Patrick Gibson's Reviews > Listen To The Warm

Listen To The Warm by Rod McKuen
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's review
Sep 01, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: poetry
Read in September, 2009

I picked up this book of poetry at a flea market. I sort of remember seeing copies of McKuens books around during the college years, but never succumbed to his populist oeuvre. I also remember people telling me I would like his “stuff.” Well, ‘stuff’ it certainly is. I don’t know how I would have reacted to this when I was in my teens, but probably the same way I reacted now—I gave it to the dog for a chew toy and self-prescribed an insulin shot. If all his poetry is like this, no wonder the nation is headed for a Type 2 Diabetes epidemic. Good Lord, it’s all desert, without one morsel of wit, intelligence, angst, or well . . . anything nutritious. I looked this author up and discovered he is one of the most popular in the world (yes, he’s still alive) and has sold a bazillion books, records (I’ll assume CD’s) with endless sold out concerts. I really was going to throw the book away, but a buddy suggested I keep it because it was published in the 60’s and might be collectable some day. My thoughts were: dude, they printed millions of these! I certainly can’t put it on the poetry shelf. Auden and Eliot would have conniptions! There—I’ll let it rest near fantasy section—since it merely dreams of being poetry.

Here is apparently a famous poem:

(WARNING—this may induce thoughts violence, perhaps suicide, maybe mass murder!)

“I wanted to write you some words you'd remember
words so alert they'd leap from the paper
and crawl up your shoulder and lie by your ears
and be there to comfort you down through the years.
But it was cloudy that day and I was lazy
and so I stayed in bed just thinking about it.
I wanted to write you and tell you that maybe
love songs from lovers are unnecessary.
We are what we feel and writing it down
seems foolish sometimes without vocal sound.
But I spent the day drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes
and looking in the mirror practicing my smile.
I wanted to write you one last, long love song
that said what I felt one final time.
Not comparing your eyes and mouth to the stars
but telling you only how like yourself you are.
But by the time I thought of it, found a pen,
put the pen to ink, the ink to paper,
you were gone.
And so, this song has no words.”
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Holy crap, Patrick! I was having a perfectly lovely morning drinking tea and pretending to do work, and then I read this poem. Now I'm feeling murderous. So it's not all bad.

Patrick Gibson Admissible in court! It is called the McKuen defense (like Twinkie). Be carful though. One poem is only good for justifiable homicide. You would have to read the entire anthology if planning to decimate all the people who watch ‘Housewives of Atlanta’ and think it is reality.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Drat. Now I have to buy and read this if I want my dastardly plans to come to fruition, and then get away with it too.

message 4: by Mari (new)

Mari Sloan It seems like he used a lot of words for his "no words" song.

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