I don't know very much about Timothy Donnelly except that he is a doctoral candidate at Princeton, teaches at Columbia, and has published one book of poems: Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit. I posted the title poem, which I love, as my contemporary selection in this past summer's poetry challenge. Donnelley's poems have a manic, theatrical edge, his diction is refined, sometimes recondite, his rhythms vary - in An Inflorescence, which I post today, they are almost sing-songy. He has been compared to John Ashbery, but while he has a playful touch with words, I don't feel myself shut out of his poems as I can with Ashbery. There seems to be less private encoding of events, they are more accessible.
Here's a link to The Driver of the Car is Unconscious, it a marvelously nightmarish poem. I love the dissolution of the sequence of words "ash in the eye/and the nose, and the mouth, shit in the pants" as the poem's grip on consciousness gets slipperier. Since I have named this Friday visit to poems and poets An Inflorescence, I might as well post the poem it came from. I love the queeny luxuriousness of An Inflorescence, I hear it read in a southern twang, maybe New Orleanian - and who is it? - a very old man (I see someone like Tennessee Williams or Quentin Crisp), an invalid, or perhaps he's already dead - but still flirtatious and seducing a young lover, though perhaps just in his memory. What do you see? Some of the lines at the end may run into my side bar, you can read them poem in its entirety by clicking on the logo near the bottom of my side bar that says 'subscribe in a reader,' it will access my feed.
A rumbling, a spark; an inflorescence -
Aloha, Hibiscus! You glow through the gloam
in the blank of my soiled and grandiloquent
head, from a bed spread fertile with waste
that has waited too long for your purpose, churned
over and over by the seeking worm,
the nocturnally restless. A torment ago.
I made love to a form; I festooned it
with adjectives: beauteous, consummate, dulcet, plum.
A player is forced to make love
to a vagueness, a layer of foam. A torment ago,
I would not have presumed
your aroma, your nimbus, your ruby conundrum, but a riot
develops in the sluggish blood-pump,
and the cleaving of mist betokens a romance.
Hot ukulele! How do you do?
And you: beamy, beamy.
Where do your come from?
What fire, what flood?
What wild effluvium?
Did your kernel pass
through the tract of an auk
as it flew overhead?
You nod to me yes,
but the bird is flightless, pink coquette,
and I can't believe you.
Hibiscus, mon ame! You are governed by Venus ambiguous,
frilled, and aware of your charm;
should the governor throw
a ball you will be there, the mistress
of many, but pinned to my arm.
I know a valley fair,
I know a cottage there
A breeze is released
from your tropical pockets
Stay, my irruption.
Will others excite you? There's divan enough
for the pair of us only -
and paradise, paradise.
Come to me now with your exclusive stalk,
with your enciphered leaves. There are parts of me
naked and the tambourine grows rust impatiently.
Show me your rootsock, windlass, lavolta: mouth
phrases of fuchsia and the South Pacific into my deeply
attenuated ear. A torment ago, I made love to a form, I festooned it
with adjectives: curious, high-stomached, plausible, smooth.
A player is forced. There's fossil enough to grease any engine,
but a storm develops on the azure plain, but the blathery palms
will down us out that crowd us in, and I will not release you.
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