25 January 2008


Armchair wandering for a subject to poetize
something temporal and spatial
a place and time to geographize
my mental travels on the Pamir Poets’ Journey
sponsored by the Chinese poet-turned-billionaire
the country’s 26th-richest man who now builds hotels
in the world’s Viagraest construction-fest
and sponsors real junkets for poets to geographize.

To far western China through the Taklimakan Desert
and Tarim Basin around which the Silk Road splits
where “you can go in, but you can’t come out“
but in a mental journey you can do just that
to the Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture along the Pamirs
partaking of toasts made with fermented mare’s milk
in our poetic honor
and for us a horse is slaughtered
and we are offered the choicest morsels:
the intestines and stomach
and watch proto-polo knocking around a dead lamb.

I am reminded of the assignment for my students
to write a formulaic Country Poem
using three phrases each of the following:
What you would see...
What you would hear...
What you would taste...
What you would feel....

And now I am doing the same
seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling
far western China on the Pamir Poets’ Journey
with boiled horse's stomach
and fermented mare’s milk
and dead-lamb proto-polo
cut short by a sandstorm.

And I can poetize what I would see
flying over the Pamirs
on the magic carpet

of geographer's eyes

and walk into the Taklimakan
and still come out.

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