Monday, January 15, 2007

SEXIEST POEM OF 2006 is Jules Boykoff's "Commandment #8"

(photo by Brendan Lorber)

Anyone in search of a finely crafted poem demonstrating a fearlessness which confronts injustice will have no option but to turn to Jules Boykoff, hopefully sooner than later.

(a short excerpt from)
Commandment #8


it all began with "awash in petrodollars" waiting at the penned trigger where thirsty cotton hovered thirstily between the never-been-done-before & the-way-it's-always-been

a much warmer regime of Sputnik-driven cool-hunters putting [mis]treated wood into the [mis]fire


a focus group waiting to be focused

a full stopped narco-flower-vendor multiplex tribunal waiting to be big-boxed

a micro-thrillabilly lava lamp on fire in the middle of the sales pitch

velocity money stuck with a bus transfer to cartelized humdrum


commandment #2 being covet thy seed & genes as thy like-minded meth lab [skunk-scuttle skunk-scuttle]

the novelty of the liquidity of water

now square it


A 'good historian' is someone good historians call a good historian


commandment #3 being don't covet thy neighbor's spiritual connections with his powerful icon for capitalism or thou shall besmirch thy cattle-tonic glum hopper with unnecessarily forlorn animosity


aggressive bedazzlement

anticipatory tenement

indisputably disputable





(read the full poem in the book Once Upon a Neoliberal Rocket Badge (EDGE BOOKS, 2006))

Too often these days in the various "experimental" poetry scenes I hear some poets saying, "I don't like poetry with overt political content." Over and over it's said, and said with an assertive tone making me squint, pinch a good squint. Pushing to question the statement seems to go nowhere, which makes me suspicious for several reasons.

Suspicious that this statement is said with such similar pose that it's part of a vernacular, uh, somewhere in the poetry world I believe where it's unfolding for a few. But that pushing to question the statement goes nowhere because, maybe, the origin of it's meaning is unknown to many who mimic the words? It's so hip, so it seems.

That, or, that no one WANTS to retrace the steps for fear of some kind of reprisal?

But what would that reprisal be I ask? It's a rebellious pitch, no doubt, said with such conviction, but why, exactly, and from where, exactly?

It could simply be that these poets are MISSING the brilliance of poetry by, well, Jules Boykoff for instance!

Or, are these deeper, more hidden issues of class and privilege that so many poets seem so adept these days at dancing around and far, far away from when brought up?

While it's a hip and trendy thing to say these days, don't mind me saying "I DON'T FUCKING MIND SOME OVERT POLITICAL CONTENT IN POEMS!" In fact, turning directly toward Jules Boykoff is turning directly to poems few can mould with such affection to be political, universally political. He's got a hold of worlds.

"Commandment #8" is a marvelous example of Jules Boykoff having some of the sharpest edges of the living poem we have. Can be seen. Felt. He is NEVER shy about our feelings coming forward. "Commandment #8" is a milk-filled tit we can all get a hold of, for nourishment for our much needed immunity against fear. Drink that milk! And thank you Jules Boykoff for honest, brave poems! We need these more than ever!

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