THIS IS CALLED PURE GREEN
This is called pure green:
this sad little airplane
taking its wings too seriously
and thinking itself
a full-fledged flying thing.
This way irregular.
This way inexplicable.
Everything thick and grassy
and expressly defiant.
Ah well, says the janitor.
Touché, says the torch.
The chiropractor cracks his knuckles,
and his knuckles expect the worst—
when from out of nowhere,
the parakeet chirps like a lion:
O emerald, forgive me,
WHAT'S INSIDE A GIRAFFE?
Elevators going up.
The guts and black stuff of three in the morning.
An interminable list of romantic O's.
The sigh at the end of a night-long dream.
Sausage factory going full tilt over the wall.
Definitely Negative Capability.
Certainly the first limousine.
Echoes and re-echoes, Echoes and re-echoes, Echoes and re-echoes...
Mommy, I'm thirsty.
Somebody give me a beer.
Evening caught in a parasol weeping.
Nerval out walking his lobster on a leash.
Two kids making-out in a bottomless pit.
All day, Saturday, piles of brown leaves.
An expert on bees on his deathbed buzzing.
The rockets, their red glaring error included.
What is is.
A pack of wild dogs.
The collected equations of Benjamin Péret.
Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, Oliver Mtukudzi, King Sunny Ade.
What a circus ought to be.
A song of sadness in an elephant box.
The ends of the earth.
Saliva for miles.
The exuberance missing in today's ice cream.
The hottest band in the world.
Cannoli filled with orange/bay leaf marzipan cheese, then dipped in chocolate and served
on a plate of tropical fruit and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
The taste of raw oysters.
The shadow of Guillaume Apollinaire.
Conjunction junction, its function besides.
Cats in the hallway screaming their lives.
Information arranged in columns and sorted by zip code.
She loves me, she loves me not, endlessly.
Who you calling whitey?
Trickle down economics.
The crabgrass amazed.
The canary in its office smacking into glass.
Things are looking up, are they not?
Welcome to gravity's impossible party.
How about a walnut the size of a brain?.
How about an accordion that never shuts up?
Nothing comes immediately to mind, and then it just sits there.
A big, fat liver.
Polyester stuffing and an air-powered squeak toy.
What used to be a tugboat is now a digested life preserver.
O clogged gutters will you ever come clean?
Distracted by exercise, charmed by fools, the windmills.
I blush to think of it.
Feed the dog. Take a shower. Eat breakfast.
Pop goes the weasel.
Bananas and toast and a sundae with nuts.
Toil and trouble.
The unraveling of Ethan Paquin, the poems hot 'n' heavy.
The afternoon flying a jet through your hair.
Absolutely everything, even dust.
Where "I" is most certainly somebody else, what have you in the way of identity politics?
Not Brian Vanaski.
Not a really colorful tattoo.
More procrastination than I know how to use effectively.
The hallowed halls of bureaucracy.
Spelling "estuary" correctly.
A cure for esophageal cancer.
The proper method for modeling a turtleneck.
The distance from here to your mother in spots.
From there to your father in shredded coconut.
Why pregnancy isn't an option.
If you stand on your toes you can just make out the mountains.
A brand new Uncle Wiggly.
Splendiferous evening on front porch swinging.
Swallows falling out of the very worst trees.
Toy box. Solar system. Fertilizer spreader.
Time for the 7th inning stretch.
Ball of string.
Vertical tight rope.
A distant cough.
Somebody's bread and butter.
Whereas it used to be required knowledge for getting into heaven, now it's only a
Eucalyptus, Mentholyptus, Citrus.
That's a wrap.
Let's meet back here in five minutes.
I'm still in need of a cotton ball, an SOS pad, and a picture of a lawnmower from the
SEARS catalogue, Winter, 1975.
Who put the bop in the bop-sha-bop-sha-bop, who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding
Also, who wrote the book of love.
Who died trying.
With the big, ugly voice of Ethel Merman.
They saved Hitler's cock.
Incredibly powerful gag reflex.
The end of tap dancing.
Rapidly approaching, a cherry blossom!
Size does matter, doesn't it?
A new kind of not-maple syrup.
Door prizes ranging from 1-1000 dollars.
Where the inside ends and the outside begins—that is most definitely the mystery.
It is written in mud, it is written on the fly.
Wild Dobby Gibson, burgled by dusk.
Strawberry fields forever.
Breaking apart on the outskirts of space.
Anything by John Cage.
Anything involving the use of a hammer.
Anything by John Cage involving the use of a hammer.
Your family having dinner.
The contents of the giraffe's stomach—primarily leaves.
"What's Inside a Giraffe?" was something that my friend's 3 year old asked before bed one night, as in, "Mommy, what's inside a giraffe?" Ostensibly the poem was an attempt to provide an answer to the question that was as full of possibility as the question itself. Sadly—necessarily—the poem had to end with factual truth (or something akin to it), which is always the enemy of the poem and the poet.
"This Is Called Pure Green" came directly out of reading passage 73 of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. However, the poem is neither a response to, nor an elucidation of, the ideas in the passage; it simply crept out of it.