After the Fall: Poems Old and New

After the Fall: Poems Old and New

Edward Field

Language: English

Pages: 262

ISBN: 0822959801

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Field is among the first American poets to write proudly and clearly about urban gay life.This new-and-selected (Field's 16th book of verse overall) shows that his virtues—and limits—have remained consistent throughout. At his best Field is direct, likable, modest, charming, a storyteller : he writes purposefully and directly of bathhouse life in the 1970s, Jewish-American heritage, Middle Eastern travels in a world where, unlike ours, men like each other; and allegorically of the Pacific octopus, who needs love,/ who is a mess when you meet,/ but who can open up like a flower with petal arms. At less than his best, Field's unadorned style can make him sound predictable: his poems are only as interesting as their stories and ideas. Nowadays there's nothing radical left, certainly not/ in the Village, he complains in a poem from the 1990s. A recent 9/11 poem objects to a gang of psychopaths taking over the government. Irreplaceable in the history of gay American writing, Field helped invent some of the attitudes and the subgenres that are now in common use. If many of Field's own poems now seem flat and dated, enough still seem fresh to give serious strength to this book.

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She enjoys her admirers, fat daddy or muscleman, and doesn't confuse vanity and sex, though she never turns down pleasure, lapping it up. Above all she enjoys her self, swinging her body that says, Me, me, me, me. Why not have a good time? As long as you amuse me, go on, I like you slobbering over my hand, big boy, I have a right to. Most convincing, we know all this not by her preaching but by her presence—it's no act. Every word and look and movement spells Independence: she

worse, the surgical amphitheatre, never imagining what's wrong is us, for identifying him with the shit he so elegantly expels. Afghanistan Once you've been stranded in desert you love all wetness, the splashing of fountains at sundown in dusty plazas, even the banal dribble of faucets, become total pleasure. When your ramshackle bus breaks down on a remote plain you wait and wait, squatting in its shadow with the robed and veiled, the more patient ones than you. You try to take

the others, I was made to feel I had disgraced myself with violations of dignity, modesty, manliness. There are rules in the civilized world, and even if I was a tourist (the driver muttered the word), wasn't I a man? Clearly, the French girl was also disgraced, sitting as she was with me in the men's section, the worse offender, even, and by association, a whore. But by the time the bus broke down at dawn and before we were picked up by another, I was forgiven. The men nudged me,

aghast, and calculated: we could camp here overnight, but even if we managed, holding on, to slide and tumble down the slope without breaking anything, and by some miracle end up together, how, with his handicap, could I guide him through the rocky terrain ahead—though I knew there was no way to go, but on? Garbo Her eyes never blink— higher beings do not blink, nor people in remote lands who stare at you from the fields— but that's innocence, like animals. If blinking is a

it. It's the classical pattern: victory in war brought such power we could have created a golden age on earth, had wise men ruled, but, predictably, our riches were never used wisely. As if hungry, we just became a devouring monster. In the wrong hands, everything, the gifts of the gods, was wasted. Corrupt and paranoid, our rulers created a world of two blocs locked in struggle, Good versus Evil. In the name of freedom, we assassinated, here and abroad, the very people who

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