John Newlove’s “Brass Box. Spring. Time” in Black Night Window reminds me very much of the twists in the best of Sky Gilbert. I am not claiming influence of Newlove upon Gilbert but a kinship of theme where extravagance is allowed to bloom and then snipped with wit and a certain wryness. Newlove begins what is to become a long enumeration
I have a brass box for cigarettes and
two pair of shoes and
There follows two couplets given over to shirts and their colours and more follow with descriptions of types of paper and coloured pencils. There is in the mix “two wallets but no money” which does not stop us — two wallets even without money is in keeping with the theme of abundance as the listing continues. And our poet comes full circle and we realize the penury when abundance of a different sort drips down
and a pot to catch the ceiling’s rain and
clay ashtrays and, and, and —
I have a brass box for cigarettes,
when I have cigarettes.
Now I ask is this camp?
And so for day 1015