Sunday, November 22, 2009

Loved, (8/8/05)

Your penguinous kindness was
unnecessary adjective

which, lack of word,
was, in this case,

only yours
and only mine.

This one is an oldie, but I found myself thinking about it the other day.

It's built on this idea of an 'unnecessary adjective'. Sometimes an adjective is the entire point of the sentence: 'go down to the second street'. But in some cases ('he is a fucking jerk'), the adjective isn't necessary, but it sort of makes the sentence worth saying.

This is line of thought came from a quote (or something) a friend told me: 'verbs unnecessary. nouns necessary. adjectives, wonderful.'

Around the same time i was pondering this, another friend and I invented the word 'penguinous' to describe Fred, who is black and white and sort of shaped like a penguin when he sits.

I discussed these things with Scott, who also encouraged my writing a lot. So, the poem is about sharing a language with another person, and it sort of plays on describing that person in that language.

The title is an adjective, and then after the first two lines, the rest of the poem is an adjectival phrase. Also, most of the important words (penguinous, unnecessary, only) are adjectives. Part of the reason this one is so tight is because I used the technique I've described before of eliminating things after writing. In this case, I literally took out everything, including 'necessary' words ('for lack of a better word' becomes 'lack of word') to leave only the adjectives and the highest impact meanings.

'In this case' is also an attempte to use the linguistic meaning of 'case' and refer to the concept of subject vs. object -- who is speaking and who is being spoken to or about.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

As Yet Untitled (9/17/08)

If I were alone
on a desert island

I would pick at my lips
all day long.

I would sit underneath
the only tree

with no one
to judge me.

I would drink my own blood,
so I never got thirsty.

And when I got too sick
to raise my hand to my mouth

I would only be hurting myself.


If I were alone
on a dessert island

I would eat Mounds bars first
and York patties second.

I would follow carrot cake
with angel food

until the magma lava
caught in my throat

and I had to wash it down
with muscat.

When I got too sick
to raise my hand to my mouth,

I would roll defiantly over
and eat myself into a dark hole.


If you and I
were alone together,

we might not survive
the island.

I might believe
we should raise a flag

but you might want
to burn the vegetation.

You might knock me out of a coconut tree
breaking both my legs,

so you could drink
more milk yourself.

You wouldn't know how
to treat an infection.

When I got too sick
to raise my hand to my mouth,

you would never get
to the root of the problem.


When I am alone,
I am still with you.

You feed me everything
I eat.

You write me everything
I read.

You stick in my head
like a song I'll never hear again.

When I get too sick
to raise my hand to my mouth,

maybe one of you will kiss me
and say you understand.

I'm a little creeped out to have written this one. It's an exploration of a bad habit I have of picking at my lips when i'm bored or stressed. It's an odd, embarrassing and somewhat violent habit, as I imagine a lot of such things are.

So the poem is about different aspects of this habit: the fact that it's very solitary and takes me (literally and figuratively) into myself; the satisfaction of it -- it's sort of a physical overindulgence the way eating too many sweets is; the conflict it creates when i feel like other people are taking me away from it.

The last section is more of a meditation on the intrusion of other people into one's life generally. I'm not sure it totally fits with the rest of the poem, but I think it's important to acknowledge that we never escape the influence of our surroundings, our culture, upbringing, etc., and so are never totally independent.