Thursday, April 21, 2011

Clemens Starck: Changing the Alternator Belt on your 504

Clemens Starck is the best journeyman/poet I've ever read.

Often the word "journeyman" is an insult when applied to a writer.  It implies that one has learned the craft but hasn't risen to the level of Master. 

In the case of Mr. Starck, at the time of publication for his book of poetry, Journeyman's Wages, he was a carpenter.

A journeyman carpenter working in Oregon. 

Let me add to that title.  Clemens Starck is a Master of Poetry working in the world.

I simply love this book.  Here's an example:

Changing the Alternator Belt on your 504


To do this the radiator
must be removed.  Two bolts on top, three
on the bottom, and disconnect
the hoses.
Four small screws, and the shroud
comes loose.  This leaves
the radiator free.

Lift it out carefully.  Set it
outside the garage, on the gravel.
Take five.
Contemplate the plum tree.


If the soul took shape
it might look like that - a cloud of white blossoms
throbbing with bees...
In the rank grass,
daffodils flaunt their yellow message.
Six fat robins
skitter across the pasture.

It makes no sense.
Eddie Rodriguez is dying.  You know
that you are dying too, and still there is spring
and fixing cars.


With the radiator out,
the rest is easy.
After replacing the belt, reverse the procedure:
radiator, hoses, anti-freeze.

Turn on the ignition.
Be brave.  Be sad.  Check for leaks.
Wipe your greasy hands on a rag.
Drive on,
brother, drive on.

    for E. R., 1945-1987

by Clemens Starck from the book Journeyman's Wages published by Story Line Press, © copyright 1995 and 1997.

You can buy it with this link to alibris

Unfortunately, the book is out of print, so your purchase won't send any pennies to the poet.  He deserves some journeyman's wages.

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