Tuesday, March 18, 2008

as opposed to best

I sort of forgot this forum was for workshop. I feel like I've moved away from that. Don't get me wrong, I like to edit. I'm working as an editor. But there's something about poetry that to me seems above the suggestion of line breaks and switching certain word orders. To me, poetry seems above other things too, such as competitions and grad schools. This is why I will die with an anthology of unread work. Maybe my illegitimate children, who will still be pissed off that they grew up in poverty and having an alcoholic mother, will be able to make some dough off me post-mortum. Kafka-style. They better publish it with a hot picture from my youth. That being said, do your worst. And anyway, why would I be posting this if I didn't need an editor. -Signe


From across the aisle of stilettos

the transvestite winks at me as if to say

I too grew up in my mother’s closet,

and I can tell we’re in this together

when he hands me a size 9 and says

these last forever.

I’ve seen Forever.

It’s somewhere between a sloshing basin

and the chair where a Chinese girl sat

while her feet were bound.

We often forget it was her mother

who did it,

who wrapped her feet in silk

and cotton soaked in blood from the deep cuts

she made on her daughter’s feet

with the most well-intending and blasphemous of hands.

But that’s how it goes.

It begins at “rite” and ends in “pedicure.”

Jesus washes the disciples’ feet,

and Mary washes his.


act robot said...

been having this discussion a lot lately. organic process and exultation of reading and writing poetry vs. its painful scrutinizing and formula. well. i'm learning slowly. if you choose this path as your life--or more aptly put: if you simply can't function without writing (like some of us on this site) then you have to be prepared to be shipwrecked and alone at sea in a makeshift raft--someone else on the raft will likely die. one should be prepared to strip the body and, if necessary, eat from it. or, put yourself as two people in the raft. you have to be prepared to eat your own cadaver. that's just the way poetry goes. i'm convinced. it's the hardest art. Sometimes you have to sabotage the boat to get to the raft. Want to go on a boat ride? offer it up. consider it. that having been said. Signe, a wonderfully evocative and dark poem. it hit me. that's the best thing i can say about anything. as far as publication and grad school goes--those are secondary. just write. write.

Gene said...

i'm with it until the last two lines.

you should submit it to a few places.

Red Light! Green Light! said...

Here! Here! You certainly have company here with those sentiments. I think linebreak triviality begets prose poems, as Robert Haas' development as a poet indicates, and if theres a barometer of poetic climate, I think he's a good standard. I'd rather be in poetry than on poetry, but when an interviewer asked WCW what ails contemporary poetry he responded, "What's in it for me?" Considering our departure from the era of enlightenment to the era of pure economy, his statement proves more foresightful than he intended. Absulutely accute and typically WCW. I have a different take on Williams from most people I've spoken with, but I'll elaborate that previous post some other time.

Your poem. I'd cut everything above "I've seen forever" because that's where the poem starts. The fracture of the poem is obvious, the turn of thought to atonement. That tone can't be lightened, and an attempt to do so would destroy what you put together. Drop the quotations around rite and pedicure and keep working. Fantastic write-up. Would like to see a series of these. Your inclinations as a rhetorical poet are very strong. I think Mary Ruefle would interest you. Tristimania.

garbage blanche said...

Hey Signe, your poem is great. You write with a mixture of levity and gravity I wish I could reproduce. I guess that's what I get most out of workshopping: occasions for thievery.

Here's an unrelated question: what's the inspiration for your screen name? There's something interestingly perverse about carnivores eating other carnivores. Your thoughts?