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Larry Johnson: poet and author of Veins and Alloy

A past contributor to the San Diego Reader

  • Baroque Music
  • I’m going through a Baroque music phase:
  • Telemann, Handel are my latest craze,
  • Along with Arne, Rameau, Rebel, Corelli,
  • And though those centuries were rather smelly,
  • The music glinted hard and bright, delightful
  • Above the noisome wigs and rotten teeth
  • And billets doux, and gossip mostly spiteful
  • About who never used a lambskin sheath.
  • Terraced dynamics were the method then
  • To write music or cruise society,
  • And though both never seemed to lack it when
  • In court, there was much insobriety
  • Re artists’ worth from many a one whose name
  • Is known only from some composer’s fame.
  • Time Capsule
  • What do with time?
  • —Tarzan
  • We are time.
  • —Cavafy
  • Soon the last fleck of ice, sunshivered, will melt,
  • the world’s largest island, graygreen again, give up
  • its dead, churches, Great Auk bones, Apokteinosaurus prints;
  • soon fire will eat, atomize, slimy rot consume,
  • liquefy the last concentration camp tattoo;
  • soon ancient microbes, flowing from the thawed
  • permafrost, rise to seek our mucous membranes;
  • soon Brazil, bleak sillions, shrunken heads gone with tamanduas,
  • will bake, and here, our last coign of privacy be lensed away;
  • soon enough, ammonites, cloned to save the risen seas, having
  • fatally clogged all whales’ digestive tracts, will suffocate;
  • too soon that plastic in earth’s landfills, all oceans, our intestines,
  • claim its massive hegemony;
  • sooner, all those novels will be finished or abandoned,
  • the last paper books printed over our dead bodies,
  • poems only the sounds they were meant to be.
Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson, born in 1945 in Natchez, MS, is the author of Veins (David Robert Books, 2009) and Alloy (David Robert Books, 2014) and has published poems in many magazines, such as New Orleans Review, the Iowa Review, Chronicles, and Town Creek Poetry. He received the second MFA in poetry ever given at the University of Arkansas. In the fall of 2006 he read a selection of his poems at the Library of Congress. A past contributor to the San Diego Reader, he now lives in Pomona, California, and works as an editor in Los Angeles.

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  • Baroque Music
  • I’m going through a Baroque music phase:
  • Telemann, Handel are my latest craze,
  • Along with Arne, Rameau, Rebel, Corelli,
  • And though those centuries were rather smelly,
  • The music glinted hard and bright, delightful
  • Above the noisome wigs and rotten teeth
  • And billets doux, and gossip mostly spiteful
  • About who never used a lambskin sheath.
  • Terraced dynamics were the method then
  • To write music or cruise society,
  • And though both never seemed to lack it when
  • In court, there was much insobriety
  • Re artists’ worth from many a one whose name
  • Is known only from some composer’s fame.
  • Time Capsule
  • What do with time?
  • —Tarzan
  • We are time.
  • —Cavafy
  • Soon the last fleck of ice, sunshivered, will melt,
  • the world’s largest island, graygreen again, give up
  • its dead, churches, Great Auk bones, Apokteinosaurus prints;
  • soon fire will eat, atomize, slimy rot consume,
  • liquefy the last concentration camp tattoo;
  • soon ancient microbes, flowing from the thawed
  • permafrost, rise to seek our mucous membranes;
  • soon Brazil, bleak sillions, shrunken heads gone with tamanduas,
  • will bake, and here, our last coign of privacy be lensed away;
  • soon enough, ammonites, cloned to save the risen seas, having
  • fatally clogged all whales’ digestive tracts, will suffocate;
  • too soon that plastic in earth’s landfills, all oceans, our intestines,
  • claim its massive hegemony;
  • sooner, all those novels will be finished or abandoned,
  • the last paper books printed over our dead bodies,
  • poems only the sounds they were meant to be.
Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson, born in 1945 in Natchez, MS, is the author of Veins (David Robert Books, 2009) and Alloy (David Robert Books, 2014) and has published poems in many magazines, such as New Orleans Review, the Iowa Review, Chronicles, and Town Creek Poetry. He received the second MFA in poetry ever given at the University of Arkansas. In the fall of 2006 he read a selection of his poems at the Library of Congress. A past contributor to the San Diego Reader, he now lives in Pomona, California, and works as an editor in Los Angeles.

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