Review of The Shout of Tom Goar, Posthumous Poet
I got 10 votes for my platform to pay poets to read. Did three readings that fall, then quit. Each got $50. That's where the word scared everybody to death. Thirty or 40 torn ears and bleeding toes. The word shout isn't capped in the text. I had heard it in the room once, at the top of his lungs. Scream shouted, universal world shouted... it was a scream for all the displaced maquiladores before they went back to their desks. Harriet Monroe said she would never to come to these things again. Then she wrote to Wallace, "change the text and leave out stanza 7." He acquiesced. But nobody said anything to Tom. The shout built momentum. I heard it again over time. It woke me last night. Today I pick up the fragments of which I have maybe the only copy of ten made, and wonder why this collective prophecy is not the stuff of which poetry is made.
I can blue such blues they're mean Down a hole to China never seen I can blue such blues they're red Down a hole to China like I said.
He comes shouting: Francelia becomes a storm...she screams to life...she opens her eye to the fury of dawn.
But then again I felt a chill / Shattering blast of a trumpet whose time has come. I tell you no sound echoes down the year, blasts into ground, circles around, comes up, goes down. The scream, the shout, the blast. To keep these things from echoing I adjust the TV at night. Off! I flip the switch, the main switch, all power, cut the cable, call the soul's end from sounds I can't hear.
I set out to calculate the velocity of shout. Figuring the rate of escape, its transit would be in x, times the number of days out of the solar system, heard by Betelgeuse. TV escapes earth and not The Shout? Broadcast light, sound goes out. It translates the sublunar, heard in space before all. That's what the beings of Betterguese do, they turn on earth at night, watch the tube. Count this multiplied by the indefinititude of shouts and it's no wonder we wear plugs to keep them out. They wear ear phones to keep them in, shouts multiplied with groans. You say how could they, how bizarre. I don't know. But you're a living actor on the stage here, so read the lines apportioned you and be happy in unknowing. Happy unknowing, there are as many words for it as Eskimos have for snow. You think it silent in the night when you type but it is not. The audient layers orchestrate. What seascape doesn't reecho?
Wind wraps cold around...a voice to sing? I need a bark, to float.
You know his cry is octaves up, slit my throat with shadows, he says, so the cry is light too, an empty chair, past understanding...Whisps of angels...let the fire freeze. The phrases come like waves and no tsunami. Light, angels, squeeze water from the rock. Then he says, Be rain. All these chords, melodies scat the head voice, chest voice, toes sing with the hands from the windowpane, it is a dance, not seen. Unseen, but heard, how many ways can you groan? The answer to this has lived among the elk many years, as we know from travels in their realm, uncredited more than coyote songs, their hymn of being to the lost. There are the lost and there are those who sing, who pad over moss and turf, eye shine. Everything depends upon predation inside halls and rooms. Some night over to Green Gardens the prisoners of age in their white gowns whose gnarled fingers claw and curl the air, their voices hear but not with the same SHO..! Out this clown whose eyes are wax...head as large as circled sight in a...waving brain. Oh wave the life of the waving world into the heart again! The walls are membranes, the walls, the ceilings, the windows, the doors, the floors are membranes of being lost.
Bronze in the sun; The lion's in my tread as I walk And my mane flows behind.
All these forms, giraffes, three legged though, spotted, unspotted, tall as snow on peaks covered with the last freeze before spring brings living, which he calls here the time for killing.
Songbird singing in a shower of rain Cat sits on the porch listening,
echos and reecho with your own in the brain of the mist, the rain in the trees that falls on rock to make a three petaled lily, an escarpment more aquifer and songbird that comes to billow flocks like sudden storm, hundreds, thousands of songbird breasts ruffed up, pressed out, knowing. And the cat too lies head down, content to follow seasons, the cat, bird, moment, graveyard where pebbles clash against sand for traction, where the earth remains in its blue white bloom.
Tom Goar. Poems 1969-72.
Once when I served time among the graduate inmates of U TX, and represented inmates with poetry readings paid for by the U, readers would get 50 bucks. It's true I quit after three months, but three readings ensued, maybe nine poets. This one combined the services of John Lehmann, a guest lecturer, once secretary of Edith Sitwell and Virginia Woolf, Ray Neubauer and Tom Goar. Tom went second. The room was unprepared. In the middle of his "Prospero, Sweet Prince," to the word "shout," he actually shouted. Loud. I have been bothered by it since. The Shout, not exactly a poem or a book, was a word spoken as an act. On seeing this review Tom said, "There are things that the posthumous poet would rather be tracked down and told when he is alive than when he is dead."
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