Friday, February 1, 2013

The Lock Turning

Sharing poems by Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) today.

Full disclosure: Some of Richard Brautigan's work reminds me of randomly-generated poems. An example:

"The Elbow of a Dead Duck"
by Richard Brautigan

A transparent bridge across
the elbow of a dead duck
beckons, friends, like a boiled
radio station
toward a better understanding
of yourself in these crisis-ridden


But there are others that I appreciate:

Richard Brautigan

"Formal Portrait"
by Richard Brautigan

I like to think of Frankenstein as a huge keyhole
and the laboratory as the key that turns the lock
and everything that happens afterward as just the
lock turning.


"Cannibal Carpenter"
by Richard Brautigan

He wants to build you a house
out of your own bones, but
that's where you're living
any way!
The next time he calls
you answer the telephone with the
sound of your grandmother being
born. It was a twenty-three-hour
labor in 1894. He hangs

Written about a would-be biographer who trailed Brautigan during 1969.


To England
by Richard Brautigan

There are no postage stamps that send letters
back to England three centuries ago,
no postage stamps that make letters
travel back until the grave hasn't been dug yet,
and John Donne stands looking out the window,
it is just beginning to rain this April morning,
and the birds are falling into the trees
like chess pieces into an unplayed game,
and John Donne sees the postman coming up the street,
the postman walks very carefully because his cane
is made of glass.


One more:

More about Richard Brautigan

About his book Trout Fishing in America

Today's Poetry Friday host is April at Teaching Authors.


Author Amok said...

Tabatha, I loved the poems you shared, but especially "Formal Portrait." It reminded me that we each bring our own sensibility to a story -- even one as often interpreted as Frankenstein.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I like that last one - both for its brevity and its sentiment. Poetry is a wonderful source of solace, even on a bad day.

jama said...

Brautigan is quite a trip! Thanks for sharing these today (great photo of him, too).

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

"Tripping" is right, Jama. I liked 'Cannibal Carpenter,' but wow, that first one is an example of why so many people don't 'get' poetry!

Fats Suela from Gathering Books said...

Love the last poem, and that is a quirky picture of his! Thanks for sharing his poems, Tabatha! =)

Linda B said...

I need to do some research; his name sounds so, so familiar, Tabatha. If I find out, I'll get back to you. Thanks for these rather quirky poems. If I needed a favorite, I would pick the John Donne/postage stamp one-just the image makes me smile. Thanks!

Bridget Magee said...

I've never heard of Brautigan's poetry...very interesting! Thanks for sharing a sampling of his work. =)

Mary Lee said...

His name sounds familiar, but if I tripped across that first poem you shared, it's likely I never tried him again. Thanks for finding some more accessible poems to share1

Steve Peterson said...

Wow, what a picture from another time!

I think my favorite image is the one of Donne looking out the window at the birds "falling into the trees / like chess pieces into an unplayed game." What a quirky, but fun image!


April Halprin Wayland said...

I feel so much smarter now that I know a teeny bit about Brautigan. And now look what you've taught us...tantalized us with, really... dangled a few tidbits like that surprising glass cane...and the best way to answer the telephone next time a phone solicitor calls...