These next two poems are twins so I will edit them together. Poem 49 is a classic case of saying too little and Poem 50 is the opposite issue of saying too much.
This way, you can see what happens when we get to make a happy medium from both sides.
There are several issues with not saying enough in 49. We get this teenage wrist cutter cliche, where the blood and the knife and the ease of injury all come together in an unfavorable blend of angst. That’s not what is happening here, and there are too many poems that already exist that walk that line. Adding just that one line about dish rag is enough to bring the moment to a familiar and innocent ground where the knife can be both alien and familiar. It’s not just a knife, it had a purpose and violated that purpose…. we could file that under our norm section if we felt so inclined.
The issues in 50 are very similar, and the fact that we are dealing with an erotica poem is also an complication. Talking about what is happening at face level is too much. We don’t want to cause any discomfort in the wrong way, nor do we want to have any misguided angst in communication of intimacy.
I read once that intimacy, in this case about bodily moments or sex, needs to mantain its boundaries, control the verbaige and avoid the chiche as much as possible. There are ways to say things without saying them. For Poem 50, not saying words like kiss, lips, naked etc allows this poem to be more in-the-moment. Like playing a favorite song, the reader will have connotations attached to those words that will pollute the poem.
For the two, saying and not saying becomes the trick.
Because these were written at nearly the same time, and deal with similar issues with connotated intimacy, I could edit them together and get a favorable result. You should be wary about pairing up poems, because they inform eachother in ways you may not intend.
There is a lot of talk in books on ‘how to write’ about controlling the words that appear in poems. I didn’t know what that meant until I got to these kinds of poems and needed to reconstruct the image the reader gets when experiencing these short works. There is a danger in choosing words that carry heavy connotations. Keep that in mind when you write poems about subjecs that might run away from you. Connotations in language are often the enemy of poems. Our job is to recreate, redefine, revitalize language, and the staleness these connotations are what we are trying to control.
Find your happy medium.