:: Article

Three Poems

By Curt Hopkins.


One icy winter afternoon in Boston
Jon and I were walking off our whiskey,
stalking angels through the Combat Zone
and proud that everything we did was risky.
The streets were empty and our steps echoed
off the buildings in the quiet snow.
Jon could eat as much as me, and smoke
and drink as much and talk as much or more.
My mother was a whore, he said, my father
was a man I never met. My star
is rising, he said, my star will never
set. I am more beautiful with every scar.
Years later, in Atlanta, he shot up
and everything Jon Easley was just stopped.

In Liguria

I think it would have to be shards.
Big hang together vertigo generating vector machines would be too cut up.
Maybe ones written specifically for the form.
Could be.
Like journalism.
Like journalism in between broken bottle topped walls sprayed with sea in Liguria.
Somewhere deserted with torn screens.
Mysteriously bereft of people.
I’m just saying.
Still I think I got a point.
Journalism in heaven.
Maybe it’s a gazetteer.
You write about Post Falls, I’ll handle Liguria.
Liguria again.
Crisp old bleached paper in a field caught versus rotting lichen covered rocks.
Like Ireland.
But not Ireland.
I made a good case for it.
The metal cleat on a flag rope banging against the flagpole and / or a loose metal water wheel crank squealing in the wind, can barely hear it.
Say like a voice crying.

What Is Existence

3-inches tall and luminescent,
a dismissive gesture
hovering above your right shoulder,
I would arrive on the scene
like Gazoo,
Michel Leiris in one hand and on the other,
the more I like it,
the more I think about you moving to Paris.
Then Max Jacob would appear.
We would stride among the increasingly-irrelevant Europeans
a “well-thumbed” copy of CJF Williams’ “What Is Existence” tucked into our novelty underpants,
a look of fear on my face—
all would love me and despair
and disappear with the sound of a flashbulb popping
and then we would laugh
as though to say “shh,”
he would slowly,
hurling imprecations and moaning obscene prayers to their prehistoric gods,
I would stand mute with horror.
If not,
if you marry,
let the barbarians babble and stamp around their little bonfires,
let them shake their spears in savage rage and incomprehension while we rule the world.
Move his finger to his mouth:
regarding them on one of our many strolls along Boulevard Raspail
then what could be more romantic?
Then what could be more romantic?
We would proclaim,
while he wound up and cracked you in the side of the head with his tiny fist.

Curt Hopkins has published poems, essays, plays and prose in such publications as the University of Michigan’s Cavafy Forum (”Denying Cavafy,” an essay on the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy’s Julian the Apostate poems), NYC’s Good Foot and Andrei Codrescu’s Exquisite Corpse. He’s had plays produced at the New City New Playwrights Festival (Seattle), the Marsh (SF), Doc’s Clock (SF), Lord Lebrick Theatre (OR) and elsewhere. Prof. Maria Rosa Menocal used his translation of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca’s “La Guitarra” in lectures and her monograph, “Poetry As An Act of History.” He is currently translating the whole of that poet’s “Poema del Cante Jondo.”

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, June 5th, 2009.