Poem 156

I’ve started looking at conversations as poem starters. The first line is from a movie and the rest is what it brought out of me:

mayb

I miss the days that never came
summertime wet and sweet melon
rinds fly nibbled and misty wide

the days made of waiting, hungry
for tomorrow,         lush with hope
when each moment could be anything

had yet to define itself by name
was aching with              opportunity
filling itself up with           honesty

and slowly, as not to alert my sense
of           self, I became the average
of           each noon passing, together

infinite, suddenly—done.  Quietly
completed, without stout, full victories
one does miss the maybe-days.

—ECW

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Poem 155

Bridge kids

the ones who feast on left-overs
in upturned bins and grin
through sooty wooden teeth
overpass-crass, the yellow
cuticles of freedom; trust
funds and red lungs
aching for marboros & skunk
we sunk our feet in, ankle deep
and watched the sun set on some
one else’s sunday! Holiday! to be
young and effortlessly cool
in the night, fireside tinder headlines
and crumpled comic strips
make for shadow puppet slumber.

We live vivid in an instant;
don’t make me grow old with employment
let there be sunrises always on my window,
which is open, which is everywhere
and lay me down under the passing lights
of communter busy with deadlines
watching for nothing out the side
view, knowing only that tomorrow
will be the absolute endless same.

 

From the outside, your music is a blues tune
played over and over to a white moon
with a face like a resting doll,
we watch her while you’re sleeping
in your ninetofive daydreams
and keep her secrets from your policies.
We are well paidfor in sensations,
richly alive while we hitch-hike
across roads others dare not go—for fear
of safety. It’s the poor kids who wear
slacks and blazers: shuffling their papers
staplers and budgets, who will die of loans
and live anonymous in their ambitions.  

Someday, when we are all lined up
in a train station awaiting the arrival
of eternity, you might ask who was happy
and neither class will answer,
but one of us will know.

—ECW

Poem 154

Thinking of you all and hoping it is a moment in a long memory of your home.

American Dream Houses

Losing a house is more about losing doors and hinges
the borders between outside and inside
and the everything beyond the fine line of what is mine
losing a home is about kitchens and toilets
and porceline enclaves which have only been touched by us
what long list of sacred cabinets to hold our yearly intake
of nusances, now to be woken suddenly and purged

Because without a home there is no time-kept
we have no memory of what is now and what was then
cataloged in sameness and changes – high contrast
on minutia that is everyday boredom. We are street lamps
on and off and on and off and on and off and everyone
watches us to see if someday the light will go out.

Even dream homes have rooms one never enters.
Which are left un-cooled in June and the furnature sweats
on its lion’sfeet, and we live down in the kitchen,
running the faucett longer than we needed and laughing
at ourselves for being so poor at domestic arts and so
remiss about dishes.

Yard sales full of dishes; 10 cents a piece. Each one
comfortable with deflated caserols and pittiful
on display, outside of their cabinets, watching passerbys
in perfect wonder of their houses, which would also
have cabinets full of dishes, equally succeptable
to foreclose.

–ECW

Theory 101: Why Poetry

I get asked all the time why poetry.

Like it was a choice, or I had some conscious investment in the matter.
The fact is, poetry chose me. It was the way in which I was able to express myself best when common phrases were fleeting. I have found poetry to be a hyperbole of two-tongued thoughts.
If I am pressed to make an argument for poetry it is this:
Poetry presents a certain duality meant to foster opportunities for connection and personal growth in a way other on-the-nose writing styles fail to offer.
With poetry we can both shelter and reveal.
Poetry is body language of the soul, bending and coiling around a truth that is both simple and profound.

Poetry is a love letter to the parts of us that are extinguished and not yet formed.

Poetry is a timely absolute, a human extract, distilled and reduced to its lowest common denominator, which all can digest but few can conquer.
Poetry is a flash of joy – caned and labeled – to be taken at the first sign of melancholy.

Poetry is the shortest distance between two people or two episodes in time.

Poetry is nonsense.
Poetry is conflict without happenstance.

Poetry is.

Keep Writing
ECW

Theory 101: Anthologies Vs Internet

Poets!

 

I had been meaning to post 10,000 things for National Poetry Month (which is now, by the way) but I got a big stinky computer virus and fear I may need to do a factory reset on my machine (yikes!) and therefore have posted nothing! Those are my excuses, accept them as you will.

 

Nevertheless (yes, it’s one word) I am inclined to kick off this month of peppered verse with a short but fun little blurb from my long dusty thesis.

 

I wrote a thesis which was completed in 2012. It was an dazzling process, and I recommend everyone considering doing an undergrad project of that size to dive in! I was focused on mainly poetry and the changing concepts of digital/visual works as the internet became more user friendly. And of course it has, but poetry has yet to explode the way I had hoped it would.

 

I wrote that words and meaning would still be the major components of communication, but that the work we did would grow another dimension: a third visual, tactile, sonic, scented dimension that would enhance the reader experience. Like Smell-O-Vision for Shakespeare. Or something like that.

 

But more on those theories later this month (unless my laptop melts).

 

Today I want to talk a little on a concept I penned called Anthology Theory, and the teetering edge we are sitting on when it comes to poetry and poetry education. As many of us who took English Classes well know, the anthology is a book that collects the best and brightest works from a certain era or in a certain subject. It could be a collection of short stories or the works of the Victorian Era, either way, it encompasses many authors and several writing styles at the very least.

 

The anthology is use in classes that cover large areas of time, like a survey class, that would rather you buy one book instead of a dozen. They also come with cute like intros and images to help orient students in that timeframe. They are, in theory, a great tool. However, no tool is without its limitations.

 

Anthologies are a closed system. They exist within the bounds of their editors and the tone of their publisher. As a tangible entity, they cannot be changed unless a new edition is posted.

 

They are also guarded by gatekeepers: the editors and influencers who decided–based on space or preference– that they would or would not include certain works in the collection. Pound and Elliot are never cut from the Post Modernists, but there might be limited space, and we could lose some H.D. or Sitwell to make room for newer pieces.

 

As the cannon changes –yes, the cannon changes– we are left with only the most potent works, the pieces that defined the writing generation.

These are sometimes the most provocative and fresh works, but not always the best or most relatable works.

To keep with the Post Modernists, the Wasteland is a heck of a poem, but few enjoy it. It defined poetry that era, but is hard to read and a little terrible if you get through it.

Other, more delightful poems are pushed out for the real pungent stuff and as a result few people who learn poetry from an anthology actually end up liking poetry.

In my project I blended poetic/literary concepts with marketing and communication terms. Attempting to make the issues with learning from a closed system like an anthology clearer, I used this metaphor to illustrate the point.

 

You hear a knock on the door (push communication) so you open it to see who is there. It’s the raven, come to interrupt your evening. You ask him what he wants (pull communication) but his reply is always the same: Nevermore! (Anthology Theory).

 

raven

 

You can communicate with a book just as you do with people, unfortunately the book can only tell you a finite, permanent set of responses with no change as the world around the book changes. This makes books an excellent gage of the time period they were created: a perfect historical capsule. However, it fixes them in a state of decay that limits their usability. Especially when it comes to anthologies, which are meant to represent a time period in its essence but often end up representing our impression of a time period, which is a flawed biased perception.

 

The solution, of course, is the internet, which can house everything from the popular to the obscure, granting access and knowledge to those who seek it. Push communication always will exist, that’s the advertisements and pesky banners. But Pull communication and the power of the researcher to find any and everything–free of gatekeepers–is the gift of the internet.

This is especially important for poetry, as the internet gives space to the poems that are most pivotal and poems which are simply lovely without displacing one to covet another.

Finally, with the internet’s infinite space and open structure, poetry can be a iron fist and a bending writs.

 

Happy National Poetry Month
More Theory to Come!

Poem 159

Fallen Out

But of course it didn’t

It’s just the decay of time;

Things will get broken

People came back, hundreds even

Picked up their tinderboxes and

Filled their pantries and lived

There in the shadow of the mountain

And felt no sweeping graces, touched

Every brick in their homes and knew

No simpler word for god than power

In their wax shoes          the wrong size

Poking holes in the mud and

Watching them fill with water

Or bugs or radiation. Sometimes

Calculations won’t tell you everything

Sometimes there are uneque circumstances

We witness with wide open shoulders

Catch the moment in out chest

And beat it to death with our single-hearts

And we tried it again and again and it

Was never the same as the first time…

We were safe, then

No simpler word for god than power

—ECW

Poem 158

bedside

I want to pull it out of you

the parts inside that make you sick

the ever-ache that makes you sick

the part of you that makes you sick

and I know it will be messy

but I want it all           out

every piece, in a slender string

I am certain, in taking the corner

it will come to me          a ribbon,

a folding coil… be gone

I want it all       out

the part of you that makes you sick

but it is your body

with its teeth                 turned inside

out! The parts of you that are crooked

and strange, the parts that would harm

I’d pull them out with my cleanest hands

and heal you whole

and heal your soul.

—ECW