Saturday, August 8, 2009

Third pantoum based on an expurgated line

If these racists ever had any notion
(speaking of their total entertainment value)
they'd be jumping into a nearby ocean
to make a statement. One-shout gal, you

speaking of their total entertainment value
would be absolutely clear as window glass
to make a statement one shout: "Gal, you
once said to be truly high class

would be absolutely clear as window glass
among the boxy towns of our village
(once said to be truly high class
apres le deluge before the pillage)."

Among the boxy towers of our village
every form of extreme view flourished:
apres le deluge before the pillage
of the many hateful huts well-nourished,

every form of extreme view flourished.
They'd be jumping into a nearby ocean
of the many hateful huts, well-nourished,
if these racists ever had any notion.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Easy Green Proof Part 3

Further editorial changes were made in the third part of the poem. I corrected the misspelled (or spelled with an obscure variant) "harnassed" to "harnessed" and changed

Were first spoken in the presence
Of Napoleon, the original Muhammed Ali,

to

Were first spoken in the presence
Of the emperor,

because although I liked the anachronism of calling Napoleon the original Muhammed Ali (referring when I wrote to the boxer) I realized I hadn't been conscious when I wrote of the additional anachronism of the original Muhammed Ali maybe having some relevance to Egypt's history around the time the Rosetta Stone got lifted -- and not wanting to mix it up with that, and wanting to distance the quotation of Laplace a little more, I simplified.

Next, I replaced

For him who first read and therefore

with

For him who first perused and thereby

-- I think both of the word changes are improvements, have more energy and work better with the idea of unintentionally inventing the logarithmic novel, whatever that might be (some logarathmically compressed form of narrative, I guess).

And finally, whether deliberately or not (I don't remember at the moment) the last lines of the section were changed from

You know, it comes
From not travelling around the world

to

You know, it comes,
From not travelling around the world

The original lines were very much my thinking at the time I wrote about my regrets at having dropped out of Johnston College the semester before I'd dreamed of going on the big group trip to Europe that a lot of my other college friends went on. So maybe excising the autobiographical material, making it less pointed, and inserting the comma at the end of the penultimate line so that the muddled syntax mixes more with the preceding lines, was an appropriate, even if unintentional, purification of the poem.


Second pantoum based on an expurgated line

The mission took root after the women themselves
raised concerns that aggressive animal rights
groups, spreading to hobbits and elves,
might think in Uighur; Bermudan blights

raised concerns that aggressive animal rights
pleas put them back in the closet:
might think in Uighur, Bermudan blights
that drowned the town before they tossed it?

Please put them back in the closet,
and sketch a return to your natural food roots
that drowned the town before they tossed it
into a salad of squalid swamp shoots;

and sketch a return to your natural food roots,
because there is no other way to expand
into a salad of squalid swamp shoots
that cover like netting the new female land;

because there is no other way to expand,
the mission took root after the women themselves,
that cover like netting the new female land
groups, spreading to hobbits and elves.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

First pantoum based on an expurgated line

Please put them back in the closet,
these small items whose deft toes are soiled,
not knowing anymore which comet's tail caused it,
which dying star indefinitely toiled.

These small items whose deft toes are soiled
know which previous age their work resumes,
which dying star indefinitely toiled --
though you, feeding ones, engorge your pantoums:

Know which previous age their work resumes,
and you will know the quality of your sins,
though you, feeding ones, engorge your pantoums
on air that fragrant, bluely thins.

And you will know the quality of your sins
only within, underground, in an enclosed space
on air that fragrant, bluely thins
where your small blue thumbs begin to trace.

Only within, underground, in an enclosed space,
not knowing anymore which comet's tail caused it,
where your small blue thumbs begin to trace:
please put them back in the closet.

Easy Green Proof Part 2

Again in part 2, I pulled a "bad line" from the stanza. The version published in Telephone had its first seven lines reading as follows:

The hominid group
Appears to have got all cramped up
Unable to move its toes
To swim away in the nearby ocean
Or even get outside
If these racists ever had any notion
Of what outside really means

I pulled out the line "If these racists ever had any notion" mostly because, believe it or not, at the moment of the editing I was uncomfortable with the idea that, even though I obviously wasn't really accusing anyone of being a racist here, may even have been using found language (though I don't know that with any assurance this long after the original composition), I would feel myself qualified to accuse anyone, even in theory, even hypothetically, of being a racist. Now, I do feel that discomfort, and the accompanying resentment which I try a little harder to repress -- but is that any reason to get rid of the stanza's central rhyme, as well as to weaken one of the central ideas I was playing with -- that humanity, though it may come from a population of sea mammals (something I didn't really believe at the time, certainly don't know, but remain fascinated with) was also racist in its biological foundation? I'm still pretty sure that central idea deserves to be weakened, but I guess there is no certainty in the writing of poetry.

Anyway, the whole meaning of the line "Of what outside really means" is completely changed now because it has been re-connected (as if in some genetic experiment working with chromosome strands) with the line "Or even get outside". I like the metaphysical dimension that replaces the bio-politics because of the change.

In the meantime, I've determined to use both the line "Please put them back in the closet" and "If these racists ever had any notion" in new poems, and if they get written I'll include them on this blog so you'll see how sausage really gets made, regurgitated, and re-made in my brane.