The Liquor Talking

by Mike

comments by:

Shawn I Mike

        out of hand and on its face, something
        begs pardon as bar-raising conversation starter

        what began in a kings glass finds itself
        in the kidneys, shaped like the beans for

        which they were named, rather like themselves
        just fine, unjust fine, tolerable, intolerable

        the actors want to be directors, do                                    
        so, you figure out why, seduction of deduction on

        the way to the john or the invested return, zip-
        ped up, buttoned to test wolves dressed

        as shepherds, glancing negotiably to
        lose the suit   .       out the window, the

        rules are raining, - clouds to the comp-
        romised ground: I'll cover you  .  promising

        anything as being yourself indigenous, dumped
        happily in the vertiginous, bossless harbor                            

Accourding to Shawn Walker:

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:00:09 -0500 (EST)   
From: (Shawn Walker)

Hey, Mike.  I like reading your poems because they reming me of you.
"No, really."  I remember the song "Africa" and it's band.\

       turnover as splashes.  they have been called.
       the mystery of what did it fishes

I can hear you saying, with a knowing wink over the wall of sanctity,
"they have been called."  I'm not much of a fan of discussions of voice,     
but I can say I like it when a likeable voice is present, and then you
tell why people fall in love with poetry, especially when they are
reclusive.  It is not unpleasant to let your voice into my head while
reading your poems, as it is not unpleasant to have a conversation with
you.  This is not the case with all "voices."  Sometimes we like them
because they take over and rip us apart.  Sometimes we stop reading
because they do that.  I admire your unassuming humor and attentiveness.

Your documentary breeze is something to admire.  You/we're right in
with the palm trees.  I wonder what Florida looks like give or take a
hundred years/readings.


Accourding to Mike Magee:

Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:00:09 -0500
From: (Michael Magee)     

Shawn, thanks for your response!  I don't want to preclude discussion by
interrupting "authorially" but you brought up 2 issues which interest me
alot: 1) "voice" which, as a poetic term I don't like much either but as a
musical term I like more - as in "voicing" in jazz: in simplest terms,
doubling, omitting, or adding (unexpectedly) notes to a chord.  Thelonious
Monk called it "using notes differently."  So, I think about an eccentric,
too-insistent repetition of sounds (for istance in these poems there are a
lot of "r" sounds I think) which might foreground the physicality of words
the way Monk foregrounds the piano itself (i.e. he's not just "playing
music" he's hitting on little black and white keys);
and 2) the Florida issue: "I wonder what Florida looks like give or take a
few hundred years/readings."  I wonder too but I try not to let it get in
the way of the poem while I'm writing it.  This is gonna sound stupid
maybe but while I'm writing I try to cultivate an attitude of, like,
"well, if its good enough someone will footnote it."  Of course I don't        
actually *believe* this but it gets the poem written and then I can see
what I have and decide.  It also occurs to me that there's a benefit to
writing insuch a way that the poem will resist "universalization" - I
don't want some Harold Bloom type  to say "Mike Magee speaks for all of
us" -- yikes!! I sure don't.  But to say, "this is how Florida ca. 1998
was mediating and being mediated by a particularly interesting, attentive
consciousness and this is the language of that exchange, 'the genuine
article'" -- that would be nice.  Or, equally nice: "there's enough going
on here and enough open-endedness that we can keep reading it in the
direction of our own concerns."  Something like that.    -m.