Sky Lounge

Overview

Mark Bibbins finds damaged glamour at the fringes of respectability in this exceptional debut collection

I was born

with capable eyes,

a moveable heart

and time to spare.

—from “Euphorium”

In his restless and unpredictable debut, Mark Bibbins offers a virtuosic poetry. Lovers struggle to connect; groupies, hustlers, and corporate drones ...

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Overview

Mark Bibbins finds damaged glamour at the fringes of respectability in this exceptional debut collection

I was born

with capable eyes,

a moveable heart

and time to spare.

—from “Euphorium”

In his restless and unpredictable debut, Mark Bibbins offers a virtuosic poetry. Lovers struggle to connect; groupies, hustlers, and corporate drones covet better—or at least different—lives; locations fluctuate, without forewarning, from bars to beaches to city streets. With beguiling tonal and formal variety, these poems question the ordinary and unwitting acceptance of the status quo as they hover where “error arranges itself.” As indebted to Stereolab and Siouxsie Sioux as to any poetic lineage, Sky Lounge introduces an imagination committed to making irreverence, sensuality, and elegy into a provocative new music.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I love Sky Lounge. Mark Bibbins splices together idioms and idiolects into cool, smooth, transporting lyrics—compact monologues that also resemble radio plays, explosive and evaporating, with no wrong moves, and with a welcome surplus of charm.” —Wayne Koestenbaum
Publishers Weekly
"The aspiring lothario braves red jellies in the surf" below Bibbins's maximalist aerial establishment, "not conventionally pretty, not conventionally shaved, but a rail to rail against if there's time and there is." Out to defrock camp and thrust the garment onto its own forms, this debut can also quietly produce "the noise stars make when they fall." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555973803
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2003
  • Pages: 72
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Bibbins teaches writing workshops at the New School, where he also co-founded Lit magazine. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and in the anthology Take Three:3. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Just Yesterday 3
If Not to Speak Against 4
All but Lost 5
Euphorium 6
Doldrums 9
Arrival with Dark Circles and Premonition 10
Tingling in the Extremities 11
Now, As Ever 12
Birds of Prayer 13
Jersey 14
Leaving for Good/Enjoying the Ride 15
Mesh 16
As One Might Have Kissed a Girl One Meant Goodbye 17
Groupie 21
No Nets 22
Continuity 23
For This I Went to College 24
Breakdown 25
No Lot Lizards 26
Herethere 27
Slutty 29
Projections 31
The Whore of Binghamton 32
A Little Education Goes a Long Way 33
Ethics 34
Hiatus 35
Blasted Fields of Clover Bring Harrowing and Regretful Sighs 39
And You Thought You Were the Only One 51
Pounce 52
Not Again 53
Neither Just nor Like 54
Immersion In and Of 56
Tuna in Spring Water 57
The Ice along the Road 58
After the Smoke Cleared 59
Fledglings 61
Truncated Elegy 64
Knowing You Could Is Better Than Knowing You Will 67
A Mouth of Sundays 68
Not Looking: Incunabular 69
By the Skin of Our Luck 70
A Way to Build It 71
Not Looking: Gold Course 72
Anodyne Slide 73
7-Minute Song 75
The Extended Lights 76
Not Looking: Helical 78
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First Chapter

Sky Lounge


By Mark Bibbins

Graywolf Press

Copyright © 2003 Mark Bibbins
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-55597-380-9


Chapter One

JUST YESTERDAY Before prayer in the schools we had the Crusades and we cleaned out the stockpot once a year. Virtually everything we ate induced narcosis, a condition we often confused with god. Some told of a river that ran outside the city walls and of how it moved to avoid their touch, a giant serpent twisting forever away. If it wasn't the devil it was the work of the devil like everything else we wanted. Remorse held us together until we died young and most of us never realized we were mammals- indeed we were suspicious of birds but rats, well, rats we found charming, with their eyes so full of sympathy, their need for warmth like our own. We also wanted love to suffice. Flies that collected on the lesions of the dying: angels one and all: no one could be too careful. It seemed a flood was forever rinsing ideas from my tongue so I said nothing or spoke louder, I was always drowning. I couldn't have changed anything. All right there was the alchemist and I loved him but I could not save him. Once I dreamt of electricity. Was this the river, the one that altered its course like a wounded thing? We had no trees, only sticks. Huge gears turned in the sky. GROUPIE All the money I lied about, the makeshift stomach pump-forget everything and the way to where it happened. The guitar god wants me/has me/ditches me/calls me from the road and can I wire some money, he's gotten into a situation: a barren tour-bus fridge so can I meet him in Trenton and bring a bag. The next nude reveals herself and she's thin in the way the age demands-not conventionally pretty, not conventionally shaved, but a rail to rail against if there's time and there is. I'm at work on a new line of lipsticks-Foie Gras, Primordial Soup, Contusion-everyone who tries them gets beautiful. The girls and I wanted to be famous, instead we love an astronaut who blows sunshine up our asses from halfway to its source. Fuck him. Our supply lines have snapped-no more K, no more X, no more. I take comfort in gossip, the usual gossip, but different: this one stitched a quilt of moths, another painted all his rooms gold. We, the girls and I, we pull the wings off swan boats, follow our favorite to the stars and the capsule in which we keep recipes we've saved for our successors so they do not starve. A LITTLE EDUCATION GOES A LONG WAY R is lately taken with the abyss, invoking Kierkegaard's notion of the despair of possible infinity v. the despair of infinite possibility. We agree that any artist worth/with a grain of salt must face the latter and set to fashioning variations of our own (the infinite possibility of despair). I begin an essay on this as it is manifested in popular music ("So Many Men, So Little Time"). But since I've been obsessed with ice cream lately, I abandon it in favor of one on which poets liked ice cream (Schuyler) and which ones did not (O'Hara). To do this properly, I stop reading their poems and provide no footnotes. Dead poets only-that way, they can't call me up and say, Hey jerk blah blah blah blah blah. Of course, they'd only be talking to my answering machine, next to which I may or may not be asleep, a magazine covering my face. KNOWING YOU COULD IS BETTER THAN KNOWING YOU WILL I must see you; let's meet at the fringes of respectability at quarter past nine. We could straddle the oft-licked curb (it's the repetition we like). I promise not to say anything louche when you buss the backs of my fingers. What is that noise coming from the other side of the river-maybe pavement being set perfectly straight or a woozy guitar. In light like this we become automatic and can reach each other-what a difficult noise to hold and clearly making love is all that. Juiced, I'm sure we're taller than before and don't miss what we've lost. Meanwhile the streetlights blush in their globes as if they could tell how the party towed us along like a chain of rollerblading kids latched onto a bus. Later let's go swimming down by the electrical plant since as you know the water runs out warmest from its pipes. Bring on the horse tranquilizers for my listing heart is pecker-fretted, truculent and true.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Sky Lounge by Mark Bibbins Copyright © 2003 by Mark Bibbins. Excerpted by permission.
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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