Friday, December 25, 2009

Two Poems

So, I stop posting for nearly four months because of the demands of grad life, and I come back with two poems? How does that work? you may be asking.

Well, one of my classes was on poetry, and writing on poetry...every week, which for prose people is like tearing the skin off of a cat every week--it's a gruesome, painful, disturbing process that leaves you torn up and lying awake at nights, but it's gotta' be done. And any excuse to do something else you'll do, even if it's writing your own poetry, which for prose people is like pulling out your own eyes--it's a gruesome, painful, disturbing process without much chance of you seeing what you're doing. That is why I have two new poems.

The first is a traditional sestina, written instead of writing about a sestina. A sestina has a specific kind of repetitive involution, in which the last words of each stanza repeat, but they change places in a pattern: lines 123456 of stanza one becomes 615243 of stanza two--and then repeat. (Also, the poem is in pentameter, and the last three lines are the "envoi," which repeats the last three end-words of the last stanza, and includes the other three left out words.) There's a lot of tradition with the damn thing, and some interesting theorizing about the pattern, but instead I wrote my own, the mandate being to turn the form of the verse into a trope of the poetry. So what does the involution of my end-words mean? I wrote the poem to specifically avoid having to answer that kind of question, so I'm not starting now.

The second poem was written under the mandate of turning rhyme into a trope. You don't just rhyme for fun--that's not poetry, but jingoism. The rhyming is supposed to service the poetic meaning somehow. Which if you think about the wrong way, tells you something about the poem I wrote.


Wandering Eye

Trust not broken meets the spoken candor
Gifted the silken words. Dropped the slow tear,
Not unexpected, swift the sign of care.
Baited with long-lashed, purpled hoods, with breath
Hung like violets, no one asked to endure.
Questions remain: is there more in the eye?

I wonder, I start, I ask what this eye
Must do to break the certain soft candor.
Like Sisyphus, what more must I endure?
Talented and introduced, spilling, “Tear
Not and hide away your lingering breath,
Your not understated, lilac quick care.”

Overcrowded incense, thrice lingered care,
Now not unbelief—pry open this eye!
I flinch at the outburst, like violent breath
Hooking snappers. I wonder in candor
If I’m able enough to harden tear-
Drops, and if I cannot, how to endure?

I cannot quit my end. Like awe, endure
Beyond four announcements, symbols of care,
Stuttering I rip this lavender tear!
Breaking underneath this flush orchid eye,
I wilt, I wander, no more heard candor
Can greet the full sense of this draining breath.

I huddle myself, I draw in my breath,
I unask questions I’ve sought to endure.
We should speak, like infants, with mute candor
Of the Herculean effort to care.
Gazing back and asking that hurtful eye,
Is it true to wipe away that one tear?

Empyrean stars, crying their last tear-
Drops; Adamic gods giving their last breath;
All is all, now plumb the depths of the eye:
Sinking down slowly, asking to endure—
I wonder, I start, I thunder, “I care…”
Now these dangled, scar-lent words in candor,

Spoken not unbroken, meant to endure.
Hushed, gentle scarlet breath, quickening care—
Answers silk tear-drops: trust this eye’s candor.


Sign of the Times

This feels a little at odds
Like spittle crossed down your
Face, quickening pace—
So austere you
Appear with
Thirst for
So fine.
Flow on back
Up to the cup
That spilt this clear side-
Ways mouth-tear forever
The sign of true muffled time.

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