Carnival


Past the ticket takers, into the arch,
ribbon-tied with rosary-rugged
wood. Unturned soil clings to my boot,
new earth for wilted cuttings. The lines
reach back past the bordering fences.

Into the pulsing masses, past the young,
ribbon-tied with rosary-rugged
hair. A steeple without a point or
base, pliable, the gate rusts and swings
wide against the airy smiles, polite

as they hear the ride drifting by them,
ribbon-tied with rosary-rugged
skin. Mournful creaking holds the structure
upright, fear that it might shatter keeps
the passengers in, clutching their bags.

Will it come round again? The whirling
dervish that spins with child octopus
arms; the face which so squarely met
mine leaned back to the crimson circus
cushion. The carny flips his wrist and pulls.

The tin tornado loses its cen-
ter, spilling its innards onto
the soil littered with con-
fetti. Children detach
and forget the ride,
slouching away
going home
with no
change.


Howdy folks (or folk)! It’s been a little while since I made a post so this is a little something to make up for lost time. This poem has been a full month in the making and has come only in pieces to me. I completed it last week and then spent this week revising it and getting it to a point I’m partially comfortable with. Hope you enjoyed it!

Advertisements

Christ in Watercolor

Here’s a poem that’s been sitting in the back catalogue for a while and gone through multiple revisions so far [This is draft #5]. It’s been submitted to a few places and keeps getting sent back, so it might take a lot more work to get it out. See what you think!

——————————-

    I

My Father has sent me
to find bread in the wilderness,
or, if there is no bread,
to discover loaves in the earth.

The tide of the dust
lifts and bathes me
to my waist. As I wade
the ever-pleating sand
rubs my soles and chips away
flakes of unyielding flesh.

I have seen cities form
and crumble with the coming
of the clouds at morning,
their parapets milky-white
in the scaffolding of the sun.

    II

Music has not flowed from
the stones for days; echoing
through the thick breeze, voices
wander in search of ears
to claim them. Their language
is one I speak,
but not my native tongue.

My eyes do not see
clearly the shadows
that rise as rocks mask the sun.

    III

“he has joined the tribe
of the desert,” they will say,
and i will not live
to correct them.
my gut has risen to force
its way through my chest;
hunger and starvation
converse in the silence.

    IV

Finding a speck in my eye,
i have stopped to gaze at its size.
What seems a boulder
is now a grain;
light carves a pass through it
as through still waters.

The scabs on my soles
have fallen away,
leaving new flesh
under their veil.

    V

Clouds drift and tumble across
the horizon, jutting their parapets
higher across the plain.

I float on each new tide,
a chunk of driftwood that
seeps with all knowledge
of where it is directed.

My Father will not come
to me but I will go
to Him. All was buried
in sand, and I was fed.

—————————–

[Having trouble? Read Matthew 4:1-2.]

Thanks for reading!


The Negative in the Positive

Why is it that one would find it necessary to compose poetry? It’s just prose laid out in lines and made to rhyme (in a very forced way, one could add). It’s an art form that won’t stand up to the modern age of loud music, rap, and the shot glass version of a news story that is so popular today. Poetry will go the way of classical music, only being enjoyable to a few people who have devoted their lives to understanding it (and who are probably out of touch with everyday people anyway). While I can’t provide a rebuttal to all of these solutions (I’ll save some of them for a later date), I can try to give poetry’s use, and necessity, in my own life.

Poetry is for me a way to formulate problems. Notice I have mentioned nothing about solutions. Solutions are not a necessary part of a poem; if a poem decides to simply pose a problem without a solution, it is not then discarded. Poetry is a way for me to take the problems that arise in life, especially the ones that seem unresolvable and decide to languish in my brain for hours on end, and force them into an organization. If my life presents me with a problem that I have found unresolvable, or that disturbs me to my core, I can take that problem and enclose it in this progression of verse.

To put it simply, I can take this conundrum and say to it, “I know that you have drilled and pounded my brain to mush, and I know you don’t have an answer right now. So I’m going to give you an end by forcing you to get yourself organized (however loosely), and I’m going to resolve you by putting a period at the end of you (in most cases).”

Thus I am left with my problem in capsule-form, something that I can swallow. The truth is that, as humans, we have more problems than we will ever have solutions for. If I were to let these problems fester without ever trying to put them to bed, I would have strung myself up by a wire by now. But can’t this outlook on life make one seem rather “negative”? How do I get out of total pessimism after I’ve admitted that I’m drowning in problems?

One can find in poetry a different reaction to “positive” and “negative” poems, and I would say that they’re not as different in content as some would argue. If one views poetry in the way I’ve presented, then one finds that “negative” poetry (See Charles Bukowski’s Hell is a lonely place) is poetry that merely presents the problem as it stands, but admits that the solution to this problem is not readily at hand. “Positive” poetry (See John Donne’s Holy Sonnet X) is poetry that presents the problem AND solution, but presents them as concomitant in some sense.

So we see that while the results may be different, something “positive” will always include something “negative,” if only inasmuch as it is a response to this negativeness.

Positivity does not deny that the negative exists. It merely presents a response to the fact of the negative. The true positive cannot exist without a truly manifest negative.

I seem to have gone the long way round to get to this, but this is the best defense I can give of my art form and the necessity of its existence, at least in my own life. So give yourself a little breathing room and don’t let those problems get you down.

Through Christ,
Ben