Thursday, April 14, 2005

Robert Creeley

Once again, I'm about two weeks behind on the news. I hadn't heard about Robert Creeley's death at the end of March.

He died in Odessa, TX, bizarrely enough. Dusty, dusty Odessa. He had been "in a two-month literary residency at the Lannan Foundation in Marfa, Tex., in the remote Big Bend area of the state, when he became ill."

Marfa and Odessa are far from Waco, but Waco is where I heard him read his poetry a couple of decades ago. He was the first "real poet" I ever saw in person. He read in what now strikes me as an impossibly small room in the remodeled Carroll Science Building (which, despite its name, is the home of the English Department at Baylor) that probably seated about 50 people. And it wasn't even filled. He sat down behind the desk at the front of the room, removed his green crewneck sweater, and began to read. I'd like to think he read this poem, though I don't believe he did:

I Know a Man

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking, -- John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.


For Poetry Month, in memory of Robert Creeley.

Oh, why not post one more? He might have read this one that afternoon long ago in Waco:

The Flower

I think I grow tensions
like flowers
in a wood where
nobody goes.

Each wound is perfect,
encloses itself in a tiny
imperceptible blossom,
making pain.

Pain is a flower like that one,
like this one,
like that one,
like this one.


OK, you talked me into it. One more. Very different tone, a good note for ending:

A Wicker Basket

Comes the time when it's later
and onto your table the headwaiter
puts the bill, and very soon after
rings out the sound of lively laughter--

Picking up change, hands like a walrus,
and a face like a barndoor's,
and a head without any apparent size,
nothing but two eyes--

So that's you, man,
or me. I make it as I can,
I pick up, I go
faster than they know--

Out the door, the street like a night,
any night, and no one in sight,
but then, well, there she is,
old friend Liz--

And she opens the door of her cadillac,
I step in back,
and we're gone.
She turns me on--

There are very huge stars, man, in the sky,
and from somewhere very far off someone hands
me a slice of apple pie,
with a gob of white, white ice cream on top of it,
and I eat it--

Slowly. And while certainly
they are laughing at me, and all around me is racket
of these cats not making it, I make it

in my wicker basket.


There are very huge stars, man, in the sky. RIP, Robert Creeley.


Marcia said...

These poems are great!

Shy Ritz said...

these are great poems I also writ poems in my blogs...kinda cool.