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Poetry by Joe Amato
Music by Guthrie Lowe

'Life's Horsemen' © 2007 Artist
'Life's Horsemen' by Sandra Scheetz Wise
Picking Up Around the Studio
Living well implies dying well. We have to learn how to look death in the face.
Octavio Paz, Nobel Lecture, 1990 (trans. Anthony Stanton)

As suggested a few poems ago
it's always a good idea
to sleep on it
for a year or two
or three—you know
the standard press
lag, and that
goes for this item too
or reading someone like Ed
Dorn, or Bernadette Mayer, or
watching Fellini, or taking in the oils
of Maria Tomasula.

Shit happens
while we sleep.

So to say a few things now
wide awake.

1       2       3

Let's get right to the point:
(1) What would you like to see in your obit?
(2) What would you like us to do with your remains?
(3) Do you want to be missed, and by whom?

And on a somewhat lesser note:


(4) Are you the kind of writer who attends only your own readings?

5       6       7       8       9       10       11       12

The materials that come out of the earth?
Or out of us. Out of us or out of
the earth? And we live in a city long
for the country. And we live
in a city? Long for the country and we
live in the country? Long for the city long
for a house in the suburbs? Live in
this country? Long for a driveway a
garage a yard where, like Yogi
we can hit without thinking like
Yogi? Hit and live
like we used to?

13       14       15

"And will I
grind my
own beans?"

"And I will
address more

"And will I
graduate to
a congress of
peculiar customers?"

Indeed. Resisting
a thought a
solitary resistance: that we know
what we're doing
when we think
we do. But do we know
what we're thinking or
not thinking
when we're not doing

16       17       18

Hence a preamble to
making the world approximately
real, a realism studied
in failure, and in pursuance
of which limitations, just
so. You take your law, procedure, evidence
and chance, and sometimes it comes up heads
and other times, misrule. Should we build
an ofrenda, then, to demonstrate
against our ends, to celebrate
some earthly need to make
from what just is, say
what is just? Or do we hit
the floor dancing
to see if intellection travels
from the ground up, so to speak
through the soles of one's feet?

"Are these our only choices?"
Most of the time.


Do we have the right tools
you and I, to live
and die like two crazy fools?

And do the discourses of privatization
have an evolutionary component
or is my desire to pose such a question
or to conduct institutional analyses
or to control for certain sectors of the population
or to put such ideas in other people’s heads
itself an effect of privatization?

Please substitute “Christopher
Walken” for “privatization,” and try
not to snicker.

“Institution, electrocution”?

Oh lord, Lord
of Misrule, lord
of commerce.


What do we know. We know
poets will be poets
if and only if
their feet show it. Sometimes.
Most of the time. If you have
feet—and that's no joke
Hall of Famer. We know
the simple pleasure we receive
from a shooting star
and that small surprise arriving
in the mails are good measures
of the mysteries that prevail, those things
that just don't add up. We know
there's a time and a place for
uncertain terms, and it's not
US congressional districts
come November. And we know
that if you've followed us thus far
you're with us, in a word
or three or four
to the very end.

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last update: June 25, 2007