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?

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