Updated: Jan 23, 2022
Rod Roland was born in Natchez, Mississippi. His books include The Playgroup (Gas Meter), Thrasher2 (Gas Meter), Best Loved (Old Gold), No Right Words (Ugly Duckling Presse/Bird & Beckett) and Record of Records (fmsbw). His work has appeared in the following journals, catalogues, and ephemera: Amerarcana: A Bird and Beckett Review, VOLT, The Recluse: The Poetry Project, The Emerald Tablet, Shuffle Boil, Left To Impress, Zocalo Public Square, Brise Marine, Bronze Chimes, Censer, Big Bell, As Of Late, High Noon, Studio One Reading Series Anthology, Ukiah Haiku Review, No Where and No one: The Art of Ed Loftus.
Poet of the Mind
out of the grass of the womb
Rod Roland from Mississippi has written what he’s seen
I love some of his hardened dreams
escapes emotional as a carriage house drawn novelesque
the brain of heaven
he is the cosmos
the secret in the box
an unsheathed sword stabbing at vulnerability
form of vision mostly shaded sometimes jaded
his world is the word
from mars and beyond
a helmet of polished metal
a dry desert carrot
take his moisture
he has himself
patient and doctor
to reveal the truth
OPENING THE EYE OF KIM
If we had taken proper care of her
visited her more frequently
she would at least have had a happier last few years
but this is less about her than ourselves.
We were in something of a crisis when we first encountered her
we were at an emotional brink.
We were relieved of our duties and told to rest.
The cause of our distress is not spelled out
but the obsessive themes of our interior monologue led us to some speculations.
The most obvious of these was guilt over Kim's death (exacerbated by her habit of speaking
in her mother's voice).
Enmeshed from the outset in our spiritual crisis are issues of intimacy and sexuality.
Kim provided the palpable field: she crossed in and out of her vagina
spoke incessantly and crudely of sexual matters
was suspected of desecrating the image of the father and so on.
As before, however, it appears to be our anxieties that are at stake.
The nature of these anxieties is hinted at in an earlier scene.
When Kim hurled herself through the window to her death on the street below.
Our concern here is not with whether Kim is or isn't
or has or hasn't, or hasn't but could.
It is rather with the fact that our spiritual reawakening is cast in the language
and imagery of opening up, of letting things in.
So wasted was the thing that was Kim.
We saw that Kim was about to die and dared the devil to exit her and enter us instead.
To fall to our death through the same upper-story window.
Presumably by the force of the devil's entry
and Kim was to live on
as she has much to learn about what she is meant to conceal
from what she is meant to represent.
The Sermon of Gladness
It is January 23rd, four days before this is to be read
9:51 PM in San Francisco and it’s almost 1 AM in New York.
You can’t imagine what it’s like here, or maybe you can
because there’s a piece of me in all of you
and when you marry, you are marrying two pieces of me back together.
Is that making it too much about me?
Maybe all three of us are getting married.
I wanted to call this “The Sermon of Gladness”
after a Lew Welch poem read at Glide Memorial.
I also read a few poems about death for inspiration
the language is all the same:
come into the light and hold my hand
come take it, this is the way out.
Now we are remembering
there’s a little fiction
it’s easy to see when you listen
you can hear words so clearly and instantly.
I am with you, now we look out the windows
seeing shadows of ourselves.
When I said I was mad, you listened, intimidated and excluded.
We were made of stone and had the warmth of rats
busy buzzing by the sunrise on Bernal Hill.
I have to write all this to get it out of the way.
The real wedding poem is coming or is it?
I can’t seem to get love the right way
there is no right way to love.
Sweet intellect and pleasure I have entered your air.
You have steered me.
I am old-fashioned, pure and peaceful
ready to die without resistance
we are all Antigone
a lot of friendly faces in the crowd.