Sunday, October 25, 2009

Conditional Poetics

I know I have sometimes said that people who post their poems on the internet really bother me. Usually that poetry is not very good and the poet posts it explicitly to gather praise from the internets. What I'm about to do pains me ever so slightly, and may be laden with hypocrisy. I am going to share with you, dear readers, one of my poems.

It's still pretty rough, this is about the third draft. I will not claim that it is any good (I like it a lot, but I'm far from impartial, and it's really fresh, so I'm even less impartial than I might be about another poem). The reason I'm posting it now is because I think it really needs a good title, and I can't think of one.

My dad suggested "Bread Pudding" because the 1970's pop band Bread came out with a (really terrible) song called "If" and the poem is like a pudding, especially bread pudding, because it is melange of material. He also suggested "Blue Universe... O" or something like that.

I've considered calling it something like "Empirical Condition" or "49 Conditions" or something like that. The poem is made of a series of half conditional statements so... that's where I got those titles. I don't like them much though.

Anyway, here is the poem:

if the poetry of science can be found in the stars
if the universe is, at its core, blue
if blue is nothing more than a wave-length
if the stars vibrate with cries of O
if silence (not sound) is the foundation of (English) language
if poetry has the power to teach the erring man
if I whisper secrets into blue clay mugs
if blue becomes onomatopoeic
if the prefix “demi” means one half
if poetry can be empirically dissected
if all possible scientific questions can be answered
if poetry is an experience of imminent revelation
if the (English) language can be picked apart and stripped to essence
if the scar exactly bisects my back
if I change the details (you) to improve the story (us)
if it is possible to write blue poetry
if there are some (many) questions science can’t answer
if we don’t speak over tea
if scar tissue is blue
if scars can be empirically dissected
if I use the blue clay mugs for tea
if poetry and science are at odds with each other
if O is a scar on the (English) language
if the prefix “hemi” means one half
if rocks can resist the sky
if poetry and science cannot be separated
if blue has the power to teach the erring man
if stars are rocks that didn’t resist
if we (I) must obey the (English) language
if blue is a rock on the surface of the universe
if the (English) language once meant something else entirely
if the rock and the sky are each half
if O hangs, silent, in the air between us
if blue always points south
if I write everything down and hide it
if the prefix “semi” means one half
if the story (us) is deeply scarred
if love can be empirically dissected
if paper beats rock
if it becomes possible for the writer to have, like Picasso, a blue period
if O is set aside for later
if one is rock and the other is sky
if the stars are made of blue clay
if every scar clutches a story
if Carolina, Cobalt, Sky, Steel and Midnight are all shades of blue
if O falls off the edge of the universe
if the (English) language can be sculpted in blue clay
if science has the power to teach the erring man
if we (I) throw implication to the wind and use only “if” but never “then”

Please post any ideas you have for a title (or anything else you want to say about the poem) in the comments. Or us whatever other means you have to communicate with me.

Thanks for your help, cyberfriends!


Anonymous said...

I would call it "Blue". But then I have no imagination.


Tim Hinkle said...

How about "Ayre: Conditioned."

But you'll need to get a lute and sing it.