Lou Emanuele joins the Darkness Circle of Poets this month with two poems. He has mentioned to me that he is nervous about his first entries into our column and he should be. I returned the poems to him with a request to tweak the "pronoun" use in his works. He tweaked and returned his revisions, which is what I am reviewing now. Lou has constructed two poems that are poetic but without inspiration. They are bereft of a Muse's whip. And granted, we all claim poetic license when writing our metaphors and similes, our couplets and quatrains. But here we have two works in need of editing. I do not edit. I return poems and tell the poets to edit their work, as I did here with Lou. Let's look at the first work, Confessions.
The first person opening grabs our attention. But then the role of villain is cast to Hamlet ("Horatio moment"); he was not the villain. Here we need a villain worthy of a "Hannibal Lecter moment", for instance. The triple "Half alpha, Half Metro, Half Hipstar" has a problem or two: Why isn't 'alpha' capitalized? Why three halves to make a whole (poetic license or poor math or poor math to make a poetic point--too many options to choose from; never give the reader too many options); and Why is Hipster misspelled Hip star? To make a poetic point about Hipsters believing they're Hip celebrities, namely, 'stars', or typo?
a rabbits hole
landing feet first in a place of no focus
where colors float before you
in a space without measure without angles without solidity
all you can catch and hold are her eyes
flashing darkly inside a red mask
shimmering in the lights which flash like fireflies
the music sways the room and she moves with it
gliding like a bead of oil across glass
this room this beat this strange dancing pulse
what ballroom has a capricious reality uncovered and dropped you into
when eyes meet yours over masks and are amused
you struggle to understand
the red mask is a lighthouse
but the distance never lessens and the curtains billow with the lightning and rain smell of violent winds
in a windowless room
and you turn in unsteady circles
before you sink to your knees and wait for the nightmare to end
you see once more those dark eyes framed in red
and watch them close
I love Jaye's voice. I've never heard her speak. I know her Facebook voice. But when she writes, THAT voice emerges, the poet takes over, and Jaye takes a nap. She awakens in time to pick a picture to accompany the poem, but that's just the ornaments on the beautiful Christmas tree she has created. InSomnium Mortis ~, that voice speaks with an unseen presence, a lover or a beast in need of taming. She urges, seduces, and ultimately surrenders herself to win the trust of the second person "you" of the poem. The fact that the work ends without a response to the request of the poet to "be with you" suggests doubt in her seductive skills, thus turning to honesty to gain this trust. It is a perfect moment, neither one of love or attraction, but of vulnerability and a need to be accepted. This is one poem that the picture really gets in the way. It has such a strong poetic voice that it overwhelms the pic, which bodes of silence and loneliness, the opposite of the narrator's pleas with the unseen "you". Lovely, as always, Jaye.
To be continued.
An introduction by Brande Barrett:The first poem was written by my father when I was born. The other two Bad News and the Watcher in the Water from his death and the last one is my response to the feeling that he is channeling his poetry through me...
The Beloved Fool
Naked, most ill-equipped of all creature
To life given,
With rosy-hued form and uncertain features,
To begin living.
Awareness of new light dawns on his senses
Like to a blinking mole;
Vague remembrances of unknown experiences
Recede into his soul.
A sprawling imp in sagging, ragged attire,
Curiosity peering through bars;
Borne of Innocence and Hope, his sire,
And hovering above, his doting stars.
A responsibility, an heir, a delight.
A soft bare handful;
Grunting, struggling with all might
To become-a people.
With nodding, blank head, a gurgle, big wide eyes,
A faint smile, uncertainty, innumerable sighs,
Feeling, tasting, smelling, and sighing.
Exploring with wonderment and babble;
Grabbing, mouthing, shocking, and crying,
He discovers his toes and navel.
Care and concern of all men and women
Over sex, age, race, or nation:
He belongs to the World’s playpen
Human kindness his libation.
With soggy drawers and winning, dirty smile
A damnable folly of drool;
A helpless bugger with clear eyes bereft of guile,
Behold- The Beloved Fool.
By William Larkin Barrett
Tear stained she quivers under her tightly held breath
it wasn’t supposed to be this way
she tells herself over and over
like a skipping record
cold to the touch
no life lingers in the eyes
dead stare returned
she puts her hand over them lowering the lids
she kisses the still cheek
she touches the breathless lips with fingertips
closes her eyes
tightly—trying to squeeze out reality
trembling hands pick up the phone
the news ready to be spread.