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Midnight beneath the cherry tree,
your sighs find their way to my lips as whispers;
the ancient secrets of the moon spilt - in
sweet accent swallowed and spit as flecked epiphanies
across evening: seeding this soil leaden with a hundred dark autumns.
It's curious how clumsy words can be-
their meaning buried beneath the heavy earth,
(like that Indian feather we found while planting tomatoes).
The scent of centuries caked under our fingernails- of
prayers offered upon stone altars.
Our tongues, seraphim that search this sacred ground for understanding:
abstractions of philosophical ruminations, of self-abbreviations,
apparitions of Plantinga dissolve in syllabic sonnets. But
bestial and big; unsophisticated, and raw.
I wear you as war-paint veined under my eyes,
streaked across my cheek, through the cleft of my chin - down the tower of my throat -our hearts pulsing to the ancestral beats of a pow-wow--
(like that time we tried to master, "I love you", in Morse)--
.. / .-.. --- ...- . / -.-- --- ..-
in your supple hips; and I, a nova, torn from my galaxy, crash in your thick wheat thighs and feast.
I shall be gentle as I swallow every peak, and pool,
and Parnassus inch of you.
My hands rooted in your fertile frame mount with flaming wings to kiss the moon.
(Like that night you straddled my shoulders, and stretched to stoke the stars).
these fingers are tribal spears cast as caveats. They pierce midrib; etching intracellularly that we are the nucleus, we are the night- alas
your body is Alabama red clay:
it forms my palms, my wrist, my arms, my mouth-
is full with you: mineral-like, and floral, and sweet
| I like how the words run wild down the page like war paint on a face. Yes, streaks of this color or that and all the passion barely staying in the confines of language and the box it's supposed to fit in. I had a poem once with dangling bracelets that I changed after some people complained at the words spiraling down the page. I think maybe it was a mistake to change it. It meant more to me that way. It was more true to the girl it was written for. |
The only word I would change from the way you have them falling is "pivots". If "vots" was a word on its own, then I'd say keep it, because of the double meaning there with pi. But as it stands it doesn't "turn" as a pivot should, if it was to mimic it's action in shape, so it just comes off as distracting there (although, I guess a case can be made for the fact that in some other languages "vot" means vote--so then you have a circular vote, lol ). The rest, I'd keep as is.
I read all the other critiques here and I'm not sure what else I can add, although, that has never stopped me before. lol
Let's see. . . I did wonder if you meant "stoke the stars" or "stroke the stars". I suppose both work. "Reaching" made me expect "stroke", though. Still, everything you write seems so intentional. And reaching to stoke the stars is a cool image.
Also, I respectfully disagree with Santi and Aly about taking out one or the other of "whisper" and "sigh". A sigh can be quite loud, and I think it is an important distinction.
Oh, I know something I could take a stab at! The part about apparitions of Plantinga dissolving into syllabic sonnets. To me, it seemed as though you were disputing that there is some logic we follow to "know" something--especially something like love. That "knowing" is more innate than some philosophical formula to be followed. That it's more this romanticized notion, like where poetry and art come from. Or maybe you were referring to the idea of god and free will vs. pure evil. Or some concept that free will cannot exist in love . . . that the speaker is a slave to it. . . . I wonder, because of all that, should it be "And
bestial and big; unsophisticated, and raw."
instead of "But
bestial and big; unsophisticated, and raw."
I don't know. Ha. There I go, saying that again.
Anyway, this is truly a wonderful piece. Yes, the Alabama red clay, and the asides in parenthesis, and the wheat thighs, and the bit about her being Mount Parnassus . . . it all works wonderfully together. Any little bits of critique I've thrown in here were just attempts to contribute something meaningful. Feeble attempts, perhaps, but attempts made out of immense respect for your work.
|| Posted on 2012-01-05 00:00:00 | by JanePlane | [ Reply to This ] || I'm always a sucker for writing that makes grand gestures to describe something as quiet as a finger rubbing against another. I always think it is a brave thing for people to embrace the chaos of a moment hoping to take something concrete out of it. That's why I like this.|
This poem, I think, is wild. And there is nothing wrong with that. I think that there is wildness in every poem that I have considered to be good. It's just a matter of choosing where the wildness should be--whether in the solidity of words or in the fluidity of silence.
Also, I can also appreciate the way your words moved towards the end. The composition seemed as though it was a journey in its own right--like an attempt to define something until you realized that the true definition lies in the absence of a definition.
I don't think I'm making much sense.
|| Posted on 2011-05-14 00:00:00 | by ANGELO | [ Reply to This ] || This is amazing! This will be listed in my favourites, because - along with some of my other listed favourites - it's the type I always try for and never quite reach. It is hard to format something like this, especially on such a simple word pad, but you found a way to pull it off enough that it flows beautifully.|
Hats off to you, good sir.
|| Posted on 2011-05-12 00:00:00 | by stefhy | [ Reply to This ] |
You said to me that when you write it's an overflow of imagery and you made it sound like it's a beast that needs to be tamed or caged. I don't find that to be true -- imagery, evocative, clear, unique, majestic, spellbinding, is always magnificent and thrilling to read in writing. But, of course, it can always be honed. Not quite reigned in, but honed.
I have a few suggestions for this write with which you can do what you will. The scope of these images, the language is grand. The format? All the typographical playfulness, unfortunately, was a major distraction to me. It was too over-the-top, made the words (which if used well, don't need to draw attention to themselves) look like they couldn't stand on their own. But that's not true -- they could stand on their own. Also, in the beginning, I would get rid of the whispers. Sighs are good enough. I wholly agree.
Let me know if you do more with this. I encourage you to keep using imagery like you do. There's so much freedom in it, so much to learn from, so much to guide, so much to grow. It's endless. It's creativity at its best.
|| Posted on 2011-03-11 00:00:00 | by O | [ Reply to This ] || I think there's an excellent balance here between your usual ornateness and a more colloquial style, and that stands you in good stead-- makes what is ornate feel all the more ornate, you know, like underlining something with a highlighter pen.|
I never was one for a lot of the formatting things and tricks I've seen on this site. Though I guess that's a personal thing. It does feel a tad overdone, here, but god, what a minor nit.
One other nit, while it's fresh in my thoughts: thick golden harvest thighs. That part feels too overly worded, so maybe nix an adjective? Just a thought.
Intracellularly-- ugh, ace word, and the kind of anatomical detail which appeals to me on about a thousand levels.
This is a dense write, so forgive me for up-downing somewhat.
The first part where you become more direct, speak in plainer speech, it's curious how clumsy words can be-- it's good, that abrupt plainness, and it's a good prelude for you stating how you are unsophisticated. Almost like you become those words.
Can I ditto Santi's thought re whispers and sighs? One or the other, both work, and saying less can be so much more in poetry (this is a rule I need to practise more myself).
A hundred dark autumns-- I just wanted to let you know how much I like/liked/like that line. There's something about it which is transcendental and earthly both, and yup, it's frankly gorgeous.
The indian feather aside-- this is the kind of thing which can make a poem for me, makes a poem more human, more relateable, it feels more direct. Less like someone is trying to write poetry, more like they are just letting it happen. Does that make sense? But it's the kind of device I'd like to see you using more often, because it works. It does.
apparitions/ruminations/abbreveations-- this part feels too dense, to me, so maybe nix one of those? Or just have a play. You've set up a rhythm there- don't be afraid to break it. That can be equally effective.
I love the juxtaposition of syllabic sonnets with bestial and big-- the elegant coupled up with the inelegant. I guess it's that highlighter effect again. Your formatting there kinda makes me pause too much, though. Maybe something a little more subtle? Just a thought.
I'm also thinking that that line: I'm bestial, and big, could lose that comma and be better off for it.
The repetition of beat/beating-- this is unnecessary, I think-- something like pulse or tattoo would do equally well here, and I think something gets lost in that line as it stands.
Pow-wow is cool. I like that you're brave enough to go for that. It's sonic and good to look at both, and there's something grounding about it, which is needed a little-- things thus far have been very metaphorical and spiritual, almost. Perhaps even including another aside like the tomato one somewhere around here would work wonders with keeping that groundedness? I don't know. Just a thought.
Pi/Vots-- again, I think the formatting here is too much. But the idea-- it's sublime. It really is. I like how nova speaks of heat, crash of passion, something like tectonic plates sparking together, you know? I think that part is among my favourites, other than for the nit I mentioned earlier.
I think, as a general thought, that you could lose a lot of the commas here, keep the tempo going a little. There's a whirlpool effect going on in a lot of this, which the commas lead astray.
Your aside re the stars is lovely, for all the same reasons as the tomato aside. Yup.
I hope you don't mind such disjointed thoughts. I expect at some point I'll be coming back with more.
|| Posted on 2011-03-01 00:00:00 | by AlyRose | [ Reply to This ] || So the first time I read this, last night, I thought "Oh my gosh, now that is quite heated." & that is what I thought again, re-reading it. |
This has so much going for it. It is sensual, lush & provocative but also quite contained & content. I like that. A fiery passion can also be quite content. I also really enjoyed all the naturalistic elements, both of nature & sex. We are animals, after all. & the sounds, the inner-rhyme makes this all flow so well. As for the form, in this case it neither takes away or adds to the write & that makes me think that it's not needed, tho I do like this tabbing that you've done, the linear spacing form, just not the cascading of "blood/and/love/and/sex/and".
"your sighs find their way to my lips as whispers;" I think "as whispers" is redundant when taking in consideration "your sighs." It's a touch too synonymous in such close proximity. How's that for some big words. hah. Somfin to think about.
I love the sounds in this first paragraph. From "tree/mystery/sweet/epiphanies" to "lips/split/in/spit/leaden/" & again, that side step from "split-" to "in" is so good for some reason.
I really love the plainness of this: "It's curious how clumsy words can be-" in the middle of such rich words. Grounds it firmly. & "I'm/bestial, and big; unsophisticated, and raw". It's such a contrasting image with all this plethora of flora. Kinda brings a gentle giant who doesn't know his own strength & appetite to mind.
The semi-colon after "understanding" should be a regular ol' colon.
"streaked across my cheek, through the cleft of my chin - down the tower of my throat -our hearts beating to the ancestral beats of a pow-wow-- as"
I think this part could be broken up different, as far as how the lines end/begin.
& in the following stanza: "and I, a nova, torn from my galaxy* crash" * throw a comma in there after galaxy. Also, the semi-colon after "hips" I think isn't necessary at all. Not to be a semi-colon nazi, but they are quite specific in their purpose.
I love "Parnassus inch of you." how interesting. & I like how you return to the native theme from different angles, without trying to make it the main focus. It's naturally occurring & I like this. Poems get stuck on their own imagery, this doesn't.
I also really love "your body is Alabama red clay"
& if I may, I also like the transitions in this. They are sharp & clear. In fact, there is so much to be enjoyed here that I'm quite overwhelmed now & want to keep going back to this or that part.
This is quite something you have written JP, it is both vast & contained. Reaching, but never out of reach for the reader, which is remarkable, considering all that's going on.
|| Posted on 2011-02-28 00:00:00 | by Santi | [ Reply to This ] || "mine" at the end...like your passion is the discovery of a lost mine full of artifacts that are worth more than any price put on them..|
like passion, raw, primitive...
nice blend of galaxy and native american influences in here..
and as a society we have reached the moon, yet we have mistreated our own native americans so badly...so sad..
but this poem brings me back to the time of losing innocence...when my world wasn't clouded with pain, i didn't already know too much...the spontaneity still existed..and i just went for it..
like the young boy i was searching for a "mine" filled with golden sex...
i was reading this wondering if you would come back to the Indian reference...and there it was....
i felt complete...
the poem has such momentum...and feeling...
and is so sexy without being base...you keep it poetic...wonderfully.
|| Posted on 2011-02-27 00:00:00 | by jacoberin | [ Reply to This ] |