Sunday, July 18, 2010

applique drippy ventricles

Here is a new poem. Something of a departure. How so? Well, for starters, the formlessness of it is unusual for me, as is the non-attention paid to meter. Secondly, there is the blatant (and titular) confessionalism from which I tend to distance myself.

It is important to remember the difference between autobiography and the use of the first person pronoun. I use the latter with often annoying abandon. The former strikes me as icky for the most part and even when I do use it, it is only to create an authentic resonance in the poem--not to applique drippy ventricles to my flannel sleeve.

It is also important to remember not to be pedantic, so let's do this:

For Once, a Confession

I confess. For once, let me start with that.
Secondly, there are the gifts of God
Like the promise of death, like the air on which I
Will never fly. And in conclusion,

But wait, remiss if I fail to mention
The months in bed—the soreness, the tears
Loosed from clinging when the room was dark.
I confess. Because now it might be safe.

I hope for more yellow-finches to bend
The furry stalks of the zinnia, playing hummingbird
As they do, keeping time on slower wings.
I hope in the meantime. Between
One magnetic resonance and the next.
Now and again in the spaces left open
By distracted grief.

Fifthly, because I’m on a roll,
There are the pillories of God—
Those AWOL urinations unstaunchable
In the twist of white linens. Head and hands—
A puppet show, the symbol
Of prayerlessness. Of waiting, dumbfounded,
To inherit the earth.

Of waiting in general.

Here’s one too:
The wail of babies makes me glad
But not for ugly reasons. Not for the fact
Of my jealousy, or for the falsity of my cynicism,
But because I know they will soon
Suckle and burp and gleefully
Kick their doll-baby legs.
It’s the same as with the finches,
As with the night-sessions
Of doused pillowcases, as with

As with autumn in general.


  1. Oh, oh, I like this. Especially the repetition. Especially that. I love that the anaphora is not to the overkill point. I love the bodily-ness of the entire "confession."

    have you read any David Citino? You might like him.

  2. or Dan Albergotti? Another beardo poet of the South? ;) You'd LOVE him.

  3. Thanks for the suggestions. There can never be too many beardo southerners in the mix.

  4. Nicely done, young hero. And I, too, have a confession: I had to look up "pillories." And that is not a critique, but rather an exposure of my own ignorance.

    If only I could grow a beard.

  5. confession (because we're on a roll)--I had to look up pillories to make sure it was the word I was looking for. I do this a lot. My recall is no match for my vocabulary.