Monday, January 9, 2012

<{(Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg)}>

Been reading loads of poetry lately. I recieved a mound of it for Christmas Hallelujah! One of the books given is called The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo (1923-1982). This is not a book of poetry but rather a book of instruction, lectures & essays on poetry that a professor recommended to me. It's excellent. Nearly done with it. I intend to put up "Triggering Town Tips" from time to time along with a poem for those interested in experimenting with their approach. For now I just wanted to introduce you to the poet who wrote the book. Enjoy.

Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg

You might come here Sunday on a whim.
Say your life broke down. The last good kiss
you had was years ago. You walk these streets
laid out by the insane, past hotels
that didn’t last, bars that did, the tortured try
of local drivers to accelerate their lives.
Only churches are kept up. The jail
turned 70 this year. The only prisoner
is always in, not knowing what he’s done.

The principal supporting business now
is rage. Hatred of the various grays
the mountain sends, hatred of the mill,
The Silver Bill repeal, the best liked girls
who leave each year for Butte. One good
restaurant and bars can’t wipe the boredom out.
The 1907 boom, eight going silver mines,
a dance floor built on springs—
all memory resolves itself in gaze,
in panoramic green you know the cattle eat
or two stacks high above the town,
two dead kilns, the huge mill in collapse
for fifty years that won’t fall finally down.

Isn’t this your life? That ancient kiss
still burning out your eyes? Isn’t this defeat
so accurate, the church bell simply seems
a pure announcement: ring and no one comes?
Don’t empty houses ring? Are magnesium
and scorn sufficient to support a town,
not just Philipsburg, but towns
of towering blondes, good jazz and booze
the world will never let you have
until the town you came from dies inside?

Say no to yourself. The old man, twenty
when the jail was built, still laughs
although his lips collapse. Someday soon,
he says, I’ll go to sleep and not wake up.
You tell him no. You’re talking to yourself.
The car that brought you here still runs.
The money you buy lunch with,
no matter where it’s mined, is silver
and the girl who serves your food
is slender and her red hair lights the wall.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is great!!!!! Excellent video too. Thanks for the introduction. It's great to see you putting some stuff up again, have been missed. I'm definitely going to check out more of Hugo's stuff.