Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town
“Rick is a poet with a real genius for the subtle ironic humor of absurd situations. He holds all the wild cards. He even violates the rules of agreement in the next to last line of Freeway of Love – to underline the aesthetic paradox of “relationship” in a universe of radical solpsism. And that is truly surreal. People are travelling everywhere in this book: Chicago, San Francisco, Istanbul. But the best trip of all is the fishing poem: an hallucinatory plunge into the chthonic troustream of the imagination. If you’re already a Rick Lupert fan,you’ve got to have this book: you can’t possibly live without it. If you’re not yet familiar with his work, buy it, read it, and fall in love. You’ll soon find yourself stalking him outside of the Poetry Super Highway studios just to get a fleeting glimpse of his shadow. You’ll send him emails, begging to take care of the cat while he goes on vacation. Etc. This is a classic.”
Pat Cohee, September 2001
Poetry from Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town
Freeway of Love
Driving east through the San Fernando Valley at midnight
I see you driving in your car
I drive alongside
start to make silly gestures and faces
hoping you’ll notice
You are too busy watching the woman in the car in front of you
She is the woman you love
and she’s been having car troubles lately
You don’t want to avert your eyes for even a moment
Lest that be the moment her car explodes
So I drive alongside her car
Make additional gestures and faces
Hoping she’ll notice
She loves you intensely, too
Knows you are following
Is busy driving safely
So there will be no incident
So you won’t worry
The two of you exist in your own separate driving reality
Only aware of each other
and the road ahead
Neither of you notice me in my car
and that is beautiful
Trout Fishing In Los Angeles
I explain my emotional connection with cheese
to a wide eyed man who counters with his allegory
of the fish and chips so good, it killed him.
“What are you going to do now that you’re dead”
I ask the man, and he says nothing, like dead men do.
It’s then that I notice his tie is not merely silk
designed to look like a fish; it’s actually a fish.
Trout, specifically. The kind you might find in a trout stream,
or in your backpack, if you’re the type to carry trout around.
Trout like the one hanging from this man’s neck,
like it had been lynched, like, watch out Halibut,
you’re next. It’s then that I notice the rest of the man’s
outfit is made up of a trout stream. The kind of trout stream
you’d find in a place where they have lots of trout streams.
Turns out there was no dead man. I’d been having a conversation
about cheese with a trout stream. Imagine my surprise.
I gather myself together, say to the trout “Hello Mister Trout.”
Trout says back to me nothing, like trout do,
then swims away, probably to spawn. It’s then that I notice
before the trout disappears into the trout stream distance,
it seems to be wearing a neck tie in the shape of a dead man.
I check to see
if I am still breathing.
I am not.
Gone to Istanbul
I have your pen
left on the table
before three months in Istanbul
You won’t need it there
where for less than the price
of an American coffee
will write down
everything you say
So be careful
what you say
You have the tendancy to go on
Which we love
here in Los Angeles
But in Istanbul
the extra three minutes
riffing on your favorite German director
could change history
We don’t want calls from the UN
You’ll need to feed his cat
for an extra two years
while we question him
and the boat.
Stick to the bazaars
You can get lost
in the hookah options alone
Two years is too long
for a cat to go without food