17 March 2011

yo! eos!

I was very excited to learn that Chris Daniels is knocking out the chapbooks again, especially when I received David Brazil's new yo! eos!. These are Brazil's morning poems, odes to dawn and thinking at dawn and writing and thinking at dawn. There's something really comforting about the conceit: waking up, wiping the condensation off the windows, looking out into the world, onto the street, into one's books. The poems open as the mind calibrates, allowing what's happening in the world to suggest correspondences with memory, books, friends...But it's also a mourning poem, a sustained response to the loss of a father: part eulogy, part poetics, part naked observation, the lines move fast and ring in the ear with the wit and brilliance of Brazil's real-time conversation, in which sparks lead to correspondence, lead to correspondence, lead to correspondence, thinking through loss by thinking through...

Take this one from 12.9.2010:

Walled up by mists & with
a typewriter hot to the touch from its
seat atop the steam-heat radiator,
water is the fact no matter how you slice it,
as I wrote to Alli on the postcard, as I
realized when the Philly poets did a
salute to Niedecker, who was coming up all
year, and why, well, water for one thing.
The crisis in water.
And let me incise on the lintel
Which I wrote, accidentally transposing the first two words,
(which I should know better than to do since MEN's postpositive),
on a scroll of receipt tape I tacked inside my
office door on Ellis St., after hearing Norma Cole read a poem called
"Water is Best" at Moe's, I
said "It's a teaching," & she said
"yes," we
were sitting in the rooftop garden of the
SFMOMA talking about how we always got stuck
reading the first chapter of Genesis over &
over again & she said, "like, what's ru'ach?"
And we sat there for a moment in the silence
opened up by absence, I
notice eidola of trees which
lived inside of paces of glass like
facts that you can't touch.
In no wind or little smoke ascends
in a straight line toward heaven, I
open up the window to
give it an outlet.

And this from 12.25.2010:

"the saintly Vail of maiden white," the
sky a solid wall of cloud like
armies massed against our vision,
which obstruction wrecks how
we would live among each other &
within, I can see individual drops of
the storm that is coming, not a metaphor or else
itself but a metaphor also, & we
find ourself a stray in that abyss of
figuration, by which one's made what, an
intercessor among men, "the
Greek alphabet was the real trojan horse,"
you study all your life to make some
bare conclusions via which you maybe
shrive yourself, it's
nothing fancy after all, a "bare
common," a roadway, this morning, some
little ditty no overhearer would
understand as prayer, we offer to
whichever second person might be
auditing our plight, "gay
transports soon end,"
"for if such Holy Song
enwrap our fancy long,"
we give to them what our hands got
pure enough to hold without them burning,
"false priest that I am,"
& this the warning song, "there,"
Would that all God's people were prophets,
and the christmas morning storm starts up,
A cough, Charpentier, a little white in
bottom center "like a rushlight," go's
in the imperative, "GO!"
And these three things alone remain,
rattling around the bottom of my backpack.

In some ways, yo! eos! beautifully captures the process of mourning: getting up, establishing a routine, working through it by writing and thinking and spending time with friends. So morning poems are mourning poems. As Brazil puts it:

I'm going to write a book about you and this is
going to be the last thing in it.
But the last thing always echoes, dont it,
like the clatter of this typewriter, and
meantime picture me here, out far past where you are, I'm
stirring the porridge,
just like you said.


  1. yes, and how did the book get to you, may I ask?


    Bought at a store?

    I'd love to read these, thanks in advance for the help.

  2. Hey Steven:

    Sorry for not mentioning this! The chapbook was published by Chris Daniels "Berkeley Neo-Baroque" press (http://berkeleyneo-baroque.blogspot.com/). You can contact him at berkeleyneobaroque[at]ymail[dot com].