Thoughts on Garry Thomas Morse Streams LINEbooks, 2007.
There is a lot of coffee consumed in this book of prose poems. Each is a cup.
Why you may ask that these textual units should be considered as a cup: some crumplable like paper; others refining crucibles; others relating their contents as if through some Surrealist vases communicants?
Percolation is the answer and so is passing water.
Black jet streams and golden showers.
And no, this is not the craving to pee all over you but rather to mark you in some way with my anonymous black coffee breath as excellent as eating and preserve your brown and red lines of colour in the exact correct moment on the way back just before a tire plashes right through. [no. 71 p. 49]
This “you” is a woman.
You are by no means defined by my want and the ways the tip of my tongue wants to shape your skin. But you are the woman in the window in the bed in the adjoining room. And the time is ripe as the date you are tasting. The coffee is concentrated on the table in physic and colour and osmosis but my limbs and palms are boiling and I am dreaming of spooning and cupping your sleeping form. [no. 73 p. 51]
And as to be expected with this sort of coffee service that is highly eroticized there is a moment of identification with the writing process itself.
phrases not formally invited […] Blow upon them until they cool but do not worry. I taste them for poison first. [no. 76 p. 54]
Much relies on the formal folding of phrases and the remembering of sections — as if poured from carafe to cup — so that a welcome shock assaults the senses (both physical and semantic). Take for instance the elevator which smells of urine and then later the elevator that smells of ammonia. Same elevator? A sign of an attempt at cleansing? Or more pissing? Something remains in the gap between the prose poems. There is a stream passing between the cups and it is difficult to apprehend. So too sometimes the stream between words.
I do not want more than this cup of black coffee warming my soft innards, save for that lightly pointed smile. […] So consider this evening in the voiceless dark how the general illusion of my life is worth less than this sublime unreality of your smile.
Note not “worthless” but “worth less” hence worth something.
Or sometimes the reader thinks that the there is a self-referential action at work or a straight-forward description. Take the following which recalls Eliot’s The Wasteland and the passage about the crowd flowing (streams again) over London Bridge where we have a line-up in a coffee shop and a long line of poetry.
Already I am fuming and snorting in a line so long I had no idea sugar and coffee had undone so many. [no. 94 p. 70]
And now three from the earlier presented prose poems that touch upon the fluid notion of form.
And your hands were dearer than ampersands and were at utter liberty to attend to my felicity. [no. 15 p. 16]
And like a bureaucrat startled into a decision on the street, Love has decided to keep me alive in an infinitely long lineup, provided with a smile and then without one I have taken the time to fill in the appropriate forms. [no. 5 p. 9]
My youthful memories are mostly a barrel of mistaken loves and at that confusing age you had to shoplift what is these days virtually free although you might catch something. [no. 7 p. 11]
& free to establish felicity conditions & appropriate forms (appropriating attention) & filling in forms at the STD clinic [?]
Why conjure this pox-side of eros here at the beginning? Because at the end we find an allusion to Baudelaire (and by way of letting biography and oeuvre communicate) …
Forgive this necessary transgression and before it is too late, embrace me and grab hold, my sexy wicked semblable! But whatever you do, tread softly because you tread upon my streams.
There has been a shift in addressee “— Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!” [by way of Eliot’s warning about sprouting corpses?]
treading = t-reading
Other beverages competing in a cross-reading?
But how could they? Despite the allusions to Proust there is no tea, no tisane. Indeed, in the last of the prose poems in the collection (no. 99) we are given the delightful word Kaffeeschlafen in the context of recounting the beautiful death of a grandmother, in the sense of a belle mort, and so we are sent off to dream or read again. To sip. To slip. To stream.
This is the art and the square root of all my erraticisms. [no. 68, p. 47]
And wonder who this speaking voice might be that is produced by Garry Thomas Morse Streams LINEbooks, 2007
And so for day 1556