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September 3, 2004

Currently reading...

Lost Wax
by CK Williams

My love gives me some wax,
so for once instead of words
I work at something real:
I knead until I see emerge
a person, a protagonist;
but I must overwork my wax,
it loses its resiliency,
comes apart in crumbs.

I take another block:
this work, I think, will be a self;
I can feel it forming, brow
and brain; perhaps it will be me,
perhaps, if I can create myself,
I'll be able to amend myself;
my wax, though, freezes
this time, fissures, splits.

Words or wax, no end
to our self-shaping, our forlorn
awareness at the end of which
is only more awareness.
Was ever truth so malleable?
Arid, inadhesive bits of matter.
What might heal you? Love.
What might make you whole? Love. My love.

Summer reading for me has included a pile of poetry books (Rukeyser, Rich, Sexton, Williams, Dove, Olds, Atwood ... 2 or 3 a week) that only served to remind me of how I want to write ... and how little I can write any more. When I read this piece, it literally sucked the air out of my lungs. Though I am a huge proponent of editing, I know there are instances where overworking your words can make them sterile, brittle ... a technically perfect poem can be the goal but if it has no soul, it's merely words.

Yes, I'm writing again ... all that reading was intellectual WD40.

On another level, I wonder at the subtext, the way Williams weaves the relationship through the poem while, at the same time, keeping it as an external stimulus to the story by opening and closing with "My love ..." This is a poet that knows how to use a split second in time, a seemingly trivial human moment, and turn it into a broader, more universal message while still keeping it terribly personal. Something to aspire to.

(please excuse cross-posting ... also on Poetry Cafe messageboards ... just trying to illustrate where my writing chops are and possibly warming this place up for some poetry again. Though I've just given myself an impossible ideal to live up to. *DOH!*)

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This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on September 3, 2004 11:04 AM.

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