Monday, March 24, 2008

Untitled (2/23/06)

Because of the wildfires
we waited for cigarettes
to burn orange to black
between the leaves
even after the rain.

Driving south to Texas
great black swaths
crossed the highway
but marked only the grass,
so yellow elsewhere, it was orange.

Now green near Houston,
"We got your rain,"
says Aunt on the back porch.
Dad's skin a pale orange,
twelve days in his memory
so dim, as not even to be black.

A title just never congealed for this one. I always sort of call it, 'After the Rain,' but I think that's pretty cheesy. In the margin of my journal here, I see that I toyed with titles that brought out the themes a little more clearly: "Potential Risk," "Fires on the Evening News," "Risk Horizon," but none of them sounded right.

It is about a couple of seemingly unconnected things -- illness, travel, wildfires -- that are all linked for me by a particular time and place. I felt the need to put them side by side to try to remember the strange feeling I had during that time. The colors, and the way the sounds work together (at least, I think they work pretty well), were almost coincidental.

The more I thought (and still think) about this one, the more they seem connected thematically too, though. All of the risky things move from far-off, potential risks to intensely personal, bizarrely real events. And I like to think the poem does the same: moves from the impersonal to the personal, from big, natural surroundings to dialogue and familial relationships.

Maybe. Again, there's a lot of coincidence in the construction of this one, and it doesn't feel as well-controlled as some of the others.

No comments: