Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not enough

Does anyone know of a poem that ends with a line something like, "but only a little, and not enough"? It's used in a wry way to refer to something like death or pain, I am pretty sure. I convinced myself it was from a Dream Song but I can't find it in Berryman's oeuvre. I thought, too, that either Kathy or John would know where it's from but they did not. No help from Twitter, either. It's driving me starkers.

As part of my search I found this old "remix" I did of Dream Song 118.

118 Remix
After John Berryman
He asked himself, Am I having fun? How would I
know? The dancing was tiring,
young alien bodies slamming & prodding
from every side. He felt if he were still himself
he'd find some dim alcove for two 
and perform out of self-love & -loathing
a glam murder-suicide, redundant
in action but not intention. This paisley loveseat's
the colors of blood & semen, and anyway
who would see him?—Aha, 
one hot girl hovered apart from the crowd
on the floor of the club, a superpowered girl,
caped in stealth, who turned everything she looked at
transparent, impossible to touch.
His hand went right thru himself.

Most peculiar. Anyway, on the topic of poems: Kathy & I have two collaborations in Hobart today: "Some Notes on Sex" and "Secrets to Achieving Intimacy." Also, I wrote a very brief piece against bananas for the food issue of The New Inquiry, but note that it's subscriber-only ($2 per issue).

Happy Hump Day.

UPDATE: Here is the poem I was talking about. It's by my friend Chad Reynolds. I knew it had to be either by someone famous or someone I know, because I had the feeling that I had read it many times. Turns out, I published it, though Issue 3 of Absent is apparently offline.

Victor at the Movies  
Images forcing themselves
on Victor, pressing against him 
is exactly what he came for,
this erasure of sense and self,  
suspension of disbelief—
it’s why he sinks lower  
into stadium seats: to be
buried in a cemetery of moving light,  
the coffin’s wall the screen….
Then the movie ends and there he is,  
walking back up the aisle
with empty bucket and cup—  
he’s died, but only a little,
and not enough.

As good as Berryman, I say.


  1. I started re-reading The Dream Songs on Monday. The plan is to read 10 a day until they disappear.

    1. Well let me know if you find this line, for the love of Christ.

  2. It's from "Victor at the Movies" by one Chad Reynolds. What do I win for figuring that out?

    1. How did you figure it out?

    2. I asked on Facebook if anyone knew, and Chad responded!

    3. I hope he was flattered that I confused him with Berryman. Also I owe him an email!

  3. He says it was in Absent originally, but he can't find the link, but it's posted here:

    1. OH!!!!!

      YES! Thank you! Old issues of Absent seem to have fallen into the atmosphere. That's sad. I have no control over it.

      Chad. Of course. I knew it was from a series, and someone wry. Luckily I have a copy of his manuscript. I'll post the poem here.

  4. Surprised your internet boyfriend, the dude with the acne, hasn't commented on this to white knight your brain lapse.

  5. the whole book of "Victor" poems by Chad Reynolds is recommendable . . . and this particular one is as good as you say it is, in my opinion . . .

    1. Yes, it is wonderful, and out of print, which is why Chad needs to get a "Collected" out post-haste.

  6. Thanks, Elisa, Kathy, and Bill.

    The Victor poems are the middle section of my current manuscript. Sure would be great to get it published in 2013.