Mirov’s most unique quality: he talks about himself in the third person: “My Ben Mirov looks ok. I feed him tasteless whole-grains and leafy greens like the manual tells me. He types two hours a day. He looks pretty good.” Lots of odd characters and proper nouns get dropped in arbitrarily: “Your wolf will die amongst / the cedars behind your face. / Let’s name him Robert Frost.” The contexts shift rapidly, but he maintains cohesion through a consistent pronoun thread:
the Spirit is weak. It tries
to paint lemons. Like an idiot
it tries to paint something real.
It carries the body the door
into the black rectangular
clockwork snowdrift light.
It leads a vertiginous life.
Staring at the moon for hours,
finding a seat at the opera,
whirlpool into the camera,
thinking of Proust, then laying down
greenish gray. Thank you, Spirit
for all your hard work
shoveling ashes in the dark.
Thank you for guiding me
Like Schomburg and Zapruder, Mirov recounts strange ideas in direct, phenomenological language:
The poems are dressed in nothing
like diamonds and ther are only
a handful. They stand in some kind
of formation I don’t understand.
I command the poems to act right.
Mirov almost always begin with himself and an immediate, mundane statement: “I wish I had ideas.” “I am thinking of him and her having sex.” “I can see your wolf / in the bathroom mirror.” But quickly he moves into Mobius strip impossible statements or statements that start imagistic/concrete and recede (through a “ladder” technique) into abstraction or meta-layers:
This is how
I would like to be remembered
pulling a rabbit out of the air.
A real rabbit made from paper made
from imaginary snow.
Together, these mundane openers followed by “receding” sentences work pretty well, as in this opening few lines from “Light from Dead Stars Doesn’t Lie”:
There is nothing to be done about my friends.
They are moving like a caravan
of beasts pulling a tribe of humans across
a flat gray land. I dream all my friends at once
All of this while he maintains a flat, matter-of-fact tone, like the other two. Finally, Mirov has great poem titles: “In the Orchard with a Wrench,” “The Poem Addresses Ben Mirov in a State of Inconsolable Grief,” and “You May Not Know This but in his Youth James Tate was Some Sort of Champion Swimmer!”
For Mirov, the instructions are going to have some direct self-references (yes, you’ll need to use your real name!), some “Mobius strip” statements, flat-then-abstract openers, and awesome titles.
What all three do extremely well: images that “mis-see” the world deliberately and beautifully. Zapruder: “The entire / movie took place in a storm / of totally synthesized feelings.” Mirov: “Many people have been killed // by pistols as they held quivers / which said nothing.” Schomburg: “You will get married / to a hummingbird // and raise beautiful part- / hummingbirds. // You will die of cancer / in mid-air.”
And all three write poems that slide down the page with beautiful images and rhetoric but stay light on their feet in terms of weight of topic/philosophy, drawing attention more to the mind as a delusional tool that filters the world. The kaleidoscopic filter we call the human brain.
If I get chance I’ll post the instructions later tonight.