john martone / molecular lament

Always a zephyr to find a new portfolio from john martone in the mailbox. His latest installment is molecular lament, and i thought i’d throw together some favorites. (In the course of doing a quick search for the cover image, i came across a nice suite of entirely different poems from this collection made by Jerome Rothenberg for his blog “Poems and poetics” thru Jacket2; do check it out.)

lettuce
seed

tastes
of dust

.

(the small
waves

too
dragon
flies)

.

now he’s dead
they tear out
all those walls

.

so many cells
but he can’t name
that bird song

.

bird-note
sails off
earth’s edge

.

everything
people have

given me
bird-note

.

box of photos
spilled on the floor

it’s all water

.

falling from
heights of that
molecule —

.

any
thing

single’s
a thorn

.

white hair
fluorescent
lights

.

what clock
ticking
so fast

.

say that word
feel the void’s
ligament

.

long
before

cunei
form

throat
carti
lage

.

those molecules
raise their eyes
it’s raining

.

john martone

/ molecular lament
sumaddo / ocean
2012

johnmartone@gmail.com

[an on-line version is available on jm’s scribd page]

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4 thoughts on “john martone / molecular lament

  1. yes, well, Rothenberg calls john “our greatest living miniaturist,” and it seems to me that whatever a poet wants to use with regard to figurative language when creating a poem of the miniaturist persuasion should be available to them. Poets should use whatever poetic technique they so wish to achieve their end. A miniature poem, like haiku, or something haiku-esque, will most certainly involve whittling words away, but why metaphors are off-limits (or simile, or personification) is far beyond me. “Essence” can be achieved in many ways for a reader, no? Like using, for example, useful metaphors, and useful words.

    Like Issa, john often uses a type of personification, as can be seen in two of the poems i chose for this post:

    say that word
    feel the void’s
    ligament

    those molecules
    raise their eyes
    it’s raining

    And throughout the rest of his work, and in *molecular lament*, there are what i would consider to be poems that allow for both literal readings (based on real things round and/or about the poet), and metaphorical ones as well:

    that mu-bacteriophage a water-tower

    .

    yr own
    body

    a cloud
    chamber

    .

    And the “july 23” section of *molecular lament* seems to me to be a meditation on “island” as a metaphor for the poet:

    all this rain
    all those islands
    falling on this island

    .

    lost at sea
    eternally lost
    on an island road

    .

    that perfect morning’s work an island

    Again, we could read the above literally, or metaphorically.

    And, oh, an example of simile from *ml*:

    letting go
    like two
    helices

    Best not to limits ourselves or others, methinks. One poem!, open to all possibilities and techniques.

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