Tuesday, December 10, 2013

one more "feature poem" from defunct blog


when the balloon bursts
where does all the air
that was inside go

is it bound together briefly
by the moisture
of the human mouth
that birthed it

poor pouch of breath
long expulsion of nothing you
must dissipate too
nor remain intact
no matter how pantingly
against the outer atmosphere
you might try to secure your

and what an effort
what heave and heft-work
what strain of frame what rib-rift
to have to lift to shift around
all that oof and uff 

why strive and huff just
to stave off death
to survive
to be a substance a stuff

to live live as a pocket
a cluster
a cloud
to maintain your interior

I can understand
that having once been
contained in bouyance
you'd want to retain
that rare coherence

you'd pray to stay a one
to remain a unity an
entity a whole in
this unencased heaven

but smatter of ghost 

how can you persist
or save yourself
when all us others disperse

so let it slough
dissolve in draft
little whistlewhiff
pathetic kisspuff
flimsiest flak

up into the sky goes
two lungs worth
of earth
the exhaled
soul of a boy a girl



The air we breathe into our bodies keeps us alive of course at least until we expel the final lungsful of it and cease inhaling and die.  But in our lives most of the air we exhale is gone from us and disappears unless we blow it into something of some sort that will hold it for a while, a balloon in this case.  And some people have said that poetry, a poem, can sometimes retain it too.  If poetry is a voiced expression its words are inseparable perhaps from the breath that utters them, and songs are (or were, in earlier centuries) called "airs" . . .  to place one's air into an air that will survive is the ambition of the poet.  The balloon must eventually burst, and the air we blew into it will undergo its transformation (or return) into all the space or void the universe contains within its verse.   
In any case (or lack of it), I think the poem above is not that hard to understand, or I hope it isn't.  Except maybe the last stanza, which is just la la.  The dying mouth finds it difficult to form the complete words of what it's trying to say, and may only express their contour, or in its final entropy be able to pronounce them merely as partial parley.


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