Alan Gilbert is the author of the poetry book, Late in the Antenna Fields (Futurepoem, 2011), and a collection of essays and articles entitled Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight (Wesleyan University Press, 2006). A second book of poems, The Treatment of Monuments, is forthcoming from Split Level Texts in the fall of 2012. His poems have appeared in BOMB, Boston Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, jubilat, and the Nation, among other places. His writings on poetry and art have appeared in a variety of publications, including Artforum, the Believer, Bookforum, Cabinet, Modern Painters, Parkett, and the Village Voice. He has contributed catalogue essays and entries for a number of biennials, group shows, and solo exhibitions. He is the recipient of a 2009 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a 2006 Creative Capital Foundation Award for Innovative Literature. He lives in Brooklyn.
Paul Chan was born in 1973 in Hong Kong and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Solo exhibitions and screenings of Chan's work have been organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2003), the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2005), Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (2006), Portikus, Frankfurt (2006), Serpentine Gallery, London (2007), and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2007). His work has also been included in major group exhibitions such as the Carnegie International (2004), Lyon Biennale (2005), Whitney Biennial (2006), Istanbul Bienali (2007), Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (2007), and Sydney Biennial (2008). Chan has allocated a central role to the figure of the Marquis de Sade in his recent works, including My laws are my whores (2008) and Sade for Sade's Sake (2009), the latter of which was included in the Venice Biennale that year. He is the author of the artist books' The Essential and Incomplete Sade for Sade’s Sake (2010) and Phaedrus Pron (2010). Chan lives and works in New York.
The dawn would be nice if it didn’t arrive so early.
I don’t know why I rarely want what I can have.
There’s a logic to animals and to tumbleweed assembly lines
reconfigured between shifts to produce Escalade interiors.
But it doesn’t quench my addiction to you, as a family
of civilian ghosts phase-shifts through the fog lights
piercing an Olive Garden parking lot.
Switch the camera over to movie mode. My favorite
bartender storyboarded the decline of the rural gentry
while clearing away the empties. The remaining spills
dribble uphill at $100 a barrel, like buying a whole CD
to hear one love song or renting a lifeboat by the hour
in the Arctic. I used to be the person in my building
who dragged the trash curbside each week.
A hand moves across the sky. I already said that I’ve made
mistakes, though they don’t include spot-ironing wrinkles
out of the matches stored next to the kerosene and feeding strays
with the other neighborhood housewives while performing
the rain dance. I fade just a little bit when your star goes away.
It could be midnight madness in the middle of the day
and still remain quiet.
But these used hospital slippers fit the system or the individual
watching dirty bathwater swirl down the drain. There goes
our safe space, ignoring a knock at the door. Children don’t give up
on love and say where will the snow carry you?
After 9/11, I felt frozen in place and didn’t leave the city
for almost a year. Then the police came to take
away the pain.
Poem reprinted from Late in the Antenna Fields. Copyright © 2011 by Alan Gilbert. Reprinted with permission of the author and Futurepoem (http://www.futurepoem.com).
I want it but don't know why.
But why the why?
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mmd ohhoo mmf mn...aah mmf ohhoo aahgh...
aahgh ssh ulp yeess...
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