Monday, June 4, 2007

Bonus Poems!

My original idea for my chapbook was to work with Fenollosa's idea of the Chinese character and make graphical poems using photo collages of English malapropisms and mistranslations found on Chinese billboards, street signs, menus, etc. Genius! Well, not really... I realized it wasn't really working out the way I'd hoped even before Kasey gave me feedback on my draft manuscript. He basically reiterated what I'd been thinking--the transfer to print would have had a disastrous effect on the poems. They really needed a high quality graphical element to make them interesting and since I'm too cheap to invest in magazine grade, slick glossy paper for a chapbook I ended up back at the drawing board. I transcribed a few of the poems I had but, aside from a couple of exceptions, they didn't hold up very well. I started re-collaging the remaining poems to create something--anything--but, unfortunately, I was left with very little to work with. Drats!

I wanted to keep working with Chinese--I just knew there was something there--so I tried a number of techniques using online translators with different source material until I found something I was pleased with. In fact, despite the late nights and the frustration, I am really, really happy with the way my chapbook turned out. In the meantime, however, I have dozens of poems using a variety of techniques that just didn't "fit" (oh, how I tried to make them work). Here are a couple of those poems:

I heard footsteps behind in 1969
life extracted from an old body
the deer licked the blood
and fell to the ground
into the opened coffin went the truth
and threw out the corpse
butterflies die
even fly in the right hands
you still owed the valley some fighting
now without a ghost of hope

Dead dogs
Kingpins of tin-poisoned arrogance
anxiously worship the game.
Contemplating domination,
seeking maps for the right disaster.
Profit exists in chaos—
in waste after overthrow.
And noise.
Soldiers given crowns without swords,
warfare without battle,
bare, carbon nobility
left as hanging meat for the forest.
Pain is its own end
when compassionate rape is law.

Dead dogs.

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