Thursday, June 29, 2017

"nothing comes from nothing" by John Reinhart

nothing comes from nothing
John Reinhart

which is why sitting alone in the dark
in the silence yields only so much theoretical
physics, so many calculations, dreams
of dreams, phantasmagoria of postmodern symphonies
no one wants to listen to

which is why I start cooking bacon,
frying eggs, the stuff concocted from what my hens scratch
from the earth, sizzling in cast iron, extracted from black holes
by rough hands, blackened faces, the crack sizzle pop
of something

which is why I left the stove on to get my computer,
propped up on the dishwasher so the cable could reach
the frying pan – download a little grease
to cook this poem from something

Poet's Notes:  Campbell McGrath first came to my attention in a collection called Word of Mouth: Poems Featured on NPR's All Things Considered. I then bought his Spring Comes to Chicago and loved it. McGrath writes in long lines that seem like they're ready to fall off the other end of the page, something I have experimented with and found difficult. However, his "Delphos, Ohio" stands out as one of my go-to examples on the effectiveness of repetition. In the poem, McGrath describes a cross-country road trip - an attempted one, anyway. The couple at the center of the poem are expecting a baby and every twist in the adventures leads to a series of "which is how" we came to consider naming the baby...insert place names, popular roadside restaurants, etc., which is ultimately a powerful tool that keeps the rhythm while playing on the power of repetition in humor as well, which is a good reminder of one important poetic tool in an age when form has a tendency to dissolve, which is fine most of the time, but the human psyche still needs something to hold onto... 

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