Last week’s Cafe Trip Callers of Culture Catastrophic —
And now the new three, the true three, the Fighters for Form and Function in the spirit of a Friday afternoon:
Poet the First
i am not always a collapsed lung
most of the time i am heaving, however labored it may be and my mouth is spilling words that mean nothing but really mean everything
(if only you would listen)
i am not always writing
today at a coffee shop i spent forty six minutes staring at a napkin,
the waiter thought i was crazy
(little does he know how much)
i exhaust an entire day postponing the inevitable, my mind always half in and half out of conversations -like washing machines and terrible winds. but can you blame me? i open an old / new / will they always be there/ wound every time my fingers find a keyboard or a pen
he asks me why an honest smile is so rare on these lips,
i tell him i am hiding secrets behind my teeth
where is the air?
InhaleTheInsanity writes with a beautiful clarity, with a purity of feeling unmatched. The URL name can trick you. You see the word insanity and you think, ‘here we go—here’s another one.” But the insanity referred to is all external. The poet is inhaling it for some purpose undisclosed but when she exhales, it’s all art. /i am not a collapsed lung/—and here’s a start which opens up its hand to you and you take it willingly. /most of the time I am heaving/—Inhale shows herself a master of the groovy contrast going from collapsed to heaving. /today at a coffee shop i spent forty six minutes staring at a napkin/—Something about this confession feels like the most human line written all year. In an age that demands speed and result a poet staring at a napkin for under an hour makes the rootless want to call the padded wagon. Yet it is the most natural thing. Staring. Looking. Existing. The poet is forced to acquiesce to the insanity so called of a perfectly normal thing, and that she does so in such an artistic fashion—genius. /i tell him i am hiding secrets behind my teeth/—everything about this line qualifies Inhale as a gifted writer. The lower case /i/ is significant for the entire poem is a revelation of the interior declaration hiding from the world. /Secrets behind my teeth/ ties into the lower case /i/ for teeth are covered by lips and secrets are covered by teeth and that the poet closes the line with an expansion seeking for air——masterful.
Poet the Second
I long for your shinbones, your hair, the planes of your face-
even the air you breathe.
I often find myself moving through the rooms you used to inhabit,
searching for the remains of your soul
where you left it, hung over the edge of a banister
or draped on top of a chair.
The kitchen lies untouched, your coffee mug still half-full of water
and cream. Even the sink is missing you.
Some nights I dance alone to the radio with the candles lit,
my arms surrounding the shape of your absence.
It is not enough to dance for two
when there is only one.
WritingsForWinter tackles the common themes of poetry with a courage, tenacity and artistry that fan the flames of these themes in the minds of her readers. The result is a communion with the old standards under the artistry of Winter’s lines that confirm and illuminate half-truths in the soul. These half-truths expand to fullness and it is no lie to say that Writing’s work inspires poets to write their own kicks along the same road. /I long for your shinbones/—excellent opener for Winter gives us /longing/ which opens our minds to what follows but hits with /shinbones/ which breaks expectation and captures our attention, forcing us to read before agreeing that we may agree again afterwards. This is crucial to proper exchange between poet and reader. /The kitchen lies untouched, your coffee mug still half full of water and cream/—the details here, the small focus allows the reader to pour in experience and flesh the poem to greater levels. /Even the sink is missing you/—The personification here, the tenderness of it, the common object glorified in verse. If you missed it this was where Winter proved herself a true poet, one who makes the local universal without effort. WritingsForWinter is a satellite to greater majesty and the glow from her work illuminates your fingers and creates days for you of old forest growth in candlelight aperture.
Poet the Third
evening shave, the end
of the week, the end of the week’s
encroaching beard that gnarls
and grins its scrub, scrawled across
my features like graffiti on
I slice a piece of me and wash it
down the drain, so too I slice away
the passed week’s worries and
flush them far away.
the effects would hold forever; if only
I could win against decay; if only for
just once week, I could pause my aging
face and keep my squirming worries
ConstantMaintenance is a strong writer gifted with a calm self-awareness. His work has muscularity and weight, an economy of form that fits the fighting mold. /Friday—evening shave, the end of the weekd, the end of the weeks’ encroaching beard that gnarls/—Constant builds his poems from the ground up, signaling the word and then reapplying the concept, a scaffolding of verse whose intention is the Sistine Chapel. /and grins its scrub, scrawled across my features like graffiti on a cliff face/—Constant is a master of the unexpected simile, combing his own face to a cliff and graffiti. One doesn’t often see graffiti on the faces of cliffs. Here Constant combines stark nature with the starkness of the urban landscape and it’s all kinds of excellent. /And as I slice a piece of me and wash it/—As a man I dig the shit out of this line for my beard is not some inconvenient apparatus for shaving cream companies to profit by. It’s a part of me and it carries all my victories and defeats. When I shave it is something of a long goodbye coupled with a spring cleaning. It is no surprise then that in bearded cultures men will tear out their beards in protest or grief. Constant writes with a great vigor and artistry and brings a freshness to masculine poetry that is often lacking.
We have the three. Read the three. Dig the three.