I recently found a copy of C.K Williams’ poetry and it revolves around some brilliant pieces and some sparkly pretentious ones. He reads like an inbetween, no Cohen, but his questions stray towards Kerouac intensity. His love poems are the in-between curiosity of a stranger wondering soft greek nothings of his sisters, but accomplishing nothing. It is his questions which mark his strength as a writer, taking apart old images and infusing in them repetitive notes and questions, but the perfect words are lost in his writing. Instead, the voice and motif of his poetry is of a lost gangsterish soul musing on light and darkness, talking about elms the same way he does about war. But it is refreshing. Like Walt Whitman, his poetry reads like a new advent to modern day society. It is not perfect, but it is the way our modern life seems to be, where our questions are better phrased than our answers.
In one part of a poem, ‘Near the haunted castle’, CK Williams writes:
“People torture each other so they’ll tell the whole truth, right?
And study the nervous systems of the lower orders to find the truth, right? And tell the most obviously absurd tales for the one grain of truth?
The mother puts down her book and falls asleep watching television.
On the television they go on talking.
The father’s in bed, the little gears still rip through his muscles.
The two brothers have the same dream, like Blinken and Nod, like the
mayor and the president.
The sister…the sister…The heart furnace, the brain
furnace, hot…Let’s go back to find where the truth is.
Let’s find the beginning. In the beginning was love right?
No, in the beginning…the bullet.”
(more to come…when more can be done in the in-between office lunch hour)