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Now I see You in Concrete. - the period of cosmography
Now I see You in Concrete.
But no shadow is absence, lack or wanting.
Shadow is image, signal, sign of presence.
Ever since. Ever. Light travelled, light was
There first. There. Always. Presence. First presence.
Everything else, every thing, is obstruction
Everything is in the way. Sight is not light,
Sight is obstruction, verified.

Perfume of concrete. Liquid stone. Damp stone.
Concrete. Such stuff as dreams were made on, then.
Does concrete have a smell? Not damp, good dry.
The sunny concrete of a summer noon.
A speck of moss perhaps. In the seams. Clinging.
A speck of shadow clinging in the seams.
Edges obstruct light. Shadow clings. Moss shelter.
Noon sun. Does concrete smell on its own then?

Now. Now is then by the time now is. Then.
Now was already. When?
Now. Was. Then. Now I see you then. Eyes saw.
I, eyes turned inwards, eyes too cold then. Ice.
Shards. Conscience gnaws. Cold teeth. Too late to heed.
Late. Now is always too late.
It’s never too late but now.
Still, now I see you, then.
You. Was it you, who is you now, back then?
I am certain. I couldn’t be otherwise.
I wouldn’t want to. Not to be.
I see you, then.
I see you sitting on a field of concrete.
You sit on steps. You sat on steps. Gray steps.
There are steps all around and your pink garments.
Your eyes. Blue glitter. Clouds.
Blue glitter. Sunny concrete. Pink. Seams. Specks.
Such stuff as days were made on, then. Thin air.
Field rounded with a sleep.
Clouds, and the sky-blue blue sky, and a scent.
Not the perfume of your skin, glittering attar.
Does concrete have a fragrance of its own?

I see you, then. Sight is obstruction, light stopped.
Stuck in my skull. Embedded. Lodged. Forever.
Until. In bone. Embedded.
Memory is light. Light petrified, shards stuck.
In bone and coral tissue.
No. There is more. I see now. Then. See more.
Sound. Voice. I hear you then, now, breathe. Your sigh
The same, less painful then.
I hear. There’s chatter all around us. More.
Tact too. I feel your breast in my hand. Beat.
Your body crushing against mine. And taste.
Sweet salt of your kiss. Lips. Sweet salt.

What then is memory? Memory isn’t light.
Light travels.
Everything else is in the way.
Obstruction. Memory too.
Memory is time, obstructed by bliss.
Time stopped, gray steps, blue glitter, sweet salt, bliss.
8 comments or Leave a comment
dyvyd From: dyvyd Date: May 3rd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think you've discovered a new style: the "time-then-mirrored-in-time-now-memory-as-quanta" style. No, really, there is something fresh in the way the narrative alternates, denies, offers more. Needless to say I like the poem a lot.
anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: May 4th, 2009 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I guess it's the style that found me. I woke up and the thing was there, more than half formed already. I had to discard some bits. It must be my current readings.
Thanks a lot for the comment, the purpose of this site is to exercise and find my own voice. I won't quit on sonnets, but I want to start trying more form flexibility, and any comment on how stuff works is more than helpful.
dyvyd From: dyvyd Date: May 4th, 2009 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
on further readings:

Your treatment of "light" has an impact that is at once biblical, accurate physically, and deeply personal. The implications of the first stanza are startling and worthy of meditation.

It feels a little like "free sonnetising" or pieces of sonnet in free verse structure. No, not even a sonnet structure perhaps, but somehow still a shadow of one, still formal: a form broken rather than chaos. Rhyming fragments from the repetition of the same words somehow echoes to me the idea of "concrete." The word "concrete" also made me look closely at the position of the words as in "concrete poetry" but that's just me. Also it gave the sense of "setting up," coming into a final, rigid state, that finally could be said.

Like they say, knowing how to follow all the rules makes all the difference in the quality of how you choose to break them.

You might have written this all in several sonnets, and possibly that would have been great too. But the sonnet would always be slightly more distanced, more an artifice, more of a past, fictional, historical time.

The tension between the formal and the personal is very high here. Almost as though the poet were trying to write a more formal piece, but was too deeply moved to pull it together.

Edited at 2009-05-04 04:33 pm (UTC)
anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: May 5th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I came up with the ideas about light trying to write an essay about the work of a friend photographer. The essay didn't make it, but the ideas stuck.
I actually tried to build my verses keeping to some rules. Five or three feet, with few exceptions. And iambic, with a few exceptions. Of course that’s occluded by my chopping up of the verses. But if I’d started out with free verse, I would have had nothing to chop up. Also I like the way the underlying structure shows here and there. Thanks again for your thoughts, they are accurate and revealing to myself.
joculum From: joculum Date: May 4th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I especially like "Sight is obstruction, light stopped." for the sound value, but the whole thing is lovely and quintessentially modernist in its caesurae and its shifts in perception.

Sorry we didn't connect at the art opening in Düren. The whole trip was sheer lunacy, dawnlight train and air connections and standing up on ICE from Köln to Flughafen Frankfurt. Then an outpatient heart operation upon my return here.
anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: May 5th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
It was too bad about Düren really, and I really needed to see my friends in Köln too. I'd even cancelled a pretty girl's visit to have those days at my disposal. But it wasn't meant to be. And my staying here ended up being of no use after all...
Heart operation, outpatient or not, doesn't sound trivial. I hope you're O.K.
jackfirecat From: jackfirecat Date: May 4th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
>Still, now I see you, then.
You. Was it you, who is you now, back then?

Reminds me of W. S. Graham.


Ala light, Memory is events seen by their shadows in a life.

anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: May 5th, 2009 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
And yes, I agree, but blissful events, mind you. Oh no, no, I’m not in denial. I’m just exercising poetic license here.
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