Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Musings on Poetics

There is no way that I will be able to write anything as profound as a manifesto; so I’m not going to try. Instead I’m going to share my thoughts and musings on poetics.

Throughout this term there have been a number of people that we have read that I like or dislike. There are elements in poetry that I like just as there are elements that I dislike. I’ve also found that there are some poems that have elements that I dislike and this is where my idea of poetics comes from. It isn’t just the words, or the line breaks, spacing, dashes, punctuation, capitalization, or stanzas that make a poem. It’s the effort, fun, and ultimately the final image that I find fascinating. Don’t get me wrong Kandy is right when she said that words are a large part of poetics but I don’t think that is what poetics is to me.

I dislike Walt Whitman with a passion and he uses all of the parts of a poem to his advantage, including words, and it his poems are great poems but I don’t like them. I think a big reason I don’t like them is because for some reason I cannot see the image that he is trying to form. I can’t see this image so I don’t appreciate the poem even if there is profound meaning in it. Since I discussed Walt Whitman I have to look at Emily Dickenson, who I do like. In her poems I get the image, I see the woman with the headache trying to get onto paper how it felt and finally came to the conclusion that a funeral was going on in her head. I’ve had the days that were so busy that I felt if something happen it would have to wait until I got everything done. The image is what I get because of the combination of words she uses, stanza’s, punctuation, capitalization and dashes. I’m of the firm belief that a poem could not be what it is without the consideration of all of these elements.

My chapbook was an experience and I loved it because I could see the images. I knew they were there and I knew that even without the movie the image could be seen in the set-up of the words and punctuation. I mean some of the produce an image no matter what, which is why I thing I’m fascinated with movies, books and poetry. I also think the reason I finally settled on choosing to do movie quotes wasn’t because it was easy but because it was fun to put two images that may not go together side by side, in words, and see all three images and the image of the final poem. The things I found most valuable from this assignment was the knowledge that not everyone is a movie fanatic like me and thus gets the references, even though it might be fun to find them, and when to follow punctuation and when to allow every beginning word to be capitalized. I read through my chapbook after I changed the poems to follow the punctuation and it amazed me the difference it had in the way I read it. I’m very glad I learned that lesson now instead of later.

Basically my view on poetics is that each poem creates an image or series of images through the various decisions that it makes, each as important as the last (do I put a dash here? A comma? A period? No punctuation at all?) because they each make an impact on the poem. Words can be arranged in exactly the same way and still take on totally different meanings and attitudes depending on the way it is put on the page.

I … killed a man today.
I killed a man today?
I killed a man today!
I killed a man today.

Each sentence has a use, a purpose, and an image.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This is the entire section of my finished poems. I would like some feedback.


When it comes
Is one of the most natural things on this planet.

Death cannot be reasoned with
Death cannot be bribed, insulted, or cheated
Death will come.
There is nothing more certain than that.

The only thing that changes
Is the way
A person dies.
People can die with pride,
Disgrace or dignity.

People can die peacefully or violently.
Death can brush people
Without actually taking them.

So, you gonna kill him?
Hmm, aren’t we bloodthirsty
I told you not to drink all that coffee.

Some die peacefully,
Some die unexpectedly.

You said he only killed nine people
There’s forty victim here.

Some choose how they want to die.

Now they’re going to say
That I said offing yourself is easy
But no, no, no, no, no
Like everything else
You have to read the fine print.
First of all you shit your shorts
So there you are dead
With a load in your shorts.

There are some people that anticipate their death
And so live their life to the fullest.
There are yet others that hate life
And so choose death.

If there is a heaven
Who would ever want to go there
I mean you sitting on a cloud
Its nice,
There’s no teachers, no parents
But guess what
There’s nothing to do
It’s fucking boring.

There are some that help prolong
Other people’s lives
And there are some people
That cannot let go of their life or death.

People once believed that
When someone dies,
A crow carries their soul
To the land of the dead.
But sometimes,
Something so bad happens that
A terrible sadness is carried with it
And the soul can't rest.
Then sometimes,
Just sometimes,
The crow can bring that soul back
To put the wrong things right.

But death still comes
And one day it will come for you.

What are you going to do when it arrives?
Will you go peacefully
Acknowledging that your life was full.
Will you go kicking and screaming
Knowing there is something that wasn’t done.
Will you go with sadness
Because of something
that needs to be set right.

He would come back
Dark and unnatural.

How you live life
Is how you will be perceived
In death.

Live your life to the fullest
Make sure you do
Exactly what you want to do
Make your life as full as you can
With the people and things that you want.
Enjoy life because it’s short
And we never know when
It will end.


There are people that I would die for
People I would kill for.
They know who they are.

You know you have a true friend
When you can not talk to them for years
And then when you talk to them
It’s like you talked yesterday.

We’re suppose to die on the same day
You promised me that
And today is not that day

Sister and friend
Terms are interchangeable
For the right people.

The reason it works
Is because we’re so different.


A good house cradles and comforts.A bad house fills us with instinctive unease.

There are ghosts in the basement.
Bad houses hate our warmth, our Humaness.

What is there to say
I am human
You are not.

When I get out of here
I want a morphine milkshake.
That blind hate of humanity is what we mean when we use the word, "haunted"

To say that this place makes me uneasy
is an understatement.
But I want to be out of here

I’m getting out of the big glass house.
Grab your children
Do the same.
A house is a place of shelter. It's the body we put on over our bodies.

I love this house.
It’s so comforting.

Someone stole the roof.
As our bodies grow old, so do our houses. As our bodies may sicken, so do our houses sicken.

I’m dead but my work is unfinished.
Inside this house
You will find the source of my power.
And what of madness? If mad people live within, Doesn't this madness creep into the rooms, walls and corridors? Don't we sometimes sense that madness reaching out to us?

Torture first then you talk,
It’s better that way.
Isn't that a large part of what we mean
When we say a place is unquiet? Festered up with spirits?
We say "haunted," But we mean
The house has gone insane...


What the hell have you done lately.

There are many that think I’ve gone insane.
Here I sit
Talking to myself
And listening to the voices
Answer in my head

They say that I need to stop talking to them
They would like to stick around.

Later they tell me that
The man who invented the radio just
Dissed Jack the Ripper.

Watson just sat there laughing at them.

Race to meet death
Before your spot is taken

I think there are times
When I should ignore them.

I’m a bad man.


Mother is the name for God
On the lips and hearts of all children.

I am no exception to that.

My mother never gave me any idea
that I couldn't do whatever I wanted to do
or be whomever I wanted to be.

My ambitions, dreams and drive
Are directly tied
To making her proud.

We are who we are
Because we are the children
Of our mother and father
Good and bad.

She filled our house with love
and fun
and books
and music

We are who we are
There is no denying that

I don't know if she ever realized that
the person I most wanted to be
was her.

As your mother
I support your decision.

Okay, well then,
As your mother
I feel it is my duty
To tell you you’re wrong.


When are you going to realize
Being normal is not necessarily a virtue?

Define normal
If it’s possible.

People lie, cheat, steal, kill, rape
Just for the fun of it.

This race is full of cheaters.

I’m close to a real
Audible connection.

I like being weird.
There is nothing more satisfying.
Being true to yourself
Your thoughts
Your believes
Your morals.

I like myself the way I am.
Finding humor in all situations,
Being weird, unique, memorable.

The alternative is just plain boring
You can have it
And have fun with it.


Run through walls

Are you okay?
Are you sure
Cuz you just went through a wall.

Work through problems

I hear you have an unusual problem.
Well it’s time
Face your problems head on.

Have fun

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
How was the fun-vee.

Chase what you want.

No, I'm not okay alright
I'm losin' my mind a little bit.
Gettin' chased by my car right now,
Gotta go!


I wish for a love
That even time
Will lie down
And be still for.

I wish for a man
That will respect me
A man that will be my Mr. Perfect.

Whittle down the choices until
Only one is left.

Always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder,
Keep rosemary by your garden gate,
Plant lavender for luck,
And fall in love whenever you can.

What wouldn’t I do for the right guy.

Spinning in circles is what love is like.
It makes your heart race.
It turns the world upside down.
But if you're not careful,
If you don't keep your eyes on something still,
You can lose your balance.

But don’t you see it’s happen twice.
The first time you put me on the moon
And I fell
The second time you pushed me off.

Make sure you love the man
And not the excitement.

Enjoy the romance
Pray for love
Make sure he’s a friend

Have a base you can build on
Keep in mind the best of friendships occur
Between vastly different people.

I wished for you, too.


Mirrors to travel

The world gets smaller by the day
People living on top of people
Windows opening to buildings
And when I look out
I get a glimpse of other people’s lives.

Miss Maggie does not do windows.

Mirrors to spy

Camera’s everywhere
Watching everyone
And everything
Beware before thinking of crime.

Have you ever killed anyone?
Yeah, but they were all bad.

Mirrors to remember

Time goes so fast
Gone before you know it and
Lamented when it is gone.

If you were going insane
You wouldn’t realize it
Trust me
I know.

Mirrors to forget

What was is
What is was
Now think of what is and was

Don’t you get tired of being right?

Mirrors to rule the world

I have security clearance?
I have a plane?

Monday, May 11, 2009


I always thought my last term
Would be slower than those before it.
Instead I have the opposite.
20 credits, 2 jobs, volunteering.

There are six weeks
And then I’m done.
I completed it in four years
That was my promise to myself.
Done in four.

I quit my job before the term started
I somehow managed to reacquire it a few weeks later.
I didn’t want it
And now I have three weeks left of my job
And three weeks after that to myself,
If they let me leave.

Six weeks left
Slightly singed,
Sleep deprived
Ready to be done.

My days,
Including my weekends
Consist of work, school and homework.

I had a day off a few weeks ago
I had no clue what to do.
What time I have off
And is available to have fun
I try to divide between
Time to myself an
Time for friends.

That never works
My friends have work and school as well
Two are even marrying each other on June 15th
I lost touch with some of my friends.
Not something I ever wanted to happen.

I started to wonder a while ago
Was it worth it?
I’m finished in four years,
What was supposed to be done in five.
But what have I lost to be complete by 21?
Did I lose some of the enjoyment of college?
I can’t tell
I know I would do the same thing again.
Maybe with only one job.

Having at least a day off completely each week
Then I might know what to do with a day off.
On the time I have to myself
Which is not the same as having a day to myself
I go out to eat, largely by myself
I watch a movie in theatres, again by myself.
I read to become submerged in another world.
I watch movies and TV to enjoy the visuals.
But I don’t normally get to sleep in.

When I graduate
I’ll only have one job.
What am I going to do with that time?


Mirrors to travel

The world gets smaller by the day
People living on top of people
Windows opening to buildings and other people’s lives.

Miss Maggie does not do windows.

Mirrors to spy

Camera’s everywhere
Watching everyone and everything
Beware before think of crime.

Have you ever killed anyone?
Yeah, but they were all bad.

Mirrors to remember

Time goes so fast
Gone before you know it and
Lamented when it is gone.

If you were going insane
You wouldn’t realize it
Trust me I know.

Mirrors to forget

What was is
What is was
Now think of what is and was

Don’t you get tired of being right?

Mirrors to rule the world

I have security clearance?
I have a plane?


What the hell have you done lately.

There are many that think I’ve gone insane.
Here I sit talking to myself
And listening to the voices answer in my head

They say that I need to stop talking to them
They would like to stick around.

Later they tell me that
The man who invented the radio just
Dissed Jack the Ripper.

Watson just sat there laughing at them.

Race to meet death
Before your spot is taken

I think there are times where I should ignore them.

I’m a bad man.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hmm, I not sure what to call this!

So I really like the concept behind “From Poem Beginning “The” [Dedication] by Louis Zukofsky even if I didn’t like the rest of the excerpts from the poem and it may be that I didn’t spend enough time taking it apart to satisfy my curiosity. The other poem that is in this collection by Zukofsky is really interesting and quite funny if a person looks at it in a certain way! I mean he is essentially thanking the wash-stand for being there and doing what it is suppose to be doing but in a way that is just really weird. I find it interesting that I find the poem good, I normally can’t stand poems have weird sentence structure but this one I liked.

Out of the selection of poems that are avalible from George Oppen I find that all but two of them are ones that I could forget and not really have it matter to me at all. The two that I like are “Solution” and “From Of Being Numerous”. “Solutions” I find great just because of the imagery it provokes. A puzzle, which took a long time is finally finished all of the hated table is covered, meaning that the puzzle is finally finished and the person who completed it is standing back and looking at it with a sense of accomplishment. As a person who loves puzzles I know that feeling as well as the frustration and a little anger at seeing the table no matter how hard you try to cover it because you still can’t get the puzzle to work the way you want it to. The other poem “From Of Being Numerous” is saved because of the word choice and my connection to those words. The first one word that popped out at me was the word pantheon. It is such an interesting word that I just wonder why it isn’t used a little more. I also liked the line “Are petty alibi and satirical wit”. I like the thoughts those words together provoke; what is a petty alibi? I didn’t know that alibi’s can be petty. I think it would be really interesting to read the entire poem “Of Being Numerous” even if I have no clue how Oppen got from one topic to the other.

Lorine Niedecker is someone that I could give or take. Her rhyming keeps getting in my way. Although I did like “What Horror to Awake at Night” and the idea of Nothing as a person. I find there isn’t much else I can say about her.

I stopped reading “From Holocaust” by Charles Reznikoff because I have to be in a particular frame of mind to read it. Its another poem that showcases the cruelty of people and made all the more gruesome by the fact that it is probably based in reality. That is not my idea of entertainment. It seems to me that Reznikoff is able convey things that most other poets can’t. I don’t know of any other poet that can convey the probable desolation and loneliness of the outside who doesn’t know why s/he is an outsider only that s/he is an outside and will be mocked if s/he goes outside when other people are out there. I really like all of Charles Reznikoff’s poems for different reasons.

Basil Bunting’s “On the Fly-Leaf of Pound’s Cantos” is interesting. It seems like Bunting doesn’t understand the Cantos and is comparing it to the Alps and waiting for it to crumble which isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. Which I think is the point so “Sit down” look at them, study them “and wait for them to crumble!” I also like “What the Chairman Told Tom”. I think I liked it because an accountant doesn’t sweat either and as someone who likes both accounting and poetry it’s an interesting combination.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Pound is a lot like Whitman, they both seem to flutter from one topic to the next in a poem. Pound does it in a different way than Whitman and I like it a lot better. I really like “The Pact” by Pound. I like it because it encompasses the way I feel about Whitman to an extent even if I’m not quite up to Pound’s standards. “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter” is another good poem but I’m not sure how much of it is Pounds words and how much of it is a translation, but it is an interesting poem. It seems that I like a lot of Pound’s shorter pieces. It would be interesting to read “The Cantos” after studying mythology but it is an interesting poem. Overall I like Pound a lot better than I Whitman.

I love the way William Carlos Williams uses words. When I read some of the things he writes it feels like he uses words like a surgeon would use a scalpel. I think my favorite of his is “Sympathetic Portrait of a Child”. The image of a child trying to hide herself in sunlight is one that is interesting, I always think of her trying to hide her true nature or her trying to hide from something that she has seen but can’t because there isn’t a way to hide in the sunlight, only to chase it away with the sunlight.

H.D. is an interesting poet. It’s interesting that he caught what would be obvious if he was alive at the time but ignored now. H.D. captured the love hate relationship people have for anyone or anything that is really beautiful in “Helen”. There are so many things that make me very grateful to be who I am. It is a part of human nature, which we try to ignore, that makes it impossible for us to like someone who makes us want them without them even trying. The beautiful have both the benefits of being beautiful and the hardships. There is hate for things that are beautiful because they are beautiful, a lot of abuse happens because of that. The mother who drowns her daughter because the daughter was raped by the father and the mother got jealous that the husband would like the daughter more than her. There are other poems by H.D. that I really like but I keep coming back to “Helen” because it strips everything down to human nature and specific things that we like to pretend isn’t in everyone. Envy, hate, love, and how it is all intertwined.

T.S. Eliot is someone that I want time to read. I read his poem but didn’t have a chance to let it sing in as much as it necessarily should. His work is interesting and I do like some of the way he uses words but I’m not a big fan of the poems as a whole. I’m not sure why though which is why I want time to read him.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This is a new poem that I thought would be a part of my chapbook but it is a first draft.

Done in four,
That was my promise
To myself.

Done in four,
Despite the fact
That it was intended for five,
That is what I did.

Done in four,
Means I graduate
With minimal liabilities and
at the age of 21.

Done in four,
That was my promise.
That is what I did.

Done in four,
I overloaded many terms
My grades suffered,
Yet I still have a 3.0.

Done in four
This is my last
And it is done.

Done in four
And then done
At least for a while.

Done in four
Then I leave
Protests aside.

Done in four
Slightly singed and
Drowsily awake.

Done in four
Ready for a break while
Acknowledging my affliction.

Limited Freedom - I haven't thought of a better title yet

So the following poem is the poem that got me thinking about what my chapbook should be about. I was thinking about the title and theme of my book be Decisions - Consequence.

The poem is one that still needs some work but I still really like it!

So here it is!

Limited freedom crawled to liberty.
Kneeling in front of the refined Elite
Whose merciless cruelty punished
Forcing submission and obedience.
Surrendering right, deferring to wrong
Complacent to the lawful regulations.

Chained to discipline and reprimand
Castrating respect and reverence
Penalizing righteous disobedience
Chastising regard
Failing to yield and comply.

Until finally vultures
Force mine to their knees
Bowing to obligatory religion
And complying with the rebuke
Abiding the forced obedience
Skinning people of thoughts and rights.

Discrimination down to a science
Thoughts as the enemy
Savage brutality the pastime chosen
Leaving kindness and hospitality
To fraternize with decimated freedom.

Murdering anything and everything
Enjoying the awful sensation
Of a person’s last desperate breath
Drawn with deep gasping gulps.

Compromise racing to capitulate
Obstructions shoved toward the dead
Ignoring the alleged good
Embracing conflict and abuse
Delighted with war and death.

Hope beaten, crushed
Society viciously shoved into violence
Enjoyment twisted and contorted
Until the possibility of benevolence
Lost to sadism.

Limited freedom’s humbleness caused
Enlightenments thoughtless cruelty and contortion
But stayed death
Despite the gleeful effort of the Elite.

Any suggestions that you have would be very helpful!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Due to the fact that I have been sick for the last couple of days I haven’t gotten online to do my blog although I have been thinking about it.

I have already made my opinion on Walt Whitman clear and in case you don’t know it, I think he is an egotistical bastard. That aside I do appreciate what his work lead to even if I don’t like his work myself. I do like the detail he goes into and the way he lists things he sees but I hate how he jumps from one topic to the next. I feel like I’m missing the bigger picture and that is what I want to see and instead I’m betting snapshots that don’t line up and there are gaps that I cannot fill because there is no understanding of what is in those gaps.

My opinion on Emily Dickinson is the exact opposite. I do so love her stuff. There has yet to be something of hers that I didn’t like. Either because of the imagery she uses or the subject she is writing about; a headache is no longer just a headache but a funeral in a brain. I’m not sure if that is really what she was talking about but that is what I think of when I read that poem.
The two people that we were told to read, Stein and Loy are vast opposites. Out of the two I like Mina Loy the best. Her play on words that bring to mind ideas and images, which I know aren’t normal for someone reading her poems. For example, in her poem “Brancusi’s Golden Bird” there is a footnote about the Alpha and the Omega which references Jesus, in my mind I see werewolves both the top and the bottom of the pack thrown together to make this toy. The best of both the top and the bottom and coming up with the best of everything. You can tell I really like Science Fiction. But to me that makes more sense that it having to do with Jesus, so that’s what I see and it still makes sense to me in the context and I like the poem all the more for it! I would love to have a toy that is the perfect form of a werewolf, the best parts taken from the alpha and the omega.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Gertrude Stein makes my head ache and me wonder if I read the last line or if I’m rereading a different line. I can understand and appreciate what she was doing with the repetition but that doesn’t make it any easier to stand. Luckily the only time I see that to the point of making me want to shoot myself is in “Picasso”. However like Walt Whitman she flutters from one topic to another, giving snapshots that don’t touch. I think I’ll have to set it down and read it again to even begin to understand her. Once I do I might even like her but until then I will say that I don’t really like her poems.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just looking

Hehehehe! Ok I'm in class now, I just wanted to see what it was like!