Question & Answer 3 – Anthony Frame

Question 3

Without googling:
Kazoo Dreamboats
White Stones
Kitchen Poems

When I read Ocean Vuong’s
work I find myself at a loss
for how I can continue to write
in a world where he exists.

Without googling:
Night Sky with Exit Wounds
No
Burnings

Both Prynne and Vuong
harbingers of the verse
I will never have the talent
to write or produce.

Without googling:
Float
Autobiography of Red
Eros the Bittersweet

…and I reading Carson, Vuong,
Prynne and feeling worse about
myself. Whose work do you admire
in creative self-criticism?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

Why is there a Frame when
there’s an Akbar? When I grow up
I want nothing more than a list of
more poems by Chen Chen to read.

But here I am and here is the sun,
finally. I wonder which came first,
the phoenix or the Christ – twelve years
of catholic school clearly served me well.

But I was talking about the sun,
but in the yard across from me a son
rolls in grass and dew and rising light,
and I’m reading in a truck warmed

by itself. I guess it’s time to leave
Levine behind. Oh, mercy. Mercy.
Me. Akbar writes, “It’s difficult /
to be anything at all” but I’m lying

as usual. Is there an evolution of self
beyond self, beyond ego, id, I’d?
Is that what work is? (which work?)
Rane told me pest control was labor

unfit for humans, “but think of all
the poems!” Remember which work,
his final living lesson for me. I’ve
got a point I’m trying to make

and it’s desperate and it’s about
desperation. I don’t need Google
to know why the sun rose today.
And for whom. Sometimes, the boy

needs to see the dew. Sometimes,
he needs more light to keep reading:
“It’s difficult / to be anything at all with
the whole world right here for the having.”

– Anthony Frame

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Question & Answer 2 – Anthony Frame

Question 2

If this is all just a series of metaphors
then let me be Prynne’s white lines
laid out on the fresh snow, waiting
for sweet, broken sleep to fall on me.

But that’s too obvious, and so is
reading the planet’s radius [smaller
than] every other day until I find
some space in which I can settle.

I guess that’s inspiration, don’t you
think? Obsession and recreation,
the maybe your own voice somewhere
among the wildflowers and metaphors.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Wait – which Prynne? Hester or Jeremy Halvard? I wonder how long
we can go without googling? And I wonder about white lines in snow?
Redundancy eludes me even in metaphor so let me stop answering
your questions with more questions. Let me get to the heart of things.

Don’t lie down, waiting for sleep in snow. You’ll freeze and the chill
will start inside. The coldness of hearts – as cold as any red letter
embroidered as violence – these are what led us here, at this moment,
when the earth herself is ready to burn or freeze us away. I know

I’m rambling but I’m worried about you. You’re drinking and there’s snow
and these Great Lakes are unforgiving. Fear of freezing has made my lines
so long they’re risking hypothermia. Last night, I dreamt I was forced to wear
my own scarlet letter but I couldn’t tell if I was in a book or an adaptation

staring Gary Oldman. Is this who I am? A loose interpretation of the classics?
Is this the true heart of the matter? I want to lie down among wildflowers
but I know they’d forget me as soon as I stood up. Snow melts, grass returns
to its quest for sun, and I – I go on, trying to leave behind more than a headstone.

– Anthony Frame

Question & Answer 1 – Anthony Frame

Question 1

I’m torn like
the sun
ripping
the ocean apart,
mid-Atlantic.

Have you
ever kissed the
sun or made
it laugh at one
of your jokes?

I’m burning
like a sailor
pursing his lips
to his first tab,
resurfaced.

I’m laughing
and I’m the joke
the snow
tells to the sun
when it melts.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

If I say the sun, each morning,
grabs the back of my head, will

the metaphor make sense? Will
you see me and my cup of tea

turning away from the rising light,
my calcifying fingers cupping

the shivering stick shift? I want
the sun to be more than a metaphor.

I want to be more than a vehicle
for pyrethroids, to be more than

an insect growth regulator. The snow –
can we make it as invisible as ice?

The sun doesn’t wake me and I’m
feeling vain enough to say I wake it.

I’m more cricket than robin but
I’d rather be one of the flowers

opening its petals for the moon
and moths. Every instinct finds a way,

works with or without light. I’d rather be
a metaphor than a body worn out

from lifting, from rising by way of ladder.
Someone, tell the sun and the snow how

a hive of honeybees can control
the temperature of the nest. Is this just

another poor metaphor? Is there more
than me and grass and ants? The sun is just

a mass of atoms slowly disintegrating
themselves. So is the snow. So am I.

– Anthony Frame