Thursday, June 02, 2011

first morning without

spruce fitful
in long wind weaves
tip torn loose
spattered on window
an excess of robins

northern skies bleak
restless and lonely
at the same time
cardinals pair red on green

where are you
not to be found here
jealousy of highways
ribbons and long drinks
spooling out to the west

I'm tired of the usual
urbane loneliness
that mask we wear to
pretend we're alright

cool restless shade
this morning shut the doors
and windows against chills
shivering anyway I don't
want to get dressed without

you in the tree, in the porch
shadowed garden, in venetian
lines with no torso to shade
your absent touch, your distance

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Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

Took a few reads to get into this one but the word I keep tripping over is ‘wore’ – every time. I think it should be:

        that mask we wear to
        pretend we're alright

Sonically it’s better (to me) but even though the ‘we’ in the poem, the you and the missing other, may no longer wear masks, we, as in humanity in general, still continue to wear them

Not a terribly exciting poem – the sentiment feels a little clichéd even if the words aren’t always – but I did like ‘an excess of robins’ – how many robins are too many robins? – that made me smile – as did ‘urbane loneliness’ which I misread as the more obvious ‘urban loneliness’ the first time round. For me those two words were the most evocative in the whole poem and I kept running through synonyms for ‘urbane’ like ‘civilised loneliness’ or ‘sophisticated loneliness’ not that I think these say it better but they are all there within ‘urbane’. It’s the kind of expression one might use of a man like Quentin Crisp.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

I think you're right about "wear" vs. "wore" here. I'll change that.

Aubades are a kind of love poem, of course—a post-love morning-after "now you've gone away leaving me here alone" kind of poem. I'm exploring this genre of poems because events have triggered the poems, of course. The trick with working in a clichéd genre is to find a fresh way to express a familiar emotion. That's how we make experiences new in writing them, by finding fresh ways to express well-known, even universal, human experiences.

The misreading between "urban" and "urbane" was what I'd intended. It's a good example of how I have found that one good way to shake up a cliché is to go slightly off with it. People will in their minds fill in the cliché, the way you did here, even though what's on the page is slightly different.

Quentin Crisp as an exemplar works well for me. It definitely fits. You made me smile with that one.

10:25 AM  

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