Saturday, November 30, 2013

some poems are haunted

Everyone has their own head. Everyone justifiably claims as interesting and preferential what they find inside their heads. Imagine a head that found only stuff inside it that was uninteresting and objectionable to itself! That would be a tragically silly condition. 

I find inside my own head an interest in and preference for poems that, no matter the darkness or bleakness of theme, say themselves with an instinctive nod to beauty. Those dismal-themed yet aesthetically written poems create a complex irony and a spiritual depth. Compressed language can, in certain hands, reach a critical mass of dynamic symbols. Aesthetic energy is released into the reader's head when a poem says what it thinks and feels in terms of something else. 

Why is the transmutation of experience into symbolic substance an aesthetic phenomenon? I'm not sure, or I completely don't know.

But I'll suggest that heightened language -- subtly, even paradoxically beautiful -- is a mode of being sensitive to and then expressing a primal quality of qualities: it's better to be than otherwise. 

Sometimes, I think that language, left to swirl around itself in silent spaces of relation, definition, time, and cadence as such, occasionally dreams ghostly qualities toward and into the poet's trance. 

Some poems are haunted.

August, Departing
by Gillian Prew

Here’s the stain,
heaved out
and an orchard of clouds
sleeping. The crows flee
warm fugitives
on August’s blunt edge. I see
a distant coldness,
the skirt of the sun shirking.
The tide is loud with the drowned
and the windy chains of gulls.
The air smells of salty bone
and the womb forgetting.
By the rotting light I breathe,
counting the pretty darknesses.

Copyright © Gillian Prew


When I Can No Longer Breathe
by Steve Klepetar

When I can no longer breathe the heavy
summer air, and storm clouds surge
through my blood late afternoons, I dream
of letting go, turning inward with an ancient
gesture, a movement the Sumerians might
have frozen in their icons of cryptic stone.

When nothing trembles across fields, green
settles, that terrible weight of grass, leaves
and gold-speckled shade.  Every color hurts.
Marigolds cut and sting, shrieking jays slash
black branches or nail themselves to blue wash
of sky.  My senses burn with mosquito’s drone.

When words, no matter how kind, batter
my ears and I am drowning in the presence
of too many other lives, I set my own table
with foods I love best, rich red wine, corn
and beans planted by my own hand.  There
in the music of my silence, I always eat my fill.

Copyright © Steve Klepetar  


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