Liz’s Weekend Poetry Series: Another Word For Weird

by lizard

There is a branch of poetry I sometimes enjoy that can be loosely tied to the term “surrealism.”

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members.

Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers[who?] regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact.

Though I kinda like weird poems I don’t always understand, I have a feeling surrealist poetry is an acquired taste. I would be interested to hear what others think about the following selections below the fold.

For Charles Simic

The floor is something we must fight against. Whilst seemingly mere platform for the human stance, it is that place that men fall to.

I am not dizzy. I stand as a tower, a lighthouse; the pale ray of my sentiency flowing from my face.

But should I go dizzy I crash down into the floor; my face into the floor, my attention bleeding into the cracks of the floor.

Dear horizontal place, I do not wish to be a rug. Do not pull at the difficult head, this teetering bulb of dread and dream…

—Russell Edson



Hello is what a mirror says
it is a maid says Who
and(hearing not a which)replies
in haste I must be you

no sunbeam ever lies

Bang is the meaning of a gun
it is a man means NO
and(seeing something yes)will grin
with pain You so&so

true wars are never won

—e.e. cummings



The nitwit danced with the congresswoman
at the spring picnic.

I went down to the river to take a good look at it.
I stood on the bank and said “God, if you do exist—”

A handsome puppet passed, dragging its puppeteer by the hand.

Also a Pekingese wearing a University of Mobile sweatshirt.

To those people who are always talking about “surrealism”
can I suggest opening your fucking eyes?

If you do this, you will see mothballs. And a green nightgown.

—Michael Earl Craig



I’m watching him from my window. He’s clutching
the ham as if it were a football everyone wants
to steal. He keeps looking over his shoulder and
stopping to make sure the ham is secure in his grip.
No one’s on the street but him. But wait, old Mr. Wilson,
who lives down the street from me, has suddenly
appeared in his fedora and suspenders and is jogging
as best he can after the young man. I go out onto
the porch to watch. The young man has not yet seen
Mr. Wilson. Then in the last minute he spots him
and starts to run. To my great amazement, Mr. Wilson
dives through the air and tackles him. They wrestle
and grunt. Mr. Wilson wrenches the ham free, gets
away and starts racing down the street with the ham.
Clearly it’s his ham now.

—James Tate

  1. groucho

    Some days we don’t need to understand or we need the chaos, the mystery of the dream. On those days, these poems feed us in ways that sensical language cannot. Were drawn to their playfulness and strong images and the fact that they don’t make (complete!) sense–they let us live like children again.

    Thanks for doing this, giving people a chance to consider and cozy up to poetry. We’re all poets. Most of us just don’t write them down.

    And thanks to all you Birds who keep an eye on the theives and their shills. Keep on squawkin!

  2. I saw the word “Vancover’ today.

    i thought of how beautiful the sight was before the man who said “Vancover! Vancover! This is it!”

    Talk about living for the moment.

  1. 1 An April Feast Of Poetry « 4&20 blackbirds

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