Monday, October 28, 2013

Poems for Lunch : October 24 // O Pen October 29

From Jim Daniels, Places / Everyone
Factory Love
5000 Apply for 100 Jobs
Watching My Old House Burn on the News
Vacation by Rita Dove
Risk, by Anaïs Nin
Backyard by Carl Sandburg

Jim Daniels, "Places/Everyone": The into w/ Simone Weil
"Many indispensible truths, which could save men, go unspoken for reasons of this kind; those who could utter them cannot formulate them and those who could formulate them cannot utter them. If politics were taken seriously, finding a remedy for this would be one of its more urgent problems."

The Rita Dove poem was one of the ones Cathy Smith posted in her

We enjoyed the Jim Daniels’ poems, but unlike Li-Young Lee’s poem “Persimmons” where images wind mysteries which invite multiple layers of reflection, his more pedestrian style of observation leaves the sense of having read something interesting,
say about mops, and a chuckle at the personification of a machine, or recognition for the need for connection, but not necessarily a poem that leads to a big “wow”. I’m sure each person could summarize better, but below what I took away.

Mops has a few surprises, “each mop the obvious/ same woman’s hair” not really begging to be better understood – job and woman... then a priest and pleasure, and need for more cleaning – and the unexpected detail that a broom which tells the same story which has a stand-up comedian effect.
(Who likes to clean... who doesn't...)

Factory Love brought back a memory of working in a factory – the attachment and frustrations of machine, on the forklift hi-lo, and yet that universal need to care for someone in a committed way.
5,000 Apply for 100 jobs brought up an observation that “a bit of joy inside that big sadness” is more like relief... and the fictitious “Happy Hour at the Goodwill Store”
is the bright spot – not so much the job one has, as much as feeling momentarily connected.

Each poem was "unexpectedly expository" -- bringing various experiences together...urging us to find ways to connect...

Watching My Old House Burn on the News is indeed a catchy title – and a commentary on what deserves a 60 second spot. Time disappears as the memory of the house in which the speaker was conceived, now abandoned, returns back to what it was like
long ago, rain and crying babies now rain and a mother’s tears – the “like those flames, that fire” refers to the way the tears fall ....

The question came up if others thought the poems were authentic – or rather disingenuous. What do we want a poem to do? Dazzle us with brilliant description, as in Rita Dove’s poem? Convince us of the reality surrounding a working man or perhaps provide a glimpse into the ordinary which allows us a sense of empathy.
We know when a poem moves us to tears, compels us to spend time with it and gives us a sense of satisfaction (a huge thought in 8 simple lines, as in Nin’s poem which starts with “And” – with a whole untold backstory behind it, risk repeated in title and twice in the poem with the opposition of tight bud/blossom and the tightrope of what is painful.

Backyard, by Carl Sandburg was satisfying for the transformative power of moonlight, to turn all to silver... the magic of the moon – how some pay tribute, others ignore, lost in dream, romance in the air and “white thoughts” – and how many different ways to read the last line: shake out more and more / silver / changes.
or shake out more / and more silver changes
or shake out more and more /// silver changes.

For O Pen:
Perhaps again, this week, there are far too many poems to thoroughly
discuss, so, take them home, read them and enjoy.
Both Kinnell and Hafiz remind us to engage with ordinary things, common
acts. Yes, even when you are the one turned away from the factory, the one
whose house is burning and you see it on the news, or you are the one at the
airport and thinking about what "vacation" means, there comes a time when
"connecting" no matter how imperfect in our mind, is the less painful risk
than folding tightly everything you are.

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