TWO POEMS by Jared Schickling

feeding song

global warming

Where a cream sea tears up losing sight of fear joy
of voice the with laugh woods green the when

Or roaring roads sprawl tearing up and gagged,
choke by laughing
runs stream dimpling the and

Where the molecule, that won’t tear up, loses its dull wit
wit merry our with laugh does air the when
Or purple mountains torn up,
losing its tongue in that
it of noise the with laughs hill green the and

Where system, and beds, tear up, billowing cream green
lively with laugh meadows the when
coo about the gagged spot
scene merry
the in laughs grasshopper the C
and emily and susan and mary when gas

(         )
mouths round sweet their with

Where naked, deep “fish” tear up around a light shade
the in laugh birds painted the when
bed’s losing its sediments or burrows
Was collected
spread is nuts and cherries with table our where
Things waited or grew dull & parted
me with join & merry be and live come
you sour monologues by $ (
of chorus sweet the sing to



And we have something to say about them too
their characters are to be moulded similarly to ours
and they are to share the same occupations both in war and in the rest of life

Marriages and children should be shared in common by all and arranged
that no one should recognize any child born as their own
but that all should regard themselves as related
to everyone else

For mating at marriage festivals to them like themselves
and to prevent any possible consequent ill-feeling
by letting it be supposed that the allocation was due chance
to offer the goddess on her festival day a just and truthful hymn of praise

So where is this unrecorded yet authentic achievement of ours that you
heard who recounted to you
the story was old when I heard it and the man who told it me was no longer young

(I wish that he hadn’t treated poetry as a spare-time occupation but had taken it seriously
if he had finished the story he brought back and hadn’t been compelled to neglect it because of the class struggles and others (“evils”) he found here on his return (“beginning”)

Almost entirely ignorant about antiquity

Sd to be the first man
the flood and who were their descendants

Trying by reckoning up the generations to calculate how long ago
sd to him)
(there’s no such thing as an old child

hoary with age version of the truth
that there is at long intervals a variation
in the course of the heavenly bodies and a consequent
widespread destruction by fire of things

water never falls on the land from above
either then or at any other time but rises up naturally from below
this is the reason why our traditions here are the oldest preserved

Whereas you and your others, writing and the other necessities
of civilization have only just been developed when
the periodic scourge of the deluge
descends, spares none but the unlettered
and uncultured, so that you have to begin again like children,

In complete ignorance of what happened,
in our part of the world or in yours in early times. So these
little more than children’s stories

.) But chiefly in gratitude to the Goddess to whom it has fallen
to bring up and educate both your country and ours
yours first, ours a thousand years later

You will find today among us many parallels to your institutions in those days
our priestly class is kept distinct

Being herself a lover of war and wisdom she picked a place for her first foundation
that would produce most like herself in character
so you lived there under the laws I have described
and even better ones

Travelers could in those days reach the other islands (and from them
the whole opposite continent) which surrounds what can truly be called

She overcame the invaders and celebrated a victory
She rescued those not yet enslaved from the slavery
threatening them and
She generously freed all others living

at a later time there were earthquakes and floods of extraordinary violence
and in a single dreadful day and night all your fighting men
were swallowed up by the earth and the island
was similarly swallowed up by the sea and vanished (

This is why the sea in that area is to this day impassable to navigation
hindered by mud
just below the surface
the remains of the sunken island

) how to find a suitable story on which to base what one wants to say

I’m not at all sure whether I could remember again all I heard yesterday
yet I should be surprised if any detail of this story I heard
so long ago has escaped me

And now, to come to the point, I am ready to tell the story
Your story is particularly well suited to the present festival

of the goddess with whom it is connected, and it is a great point in its favor
that it is not a fiction but true history


It’s a question, action.  That it’s a question is born of comfortable circumstance.  It’s there in the work I manage to make, and even in the work I like.  Ruskin traces the gothic from Scandinavian scrap through Venetian pomp.  What changes is the grit of the body, the type and number of allowable plans and surface chisels.  I mean, one has to be really good to pull off today’s disturbing public performance.  Code Pink devils manage to douse themselves with “oil” at a White House press conference on CNN.  But not covered are the foreign students who end their hunger strike with a die-in.  For those of us who do stay home, avoiding consumer choices, plugged in to Congolese juice (we just found the biggest juiciest mineral deposit, Afghani) thinking, what is it that poets need written when no poetry needs to be written.


Jared Schickling — Recent criticism in Exquisite Corpse and forthcoming in Literary Imagination. A long poem, Zero’s Blooming Excursion, published this summer by BlazeVOX [books]. Co-editors at Delete Press, Mayday Magazine, and Reconfigurations.

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