Your perspective and style are fascinating, but, I have to be honest, this poem confuses me. I can't pretend to think I got everything I could out of it. However, I got one image out of it: a plastic doll with a permanent smile laced with wires beneath it's skin to make it talk or move. I saw "what will the world make of us" not as what they will think, but what they are literally turning us into. The very thought of this 'impotent perfection' gives me a sense of dread that I can't quite place. I didn't seem to need to know exactly what was said in this poem to find something in it. Most excellent. I just wish I could understand it all, especially these verses:
Had souls oozed sleek as stars through cracked masks to differing heraldries;
Even not knowing what they mean, these lines stick with me.
Bill, I enjoyed this, first and foremost. It speaks in long ago language, not so much the words but the atmosphere. I was drawn to a picture of them sealing the Pharoah's carsophagus, and leaving history to be wriiten.
You last stanza I take to be the quetion of "how will time see us?" Or how will history judge what we did with our lives.
Very bloody, and very bloody deep. Part 2? can't wait.
Ok… first of all, “obedience” is spelled wrong. Or maybe you were trying to say “obeisance”. Probably obedience. At first I was like, “shouldn’t paraffin and laced have a dash between them and be on the same line?” But then I had a minor revelation—oh, how deft you are with words! Like Cervantes! Every word means something, sometimes more than one thing! When the line reads just “laced veins” it provides a very cool description of veins (like lace! All tangled and intermeshed!) but it’s still referring to the mixture of hydrocarbons often used as a domestic heating fuel that is within the veins! (yeah, I looked paraffin up.) I like the line “impotent/ perfection”. It reminded me of the 1997 Ethan Hawke/Uma Thurman sci-fi movie Gattaca. Because it’s all about modernity crippling nature in its quest for perfection. Or at least that’s what I gleaned from that part. “Insomnia’s/direct/intelligence” seems to me to be talking about how insomnia forces you to THINK because you can’t think and you can’t do stuff- you just lay and THINK for extended periods of time. The last stanza part, where you talk about skin sewn shut with wires underneath made me think of eyelids sewn shut probably bc you talked about them in stanza 2. Which follows well with the insomnia theme, but elaborates- unable to sleep/rest bc of the wires, which bring to mind action, “being wired”, energetic, etc. but also unable to SEE and experience new things. Your poem gives me one of those fatalistic “modern age sucks” kind of feelings, and the word chronology in the last line brings that to mind too for some reason. Good write, hopefully you’ll expand on this in Part 2! OOH! And the title! With the reference to souls as stars in stanza 3, and then it being called under the big black sun, it really is provoking! Bc if the sun is expanding and black, that’s totally like the apocalypse, and if our souls are stars, it’s like the apocalypse of OUR SOULS… going along with the “modern age sucks” theme! Coolness!
Your poems don't need any fixing. But if they did, i'd be the first to jump in with a nitpick. So i'll limit this comment to my 'two cents'...and plus the rest of this bag of chips(if you want 'em).
This one's elusive to be sure. I'm reading the conflict of flesh and soul...which ends not in resolution...but with only more unanswered questions.
And should it be "heraldries"? Just wonderin'...didn't look it up. The image of paraffin laced veins tossed me around a bit. My initial thought was of wax melting in the sun of the title...then i thought of cholesterol...go figure.
"Sing the nightmare dirges with insomnia's direct intelligence"
...that's a great line i can really wrap my head around...as any poet should-'sleep's sworn enemies'...we be
Gonna try something here:
A curious energy pulsed through paraffin laced veins, beneath the perpetual smile; unaware of the night's caress. (slender blades made obesience)
Sing the nightmare dirges with insomnia's direct intelligence; searing lids to impotent perfection. What will the world make of us?
If souls had oozed...sleek as stars through cracked masks of differing heralderies; would hell be slim wires beneath skin?
Sewn shut, in cruel white-hot chronology.
Didn't mean to mess up your poem here...only wanted to illustrate something. You certainly are a devotee of 'short-form'. You clearly grasp the concept of conciseness in creative expression through the mechanics of poetic convention...the magic of metaphor.
The difference, as i see it...between you and many of the other devotees of short form...is that in a somewhat 'formalist' sense...your expressions are complete. The sharp turns of phrase are a bit extended. There are no haphazard incomplete sentences...or incomplete thoughts in your style of writing.
However, some of your thoughts seem to be almost too complete. I would characterize your poems...and even your critquing "style" as 'latinate brevity'. I thought writing one up into traditional sentence/paragraph form might reveal some disparities...or perhaps something i know not of. Anyway...i leave it up to you. Hope this helps.
There is an akwardness in the last few lines...which you might have a look at. Although i love the insertion of the 'concept' of the passage of time to end on.
Wow. Firstly, that title is amazing, the idea of ‘Big Black Sun’, an idea of celebration black identity perhaps but also of upset and darkness. The language and imagery here is so beautiful and intense. And though I don’t necessarily have one definitive meaning that it draws into my mind, it is very evocative. Comradenessie’s reading seems a sound one, especially considering the title and the end verse, but then again psychological distress also springs to my mind. And even before the sinister undertones appear (excepting, of course, the title), it seems the substance is already:
A curious energy pulsed through paraffin laced veins, beneath the perpetual smile;
To me, this appears more like people who are compelled to search for a false form of happiness. And the second stanza seems to suggest being unable to sleep because you are chemically compelled to be awake. ‘Insomnia’s direct intelligence’ might be an allusion to drug-addiction, but I think it’s an allusion to people’s spirit, tying in with what Comradenessie said before, a cultural strength perhaps which compels people to put a happy face on during the day and have ‘searing lids to impotent perfection.’ And the last verse that people wear: differing/ heralderies;’ and ‘masks’ seemed to celebrate this culture. Well, I might not understand this poem, but one thing is for sure, I adore savouring these beautiful images and sonics, I just want to read this again and again for those effects.
The language is fascinating and now it is my turn to say that there seems to be a mystery to this poem that I can't quite grasp. What springs to mind is the 1960s lynchings in the American South but this may and probably is as far removed from what you intend as the 'Big Black Sun' of the title. There definately seems a sinister tone enhanced by lines like 'Sing the nightmare dirges'
would hell be slim wires beneath skin sewn shut, in cruel white-hot chronology?
I'd love to understand this better so if you could let me know I'd be grateful. love and peace nessie
okay, this was very hard for me, either you are a highly educated professor, or I am just an idiot! I had to look up several words, some just to make sure I had the right definition in mind when I actually knew the word already. Boy, do you make me feel stupid! Before I reffered to my word net, all I could feel from this is death, now that I have looked up these words, I still get death, the first verse reminds me of the choleserol that clogged the arteries, the scaples that couldnt save the life, the second singing, mourning, hymns to a dead person, and burning eyelids that you cannot open, this is surely death, verse three is very thought provoking, it reminded me of when my father died, I refused to view the body, but my sister and brother did, and they to this day cannot forget the look of his mouth sewn shut. I cannot read that verse without thinking of death which is the original meaning that I got for this poem, and hell to never see anyone from your family that is dead before you or after, that is cruel. I am not sure how you can have a part two and three to this poem of death, and it is like so much work to get to understand this piece, I thank you for improving on my vocabulary, but I will see if maybe I can take on another of yours later!~~tracy
Hey, Really liked this one, but then I like most of your poems. LOL. I love the idea of having a supposed source of light inverted as something dark and black. It seems to say to me all the problems with the 21st century, our plastic and materialistic attitude to life, our almost drug-addict like need for things that are bad for us. All leading to a half-waking zombie like existence, which seems to make nothing of us. Oh dear, my reading sounds horribly pessimistic, don't know if you meant your poem to be so but I suppose, it shows a strength in your writing if you can provoke such responses in your reader and I know I'm not alone, looking at your other crits. The only thing I would comment on is the use of 'had' don't really like it, don't think it fits, maybe 'used' instead? But apart from that, it was a great piece of poetry. Thanks.
Damn you Bill, just once i'd like to be able to read one of your poems without having to look up the meaning of words on Google. You make me feel that i have an extremely limited vocabulary in comparison!
But as usual, my failing not yours. I have to say, once I did read this it was pretty deep. You seem to specialise in making readers work for their reward of understanding your work, no freebies here eh? anyway, I'm off to read the second part to this now...