Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Visions and revisions

I have been tinkering with possible openings to Part III of my Takaaki poem for about 3 weeks now without very much satisfaction or success.

Today, I am going to try a different tack entirely, going back to the beginning of the story I am trying to tell and spend a few days writing from there. Those of you who have read parts I and II of the poem will (I hope) recognize the point of departure here.

I include the final stanza of part II to show the transition.

I hope you like it.


Slowly shut the faucet off. He dried
His swollen fingertips on a dishtowel
With “Thanksgiving” printed on one side,
A turkey, goose—some kind of cooked, brown fowl—
Emblazoned on the other. He withdrew
Another cigarette. (There were just two,
I noticed, left inside Doraemon.)
“Are we still playing games or are we done?”
I left when he invited me to go—
Which is not to say that I objected:
I understood. I should have expected
This. Nagasaki went too far. To show
How bad I felt, I called him to surrender,
Unconditionally, the 7th of December.

Part III

Takaaki blinked at my chrysanthemums
As if I handed him preserved bullfrogs
Retrieved from one of those great pickle drums
For sale in scientific catalogs
To high school bio-teachers for dissection:
Formaldehyde free for your protection,
The ads italicize for emphasis.
Takaaki offered me a ghostly kiss
Which missed my lips entirely. “Victims
Of villainous neglect. They looked less sick
Sticking out of that black plastic
Bucket at the bodega. Cut the stems
And water them, they should perk up,” I said.
“Chrysanthemums are given to the dead

By people in Japan,” Taka-chan
Added, rather unhelpfully, I thought…

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