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Friday, 11 January 2008

Poem by Todd Colby

Eyewear is pleased to welcome Todd Colby (pictured) this Friday. Colby is a poet whose name could profitably be invoked at the start and end of any review of poetry (particularly in the UK) which concerns itself with words and phrases like "urban", "witty", "edgy", "hip", or "innovative". I am glad to have anthologized his work over the last decade. He has made himself indispensable to the future of a poetry that navigates by the stars of, yes, O'Hara and Co., but also is aware of Mr. Bernstein (the one in Citizen Kane, too) - but finally, teeters off the edge of the known map with his own post-punk contemporaneity, energy and - don't deny it! - sheer verve, panache and fun. So: a bit of individual with the tradition here. His advocates include Thurston Moore and Jim Carroll, so you know we're treading thrillingly. I often find myself counting to ten (as steam shoots out my ears) when I realize how little interest is shown, in London, World Capital of Poetry Inc., in the kinds of very invigorating, brave and broad poetries now surging in America: the cutting-edge writing that gets published by places like Soft Skull Press, which is pretty much as oppositional to the mindset of the Military-Industrial-Born Again-Complex as one can get and still be legal. Colby's collections include Tremble and Shine (Soft Skull, 2004). His anthology of new New York poetry, Heights of The Marvelous, is a touchstone, as his selected from 1999, Riot in the Charm Factory.

The Color of Memory

Oh the air, cool to cold to dark, in the sky: police
agitate the faces into oblivion. A feeling of silence, a lot.

With the right words a good feeling can be dropped -- the pistol -- a
language
all my own.

When the rent is due I start to "reign in" my spending. I laugh
a bit in the darkness of my spankings.

A look of real life altitude, zenith, punishment.

I spray my eggs into a cauldron of lice.

Ice pancakes, a thinking person's attitude of corn.

Little brown notebook, little brown meat, swimming meat (that's me)
floating in the subway and dizzy in the air (water).

When the wind blows: a hiccup, the cool portion of charm
when a neighbor sobs or when the water makes a faint rainbow
surface bubble: clothing is good for the spirit of remembrance.

I cringe and then I celebrate with gloom and doom. My efforts, how stained
with light they are, how bold when nothing occurs but powder and day.

poem by Todd Colby
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