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CJ Martin

Complete Poem
or the Arthur Russell Sonnet
or The Death of Poetry Reading Series

Maybe don’t *start* w/ how memory fucks us up,
all the lang, some good little days
all papered down, half capable of love, comfort,
one time it was just reassuring ppl from
the double number I did on taste, a body musical I’d disrupt,
& if the fashionable lie of a hotel shone then, as if
to say memories of a drive
& prolly parking, then the big dish-washing locomotive cry
& heavy silence I go to (as go-to)
was a real ex-life thing,
& I was like will
& cried of looking, & C. was a dog-mother
& that was life, horrible but alright
, the Jacks just like cartoons, the grass
so still, the country “ours” again, the Sierras “ours,”
our basement hearts so small, touchy,
all windswept off snow & snowbeam,
& from fatigue, things washed down sick,
& breakfast was a lot of cantaloupe,
dinner all Iroquois,
our notebook trash in brass &
pocket-wrtg on asshole Ed,
in the living delay of grass & afterwards poems
like a grass that needs mown,
backdrop to just basically abuse,
the switch our grammar-measure (a bar the poet walks into),
poems worn like a spacesuit, really, a public’s forum
on being moved by the moving image,
& by July, just nuns & flood-the-gas,
trash outtakes
now caked like likeness lost asleep,
like a lost junkie or gigolo,
there was this party when they asked the face
(past dust), the flighty/excited dress
like hips in ballrooms in the dream,
down dusty stairs w/pleasant little reaching hands,
strolling space & wearing fashion,
& we were just about to kick the bucket,
buy the farm or cash in our chips
—there was a sequence of unavoidable calamities—
or else it was a grand vocab,
words for a house as in the Blackmur narrative,
as bit & brass & sat beside her w/mail
to the heart of middle-fashion,
each noise a little noisier than the last,
so this was just like the movies,
I don’t know if there was more to the lesson than that,
or explanation really won’t much help,
it’s just the common work we later went crazy for,
Ash, Colleen, Mark, Les—TX hippies were basically Masons
or trying mamas or maybe
just burglars casing the joint,
it’s funny arabesques, MIX-glistening,
MIX-missed & un-graphed,
someone said we should make the shirt of it,
I hear it now as part of the furniture
(what did a mouth lack, asked a uterus)
, but the last line’s exact, the traffic stopped
for these huge benevolent cows in the dream,
this chasing-ticking feeling of shadow speech
the smiling-brinking boy can’t
at first know as his own heart, being taken for trash—
& goes to earth starting to chase me
over my garden aches, singing trash-country
plus maybe saying some Stevens,
this one time some lit trash jumped
to the pasture & all the neighbors came,
like we’re ghosts to one another when we see each other,
why always rocks/ash/river (gland/strata/deposit),
Joy was a baby she lost she’d sing hymns to
for art, as a kid she’d witness it,
she was “a wonderful witness” she said,
or me I’m just breast-beating & reiterate
that lament was a textual omission, absorbed as of a paltry grief
where the poem’s for high-speed chases instead,
drives erratically then crashes through the courthouse,
I eat & toss
along the basic lay of the land
& then something gets me anyway,
a human regard (grass, light—everything),
“the imposition of showing up as a person,”
where improvising lasts like a brief aside,
it’s when you wash your hands,
all nostalgic for some place,
or it’s slow w/o fiction, thick-heavy w/shape, bass w/o
vibration really, just a background of,
a margin-music, bewildered space
as a kind of lightness (space-waste),
the way I sing w/loudspeakers blasting muzak for ex.,
& some sounds that happen in/as a mouth,
a tendency to living,
remind yourself about that,
like how you been in & around in my lns.
as star-life & stupid lasting poetry,
like the pasture spring, the name-deep classroom
plus just plain loving yourself,
the past explains the present, so for you I’d
wash ashore to hear
where desire/pleasure lurks, oh no,
maybe my best understanding of clarity,
that it was precisely what’s difficult
for me to paraphrase,
cats writing tail-chasing sonnets, & us wandering home, oh,
or I dwelt w/o board, I sat by shady years & ages,
I was born & born by the tented river,
mamas trying after mamas, like life—
oh no mamas (bonneted) stop into a church
& the interest goes, like romance,
some last parenthetical word
I only survive as a reference
to weather, just some shit they threw in, so go tell Bill that’s the measure,
the con was always small (men talking,
free-tongueing Whitman),
or just easy idle chatter aft an aesthetic
easiness in wild Jacques,
a ride on the pleasure horse,
“the non-rapport” I’m over but
that ride in back was sung amplitude,
the name a numb chest coming up
through our pores as bare geological ruin,
great natural
land removes & pastoral greatness parting
on a garden pass, garden scenes where assistants come,
I tell John today how hist. was never much
my thing, just some words like stones the body makes,
glassed down by cameras, mammoth paintings
abt speech as prepared into little earth,
& at the same
plowing grove he’s shooting horses, isn’t he?,
a mustache w/asthma, & earlier
the mind was serious, northerly,
down trees’ years, some basic hitch-eagle
traffic, sticks in place/in pasture,
so thankfully the day wasn’t a loss,
got pizzas & cigs & pistachio gelato,
& this was where the cattle drove the runner,
some trailers shone
up a coast as cost, cast of
the last of body-physics or
ceaseless hungry lang & animal-ship, Homer’s
(superlative) horse, all dust & mouth-pass, all brain
just past the last corner, stand & snort into the wood,
if I let my focus blur I’ll catch their passing forms,
& friends in the grass & mock-
breath, exact as jokes in
the pleasure experiment (for ex.),
to be lately as mine (the love salutation),
a younger person might’ve been more easily seduced,
the come-on saturates then house then grasses,
late-neon workdays, gas & simple double conscience,
the breakfast wig & dinnertime wig/aperitif,
our pronouns plural as a kind of wish
re-assembled on the lawn,
in defense of making just music, as if
buds whistle as dresses moving, as rush
of our/their hearts out there, last prairies grown still over
old/other taste (sought solutions in prose today),
so what if ppl are aching ports, bad lang & living grassland
+ telephone voiceovers, the life past that
of northern plants in view,
& I’m still on a linguistic coast where preachers stop preaching,
Henri’s prose is pure form, better than asshole prose
on assholes, is maybe all I’m getting at,
Christ carrying you on a beach
& in the poems, too: the last 2 lns are a musical awkwardness
& cloudy tribute, there was a want
passing as pleasant aloneness on an open beach
where the tempo refracts, ask around & you’ll find it’s
little tokens of a frenship has gone & us
awaiting updates about breaks in the case I always thought,
how Teresa’s more prayer than precedent,
a spiritual proposition or passage in discourse
(was Julia’s point tonight)—not altogether
elastic, but a real group shirt-shape, waving
folded/feminine prints & country heads—October was
mannered “bastard” poetry & poem waste,
the grass produced in the grass, happy hiding
blind, blasted love underbrush—the glow in anyone’s grass,
pitched wrtg as off-heading space, so I begin all human
like saying “don’t leave” or
how I got from Jean that the mystery’s public
w/the audience as collaborators, the performance
like the way rent transforms a visual art,
there was a family on music-drugs & when they did
German operettas
a counter-bass rang! & chilly wind!
, everywhere I strug & pass & you’re not there,
I’m trying to just casually walk past
art’s intent (publications, gossip),
so here I come w/friends to street topics
as kids sounding an overdub,
all glimmer in glass
like tried-on hats & shades, when tramps made
thriftstore poems in Boulder it was hilarious,
then the Dollar Suite was a station composition,
I break a brick to tease the concert out,
you have words on cassettes, & living w/wrtg as
a country-assed phrase (“lo-o-ove oh love let me”),
the love-magic in Johnny’s attitude as elegy-
to-be-here or something,
then the house lightning, workhorse-in-the-grass or grass
as character in a Scalapino novel,
the beach itself working as nurse or caretaker,
at the rest-stop ppl asking for rain, on turnpikes
& in ln at the coastal passing plateau, so that
I can’t tell am I okay or basically furious,
& the car’s dead oil’s LS again,
babies crying in joy class, hands above shopping bag,
& cop cars passing up over / organized bus-
waiting, flopping like push-grass,
pillows, light
b/w waves &, reading, rows
of surface panic, teargas blasted
/cruising & angry milling
street ppl,
Les Others returning as
le vibraphone, before a heap of gas across a roof (pronounced ‘ruff’),
last night just like that 1 day, 4 times to rehab class,
when Julius was buried just for looking into something
(aft walk at dusk to find bats),
the present become hands in the past, like these
basso clubs, 3 horns/3 bass w/
some added controversy (where’re the hits?),
shortish stanzas in switched-up elegies,
the solitary dream-image of boyish running / pastoral cuts
dressed for ruin in kid tests (for LB’s passing today),
so hold this easy day or two
then read memory as soft casein, or pleasure b/w forms,
a water-repellant mass we ask little of,
the central dread or impasse
(same as use)
& the show’s just talking to us,
we do viewer sequences as social kids,
& when we speak of voice, voice was a real
image-of-life refrain, how I experience pain, for ex.,
or music where llamas sing in the ditches,
sham dolls or how this tragic elder-love creates an ordinary impasse,
we ride bikes to render the romance of persons, superior sex-fights
or big adolescent passion for fixed sleep & passive night, a pastel beach
in popular dark & glassed-in stillness (pride?) now flat
behind clouds,
& life gone out all down around me like a worn sun,
keeping even spigots on bathtubs preoccupied,
love-acting, basically, to reverb on the train,
say living is fussing, but please don’t crowd
that last life in & so-called time in film & western shirts,
8:00 nude flag desecration w/ Bob,
then a souvenir-based laughter,
we mark the holiday w/ withered times & classic anarchism,
big taste, image of tiny TVs ending in sparks,
a struggle towards lap-center as if
I’d, like, lost the confessional, been flung far past hope
-less musing speech I used to could bear, was a pro
& sometimes I’d sing the gone field as abrupter age began,
& words left out like washing,
was prolly just this greeny evidence
that the birds were as yet un
-remembered of an eye, case fabric & nothing-nothing,
me in a corner slouching out past
talk I think, glass looks & missing amazemt,
old ash I frequented in a bookstall
to catalog (basically) couplets, the lord grooms
prose as sextets, but the phrase
that crossed Roseanne was just trying out being pleased of poetry,
they lean in & the poem pronounces
the cloud—structural ash of
light walking as measure,
so corruption’s so easy, it’s all abt. adding uneasiness
against easy fear, sleep
downstairs as the track winds down,
easily & fr confusion of meaning
in the 2nd chorus, clash of
needs & new mamas we leave,
we sing flat measures in the clash, we outlast our own appeal,
so my favorite track’s fascination, warp as method’s
easy-wide course, okay?, fitting well in the changes,
an easy read like this one I’m also in the mood for,
so I’m out cold, touchable as such—fog’s, um,
somewhere moving faster than us,
as invisible archive of fog parties,
occupied as maps, tangles of
the look the beasts do, the ‘oh
my cryin last,’ or under some flowy nets, the passengers
asleep behind the latch, heave breasts in sleep, “I don’t
mind the mood you leave—& I climb on up on occasion,”
to no repose of gridwork—
foreseen like points among a loss,
easier on voice-wounds I brought & nursed,
so for a minute we cast shadows w/Friederike in the pasture (still in song)
as symphonic order, or at least
that’s how it went in the bananas dream,
halfway asleep thr just anything,
all my connections / bright on every thing
to appear all done
& pleasurable,
grass-like, a room picked-up of Polaroids,
& the great familiar breakfast of, say, rose flowers,
lowercased Charles & something still so pleasure-dirty
in your walk, in sleep, but you asked abt. need—
the wool, the tree, the phrase,
the flesh-place under: these monastics,
whereas other ppl miss the country
& me I’m still pining over these crying-disaster wars,
pleasure’s silent hum’s just heartbreak,
a para-tense of the masculine
or the romance of bright warm days, breakfast,
heat pinning us down as passers in a street,
the music lasts & fades in close-up
so I’m uneasy beneath a formal
exile fr. ease until I basically give up & feel something anyway,
“Ocean Bird (Washup),” the shed where we change
thr. ashes fr. leaves,
earthen grasses nearby,
we pass the days as speaking cameras
w/ notes on viewer-biography,
so the price then’s just our ugliness, trashy novels of
composure pleasure,
harsh light on occasion of practice
in the poetry of some asshole,
on view at the pass, the color
over-passing the view,
in facets in grass, like right alongside it,
& cattle in the film all deathless now along hard work,
as legs at rest,
I wish I was a scrap of wind, hot smoke, breakfast
w/ ideas in space like loudness’s last finale,
I feel it as an outline of our separation
where the day begins w/ cops in class,
the flora does a drag diaspora
fr. today to Sat., someone wants to pass an aimless Maine
so fuck the cops & fuck the kid they wanted,
there’s a awareness of boring lit & the strange ideas of boring lit profs
—we cut & dip like youth & cloud sound from past lives
as a little crucifix against the casual case—we go all contrasty
in the filter-maker piece, a globe has
ours as living forms in knitted space,
the din b/w or during class where
we number lg. events as civil acts on love, & then the band’s together
again & attitude is its common theme,
it’s basically just unbaptism, adoration’s pretty long
if not perpetual, as spendthrift of just
co-signed arms taken up
as costume of value in the film, embarassmt upon effort,
the afternoon’s an easy pass,
lustrous ankle on film, appearing tossed (ankle-to-parasol),
the pasture & the pasture-wife, as I look up
was just the funny jokes we meant to be,
pass always on out past the harrow-ends,
my life as animal/trash gesture,
passing before me like a cup, the dim
-inishing rain of thought passing
like dogs, &, like, you & me
was never there that long but
the disaster is I’m just
still asleep on the phone, the pain lasts like hours,
life & power releasing,
& I thought the pastoral a so-called practice creek,
goodbye to a compass, we emphasize friends
& basic storytelling,
visible branch or classic branching sentence
I write up hills as slopes in memory,
the drama figures are tasks in a sea
or a complex of counter-looking as forest preference,
whatever’s left of someone’s coastal crisis,
fr the get-go to be so livable,
the story I was told was objects
staring out as passing-waiting,
before the weather occasion drags us past the visitor,
down glass edge into parking lot,
they’re using words as shapes, errors,
blasting country tunnels like ants,
like warm-ups for just asking for & giving some notes
(the A-side’s ethnography
but the B-side’s
just these natural sands),
the little century’s turned away fr what it was,
we were fibrous as wool & we founded
a body-health, panoramas, say, a written treatise on torment
washing over ppl’s
roll-call in ash, so
Sunday was a lark I was at,
the world where you refuse (beings/plants)
(in youth) (on tape)
, or this version where
we’ve been working fr. (the funeral) home.



CJ MARTIN (he/him) teaches writing and publishing in Colorado and does Further Other Book Works with the poet Julia Drescher, where he published his most recent book, novelppl/practicebk. Other books and chapbooks came out from NewLights Press, Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, Compline, Delete Press, and supersuperette.

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