With all the recent travels, expanded reading and serious crunch time at work; I have not given last week’s poem a second glance and this week’s assignment is due by tomorrow: Write a poem that does not have an obvious front door.
This comes from the fact that too many poems have easy entrances and easy exits, which allow for a nice pleasant stroll through your work but generally doesn’t lead to many twists and turns. I type that last sentence knowing full well that I have written my fair share of poems that fall into that category. I’ll go one further and say I still catch myself writing those poems often for the sake of the narrative arc and still often just to keep it simple and safe. Keeping your listener hooked to your story but not treating your listener like a three year old is a dangerous game especially when your listener has become your reader and can look back to see when that the clever turn in your poem wasn’t so clever.
In an effort to help me break out of my comfort zone and shift things up a bit, I am checking out the poems in Bruna Mori’s Dérive, a true slice of New York vis-a-vis the end stops of the subway which almost always lead you to the outer boroughs and to the best stories in the city. This collection presents me with an authentic snapshot of the city I once knew and leaves me feeling homesick and glad to be away at the same time. Matthew Kinney’s accompanying ink work also gives us a weighted melancholy version of NYC that is scary familiar adding texture to Mori’s poems without offering explanation. A good read, for sure, but it’s not a slow stroll through Museum Mile which is cool cuz I get the feeling Mori never meant it to be anyways. Sides, most New Yorkers can’t stand anyone who “strolls.”
Bonus Track: A sample of Dérive can be found over at Shampoo Poetry.