Thursday, June 30, 2005

My most recent poem

I. It could be any morning

You are a faraway speed.
It could be any morning.

Springtime details
are falling by the wayside. If practiced

with water, the breathing becomes easier.
Keep something cold nearby,

like a lemon. Articles
have piled up; it must be a convenient place

to store them. He doesn’t know how right he is
about the fingernails. They are the most

important detail. The colors are conditional, especially
the blue. Chocolate lipsmack of the cleanest

child. Among the rows, pendulums.
Along the rowboats, a placenta. In the past,

she has wondered out loud
about his orientation. To the junipers

it remains a mystery. Under layers of fat,
she found what used to be her smile. You are to me

what a prism is to a ray of light, but you are not
a ray of light. Rocks, feathers in the silence.

Hover like a magpie, paper
airplane. The day will wait because

you are holding begonias. Quickly,
quickly. Nothing to spare.

II. Tailspin

Controlled snow.
The belief in sound.
Maybe to want

or stomp or predicate.
Then you bow
for hero. Follow

ground. Circle falling in a tailspin.
Think and purple.
Think of sky and tearing open.

In warm clay
streets hold
sky in.

But we do not face ourselves
rising. Face the asking dance.
Know how time meets

eye, electric field
of your body.

III. Provisional Rapture

At the threshold.
On the hearth.
Within the landscape
of the fireplace. She remembers

him like a spicy gumdrop
on her tongue. Piqued.
The extraordinary day
began with an announcement. Acting

as if the fire is contained,
we continue to pickle
the rhubarb. May I? May I please?
We do believe in love.

The guitar is a basin
holding his hope
and harmonica. Together
they sound like relish,

green and a-gleam. Feel the bundle of fire
in your brainstem.
It is contained. Or you think
it should be. You keep it there,

safely, like a packed parachute.
We want, more than anything,
to make jelly. She
points out the obvious fact

that he lies often.
It doesn’t help
that he promised
her photographs

of the naked daffodil, dripping
with nectar. It may be the
simple way you abdicate
your sentences,

creating an unparallel warmth,
that gives the illusion
of having purple eyes.
An open gleam. Or eggplant.

I can’t believe
you are still waiting. I cannot forget
the bat entrails
in the water fountain,

their purple gloss
dancing in the stream. It is you.
She admits that the truth
involves a skeleton key.

Imagine the possibilities. Or her goose bumps,
rising to the sound of his name.
Herein lies your own
illusion of pudding. If that doesn’t

do it for you.

(Copyright, Mackenzie Carignan 2005)

Writing as woman. . .what the heck does that mean?

I've been doing a lot of reading from a feminist slant about Language Poetry, and it really is quite interesting. The thing that strikes me as most compelling is the idea, raised by Rachel Blau DuPlessis in an essay titled "Otherhow,"is that language poetry should eschew all representations of traditional beauty and reform them, mostly because woman and beauty are so connected the all things beautiful immediately objectify woman (as I understand it, anyway). This is why you rarely read a piece of language writing and say"wow, that's pretty". Of course, they're always trying to beat the crap out of the lyric speaker, which is essential to their politics I suppose, and DePLessis even takes one step further to point out how the poem, the piece of text in its material state (like how it exists on a piece of paper) is also considered sacred in the same sense as the lyric speaker is. She recommends a physical writing on outside of the boundaries in order to desecrate this sacred space, much like Howe does in MY EMILY DICKINSON, I suppose. The materiality of the page is an interesting notion to me, mostly because it is usually such a transparent aspect of poetry as we know it. When a poet really does something with JUST the space or orientation if text on the page, it really alters perception of the text, perhaps more than the language itself. I like thinking about aspects of poetry that are transparent, or as Bernstein calls it, "the artiface of absorption." I like the thought of calling attention to things we usually read "through" but wonder how this is possible while still maintaining some semblance of beauty. I like beauty in a poem, as long as it's not pretty. Pretty and beauty are two very different things. . .

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A visual representation of my poetics. . .I do not believe in the pretty, tidy bundles of poetry that are so neatly packaged and framed. I believe that my son, Eliot (above), has it right- but pretend the peas are nouns and the carrots are verbs. But take into consideration, also, that a lot of food did actually make it into his mouth and will be digested. It's all poetry.

Trying to make it all real. . .

I've been contemplating keeping a more "professional" blog for thoughts on poetry, frustrations, publications, ruminations, etc for a while and my fabulous poetry group last night inspired me to go full force and do it. Since I am working on my exams for the next nine months, this will be a good place for me to write what I'm thinking about the stuff I'm reading and see if there's anyone who would actually read this:) MAYBE my poet friends. I doubt anyone else. But the point, I suppose, is to claim my status as a poet with serious and intelligent ideas; to proclaim myself as a force to be wreckoned with. . .though it's scary, as usual, to put myself out there.

I do keep another blog of my more "personal" thoughts on, more of a way to keep in touch with my friends who live far away and keep connected with them, though it is probably important to point out that many of them are also artists (dancers, mostly) and there is many-a-discussion about inspiration, success, etc in terms of the creative process.

Now I have to actually do some writing of the scholarly persuasion about three essays I've read by Lyn Hejinian, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, and Kathleen Fraser. I'll probably post the finished product of my "paragraphs" when they're done. Hope everyone enjoys reading this, or at least that it makes you think about. . .something.