Friday, December 7, 2012

A Poem by Sarah Vap

A lot of cowboy poetry usually carries my heart no where but the urban gutter due to its utter badness. Here's a chick who breaks that emotional response. And, yes, I think we can call this (her work) cowboy poetry. Don't like that term? Why not? Sarah Vap grew up in Montana, and it seems as though she's fond of wearing a cowboy hat (or at least she presents herself that way). Which is good enough for me. 

We need to ask ourselves why there isn't more (American) mid-west or southwest  or southern poetry, cowboy poetry, country poetry, poetry that isn't locked in the ivory tower dungeons of pretension and elitism we call "academia". We need more Punk Rock poetry. Poetry in the streets. Or, say, poetry from the hills. Will a lot of it be bad? Of course. But then, there's a dick-load of bad poetry protected behind the wall of "higher education" where people with Ph.Ds tell us what's "good" and what's not, even when they're dreadfully, painfully wrong.  

Vap walks a fine line between these two worlds of popular accessibility and elite confinement, egalitarian arts and the fine arts, kitsch and modernity. And she walks it well enough for me to tip my hat to her. (But maybe she would then dismiss that as an act of patriarchy and subtle oppression.) Oh, well. At least my cow can't fear something eternal. Can yours?  

Cowboy song with no words
to the cows—the one inspired
by your dream of tying a steak
to a cow’s back. You thought her hunger was beautiful
and efficient, and I admired it.
After all, this notion that cows have it all
just isn’t true.
If I spoke to the spirit of the cow, and if it was unusual
and impassable—then I would tell her
what she gave up on so easily. And if the cow said nothing in the end?
I’d call her Pan,
I’d call her Vice-President of My Heart. I’d say
Come on, just one night.

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