The Radio Gods

The Radio Gods
by jim benz
[First Character: pissing in a kettle]
Vocation for a jug. A vocational
discourse is in pouring, and who
dreamed of drinking to enoble
this predilection for the old thing
newer. If the jug is drained, a brief
squawking will be enacted.
[Second Character: scaling fish]
Jugs and a liquid sanctum.
Pull apart a jaw and pouring
to avoid the judgment, disgorge
a grunting sound and swallow
sheets of fire until expressing, expel
more shuddering and not
at random even sputter, spill it all
into the kettle, cursing.
[Third Character: chewing bones]
A mad grin, a grin that is not
liquid is stiff as every other stiff
is inflexible. A type of resilience, a study
in defeasance and everything
fluid, everything languid and more
reversible, nothing precise
without spitting, something liquid
and hairless, sloughing
the implication of a judgement.
[Fourth Character: scratching scabs]
A sputtering word, a genuinely
sputtering word that is not spit
by salting a wound meekly, it is not
spit by saints or by shrieking.
[Fifth Character: glaring at the sun]
Scowl. Scowl like iron, scowl
like iron moltenly.  Scowl hotter
than any forge and spit fluently.
Spit in the fire and in stumbling, spit
in dereliction.
[Sixth Character: praying to his god]
A forge is not the only god. Of iron,
the forge and the hammer are not
the only gods. Of mettle, the forge
and the hammer and the burning coal
are not the only gods completey.
[Seventh Character: eating salt]
An urge an urgent need an irrepressible
urgency and no stopping, not even
a thirst or an inclination to bend
each day, an urge that calls this thirst
and this urgency is the only one
that rages, that leers eternally.

0 thoughts on “The Radio Gods

  1. The faucet runs in a blackout. The fire burns just as well. The cat continues to steal gems confidently from the larder, a protection tax spare as waxen whiskers. So, the kettle keeps on steaming, a spice rack is no less ready, and the blind still doesn’t see why anyone is waiting to eat dinner. That damned radio must’ve scared the life out of them when the power finally came back on.
    Up until the salt character, when your words sped up, I was following this (I think) pretty well. Is it the seventh, and so thus starts again a urinary track star run to the finish? Tune in next week, same time, for the continued adventures of!

  2. This poem doesn’t do it for me. Aside from the ‘stage directions,’ there’s nothing here that grabs me. If this is a truly great poem, I need it explained to me.

  3. Well, Joe, i would say that what it does for you personally is all that matters as opposed to appreciating an objective herd aesthetic. For “social man lives constantly outside himself, and only knows how to live in the opinion of others, so that he seems to receive the consciousness of his own existence merely from the judgement of others concerning him.” -Jean Jaques Rousseau– So i think you’re on the right path by being primarilly subjective in your assessments. Poetry can be good equipment for living, so take what you can use and leave the rest is the way i look at it. Everyone’s different in what they like…some prefer more concrete works to the overly abstract; some like it long, some short, some like plain-spoken prose, some more craft-oriented. But mine is only a meager opinion. It takes all kinds.
    The poem: ‘Radio Gods’ presents to me various frequencies (like a radio) of religious experiences shared from the common perspective of liquid associated struggles and observations. The title itself gives reader a huge tip-off that poem will deal religious/spiritual matters while ‘radio’ throws in a sort of modern flair or possibility of changing if you don’t like what you find…thus the element of choice. The various characters written as ‘ing’ verbs can stand on their own with their ensuing descriptions…might be seen as a progression or evolution of sorts but that would negate the radio metaphor, or would it. The poem is bulging with religious words: ‘gods’, ‘vocation’, ‘judgement’, ‘saints’, as well as words that commonly go along with religious metaphors like ‘thirst’ (as in spiritual, and ‘forge’ (suffering thru heat to obtain wisdom). Much of this is commonly associated with Western Christianity but i can’t help getting a very Eastern vibe in reading this poem. I read a collection of Japanese stories called ‘The Kettle Drum’ ,i believe, which is the first character, and the title refers to more than one god which is Eastern as well. And i suppose ‘character’ itself could refer to a written character (from a word)and not just a different perspective from another pilgrim. Mention of jugs reminds me of the Ruba-iyat which is Persian. Anyway, yeah a lot to take in. It’s very spiritual and polished … descriptive and even instructional at some points. I’ll have to let it sink in some more but it’s very enthralling and detailed. Of course, this is just my impression and could be totally wrong from the author’s intent. But some author’s intentions are for the reader to read a work as an interactive piece gaining their own conclusions/inspirations in their own way…as long as they don’t become serial killers, you know. I really enjoyed the read–though i’m sure to be branded as an accolader! lol. Thx for sharing!

  4. I could have guessed that Joe wouldn’t care for this one, and that’s alright. I think mofo hits the nail on the head when he says some stuff is written specifically for the purpose of throwing the interpretive ball in the reader’s court. And that’s not always so easy to do, because the poem still needs to have a sense of logic built into it, even if it’s largely indeciperable to anyone but the person who wrote it. So, author’s intent is meaningless to this kind of poem. You might ask how (and why) is meaning ever produced in the first place. Or you might not, but it’s still a valid question to explore. In this, I was trying to establish a feeling for the irrational, almost primal drives that move people to determine ‘truth’ or ‘reality’ out of concepts that sometimes have little connection to the source of their conception. Sort of like the current health care debate. I think this poem tends to be more stylistic than some of the stuff I’d write along these lines but, really, I was just playing around with some Steinian syntax and waiting for a poem to brew.
    Mofo – I really enjoyed your interpretation. Thanks for taking the trouble.

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