Hearts Are Broken Every Day
What is so great about poetry is that poems you previously ignored can come to you at a different time in your life and they can hold an entirely different meaning for you. I mean not me personally – when I was a baby my first words were 'lesser Wordsworth', you know what I'm saying – but for you, whose knowledge of poetry consists primarily of the works of Jewel.
And indeed this was a fine lesson, as poetry is mainly about meeting girls. My first summer at arts camp was like School Ties but straight and multi-ethnic. It was not like Salute Your Shorts, it was way more weird and artsy. I thought this redhead was a goddess; this was way before I knew the secret truth about gingers. I spent most of my time repeating my favorite line from American Psycho as justification for my actions: because I want to fit innnnn. It was also the summer I discovered the poetry of Joe Ceravolo.
It pains me to think Joe and I were alive at the same time, for five years. Did I feel a little snubbed? Sure I did.
ceravolo in The Nation
DON'T BREAK IT
He played with a toy they bought
candy She played with a toy
Do not be afraid of the bear
They placed their arms around the bear
Around them the sea
listened but didn't talk because it
can't talk, neither can stars
which emit for no one The gods
can't hear because they are not any place
Friendly the bear embraced them
back. The zoo is a nice
place to live, you are cage in the zoo
In the zoo is the world. Everyone
chews at a different rate and
stars do not emit
I am waiting for you at the
into the zoo
Going back we looked at the few
plastic clouds into the dark moony
Ceravolo lived in New Jersey and studied at the New School. He was an incredible poet who was at his best the less sense he made. When he was cute he reminded you of William Carlos Williams' softer side, when he is esoteric he really gets you just before you're going to bed or as you wake up, the only times of the day for dealing with anything important. Enjoy these poems from his seminal collection of other books now sadly out of print, The Green Lake is Awake.
Joe Ceravolo reads "Migratory Noon" (mp3)
All I will amount to: knowing
your sound, small bees,
the winter wind
Joe reads "Spring" (mp3)
pics from the ceravolo tribute at The Poetry Project
Oak oak! like like
cold some wild paddle
so sky then;
flea you say
"geese geese" the boy
June of winter
Joe reads "Drunken Winter" (mp3)
This is the second day without anyone.
I am chinning against a dark sky
to strengthen my arms.
A picture of everyone I love passes thru me.
No clear light streams thru this cell.
There's no dawn.
What have I gained
by lying in this abyss,
waiting for the masonry
to show a little slit
for my soul to get through?
specialist in hydraulic engineering
I LIKE TO COLLAPSE
Saturday night I buy a soda
Someone's hand opens I hold it
It begins to rain
Avenue A is near the river
PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING
I think you're gonna like it.
Whichever way it tolls it tolls for thee.
Ron Artest on the violin.