mark terrill | ways in, ways out

22 05 2009

Mark Terrill | Photo: Vudi

Poetry Dispatch No. 282 | 21, 2009

The Art & The Artists of Self Destruction, #2


Ways In, Ways Out

by Mark Terrill

Hemingway’s looking down the
twin-barrel of the shotgun
into a blue metallic void.

Hart Crane has one foot on deck,
the other over the rail,
his eye on the ship’s boiling wake below.

Sylvia Plath’s on her knees in the kitchen
with her head in the oven,
wondering if she paid the gas bill or not.

Paul Celan looks down and sees
one last despondent metaphor
in the swirling waters of the Seine.

Richard Brautigan’s up in Bolinas
with a Saturday-night-special
nudged snugly in his graying temple.

Virginia Woolf’s got
rocks in her pockets,
the river tugging at her knocking knees.

Lew Welch loads his 30-30 rifle,
heads up into the California hills,
unsure about when he’ll be coming back.

Anne Sexton’s out in the garage,
doors shut tight, motor running,
finding solace in a noxious gray cloud.

The ways in merge with the ways out,
life’s complexity compounds daily,
and no one’s getting any writing done today.

Mark Terrill shipped out of San Francisco as a merchant seaman to the Far East and beyond, studied and spent time with Paul Bowles in Tangier, Morocco, and has lived in Europe since 1984, presently on the grounds of a former shipyard near Hamburg, Germany, with his wife and seven cats. The author of 15 volumes of poetry, memoir and translations, he recently guest-edited a special German Poetry issue of the Atlanta Review, which includes his translations of Günter Grass, Peter Handke, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann and many others. A three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, his own work has been translated into German, French and Portuguese, and he’s recently given readings in various venues in Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and Prague. His latest chapbook is The Salvador-Dalai-Lama Express from Main Street Rag. Together with Cralan Kelder they edit & publish the poetry journal Full Metal Poem.

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