Sunday, September 30, 2007

Making the Latent Manifest

New Criticism

I sit
my back to a space heater
reading poems in a book
signed by the author,
a professor I had years ago.
Had, in the sense that he taught me
and in the sense that I always wanted more.

The course was literary theory
and he liked New Criticism
which removes the writer from the writing.
But I never bought it.
You couldn't read those poems
and not get to know the soul
that was translated onto the page.

I loved to hear him read from his work,
his unique cadence
the rhythmical dripping of double entendre
made me feel
that I had something to say.

But now, I have nothing to say.
Or, rather, everything I have to say is Memo.
To: You
Re: See how well I'm coping

When the truth I need to face
is that a heating unit
bought at the Home Depot for $12.95 plus tax
is doing the job you used to
keeping me warm
against the chill autumn nights.

And neither of you
why I keep these books of poetry
on my shelves
and read them when I feel lonely.