Friday, August 21

unprepared for proper wordsmithery

the third section of the Audre Lorde collection I've been reading is about two hundred pages of poems. here, for this Friday evening, are some snippets, in no particular order, of all the ones I would have dogeared if it weren't a library book.

I wish I could record "Song" for LibriVox. such lovely slant rhymes and even measures.

Wild trees have bought me
and will sell you a wind
in the forest of falsehoods
where your search must not end...

it keeps going in that steady, almost hypnotic way for six more dreamy stanzas.

"Sister, Morning is a Time for Miracles" has this great little metaphor about words being destructive. I could re-read this and think about it for a whole weekend.

Reaching for you with my sad words
between sleeping and waking
what is asked for is often destroyed
by the very words that seek it
like dew in an early morning
dissolving the tongue of salt
as well as its thirst...

I almost couldn't stop quoting from "New Year's Day." top to bottom, this one is a perfect jumble of different feelings and judgements and senses. it is a poem you could shrink down and live inside, fleetingly.

This day feels put together hastily
like a gift for grateful beggars
being better than no time at all
but bells are ringing
in cities I have never visited
and my name is printed over doorways
I have never seen

Extracting a bone
or whatever is tender or fruitful
from a core of indifferent days
I have forgotten the touch of sun
cutting through uncommitted mornings
The night is full of messages
I cannot read
I am too busy forgetting
air like fur on my tongue
these tears
do not come from sadness
but from grit in the sometimes wind.

the opening of "October" is another one I just want to re-read, re-imagine, over and over. it's another poem you almost want to live in for a little while, just until it gets too chilly.

Spirits of the abnormally born
live on in water
of the heroically dead
in the entrails of snake.

Now I span my days like a wild bridge
swaying in place  caught 
between poems like a vise
I am finishing my piece of this bargain
and how shall I return?

the opening question of "Change of Season" hits heavily. a confrontation.

Am I to be cursed forever with becoming
somebody else on the way to myself?
and the rest unfolds more and more on identity and memory. uncertainty. 

of course I like poems with questions in them. here is the entirety of "Fantasy and Conversation," because I could not choose only a segment and none of it is quite as awesome without the rest, anyway.

Speckled frogs leap from my mouth
drown in our coffee
between wisdoms
and decision.

I could smile
turn these frogs into pearls
speak of love
making and giving
if the spell works
shall I break down
or build what is broken
into a new house
shook with confusion

Shall I strike
before our magic
turns color?

I also really liked "Spring People" and "What my Child Learns of the Sea," which has such a gripping image here with the line "of the ways / she will taste her autumns / toast-brittle or warmer than sleep / ..."

for this Friday, on which it might thunderstorm or it might not, could I write my own poem?

in her preface to this collected poetry, Lorde herself talks not about writing poems but about building them, and about re-building them if they prove a little out of joint.

to build a rightly-jointed poem right now, here, behind this blinking screen, would take more time than I have to spare, I think. instead, for now, I'll prosify the sounds of stormclouds, the weight of a workweek in my shoulders, and the strewn-everywhere coziness of a shared life-in-progress with whatever thin words I can. poetry can live outside of poems sometimes, I think.

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