Thursday, October 4, 2012

THAT'S A POEM, from napkin to printed page . . .

I was invited to Shiprock at the Navajo Community College to talk to Robert Hurley's journalism class and read my poetry to a very responsive audience of mostly Diné . . . in the morning I had breakfast at the THATSABURGER and while sitting there entered the dreamy world of paradise (it seemed) and wrote this poem on napkins . . . (the typed text follows the napkins) . . . 

                       THAT'S A POEM

How do you write a poem. Poem on a napkin.
Think about the size of the paper you're writing on.
If you're doing it in your brain only, there's no limit to
     the length of the line you're going for
But on this here napkin they gave me at the Thatsaburger
I've got about 5 inches from left to right.
5 inches to write what my brain thinks &
      translates from brain language into American English
         and if my brain thots keep going in a long
            sentence I've got to wrap the writing of it
                back to the left margin, indenting
                   each time so I have a stepped
                      stack of words, diagonal
                         in until I've just
                            about run out of

So I've got to wonder if this is a poem or not
What would any other language have for the word poem
or would there be no word at all in some tongues
for poem!
And then how would you write one: I guess you
     wdnt bother.
So why write a whatever it is.
I've got this napkin and I've got this Bic Micro Metal 
      ballpoint pen
And I've been called a poet for so damn long
I don't know what else to do in a situation like this.
I've finished my ham, egg, cheese on whole wheat toast

2nd napkin!
By the way if you write on a napkin, put another napkin
      under it because the ink bleeds through the one
      you're writing on.
And I've finished a couple cups of coffee, refills free!
Got a little container of milk so I can have that in my coffee
instead of that damned non-dairy creamer. 
And I must say two-thirds the way through my breakfast sandwich
it was so good and the light was so clear
and the place seemed so open & spacious with its
      blue & white tile floors
      and the Navajo guys & gals & that little baby
      were all so enjoying their breakfast
      the infant was just sleeping
that somehow I felt like I was in heaven.
How could there be any more in life than
sitting here in perfect contentment.
But what is perfect
and is there any such thing as heaven & can it be attained
right here in this corner booth at the Thatsaburger
in Shiprock New Mexico.
If you want to know the truth the astounding presence
      of that gigantic volcanic core spectacular rock
      Shiprock, rock-with-wings,
      is so present in my thots tho I can't see it directly
      from where I sit
That I must get up: it is so overwhelmingly there.
I want to see it.
Is there perfection, is there any kind of heaven.
There is a kind of perfection, there is a kind of heaven.
I just experienced it.

3rd & final napkin!
But is there a poem. What is this thing.
Why did I write it.
maybe it's just a letter
like my Grandma Goodell used to write
to all her brothers & sisters
maybe it's just a way to bridge
the gap from me to you.

larry goodell / Shiprock, New Mexico 3Feb94

People really did laugh at my wordplay poems
and especially my poets reading spoofs . . . 

& nature & gardening . . . audience 
almost entirely Native American.
TumbleWords brought writers/poets to local communities in  Southwest states . . . this is University of Nevada Press, 1995 and "Thatsapoem" is included . . . 

No comments:

Post a Comment