Friday, February 15, 2013

statue/ chimera in niche



Here are two versions of the same idea and therefore this is one of the best extant examples I have of my revision process--an extreme example, at that, as most of my revisions are comparatively minor.  The first poem, "Statue in Niche," was the original version and published in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry (Volume 4, Issue 2, 2009).  The second poem, "Chimera in Niche," is a slightly more concise rendition that I used in my Master's Thesis. 

Picture, if you will, one of those fancy buildings with sculptured depictions of sundry grotesqueries, and here is one of those statues--sentient and amorous-- lamenting his stuck state.

Statue in Niche


The rain again, the never ending rain.

Unfortunate men, primped in suit and tie,


Attempt to juke the downpour in knee-high

Gazelle leaps with long-lost dexterity.


The raven on the spire might care to leave

When the rusted bells toll the sunless noon,


But for now he’s onyx set in the festooned

And melting cross of Christ--as if to stay.


A woman, lovely in the sort of way

The skyline will be when the air is clean,


Umbrellas her head with a magazine.

She suffers the puddles although they seep


Into her shoes.  From this side of the street,

Where I’m ensconced in Doric colonnade,


She flickers in muted whites and grays

As cabs and double-decker buses splash,


Undaunted by the weather, through the trash-

Filled gutters.  Lovely in the sort of way


That dancers are in callisthenic splays,

She lifts her wrist into the gloom of clouds


To check the time against the ironed shrouds

Of rain.  And I would shout any o’clock


To turn her head, if I could just unlock

My jaws— my plaster lips, my cement tongue.
 


Chimera in Niche

The rain again, the never ending rain.

As cabs and double-decker buses splash,


Undaunted by the weather, through the trash-

Filled gutters, she flickers in lovely blues


And grays beneath the gargoyle’s flooded flues.

Meanwhile I cower in concave fa├žade


Sandwiched between one melting cross of God

And one ionic pillar.  Doomed to spread


My wings in vain, to stand flatfoot instead

Of flying,  I must wait for her to look,


To put down her make-shift umbrella book.

Wait . . . she’s lifting her wrist to the clouds


To check the time against the ironed shrouds

Of rain.  Damn me, I’d screech any o’clock


To turn her head if I could just unlock

These plastered lips and quit this age-old snarl. 

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