Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dark and Kept

The sudden warmth of these
strange seasons, coming almost
before the sun, coming on while
the memory of slow, chill rain
upon our heads as we went
slowly and without escort
through the night's obdurate
middle marches still lingers,
as dim and spider-soft as
those gentle discomforts
and indistinct as vision of
far off cars at midnight when
the fog has clawed from
the ungiving earth--

Sudden melting heat, wilting
us like pale filaments created
in the dark and kept in wine
cellar temperatures, so that
we are bereft of energy and
potency, looking out at days
so crayon blue and lawns,
overgrown and starting to
go seedy, but still the green
of children's memory.

No accounting of the seasons
can be made, no sense of these
contradictory flashes of heat and
chill, flood and drought, and
as the unheralded summer comes
down, we are sprawled, febrile
and slack-jawed upon ancient,
vinyl-sided sofas that cough
up stuffing at the arms and
squeal their broken springs
as we flounder for anything
cold to put upon our fevered
brow, all the while sweat sick
and slippery against the
grasping surface.

Eyes half hooded, lips parted
in the imbecile's leer, we are
winter bound things cooked
plump and disgusting as the
black and dirty summer takes
the high-flung chair and sets
to the business of baking those
hints of ambition away, leaving
only the spent and tainted
remnant of other seasons'
unfounded hope.

9 comments:

Braleigh said...

I wish I could show you the "video" I imagined (a la Batman Forever with the Riddler's brain box contraption- what was that thing called?) while reading that. Sadly, I know it would pale in comparison to what you must be seeing as you create.

Brilliant.

swiftboat said...

Having survived over a dozen New England winters I've learned one thing: never complain about heat.

Love the imagery - especially Lawn "the green of children's memory". Great stuff.

Bill said...

Winter... does suddenly, and so immediately depart in the Northeast... not so here in the South... it sort of slips in quietly in the Fall... and slips away quietly in the Spring.

I may have to try and write something about that difference one day!

Thanks for, once again, wonderful imagery!

Firehawk said...

Thanks, everyone. So glad you continue to stop by.

Brales, (if I may be so bold as to use that familiar),
I wish I could have seen the video. I don't know what the Riddler's machine was called. As far as my own visuals...I think they were sort of impressionistic/surreal, as if Monet hung out with Hunter S. Thompson.

Swiftboat,
Yes, it's tough to complain about heat after getting pounded by freezing rain and sleet for several months on end. Unless you live in Death Valley or some such place...then...

Bill,
Always happy to see you back. Glad I didn't get fridge tagged. Sounds too scary. Which fridge? We have three, plus a freezer. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions of the changing seasons in the Southeast. When I lived in Arizona for many years, we joked there were only two seasons--Dead Hot and Not So Bad. I imagine that is isn't quite so easy where there is actual precipitation.

Anyway, thanks, everyone!

Stranger Ken said...

I've just been catching up with some of your recent work that I'd missed. "Dark and Kept" is wonderfully evocative, mostly, I think, because you use a very rich vocabulary to depict the images really strongly and because you have an amazing overview of your subject. It's interesting for me, too, to pick up on the similarities and differences in our writing. I think we're similar in that we both like words to paint strong images, but different in that I tend to focus on a subject through very small local moments or details, whereas you paint much larger canvases. Fair comment?

Stranger Ken said...

I've put a text link to you in my sidebar. Hope this okay? If not, please let me know.

Firehawk said...

Ken,

I think your comment is both fair and accurate, not to mention being a great compliment. I'm honored that you're putting a link to my site on your sidebar. Thanks.

I suppose there are two directions one can choose from with poetry: to take the isolated incident or picture in the mind and push it outwards into some universal idea, or to hone in on telling and honest details of a scene and allow them to convey a very strong sense of place to the reader. Both these tactics use some of the same tools: evocative words, strong imagery, lucid eye toward detail. I suspect that my desire to push outwards to that "broader canvas" can sometimes lead to over-blown or fantastical results, but that's the way I seem to work. I've always appreciated the sort of clarity and subtlety that comes with work such as yours, where the details and emotions of a moment are sufficient to the poem.

Thanks again for stopping by and encouraging me to continue with this project.

Braleigh said...

Wonderful! I had a Hunter S. Thompsonesque visual, but rather than being crossbred with Monet it was more of a blend of Thompson, Gilliam and liberal doses of a newly unveiled (for me) style that has been simply dubbed "Firehawk."

"Brales" is a nickname I've been referred to as for a couple of years now and it has a gravitas to it that either causes me to feel immensely uncomfortable or supremely delighted, depending on the user. I guess it is a name that I only consider those I most trust to employ, otherwise I feel weirded out. Sometimes I feel strange even when people who are friends use it.

When you said "Brales" I was supremely delighted. :D

Firehawk said...

If it brings delight, then let the other names be chistled from the stone and replaced with "Brales".