Listless in Babylon


Start by reading James Tate’s poem “The List of Famous Hats.” 
Now, write a poem that plays with the idea of a list.


TATE, man, Tate—you’re not a poet . . .
And your silly work will show it.
You confirm what poetry feared
When your muses disappeared:
Tawdry prose and rambling verbiage
Must get thrown out with the garbage.
Modern muses shirk their duty,
Trampling, thus, on lyric beauty.
Such non-verse causes one to say:
You’re why Poetry sucks today.


Seriously, that boring paragraph by Tate doesn’t even pass for a poem.
It’s a dull and frivolous paragraph about NOTHING.

Here’s my offering for Day 7:


Smoke Rings

With a host of furious fancies
Whereof  I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
Tom O’Bedlam

Born of tobacco, borne on air,
Heeding the piper’s fragrant call,
Rising, as they lose their form

Circles waft aloft then fall 
Shimmering ghosts of dead ideals
Magnificent in their demise
(Unlike most human enterprise.)

Wraiths emerge, phantasms form, mutating, dissipating; organic ephemera swirl and dissolve, interpenetrate in airborne Eros, a pas de deux to the power of three, wherein polylectic philosophy is revealed as a dissolving circle:

Rings must rise. There are fires to stoke:
An unnameable emotion
Mutability in motion…
Pipe enthroned in seraphic smoke.
The glowing altar: an abyss
As coals illuminate the dark
The wicked burn: a smoldering spark
Below the briar’s rim, a hiss . . .
Omniscience, celebrated, burns
To send forth children on the air

While grace eternally returns
Specifically to . . .  everywhere.
Exhaled, philosophy’s sad ghosts
Bow down before the Lord of Hosts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.