Here’s a section from a collection of contemporary American sonnets I’ve done along the lines of those by the late and wonderful Ted Berrigan. It’s one of 60 from Braided Double-Cross.
As I said at the time …
In defining poetry, Berrigan’s concept of a windup toy serves well for me. How basic can I make it? (A single word? Maybe two?) As well as how extended or elaborate!
I still don’t like poetry that’s written as code, an intellectual equation of meaning.
Also, I prefer lines that are long enough to have something happen within each one.
I love when literature (or any art, for that matter) opens as a state of awareness – or fullest existence – which also expands into epiphanies of dancing or singing or perhaps, well, just imagine. Think twice about the chemically aided experiences – pinot, martini, pot? Yes, the Zone, when it graces. In a continuum, with differing specifics.
A set of skills and disciplined thought and, I would hope, tradition / culture. Not that every time I read a book or sit to write I’m there. Indeed, there may be good reasons we cannot dwell long in that Zone (Is it too isolated? Too exclusionary? Self-centered even when we find it occurring in Otherness?) …
A break, then. And then back to work.
A green-streaked sentry flanked by thistles
on every town common is more explicit
than any boom box. Please, my darling, please
don’t let carnal memories expire between us.
I set forth at a disadvantage.
Ribbons of baby oil. Snaking Chinese dragons.
One flesh, lagoons. Trembling like the wind
in shrubs and flowers. You chained
criticism on my Academy of St. Martin
in the wallpaper, provoking blatant spice factory
peppers and cinnamon misrepresentations
of common logic, as if you were running for office.
Without proper camouflage, there’s nothing to repulse
destitution overtaking military-issue fortifications.
Poem copyright by Jnana Hodson
(originally appeared in the journal Plungelit)
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