Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A poem Mike wrote

This is a poem Mike wrote for the literary 'zine The Morpo Review in 1994. (I found it via Google.) The email given for him is at Florida Atlantic U., so it must have been before he transferred to NYU.

Disclaimer by Michael A. Simanoff
published in Volume 1, Issue 4 on September 15th, 1994

This story has no moral.

It has very little literary value.
It tells a strand of a story,
and if you tug very hard you might find a point.
You will not find this story in a textbook one day.
Nor will it ever be the subject of scholarly debate.

This story has no context.
The background is a piece of paper-
maybe even a computer screen.
The only literary devices used are language and form,
but you are advised not to ask how.

In fact, you ought not to read this.
Just lean back and look at the pretty letters.
Maybe even have a drink.
Turn on the TV.

Expect very little
and you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I was trying to figure out what Mike's poem reminded me of, and it's actually John Ashbery's "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" (1981), which, being read again, also reminds me of Mike:

This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
Look at it talking to you. You look out the window.
Or pretend to fidget. You have it but you don't have it.
You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.

This poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot be.
What's a plain level? It is that and other things,
Bringing a system of them into play. Play?
Well, actually, yes, but I consider play to be

A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern,
As in the division of grace these long August days
Without proof. Open-ended. And before you know it
It gets lost in the steam and chatter of typewriters.

It has been played once more. I think you exist only
To tease me into doing it, on your level, and then you aren't there
Or have adopted a different attitude. And the poem
Has set me softly down beside you. The poem is you.