Page 1

9

51500

780988 607705

monkeypuzzlepress.com

Monkey Puzzle Press

ISBN-10 098860770-0 ISBN-13 9780988607705

Reed Bye

Catching On gives the reader permission to open the hidden blue highways of their imagination and the strength to understand their complexities and truths. With his virtuosity of language and prowess to frame an impermanent moment, Reed Bye exposes the hidden use of the apostrophe and the powerful kinetic energy of silence. Catching On is undoubtedly “A joyous occasion.�

Catching On

poetry - $15

Catching On

Reed Bye


Catching On

Reed Bye

Monkey Puzzle Press Harrison, Arkansas


Copyright Š 2013 by Reed Bye All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief excerpts. Printed in the United States of America. Cover Art & Design Alexis Myre Book Design Nate Jordon

ISBN-10: 0-9886077-0-0 ISBN-13: 978-0-9886077-0-5

Monkey Puzzle Press

424 N. Spring St. Harrison, Arkansas 72601 monkeypuzzlepress.com


For Dorothy Bye Parmalee


Table of Contents As snow begins Something like that Somebody has lived with somebody (herself) Instinct never wavers While still young enough you should probably A simple dichotomy like cats eyes Walking through cornfields Look ma, no hands! What things where they are matter most? Two days later, spring is here Separate my travelogue from its ordering agency? The day after you fell off your stool OK to crawl in the street What did you want to say? Before light hits the lilac What would be trusted? Who will trust? Very much so, with castanets

1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 17 18 20 21


My love has a ways to go Thinking “what have you learned from them” This morning’s content comes from Sarasvati When angrily she threw a roll of masking tape into the trash The next mallard’s sadness Flowered or plain, the difference Impure the looking And that is why I say it never stops Why am I thinking of you reading this Let’s not congratulate ourselves Sometimes you wonder about Language is sick. Ridiculously This morning’s blessing Flit and flicker, peep and tune Mood intervenes I placed a tissue on a tombstone Nobody knows— A sip of tea Whose miracle lives inside

23 24 27 28 30 32 33 35 37 39 40 43 45 48 49 50 52 53 55


Preface People use the term “pure-poetry” – usually when they’re talking about something other than poetry, maybe the flight of a goldfinch or the expression on a baby’s face. Here, in Catching On, we have poetry itself that’s virtually “pure poetry.” Note: in the 19C, Poe, Baudelaire, and others supported an extremely lyrical sense of “pure poetry””; unfortunately, their successors have allowed this sense to degenerate into forms of verse that, paradoxically, establish their lyricism by proclaiming it. What a pure (mostly musically-acute) poetry might be relative to music and beauty now has shifted from the standard melodious into juxtapositions of sound and/or sense, more surprise-laden and atonal. I mean that much produced poetry, including excellent, famous work, seems a blend of pure-poetry in its post-modern sense (i.e., more atonal than standard melodious) and a lot of intellectual superstructure – devices to ensure continuity of thought, within the poem and in poetry history, according to the cultivated


taste of the moment. Poetry itself seeks to unveil, or at least shine black light on, some of the secrets covered up by the modesty of common discourse. These revelations, I think, are both developed and overdeveloped by the temporal agreements of the poetry world(s). Some poets sneak away from these agreements (and remain semi-hidden themselves even as the work reveals). Reed Bye is such a poet. His new book, this one, from Monkey Puzzle Press, goes beyond his previous books – including Some Magic at the Dump and Join the Planets, which are profoundly, sometimes tragically, funny inchings- and footings-along of language and life – in apprehending what happens in poetry of its own accord. Partly, he does this by intentionally omitting the ironic gestures of deixis. Bye wrote the Catching On pieces over a year of utilizing his waking-up time for the purpose. “There’s a way in midnight, when death comes flipping and a-rolling,” sang the 1920’s religious-blues streetsinger Blind Willie Johnson. And, by dawn, ways to flip, roll, slide out of it. Bye’s book is full of what he calls light takes, almost


apologetically. I suggest that his “light” is as much the noun (light) as the adjective (not heavy). Case in point: Something like that with knobs on, flowers identified later in combustible cognition, ratios carried ahead on flatbeds Smiling faces going past – the lonely ensemble – To what degree have I attached false attachment to this cornfield? I’m asking you palatial faces of dust in sweat blankets for the time being Crash, the scimitar wanted to find something delicate True, she ran back to her old familiar and felt for the flowers. No holding onto old dilemmas Everyone faces them coming and going


Bye’s poetry snips precisely, and gloriously carelessly, away at our assumptions of coherence. I think this poetry book is a life-changer. Let’s say life is a stutterstep of little visions (plus what we do about them). Let’s say a vision can be an average window shot; let’s say there’s always a little wind of some sort; let’s say you need a snapshot of the moment so it can settle again – Bye’s present poetry might lead the way. I “preach detail” (a workable, necessary oxymoron) in teaching poetry, but there’s a new highlighting of detail in Bye’s work. Let’s call it details of the wind. It comes in the surprises between one surprise and another, rather than in the calculated reality of, say, “a reddish-brown shoelace from Des Moines.” In “rations/ carried on flatbeds,” the syllables develop the personalities. Half of him is collaborating with another half of him. I believe this is genuine postmodern poetry, in being nonprogrammatic. Everything’s a slant opposite of everything else. At least that kind of sense – that it’s all disjunct AND, concurrently, closely related – is a good way of starting


any minute’s morning. I told Jason MacDonald, over coffee, about Catching On, and he said that Reed Bye’s poetry seemed to him like looking at clouds. (Note: clouds are not cloudy.). - Jack Collom, 2012 -


Catching On


Catching On

As snow begins the rest of time’s already open There will be no new eye looking out tonight as love calls, you’re alone crashing on the snow white deck Majesty walks in deliberate strides She almost sails that is the virgin snow of air as she goes simply off course under care of heaven somewhere in the deviant scale beggars can’t be choosy nor is she entering your mirror now about to paint fresh red the walls

1


Reed Bye

Something like that with knobs on, flowers identified later in combustible cognition, ratios carried ahead on flatbeds Smiling faces going past-The lonely ensemble-To what degree have I established false attachment to this cornfield? I’m asking you palatial faces of dust in sweat blankets for the time being Crash, the scimitar wanted to find something delicate True, she ran back to her old familiar and felt for the flowers. No holding onto old dilemmas Everyone faces them coming and going

2


Catching On

Somebody has lived with somebody (herself) for some time and although you see her and think it is impossible she has an ordinary existence day in and day out, for many years like yours, it is, you come to see, most possibly the case that that is so and what is more, that you know so little of the world outside’s patterns in which she, tall, slim long legs and boots, face gently pursed in fractal thought of passage, moves from Special Collections with a lidded steel cup, suddenly is such foreign presence it makes the world too much to think to comprehend, or see as one, or one’s

3


Reed Bye

Instinct never wavers It doesn’t have recall but intimate distance carries power of concentration It contacts lonesome Joan for instance as she is today on the street We all can feel that bird wing on the back When time comes you get so few chances to note the dates on cornerstones Back door, live wire Trails lost or taken again, her museum face with those distinctive purple shadows-Orders of intuition

4


Catching On

No plan or pertinacity No wedge but some limit shining in the morning, pale straw warmth collecting, now for later purple shadows

5


About the Author

Reed Bye’s published poetry includes the books Join the Planets: New and Selected Poems, Passing Freaks and Graces, Gaspar Still in His Cage, and Some Magic at the Dump. A CD of original songs, Long Way Around, was released in 2005 and a new CD, Only Imagination, is in the works. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies including Nice to See You: Homage to Ted Berrigan, The Angel Hair Anthology, Sleeping on the Wing, and Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action. He holds a doctorate in English from the University of Colorado and teaches poetry writing workshops and courses in classic and contemporary literary studies and contemplative poetics at Naropa University. He is presently working on a prosodic study of the poetry of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams.


9

51500

780988 607705

monkeypuzzlepress.com

Monkey Puzzle Press

ISBN-10 098860770-0 ISBN-13 9780988607705

Reed Bye

Catching On gives the reader permission to open the hidden blue highways of their imagination and the strength to understand their complexities and truths. With his virtuosity of language and prowess to frame an impermanent moment, Reed Bye exposes the hidden use of the apostrophe and the powerful kinetic energy of silence. Catching On is undoubtedly “A joyous occasion.�

Catching On

poetry - $15

Catching On

Reed Bye

Catching On  

A sample of CATCHING ON by Reed Bye. CATCHING ON gives the reader permission to open the hidden blue highways of their imagination and the s...

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