Jack Spicer

A change of pace, or should Isay, the “romance” I throw in between the politics.

The Vale of Soul-Making

I’m thinking that she is very much like California.
When she is still her dress is like a roadmap. Highways
Traveling up and down her skin
Long empty highways
With the moon chasing jackrabbits across them
On hot summer nights.
I am thinking that her body could be California
And I a rich Eastern tourist
Lost somewhere between Hell and Texas
Looking at a map of a long, wet, dancing California
That I have never seen.
Send me some penny picture-postcards, lady,
Send them.
One of each breast photographed looking
Like curious national monuments,
One of your body sweeping like a three-lane highway
Twenty-seven miles from a night’s lodging
In the world’s oldest hotel.

― Jack Spicer, from “Psychoanalysis: An Elegy,” My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry. (Wesleyan University Press , 2008)

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11 thoughts on “Jack Spicer

  1. Phil Huston

    I stand corrected
    Thinking
    Poetry was somehow a construct of
    Tales
    Obfuscated by references académique
    Of such distance from the fore
    One could wallow for days
    Fondling meanings like
    Cheap
    Dates
    But I if find it is not
    So

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I’m not crazy about poetry as too much of it, I find, obfuscates (good word!) or makes it seem hoity-toity, that if you can’t understand it, you’re poorly educated. Some poets, or some poems, however, blast the truth out better than any prose could. I even use the medium once in a while, for effect.  Thanks for the comment, Phil. 

      Reply
  2. kertsen

    A remarkable man Jack Spicer who died at 40 of alcoholic abuse in poverty. Those on the fringes of society have a perspective that makes us see with new eyes. Perhaps I should have carried on drinking in my pub crawling youth I might have been dead but nonetheless famous.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Kertsen. Dead and famous, huh? Aren’t all famous people dead, and if they’re not, they’re merely infamous? 

      Reply
  3. kertsen

    I’m not sure what fame means ; are supercelebrities famous? Has fame anything to do with moral character? Do we really know famous people past or present ? Are the famous nice or are the nice famous? Regarding literature we could use the yardstick of long liverty, nearly all the books in bookshop will be forgotten in a hundred years. Music could also be judged by its lasting quality .
    I enjoyed watching ‘ celebrity get me out of here ‘ precisely because it burst the bubble of celebrity fame , or did it make them more famous than ever and I was duped.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Those are all wonderful and pertinent rhetorical questions. To the last line, the entire game of life on earth is of of duping. We’re all constantly being duped. Some benefit from it, the rest lose and remain blissfully unawares… A very few sit back and watch in joy and sorrow over the endless drama.

      Reply
  4. kertsen

    I fear you may be turning into a cynic but I must read again your post on the anthill and ruminate on it for awhile as I walk the dog. I like the endless drama although my part on the stage may soon end.
    ‘ All the world’s a stage ,
    And all the men and women merely players. ‘
    As quoted by Elvis Presley in his famous monologue ‘ Are you lonesome tonight ‘

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Are you trying to fool me here, Kertsen? I was sure it was a quote from a Shakespeare play, ran across that in my one year of English high school… The Elvis lines are…
      You know someone said that the worlds a stage
      And each must play a part.
      Fate had me playing in love, you as my sweet heart.
      Act one was when we met, I loved you at first glance
      You read your line so cleverly and never missed a cue
      Then came act two, you seemed to change and you acted strange
      And why I’ll never know.
      Yes, it is an endless drama and I think we are supposed to put an end to it because, you see, the blood on this stage isn’t ink… or paint. Those who die violently on this stage do not stand up to receive standing ovations either. We are certifiable, Kertsen. I don’t even think of myself as a member of the troupe any longer, nor do I learn lines for a new scene or act or play.

      Reply
  5. kertsen

    I knew you would recognise it it’s just too good not to be borrowed and must have been reused thousands of times. Fool you, impossible for me I’m just not up to that level of deception , I’m like Mark Antony ‘ a plain blunt man ‘ and no orator. Besides I’m not the sort who makes notches on the gun barrel , I leave that sort of thing to Donald Trump and his party who are wriggling on the hook. There is a sense in which we all manipulate each other , not by intention but by the simple act of finding our way in the world.

    Reply

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