Animal Husbandry Today: Poems

Animal Husbandry Today: Poems

by Jamie Sharpe
     
 

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An accessible and illuminating debut collection that explores the arranged marriage of the bestial and humane Logic is strained, existence contracts and multiplies, connections amputate then graft in incongruous ways in Jamie Sharpe’s poems, which, like a funhouse mirror, reflect our own absurd image. Nancy Reagan promotes crab salad (which is to say, her…  See more details below

Overview


An accessible and illuminating debut collection that explores the arranged marriage of the bestial and humane Logic is strained, existence contracts and multiplies, connections amputate then graft in incongruous ways in Jamie Sharpe’s poems, which, like a funhouse mirror, reflect our own absurd image. Nancy Reagan promotes crab salad (which is to say, her husband); the city of Paris spills into the countryside; a hammer seeks understanding through a vase. An assemblage of often disparate elements, Animal Husbandry Today attempts the ultimate reconciliation: that of the mind with the world. A plane crashes on the border of two countries. Can you wear white to the funeral If you’re a virgin before mayday? — from “Two Trains”

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Jamie fits a Dada-like sensibility into precisely structured lines. His contemporary drunks and vandals, roller rinks and bowling alleys coexist with an erudite historical consciousness." —www.DianeLefer.wordpress.com

"Jamie Sharpe's debut collection of poems, Animal Husbandry Today, pushes the boundaries of poetry in new directions. . . . Sharpe's work will ultimately reach a large audience of readers, connoisseurs, and artists. His variety is his strength." —Switchback

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770411067
Publisher:
ECW Press
Publication date:
09/26/2012
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Animal Husbandry Today


By Jamie Sharpe

ECW PRESS

Copyright © 2012 Jamie Sharpe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-77090-311-1


CHAPTER 1

    MASSACRE AT SUPERSTITION BLUFF

    Stagecoach with a penchant to drink,
    the tinhorn crucifix,
    cracked wheels fixated
    on a chasm below,

    chaste revolvers filled
    with explosive chorus girls,
    gentle reins
    and the masochistic horse:

    all the same under gravity.

    Locals' arrows pointing you
    in new directions,

    to find a fable, a life,
    elsewhere.


    INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR NILS LUZAK, CLASSICAL PIANIST

    What makes us hate
    piano tuners?
    Their jealous eyes?

    You ever allegro your father?

    Why does E-flat major
    do terrible things, like
    excite optometrists?

    Does ivory make the softest bed?
    Ebony the hardest casket?

    Should eyes be gouged
    for greater musical acuity?

    In Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,
    when skies open and vengeance
    bolts heavenly, are you Rachmaninoffing
    hell from those helpless pedals?

    Given "baroque" means
    "deformed pearl," should one
    graft one thousand shattered
    oysters' shells to every piano's hull?

    Mother-of-pearl is visual trickery,
    destined for the secular and profane?

    Harmonics are paternal lies,
    doomed to become sacred?

    Why must each chord contain
    a condemned father?

    Why must I see the music so clearly?


    EQUILATERAL POEMS

    Receding Matchbook
    "For danger eclipsed
    every excuse for him to
    pursue laundry instead
    of silk whiter-whites in
    the Biltmore Hotel, where
    Diane's blouse was but
    temporary advertising."

    Alimony

    Mixed metaphor Sedentary

    "The girls flitting past
    were sparrows. What she
    saw as those delicate
    bodies ran was not the
    youthful abandon of
    playgrounds, but a life
    she'd never rise to."

    Rash

    Productive Means

    "The whir of fabric,
    at such speed, cancelled
    thought. For others this
    sound haunted sleep, while
    Aura spent a week's wages
    on an industrial fan,
    placing it next to her cot,
    replicating work's perfect
    emptiness in dreams."

    White Noise


    FÖRARBETE

    After the container,
    how to recognize
    the content —
    easily cast,
    always held —
    if not inscribed upon?

    A regret for what
    amounts to faulty math
    1000x over.

    The want for concrete
    markers to parse us into
    ever smaller marks.

    When to realize
    is to lay to rest.

    What are we preparing for?


    THE POINTLESS ODYSSEY

    Frank gave you 2:1
    That someone, somewhere, was
    Putting on his shoes. Pompous
    Certainty makes bookies preachers;
    You have to break them or go broke.

    Outside, you Benjamin a man with a baseball bat
    To watch your car. He turns, smashing a Lexus,
    Shattering the car's headlights.

    A lady yells from across the street,
    "I paid you twenty."
    "The price has gone up."

    In the children's hospital you place
    A hand on their pale foreheads;
    This is not making them stronger.

    Eyes gaze through pain and uncertainty.
    You carefully document everything:
    "No Shoes."

    Outside: rub your skin off
    With whisky. You're gigantic
    And the stakes are high.

    Sobriety leaves others mute: tinkering
    Temporarily with day jobs; sewing
    Buttons onto pound cakes
    Like reputable grandmothers.

    But the gamble holds you steady.
    You hit the bowling alley
    With a notepad.

    They all slide in socks on the hardwood.

    You want to laugh at every stale, hackneyed
    Banker and yet, in the presence of the real
    Thing, even the spirit leaves you: ascending,
    Unshaken, like every 7–10 split.


    13 STATEMENTS AND THEIR COROLLARIES

    My handicap should be more on the back nine.
    There's an equation for the speed at which all things fall.
    Music today is just noise.
    A crocodile's tongue is attached to the roof of its mouth.
    I had no idea that cactus was illegal.
    Distance is an optical illusion.
    Rednecks have their own eloquence.
    I compulsively cut my hair.
    Find me a stockbroker, I'll show you a thief.
    The trade winds shaped migration throughout history.
    My wife's a decent lay.
    Tuesday is Seniors' Day.
    Where can I get a rubber plant?

    You tire too quickly.
    Gravity never tires, even of itself.
    Said Bartók in 1805.
    Either they speak, or you listen, upside down.
    Lay off the peyote.
    I'd trade my eyes for you here.
    Conservative poetry is justified to the right.
    SSRIs or barber's college, in my opinion.
    Why I invest on the hard eight.
    I'm in the doldrums.
    Charity begins at home.
    She broke, producing her licence, to save cents.
    You will still be alone.


THOUGHTS: GEORGES BRAQUE

{ Wheeled Chair }

Today a young child and father navigated the town square, father on bicycle, son a wheeled chair. How strange the child seemed — spoked rims replacing legs, hands propelling him forward on geometry. Quite possibly he was born without use of the lower extremities: if so, while watching the man ride his bicycle, which did he consider his father?

{ Georges Couthon }

Something of my early schooling (far before the École des Beaux-Arts) has imposed itself upon me after lying dormant. Georges Couthon, my brother in country and name, also lacked functioning legs. History additionally tells us he lost use of his head when the Revolution turned. Can you imagine them dragging the poor cripple to death, while Robespierre walked assuredly beside? The guillotine was likely not the liberty either had in mind.

{ Silence by Anticipation }

Could I anticipate every critic's question, answering it in pigment, prior to the asking?

{ Georges Couthon II }

Again! It was written that Monsieur Couthon would, on occasion, ride the back of a man when his chair was indisposed. If one, the ridden, is transformed to that of a wheeled chair, is the other, the rider, also changed? Perhaps he has become something more noble: a throne?

{ Portrait: I Am a Ring }

Today a photographer came to memorialize me — my paintings, although me, depict something else, and as such fail. While I sat, the background forced itself forward or dropped out completely. For a while I was a wall. Then a hat. A scarf. A ring. How confused and disappointed the camera will be tonight in its darkroom!

{ Muscadelle or Chardonnay? }

My mind is a hot wind maker and maker of balloons. Funny what rises to consciousness: today it was grapes and a clarinet — simultaneously. I believe the grapes were Muscadelle, but you can't always taste the mind.


    TWO TRAINS

    There are seventeen apples in a tree.
    If you carve your name into the tree's trunk,
    How many apples do you have?

    A plane crashes on the border of two countries.
    Can you wear white to the funeral
    If you're a virgin before mayday?

    John's mother is seven years younger
    Than John's father, who is twice as old as John
    Plus sixteen years. If John is seven, how much
    Has his father failed to pay in child support?

    Two trains depart from stations in opposite
    Cities. If train "A" is going 155 km/h,
    What's the fuel economy of my '86 Chevy
    As I drive to the corner store for cigarettes?


    TAURUS

    Mishaps befall us
    courtesy of moon-white light
    (inequitable droppings):
    still life thrown all gaudy motion.

    Chart the sky's restlessness.
    Extrapolate: wealth, future
    husbands, cattle prices, why
    you cried last Thursday

    when this theatre stampeded
    above and left you untouched.


    CIRRHOSIS

    I drank my grandmother's wedding ring
    and sold the pawn ticket for peanuts
    (salted).

    Wandering into the broker's at 10 a.m.,
    I looked at the kid like he was my conscience.
    He looked at me like I was 10 a.m.


    DENTON: AN OBELISK

    Denton claims the obelisk
    the pinnacle of architecture
    precisely as it serves no purpose
    its singular column holding

    Nothing aloft except the sky
    which has maintained
    a prudent weary distance
    from us of its own accord

    Denton maintains the larger the obelisk
    (the more rubbish amassed
    in its looming bloated shape)
    the more useful the obelisk becomes

    As a symbol of greatness
    for to tower surfeit time and material
    toward cloud-heights one
    must simply have too much

    Denton notes the historical use
    of obelisks as proclamations of glut
    the eye driven upward to heavens
    on the path of excess

    See: Pharaoh's Obelisk
    See: Cleopatra's Needles
    See: King Ezana's Stele
    See: The Washington Monument


    Today Denton is pleased
    by suburbia's "tiny obelisks"
    the sidewalks no one travels
    the picket fences keeping nothing

    Dangerous from getting in
    nothing valuable from leaving

    Today Denton is arranging
    his thoughts into a teetering obelisk
    of each superfluous thought
    upon the last erecting

    A monument to himself


GLORIERIJKE ONZIN

Jamie SharpeMedia on canvas (2007)

Speaking of these pieces at the Prado, the artist remarked, "tulips-prostitution windmill-clogs cheese-abortion." Created during a brief sojourn in the Netherlands, Glorierijke Onzin reflects Sharpe's obsession with painters of the Dutch golden age. Although the delicate handling of the portraits reminds critics of Johannes Vermeer, Sharpe asserts, "stoned-rural low-lying pope-hell."


    BROUGHT TO YOU BY

    To be dwarfed by beauty: paths
    winding into green infinitude.
    The air light in lungs, and our
    shoulders' weight: daypacks.

    Not realizing the colours nature
    carried, until the atomic tangerine
    of wild mambo rose, the rainbow
    of trout.

    In the friscalating dusk we walk,
    in the shadow of our nation's parks,
    in the shadow of one-hundred-year
    evergreens, back to tomorrow's life.

    The $1.19 nacho cheese chalupas
    were also excellent.


    COMBINATIONS

    12-16-09

    I found a combination lock
    lying in the middle of the road

    and carried it everywhere, twisting
    its dial (14-37-6, 40-29-0, 12-16-07),

    hoping for that telltale click
    to unlock the mystery.

    8-6-10

    Eight months later: another
    lock in my mailbox.

    A simple thought settled
    heavily within:

    the solution to the second
    might lie in the first.


    RATED

    This poem is rated "*" for nudity
    and a brief traumatic moment.

    When the towel dropped he stood
    wearing only water glistening
    against his muscled flank. Her breasts
    were pert, at attention and pointed
    toward him.

    Elsewhere a man, drunk off cough syrup,
    is frozen against the steps of a school.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Animal Husbandry Today by Jamie Sharpe. Copyright © 2012 Jamie Sharpe. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Jamie fits a Dada-like sensibility into precisely structured lines. His contemporary drunks and vandals, roller rinks and bowling alleys coexist with an erudite historical consciousness." —www.DianeLefer.wordpress.com

"Jamie Sharpe's debut collection of poems, Animal Husbandry Today, pushes the boundaries of poetry in new directions. . . . Sharpe's work will ultimately reach a large audience of readers, connoisseurs, and artists. His variety is his strength." —Switchback

Meet the Author


Jamie Sharpe is the editor of the literary arts journal the "Associative Press." He has contributed to numerous periodicals throughout the United States and Canada. He lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

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