This weeks Saturday Poetry, matched with mobile photography/art is entitled ‘Poem’ by Paul Carroll. ‘Poet and editor Paul Carroll was a vital force on the Chicago poetry scene. He was briefly an editor of the Chicago Review (1957-1958), but when he and coeditors were pressured by the university chancellor to remove controversial pieces from an upcoming issue from William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, he pulled the entire issue and resigned in protest. Carroll founded the little magazine Big Table, where he published the suppressed material; the United States Post Office then seized 400 copies of the first issue and refused to deliver them, declaring the magazine “obscene,” but their decision was appealed and reversed. Carroll would continue to publish work by innovative writers such as Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley. He also founded the Poetry Center of Chicago, and in 1985 he won the Chicago Poet’s Award’.
‘Poem’ – Paul Carroll
Fall a scrimage of yellow leaves today
All over Lincoln Park
Like the mask of the Yellow Mule who travels between the next
world and Tibet inside its house of glass in the Field
Museum by the lake.
I am carrying the night.
I am carrying it as if it were a dark blue dish with stars
for the dinner of the Dalai Lama.
It is the sky two nights ago;
Its voluptuous rich blue looks almost black before the word
for blue had been invented;
The clouds like continents, like huge, majestic prehistoric
creatures moving in a dance;
The stars are brilliant ants. They may have died
a billion years ago.
I feel so happy. It is as if I’m with my wife who’s making
sculpture miles and miles away on Ada Street.
I like everything about her.
The way an angel, say, might look upon this early autumn scene
and love everything about it for its reality—
These trees flanking the lagoon at Fullerton are quiet as green fish,
The pale khaki maple leaf lying on the ground, its veins
intricate as the practice of a Tartar cavalry,
Its delicacy like the penis of a cuttlefish,
The grass pale lime and brown as dreams when they are turning brown
Is almost ghostly,
The way the family album on the table in the livingroom has
a gallery of ghosts.
There is only wonder.
Like the wonder in the worn thighbone of the dinosaur
We’re allowed to touch
As often as we want on the Main Floor of the Field Museum.
I bike along the lake and watch
The whiplash of the waves and think,
I didn’t have to be here in the first place: I could have been
Or cuttlefish. The shadow of that tree. Or been one of the
bees of oblivion
In any ordinary orgasm.
If there were no moon our hearts could take its place.