The third issue of Melbourne magazine Steamer — edited by Sam Langer — features a number of one line poems: my favourite is ‘rocker’ by Will Druce: ‘sssssstay onlike a roa deeeeeee afterrrrthash ow.’ It could be drunk, it could be the beginning of ‘Cherry Bomb.’ Neologisms like ‘onlike,’ ‘roa,’ and ‘afterrrrthash’ suggest a mutating rocker vernacular that gets more interrrresting the more the rocker thinks about what they’re saying.
Another poem from the issue, ‘token’ by Ella O’Keefe, is one that knows it was written on a keyboard (as much as the hands may remember ‘duck-egg formica’). It interrupts what becomes retrospective lyrical droning to jump up and want something a: ‘Fresh!/Fruit!/Shake!’ Three exclamations suspended by the question of wondering … Having energised the line and mood, new implausibilities may be murmured. We attend to mockery, then we’re collaged onto a tarmac. Single quotes turn into double: a successful ‘lawn-a-concept-centre’ date then.
when a rooster crows
the whole body is used
& it puts you back
in your own
This could be O’Hara with clipped wings or Williams with the strength reversed to the end.
Tim Wright's poem (see previous post, Magazines #3) plays off a fusion of open field and New York poetics pioneered by poets such as Laurie Duggan and Pam Brown; yet 'Suns' subscribes to neither, nor is antiformalist in the way of his precursors. Rather, I suggest Wright is conceptual, aformalist, in employing a kind of relaxed proceduralism. Which might sound like Ashbery by another name - yet the poem produced is unlike Ashbery's - for one thing, the tone is very different, its play both more random and more active.