Monday, April 11, 2005

Two from Richard Brautigan.

When I was in high school, my all-time favorite poet was Richard Brautigan who I discovered through his prose novel, Trout Fishing in America, which everyone seemed to be reading at the time.

Brautigan's cynicism, which I suspect later dissolved into full-time despair, appealed mightily to the 17-year-old reader. I can still quote most of "The Rape of Ophelia," as well as "The Horse that had a Flat Tire," even after 35-odd years, and I once ruined a perfectly good intimate moment with my then-girlfriend by reciting the title poem of "The Pill versus the Springhill Mine Disaster" to her at an inopportune time.

When you take your pill
it's like a mine disaster.
I think of all the people
lost inside of you

Like the Michelob Amber Bock commercial's character, the young Fred was literate, but not smooth.

I've mellowed, I guess, or romanticism has taken ascendancy over cynicism as I age, but I like Brautigan's more romantic, erotic poetry much better now than his semi-funny, semi-sad pieces. Two of those poems are reproduced below. I should probably note, probably mostly for the sake of my brother who may not want to explain certain things to Electra yet, that both the poems contain, ah, adult content, and may not be appropriate for younger readers. Having said that, I especially like "The Beautiful Poem," which beautifully summarizes most males' feelings, I think, after making love.

For those interested in reading more by Brautigan, including the poems I mention above, you can still buy most -- if not all -- of his works at Amazon. Selected poems are also available on-line, I guess as bootlegs, here. I tend to agree with the person running that site that it's better to have Brautigan remembered in cyberspace than have his estate's copyright fully protected. But Brautigan might not have agreed.

Richard Brautigan committed suicide at age 49 sometime between mid-September and late October, when his body was finally discovered, 1984. He shot himself with a .44 handgun as he faced the ocean.



For M

The sweet juices of your mouth
are like castles bathed in honey.
I've never had it done so gently before.
You have put a circle of castles
around my penis and you swirl them
like sunlight on the wings of birds.


I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
about you.

Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis

Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
feel beautiful.

-- 3 A.M.
January 15, 1967

Richard Brautigan, both poems originally published in "The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was sixteen, I took an after school poetry class in community school. We met in an old 1920's house on Southside. The teacher was a poet/professor from the local university. I was so young my mother had to drive me to and from class. Everyone there was older, and wiser, and hipper than I, but I made a discovery that summer. Richard Brautigan spoke to me, whispered directly in my ear, and I was ready, so ready to listen--primed for the possibility of poetry. RIP, R.B.