Insomnia is sometimes the poet’s friend. Early this morning I could not sleep no matter how many times I rearranged or wrestled with my pillow. The poem below began to form at three-thirty a.m. and was pretty much fleshed out by 6:15 a.m., the time at which this house comes to life with sleepy people moving along like shipwreck survivors. I may nip or tuck lightly before it sees publication but it is pretty much done.
I titled it Six Words because I could not think of a better title and the lines seemed to come in six words. This fixation with six words could be related to tweeting a couple of six word tweets on Twitter last night. I did not try to write three-line stanzas either and it broke into six stanzas all on its own. Whether or not you are driving a car, in an accident you are merely a passenger.
No Commas. No periods.
As you can see when you read, I did not use commas, periods or other punctuation marks where they are typically used. I’m sort of pulling a Gertrude Stein and a W.S. Merwin here. They advocated eliminating some or all instances of grammar, in part, as a way to force the reader to pay attention to the rhythms of the language. We certainly don’t say “comma” when we read or “period” at the end of a spoken sentence. This may seem radical at first but it does not compare to the New Testament Bible which was written without periods or even spaces between letters, words, sentences or paragraphs: LIKETHIS. Compared to scripture, my poetry should be easy.
This is an early draft that will undergo revision. I’ll post an updated version later.
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In your arms the earth groans
and under the sea fish dart
and dive deep into our emptiness
how is it this could happen
amid the back alleys of abandonment
where the willow weeps with rain
as a car storms the road
your hair is a moving crown
a cornucopia spread on tidal moss
we are the ocean without shore
tell me again our world coexists
with dirty bombs and broken splints
and children eat shame for breakfast
while we dress aglow with pleasure
is it enough to know the world
knows nothing of what it is
enough to know that our love
is this word this real estate