Friday, October 9, 2009

The Law of Unintended Consequences

A patchwork of forgotten hours, gray squares next to deep rich red. He’s barely stitched together, now, but the squares will merge to make one glorious pattern woven of the many ways he first killed more than his choices, and then rediscovered the colors of his life. In one corner of the fabric is woven a dreadful error – it’s handmade, like a Persian rug, and the inconsistencies prove it. It’s a cluster of stars and garish lights against the dark, a constellation of confusion, the black border between before and after. Now asking every morning for forgiveness, he pulls the quilt up high beneath his chin, knowing we’re all guiltier than we’d like to think, and that staying under cover doesn’t help. And so he rises to greet the unknown of the day. Note: Dedicated to a humble young man who teaches others how important it is to own our own stuff.

Lost in Translation

We’re running out of metaphors. For night, black, darkness— caliginosity is a synonym, but oh, so nonpoetic. God forbid you try a flower or a storm, even if you get specific. Oh, it’s all been done. Try translating from another language, when the right phrase can't be said. Personal pain is trite, and insignificant compared to that of others. C’mon, there was a Holocaust, and genocide’s not dead. American kids go hungry. All we can search for is a better word for hope. There are only eight notes in a scale, and they’ve all been played. Is there a term for slowing our rhythm to one minute at a time? By Lisa E. Paige © 2009 When writing this poem I thought of teenage angst, my Philosophy of the Mind course in college, and The Anxiety of Influence, by Harold Bloom. I recently read a poem in The Atlantic that directly refered to four great American poets -- no subtle allusions, even. Everyone writes one like that, and I did, once, too. A poet has to let go of feeling unoriginal, or will never write one word.