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This poem is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.

Procuring Poetry

after Carlos Drummond de Andrade (1945) after John Yau and Michael Palmer
Charles Bernstein
No fake verses about what’s going on.
No creation or death before poetry.
Compared to which, life’s a static sun,
with no heat or illumination.
Affinities, anniversaries, personal anecdotes – don’t matter.
No fake poetry with the body,
an excellent, complete and comfortable body – senseless for poetry.

Your spleen, your fits of pleasure or pain in the dark – make no difference.
Don’t share with me your feelings,
which reek of equivocation and beat around the bush.
What you think and feel, that is not yet poetry.

No singing about your city – leave it in peace.
Songs aren’t machine music or family secrets;
and they’re not music heard in passing
nor rumors of the sea on streets lined with spume.

Song’s not nature
...


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