Blue on Blue Ground

Blue on Blue Ground

Aaron Smith
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 104
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  • Book Info
    Blue on Blue Ground
    Book Description:

    Winner of the 2004 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

    Blue on Blue Groundis about the body, desire, anxiety, and obsession-how what we want redeems and isolates us (and is sometimes used against us). These poems are artful yet accessible, lyrical yet direct, strange but recognizable.

    Smith's relentless self-examination, fear, sense of humor, and vulnerability are all laid to bare in crisp, precise language. From lonely observations, bizarre medical fascinations, emotion, loss, and honesty,Blue on Blue Groundconstructs its internal and external worlds.

    The metaphorical city is also a "body," a place of exile and restoration, a symbol of hope, a catalyst for connection. The urban landscape is often the background for the moment or is the moment itself-the world looked at and sorted into words.

    Though at times dark, there's love to be found. Perhaps it's what drives this collection, colors its observations, and leads it to finally announce: "Someone is putting the world back together."Blue on Blue Groundwants to look at absolutely everything and believes that complete exploration of the physical and mental selves-fears and desires-is the key to moving and being completely alive in the material world.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-9091-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Part I
    • Keep Him There
      (pp. 3-3)

      on Second Avenue in his white T-shirt, jeans securely fastened, before you smile at him, before he smiles back. Before he asks for your phone number and you give it. Keep him there before karaoke, the silly Whitney Houston song when he asks you to dance, before you lean in and realize how long it’s been, before he puts his hands on you from behind, calls youbeautiful, and you believe him in spite of yourself. Keep him there before he pulls your shirt off, kisses the meat of your chest, takes your chin in his hands, says,Look at...

    • Working Out with the Boys
      (pp. 4-5)
    • Dr. Engel Buys the Jesus-on-a-Spring Action Figure
      (pp. 6-6)
    • Notes Composed in a Heat Wave
      (pp. 7-7)
    • Secrets of an Identity Thief
      (pp. 8-8)
    • Wreckage
      (pp. 9-10)
    • Confrontation
      (pp. 11-11)
    • Psalm: West Virginia
      (pp. 12-12)
    • How Easily He Moves
      (pp. 13-15)
    • Dr. Engel Survives the Blackout in New York City
      (pp. 16-16)
    • Rain in Pittsburgh
      (pp. 17-17)
    • Jockstrap
      (pp. 18-18)
    • Her Bright Face at the Places of Our Leaving
      (pp. 19-20)
    • Boston
      (pp. 21-22)
    • Dr. Engel Writes a Love Letter
      (pp. 23-24)
  4. Part II
    • The Signs of Choking
      (pp. 27-28)
    • Taking Off from the Airport / Cleveland, Ohio
      (pp. 29-30)
    • Dr. Engel Goes to the Nudist Colony
      (pp. 31-32)
    • Brad Pitt
      (pp. 33-33)
    • Boston
      (pp. 34-35)
    • Cher Uncensored
      (pp. 36-36)

      Walking to lunch I am Cher inMoonstruck, freshly fucked, kicking a can down the street in last night’s sultry, strapless gown the color of pennies, my thick black hair still stunning, lips swollen from kisses, coat dark as the heart-shaped hickey on my neck. I think of Nicolas Cage and falling for his speech after our secret date when those damn snowflakes fell on cue like they do in movies, his annoying lecture on their imperfection, like the imperfection of love, and the bullshit of fairy tales, how nothing turns out as we plan, and taking his wooden hand...

    • Silent Room
      (pp. 37-38)
    • Prayer for a Doctor
      (pp. 39-39)
    • New Zealand Hand Model Stuart Poses with Kiwifruit and Has a Foot Fetish (notes from an interview)
      (pp. 40-41)

      When he makes love with exquisitely manicured hands he thinks of competitive eating, conspiracy theories, and Liquid Paper on places it shouldn’t be, but really he thinks of the place inside that’s given up on love and wanting to be touched by lesser hands, callused hands with hairy, hairy knuckles and hangnails.

      a) Scissors: He loves holding the potential end of his career; sometimes when nobody is looking he jumps up and down with them on his palm. He touches the sharp tips, swears his fingers go numb nearly begging.

      b) Produce: There’s nothing like the contrast of flesh on...

    • Valedictory
      (pp. 42-43)
    • Frank OʹHara
      (pp. 44-44)
    • The Story of Your Leaving
      (pp. 45-45)

      I call my sister and tell her “Manic Monday” by the Bangles is to be played at my funeral, not that I’m dying, or at least don’t think I am, but a person should think about these things or else you’ll get stuck with a hymn and how can anyone be sad when Susanna Hoffs sings,C’mon, honey, let’s go make some noise?

      I’ve always been a sucker for a good ending: THE END, a couple smooching behind six overweight letters on a weepy movie screen, my grandmother dying of asthma, sayingI can’t talk anymore, meaning today, and me...

    • Music History
      (pp. 46-47)
    • Story
      (pp. 48-49)
    • Then
      (pp. 50-51)
    • Dr. Engel Studies John Currinʹs Paintings
      (pp. 52-52)
    • The Last Small Thing
      (pp. 53-55)
    • Late
      (pp. 56-56)
    • Ars Poetica
      (pp. 57-58)
  5. Part III
    • Dark, Awful Man
      (pp. 61-66)
    • Dr. Engel Interprets Rothkoʹs Blue, Green, Blue on Blue Ground
      (pp. 67-68)
    • Dear Matt Damon
      (pp. 69-69)

      smug in your T-shirt smug in your jeans smug in the white socks teething your ankles. Do you ever get pimples on your butt? a stray hair in your ear? an inappropriate erection? Dear Matt Damon of the Crest-white grin: I met a guy, you and he were buds, best friends when kids, you lived upstairs and had birthday parties. I know he was lying. I know he had very bad teeth.

      Dear Matt Damon of damaged kidneys. Dear Matt Damon of the million-dollar loft, ex of Winona drugged up and thieving. Dear Matt Damon of math equations. Dear Matt...

    • The Trick
      (pp. 70-71)
    • Explanation
      (pp. 72-73)
    • Snow
      (pp. 74-74)
    • Things I Could Never Tell My Mother
      (pp. 75-76)
    • Sightings
      (pp. 77-77)
    • Poem for the End of Summer
      (pp. 78-78)
    • Dr. Engel Passes a Generically Attractive Couple
      (pp. 79-80)
    • Whatʹs Required
      (pp. 81-81)
    • After Coming Out to My Sister
      (pp. 82-82)
    • After-School Special
      (pp. 83-83)
    • Dr. Engel Teaches the Poet How to Swim
      (pp. 84-85)
    • Learning the Body
      (pp. 86-87)
    • Notes Composed on a Sidewalk
      (pp. 88-88)
  6. NOTES
    (pp. 89-90)
    (pp. 91-91)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 92-92)