Thursday, September 22, 2005

Poem Four

This picture was taken at the most depressing zoo I ever visited. I wish the photo of the single white bunny (see poem) would look good scanned. Another thing I saw at this zoo was a dead rat in a peacock cage. In a few weeks attentive readers of Nation of Pete will see that uplifting image exploited for Art.


New monkey crouches
into the heat of the wrong cage,

into the evidence of
a larger, clawed predecessor
dead since April still seething that sunken rot straw corner’s black damp.

The bars continue
thickening the dead yellow opposite of rescue: Sunlight slowed
by old shit
as it winced across
the splintered signboard, those
letters whose word has been scoured
obscure by luckless zoo-budget dirt.

Ocher and bleary, eternity
looks even bigger
without any foliage, furniture,

The only hope offered is that only gods earn
such constant looks of disappointment?

Across the roots-cracked walkway,
the lion’s stunted pacing of
that cage actually designed
for the perfectly blind,
white hare alone over there
in a giant cage those spirals
of dust’s flushing of time

can’t measure: The cruelty
of patience,
enduring even

those paws’
never reaching
the end of fraying.


At 5:35 PM, Anonymous dbd said...

could this be the first poem about animals that really works for me? or am I forgetting some glorious, obvious animal-centric piece? I digress...

interesting reading accident: i read the lines "The only hope offered is that only gods earn
such constant looks of disappointment?" as "The only hope is that only gods offer such constant looks of disappointment?" I don't think it should change, as it would drastically change the meaning of the poem, but I think the momentum of those lines caused me to speed, think, slow, return, etc. I liked it. As they'd say in a workshop, I think the rest of the poem "earns" those two lines well.

My only suggestion is that there are a couple of lines you might consider stopping short--for example, "letters whose word has been scoured
obscure by luckless zoo-budget dirt" MIGHT end with "obscure." Just a thought.

I've been away, so this is the first poem I've commented on in a while--I really dig it...

At 11:42 PM, Blogger pete. said...

Thanks, dbd. As I was typing this up today I actually considered stopping the line at "obscure." So I'd say your instinct is correct. Funny about the misread... Maybe I can do something with that.


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