Sunday, August 28, 2011


It makes perfect sense in retrospect that when I finally got going on the "epic" poem it would look nothing like what I first intended. The rhythms are prosy, the lines long, the action shifts quickly, fancifully. What themes are recurring notes there are occur like fruit or nuts hanging from a tree.

I can see the poem lampooning and entertaining, I hope, and therefore being Byron's-Don-Juan-inspired, I suppose. So, the form is global while the execution is local, and there it is, and that is good for me and others I hope and makes me glad. Any one poem is a writing in its time. The author merely launches it in among all the other craft, being responsible for the construction but not the voyage. Readers now are so very intent on purpose and so easily hooked by meaning - it is a perfect time to write long and easily about anything, anything at all, and to catch the reader at his or her interpretive expectations and mistakes - and to release them of course, somewhat the wiser, one hopes.

Cantos or strophes will be 50 lines as I intended originally. I was able to write 46 lines of the first one and do a drawing over a two-hour period at the Clinton Street bar last night, hip-hop blaring through the room. It was a perfectly barsy, lovely setting to write. I don't pretend to understand why such venues work for me, but I know that I could never have started this poem sitting at home.

I can't try to write a poem without thinking about writing a poem, which means writing what I know to be a poem, being what I or others have written. In this instance, I was driven by several x-treme failed attempts to dislocate myself and simply GO - and it worked, producing what I need and have not noticed elsewhere, so be it. I am sure too that I can keep it going from home with perhaps occasional sojourns off-site.

Other thoughts: this first epic, called "Elephant" will run ten pages in a manuscript called for now: (dot). The MS will include 10 visual/poem drawings, ten pencil drawings, and 20 individual box poems split evenly into four categories, tentatively labeled lyric, history, quotidian, and technical. I hope to finish and publish by the end of the year.

Here are the first several lines - thank you for reading.

Most of the words are clearer than they need to be,
In fact, you might be surprised. The people were in
Cars and trucks. A few rode elephants, but they had
All the gear too. Fancy blankets and pillows; these
Saddles that wobbled like heck but they didn’t fall
Over. The traffic was a mess I guess but no one was
In much of a hurry. Young girls circled me pouring,
In turn, cool water, pure milk, and sweetest nectar
From lightly polished brass pitchers. This specific
Girl was my wife, and I want everyone to understand
That particular point. Back and forth, up and down......

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