Friday, February 15, 2008

All Latinate Words Sound Pretentious to Me

Well, here is a poem I wrote today but I think it suffers from being too "poetry-ish." There's an urn and the words 'clutch,' 'silken' and 'chiseled' are used. I think I've been reading too much Updike. Help me make this poem less stodgy!

I have heard the loose-chained bicycle song
lonely in its silken rustle down the street.
Fused and permanently echoing
with cat-scratch
and neon burrs.

It is the same dry whistle as wind through wheat.
The first-cousin of the rattlesnake
shicking through dead leaves.

The same bitterness of its bite
and the heady forecast of its strike.
Four fangs pulled back into a snare
as white and lucid as a stream of milk.

A reminder to stop rooting for the spring;
its crowded births multiplying
like cancerous cells.
Its sex is not naked.

Not like the dead vines clinging
to the skeleton of an elm.
Wrapped around each other
like the mothers of Pompeii.
Or the stone grapes chiseled
into the mouth of the urn
one woman clutches as she falls.


Jeff D said...

what if your opening line was as simple as "I have heard the lonely bicycle song..." - other than that I kinda feel it flows and needs not the sharp blade of revision...

kathryn said...

I love "lucid as a stream of milk."

This poem has a voice I don't think I've heard from you before.

I think the words you use are fine--especially because, if I'm reading the last stanza correctly, you're contrasting them with what is at the heart of the poem.

Yay, Erin! Please post more...