Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Little Poetry

I finally finished Rosmarie Waldrop's book of poetry, Aggressive Ways of the Casual Stranger. Finally makes it sound bad, but it wasn't. As I mentioned before she has an unusual style in this book. But it works, especially, I eventually discovered, when read out loud. Nonetheless, the zero punctuation didn't get easier to read. Instead they sometime turned into puzzles and the more I read them the more I realized that the missing punctuation allows for a number of different readings. This meant that sometimes I was annoyed--just give me something straightforward darn it!--and sometimes I couldn't get over how exciting the various possibilities were. This time instead of snips of images from several different poem, I thought I'd post my favorite poem in its entirety:

Cleaning Yes I have a broom the box of Spic and Span's been opened but matter doesn't like to be contained as women know our wombs twitch bellies bulge fat grows around the hips I'm careful make sure I miss corners just coax it into a mere pretense of clean lines reassure us this world is ours well this house even so the wood groans at night little hunks of plaster tear free and fall there will be a revolt the walls will swell bulge from the seams and burst the joints the mortar crumble and the house cave in and spread sprawl swallow the street where asphalt melts and ferments and all the elements ooze back to chaos
I love the comparison between the bulging female belly and the bulging walls of the house. And I like how it doesn't matter, keeping up the pretense of appearance, of control over dust or fat or time, because in the end chaos wins anyway. This is one poem out of lots of good ones. And if you want more Waldrop, John has some great excerpts up too.