Saturday, August 14, 2004

If you ever plan to motor west

travel my way, take the highway that's the best,
get your kicks on Route 66
Or something like that. A Bobby Troup song, made famous by Nat King Cole & later covered again by the Strolling Bones.

I write somewhere that "unexpected presents / are so often the /best". & so it is proved again. In my letterbox, totally unexpected, Steve Tills' "Behave" from dPress. & what a wondrous gift it is. A series of Rants, starting with #67 - there is an unincluded Rant #66; the cover, a retouched roadsign from one of Steve's favourite highways, can be said to take its place

To someone like myself, who seriously believes that poetry should be funny even when it's being serious, who believes that words should be trifled with, truffled with, trod upon, sat upon, shat upon, played with, plaid with, parlayed into other words, speyed, splayed, relayed, decayed, flayed within an micrometer of their possible meanings & then given mouth-to-mouth so that the whole process, the hole progress, the holy protest can start all over again, this book is a joy.
well wrought,
I'm reminded of a jazz musician, has to be a sax player, someone of the calibre of Bird or Coltrane, who starts a solo with an exquisite phrase, returns to it, reworks it in a series of variations that build upon themselves until a point is reached which it seems can not be gone beyond, that it can't get any better. & then goes & tops the whole thing. & then moves on to the next song, where it happens all over again.

My dealings with Steve are filled with serendipity & synchronicity. He remarked in a post on Black Spring about a New Zealand poet called James K. Baxter whom he'd had to write essays about when doing his M.A. I pointed him to where he could find a couple of photos – Richard Lopez also made reference to one of these photos in his "books received" post on Really Bad Movies that I appropriated & re-posted a couple of days ago - of J.K.B. in company with myself & another poet, Dave Mitchell. Dave has gone back to university at the age of 60+ & is now doing his M.A. on Baxter.

& in the readings Dave & I did together as a double act I would usually work with a rock band for at least part of the night. & inevitably, as the excitement of the evening grew, there came a point where I would say "fuck the poetry" & most times we'd launch into, yes, Route 66. & everybody would get up & dance.
Won't you get hip to this timely tip
when you make that California trip
get your kicks from Rant 66

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