Degrees of Resolution (camera 7)

November 12, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Posted in writing | 7 Comments
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1. silhouette shadow puppets, noh,
lips move when reading
japanese wine (obvious segue-sake)
negative definitions as in this is not
without what this is

2. pointless syllable casting as in what
if this silver bubble s’next to this

3. consistently demonstrates a need for
obvious self-reference as in whispers and intuition
and the crackle of dry leaves

4. why the orchid?
being so far from surreal,
almost licentiously obvious
especially in hindsight

5. one persistent and constant apology
(just take it for granted, immediately,
on any occasion that I offend, it will
save us both a lot of time)

6. revolution? why not?

7. self-portrait (with whiskey and cigarette)

Notes on craft. (1)

October 4, 2007 at 6:05 pm | Posted in writing | 6 Comments
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Endings depend on the point of release in the cycle. Flat, rising on the upswing or falling just before the last (unheard) beat.

Pivots are words or phrases which contain an open thematic link. My favourite pivots consist of just one word with alternate shades of meaning, like ‘down’ which can be a direction or a feather. I call a single word pivot a hinge because the alternate meanings open outward to reveal a confluence of thought at some level behind the language.

The placement of the hinge partially determines the structure (and effect) of the poem. Hinges at the beginning are very subtle because the reader will most probably not consciously appreciate the duality (the hinge may still work but the craft will be hidden.) Hinges in the middle create an harmonic balance. You can open the poem with one meaning and close it on the other, pivoting on the hinge. Hinges at the end create silence, open the mind to the motive (often nonverbal) idea.

If you are an experienced poet you may know all this instinctively. If poetry is like a mental martial art a Zen-like forgetting may be required. Learn, know, practice, forget, then act.

So the two poems below share the same melody in the same key but the endings differ. One is taken from a moving car, blurs and trails out of frame. The other is a very high resolution black and white still photograph taken in a studio.

Camera 3. (falling feather)

October 4, 2007 at 6:01 pm | Posted in writing | 3 Comments
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like a misplaced feather,
beauty, useless, drifts
down

Camera 2. (street scene)

October 4, 2007 at 7:30 am | Posted in writing | 4 Comments
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Like a skinny girl in low slung jeans and a tshirt walking an uneven pavement in bare feet, eyes to the ground contemplating hollowness,

past an old greybeard deadbeat in a bus stop who cares less of you than you of him,

like this, in shades of cloud grey and soft focus,

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