Sunday, November 14, 2010

It Could be Verse

The door had been sticking for months.
It looked like the strike plate was at
a weird angle and the door was hitting
it just opening and closing. All I had
to do I figured was take the plate off
and reset it a little straighter and a
little deeper. I got to work, took the
plate off, chiseled away a bit of wood
here & there, and was just about ready
to clear out the shavings and reattach
the strike plate when I heard a sound.

A subject of procedure occurs now and again. In the present case about 2 weeks of rumination led to 2 hours of writing and the finished poem. I had held off, not having a clear picture of what would happen once I had gotten down to clearing out the shavings. Leading into the writing, I figured a "thing" would happen. What a nice surprise when hearing a "sound" sufficed.

The poem-writing mind is accustomed be being given plenty of leash I suppose. This piece was challenging in that it had to handle it's poem-business and be a sufficient description of the simple act being described. Metaphors abound. Enough so, I think, that I can walk away satisfied.

These pieces are occurring in the way real poems do, for me at least. It's all very strange. I have 16 pieces so far. They are printed out and affixed to the wall over there with tape, like storyboards sketches. I glance over them looking for a hole, awaiting an idea. Another idea running concurrently in the back of my mind with the one above concerned a Chandler-like moment: a woman emerging from a bathroom, holding a gun, being described by the narrator. That one stewed for about as long ending up as:

She stepped out
of the bathroom
modeling my .45
& not much else

It took a one hour nap Saturday afternoon to bring me to change the draft "modeling a .45" to "modeling my .45." No other verb made me as happy as "modeling." I thought quite a bit about the proper caliber, too. A .38 is the typical cop or private eye caliber: too close to the source. A .44 is a Dirty Harry. The .45 is either an Army Colt, most likely, or simply an outrageous caliber. Of the available numbers, I settled on the .45.

The rhythm of this poem surprised me. I spent time recently with an old and new friend and the subject of Milton's verse came up, which reminded me of a student paper on the subject. Read aloud, there is no avoiding the close on three strong syllables. I hadn't expected or planned on that, naturally.

These pieces are printed out and stuck on the wall with the others. This last piece, in its brevity, rhythm, and in all the various intersections at which it dances, pleases me so much. But it is not an end. I look at this series from a number of perspectives.

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