familiar. It's a familiar American archetype - this one's won, he's dancing around/ slapping at the losers."]

Another, this is called "Asphalt" - "Two men are shouting outside the courtroom/waving their arms, pointing to sheafs of paper/clutched in their fists/ police appear & escort them out, still shouting/ half dragged down the marble steps" - [Apparently some lawyers arguing] - "Two men are shouting outside the courtroom/waving their arms, pointing to sheafs of paper/clutched in their fists/ police appear & escort them out, still shouting/ half dragged down the marble steps" - It's like a Charlie Chaplin movie, silent movie - A lot of his technique is just a silent movie technique.   

It's nine-thirty. Should we continue or do you have to go?   Anybody? - I'd like to read some more and get over with..this - get over with his work.      

- to be continued

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-and-a-quarter minutes in
 and concluding at approximately eighty minutes in] 

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