Friday, May 4, 2012

Turning the Spotlight Off

Finley says....

"Remove yourself from the poem....if you are going to be a poet."

I hate when he tells me this.

I am Irish, Pollack too, all we know is story telling.

But stories are not poems Finley will remind you...over and over again.

Get out of the poem, he repeats. You're ruining it.

Last night, I went over to Dara's Syrkin's house.

We looked over some of her work, but by looking at her work, she tried to express what she was trying to convey by showing me poems from books long forgotten.

One poem in particular caught our attention.

It was about a shy man and women dancing, but the poems author kept throwing themselves into this piece, breaking the cadence of intamacy.

This 3rd person vantage point killed the perfection that was already there.

When I saw this....I felt shame.

It was just like that moment when you are 17 and some girl you are trying to impress finds your 7th grade school pictures. You look like such a loser, the girl laugh along with her, but deep know for a fact that you thought you were "it" back then.

Often times when I toss time, and reflection into a Yahtzee Cup and dump the contents onto the table...

I am scared at how ignorant I was, and then my next reaction is....

"How ignorant am I now?"

Anyways....this whole course of events made me think of a selfless poem that Finley wrote. A poem that Finley has managed to stay out of.....

Revolving Door

Seeing the old man
Step tentatively
Into the glass cylinder,
The girl slowed down,
The two tiptoed around
One another, palms high.
He smiled at his partner,
And she, who had never before
Danced the minuet, stepping
Out with the old, stepping
In with the new, did



Sigh.....I get it Mike....I really do.


  1. I need to say something.

    First, when we talk an i say something like "Get out of the poem," I'm usually talking about a specific poem. And I'm usually saying it to YOU, Klecko - not to the whole world through you.

    Storytelling is not bad by a long shot. You could say that all poems are stories, even when they don't have plots, characters and conflict. The story is whatever is happening in the poem. Carl Sandburg's "Fog" is a tiny story.

    You are a naturally gifted storyteller because 1) you enjoy it, 2) you intuitively know what's interesting and 3) I always get a sense of lissen up from you -- that there's a reason for the story, something that makes it a valuable gift.

    It's never about, oh, I pooped my pants. You are giving the reader something, and it is usually VERY cool.

    In the poem, you can be the same garrulous storytelling figure. In a one-off poem, who cares, blab all you want. But if you intend to line poems up alongside one another, some of these habits will show through and be tedious. Like you saying:

    "I said to myself, what manner of marshmallow is this?"

    "But I remembered the commotion caused by the Council of Trent."

    "I thought of a little boy about that age, perhaps 20 feet tall, and thought, humph."

    There is a little much direction in asides like this for every single poem to contain. After a wile the reader says, just tell me what you saw or what occurred, and spare me the part with you thinking out loud three times in the poem.

    Or don't. No one's going to file a lawsuit against your pivots and transitions. Just know they add up and become annoying EVEN THOUGH they get you where you need to go.

    You are very blessed to have a naturally likable storytelling voice. I don't know anyone who could pull off LOL the way you do, and not be stoned by a cheerful populace ... but you get away with it and have made it a trope, or habit. Just, it is more seemly in a prose story than a poem, where shit is supposed to be held against you.

    Uber-message. When I tell you something, I am not handing down a commandment. Just responding to what is before us at the moment. It just sounds like a commandment because of the solemnity of the moment.

  2. I do love commandmants, it gets me closer to my goals, often less time. I think when you get done with me and the kids @ Lucky Park, you should mentor the entire Planet Poetry.
    BTW, I am surprised you did not comment on this poem mentioned. It was/is a lovely work.
    "Palms High"....bravo