|Eye to Eye|
Feb 27, 2013
At the risk of belaboring the osprey photos, it recently occurred to me to crop them for a still more Gothic effect. Then of course I felt I had to find a poem that was at least loosely connected. I ended up at Lynn Emanuel’s “Frying Trout While Drunk,” which I find disturbing and moving.
The osprey—for convenience I’m making her female—seems to have more control over her cornetfish than the poem’s Mother has over her trout (or her man, or her daughter), but who knows. That huge bird had to work so long and hard at the skinny, bug-eyed fish that l I eventually lost interest. Who’s to say that this was easy work for the predator? Maybe she was struggling to stay balanced atop that pole. Maybe it was her first cornetfish, which required new skills for consumption.
Maybe she’d eat only a fraction of the fish before flying it home and offering it to her osprey-man “of lechery so solid/you could build a table on it/and when you did the blues would come to visit.” Maybe it will be “with the care of the very drunk” that she hands him the plate.
In a poem full of strong images, these lines struck me as particularly powerful:
She is a beautiful, unlucky woman
mother’s dress falling to the floor,
buttons ticking like seeds spit on a plate.
the knife in one hand and the trout
with a belly white as my wrist.
Posted by Banjo52 at 12:33 PM
Feb 13, 2013
Here is an osprey lunching on a long, skinny blue fish with a ridiculously long nose and bulging eyes. It’s a blue cornetfish. He’s usually a brownish-grey color with bright turquoise spots, but like the chameleon, he changes colors to blend with his environment. So I’ve decided this guy is imitating the sky because he knows he’s going to cornetfish heaven when the osprey gets full or takes the one bite that finishes everything. The osprey himself is a gorgeous animal. I think of him as a swamp eagle—maybe I heard that or maybe I made it up. In any case, he’s a great soaring bird, a fisher. The blue of the cornet fish is also beautiful, but he’s otherwise one of those ocean oddballs. He’s interesting because he’s odd, yet how seriously can we cheer for those alligator eyes and snout? Also, he feeds on other fish, not plants. Once again I offer Stephen Crane’s odd and chilling little poem, a poem that encourages modesty: A Man Said to the Universe by Stephen Crane : The Poetry Foundation And speaking of eating flesh, here again is Crane again with “In the desert”: In the Desert by Stephen Crane : The Poetry Foundation *
Posted by Banjo52 at 10:45 AM
Feb 9, 2013
The Prelude by Matthew Zapruder : Poetry Magazine
From time to time, visitors’ comments get me all wound up, because they open new windows onto a poem, and I use those comments and my responses as a post unto themselves. This is such a day. Lucky you.
I just said to a friend that sometimes I weary of blogging, but I realize that it leads me to new poems and poets, and it usually makes me like the poems better as I look at them more carefully. Zapruder’s “The Prelude” is a case in point.
Add to that the comments I get from readers—whole new humans opening up aspects of the poem that I hadn’t considered, and sometimes aspects of themselves—I tell you, it’s better than NASCAR, and I bet it’s better than crack.
Speaking of a need for artificial stimulation . . .
So many, many times I’ve heard teachers, parents and other putatively caring adults who need to tone down their advice-giving to young people who have stalled, or gotten into real trouble. Instead simply asking, then asking again, searching for specifics, “What do you like? What would you rather be doing? How can we work that into a course of study and, with some luck, a career? I don’t care if Mommy’s a CEO. If you like woodworking, let’s look into that.”
But in a sad miracle, the talk—it’s not a conversation—stops at, “You have to do better . . . because I said so.”
I predict the geezer will toss out 20 times as many words as the teen. What are the teen’s options, beyond being overwhelmed and probably resentful and maybe enraged? Oh, he may obey, but look it up: obedience is not a synonym for cure.
End of Sidebar. Beginning of Comments, Yours and Mine.
Brenda's Arizona said...
B and AH, about the poem, what you say is the way I see it. I seem to remember that Wordsworth’s hikes were considerable. I followed one of his routes in the Lake District, and it was much more than a stroll in those almost-mountains. Maybe he really was more adventurous than Coleridge—or Zapruder.
I was at first curious that Coleridge’s “love of friends” wasn’t more comfort than it was, but Zapruder, ever the poet, adds more threatening stuff: “love of friends and the wind.” Oh, that wind.
And there’s more. The wind is “taking his arrow away.” Is it a phallic arrow? Whether or not, it’s his edge, and most of us would say, I think, that we want our edge (as well as our “ease”—face it, we want it all).
Do you think the last two lines hint at suicide? If so, is that too “big” for a poem that opens with Diet Coke?
The more I read this thing, the more I like it. I’ve said umpteen times here (not that it’s original) that poems almost always need to offer surprises (sometimes “gifts”) along the way. In that context, compare the tone and mood of the first two lines with the last two lines. Talk about a journey!
And that thorough analysis of chocolate, leading into vapor (“nothing”), then back to a field and finally to “ham and rustic chambered cheese”—I hear a dialectic between airy nothing and richly sensuous items, items of appetite and delight, culminating in chocolate.
I’m also drawn to the almost confessional mode of his wishing to be “at least a little more than intermittently/at ease with being loved. I am never at ease.” That has a peculiar power for me. Is it just me?
Even in terms of grammar and syntax, how does Zapruder get away with the gangly “at least a little more than intermittently”? But the speaker is something of a brainiac, and brainiacs say stuff like that. Or at least they think it.
Did anyone see baseball on the horizon? But it fits. It’s the more common pleasure to accompany his more “poetic” and neurotic items like the hallway and time? What’s bigger than time? What’s more ordinary than baseball? How do we get them into the same poem? Zapruder does, and for me that’s a happy surprise, a gift.
Feb 8, 2013
The Prelude by Matthew Zapruder : Poetry Magazine The Prelude by Matthew Zapruder : Poetry Magazine
Posted by Banjo52 at 8:51 AM