I promised you good stuff and I meant it: after the treat of hearing Kleinzahler read his own work, Ami has now made it possible, through the magic of the interwebs, to listen to Kleinzahler reading Thom Gunn's work! I know, crazy good, right? I love Kleinzahler's reading style -- very firm, confident -- yet also slow, deliberate and even...soft? I think I'd like to have dinner with him. Or go to a rock concert with him. Or the zoo. Or, just sit and listen to him read other works. Divine.
Here's the text for the Thom Gunn poem he reads:
Moly by Thom Gunn
Nightmare of beasthood, snorting, how to wake.
I woke. What beasthood skin she made me take?
Leathery toad that ruts for days on end,
Or cringing dribbling dog, man's servile friend,
Or cat that prettily pounces on its meat,
Tortures it hours, then does not care to eat:
Parrot, moth, shark, wolf, crocodile, ass, flea.
What germs, what jostling mobs there were in me.
These seem like bristles, and the hide is tough.
No claw or web here: each foot ends in hoof.
Into what bulk has method disappeared?
Like ham, streaked. I am gross--grey, gross, flap-eared.
The pale-lashed eyes my only human feature.
My teeth tear, tear. I am the snouted creature
That bites through anything, root, wire, or can.
If I was not afraid I'd eat a man.
Oh a man's flesh already is in mine.
Hand and foot poised for risk. Buried in swine.
I root and root, you think that it is greed,
It is, but I seek out a plant I need.
Direct me, gods, whose changes are all holy
To where it flickers deep in grass, the moly:
Cool flesh of magic in each leaf and shoot,
From milky flower to the black forked root.
From this fat dungeon I could rise to skin
And human title, putting pig within.
I push my big grey wet snout through the green,
Dreaming of the flower I have never seen.
by Thom Gunn