Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Untitled (5/30/07)

Each tick I wasn't with you
read off the time
until I could be again.

Last night I made them
the time since I had written
the measured fading of each idea
before the writing of it.

I drifted on that undulation
into sleep.

And then awoke mid-night
to a woman's catastrophic wailing.

Ran into the predictably blue light,
almost upstairs,
almost to an aunt in mourning.

But, pathetic,
the moans come from the basement.

The cat, wretched old Rosebud,
makes human noises. Still,
terrible, inelegant company.

She's always on about her loneliness.
I posted this one because a friend just pointed out everything else on the blog is two or three years old. This isn't much better, but it's the most recent thing I thought was worth posting. I haven't looked at it much since I wrote it -- haven't even given it a title.

It also seemed appropriate to my mood, since I've been trying to encourage myself to write more (rather than mope). I did some editing just now as I typed it. Added a whole stanza, actually ($10 if you pick which one and then make me pay you).

It has its moments, but hasn't been through that all-important paring down. Still has a lot of extraneous non-moments and whining that could go. I'm finding it harder and harder to be brief, and I'm not sure why.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tautology (6/27/06)

In a sudden frenzy of sleep
you saw a parade of ex-girlfriends,
fat, and getting heavier.

Embarassed ever to have felt
toward something so gone,
you didn't introduce me.

Sit back.
I'm handling the introductions.

We took up the weightlessness of bicycles
and have become, as you would say,
perfectly proportioned.

I know because you said
you would rather be young
in here, with me,
than old, outside, alone.
I don't have much to say about this one. It's based on a dream and it's more successful than most dream poems, I think, because it's based on someone else's dream. In fact, it's all about statements the dreamer has made to me (the narrator).

I think the narrator starts displaying skepticism towards the dreamers utterances at that middle part (Sit back...). I like to think that stanza has some special meaning in the poem, since it sticks out so much in tone and rhythm. (Speaking of rhythm, I basically just made up the punctuation in an attempt to recreate the dramatic way I read it.) The statement in the last stanza isn't actually a tautology, but that word seems to capture the way it's almost meaningless because so obviously, a priori, true.

This one was considered for publication in the Brown undergrad literary journal at the same time as Untitled. I got to listen anonymously to the debate and, if I remember correctly, this one won out because it was considered more interesting, unusual and difficult to do things with weight than with colors.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spring Cleaning (7/20/06)

Five peoople
in three rooms
and two words
between them.
They needed to discuss who
spoke first,
whether or not one wanted
mopped floors
too personally.
"You never knew this before,"
she said,
"But I'm a little crazy --
cant stop cleaning,"
which felt a bit forced
though very necessary
this season,
in a language
so small
and unforgiving.
This was written about two weeks before 'Meal Plan,' but revised a lot on the day I actually wrote that one. The previous title was 'Summer Cleaning,' since the poem is about a summer living arrangement. But that seemed, as is often my fear, clever and cheesy.

Actually, it's even hard now to tell what the final version of this one is. I'm not sure whether I've ever typed it out before. The last three lines, though, have been in tact for a long time. They're even bracketed and moved around as a unit in the very first, much-scribbled draft.

The gimmick of this one is that all the lines are either two, three or five words long -- the three numbers mentioned at the beginning of the poem. Each line, based on the number of words it has, supposedly corresponds to, or is about, the noun mentioned with that number (Five-word lines are about the people, for example.) But I'm not sure, now, whether this was part of the original idea, or whether I made it up part-way through, or after the fact, to disguise my bizarre line-break choices. Either way, it's hard to totally accept, since most of the lines could be 'about' rooms, words or people. Maybe that's a good thing?

Speaking of line breaks, I always read this one with more dramatic, abrupt pauses at the ends of the lines than most of my poems require. And the punctuation is fairly serious -- period is a fuller stop than a comma and so on. Probably one of my many emulations of Robert Creeley. Or maybe it's to emphasize the numbers of words. Creeley voice or odd line breaks? Chicken or egg?