Friday, March 03, 2006

Not a final draft

... because the comments I've received on the various incarnations of this one have demonstrated one very obvious point: I didn't have a clue what I wanted the poem to do when I was drafting, and revising, it.

This is absolutely the worst thing anyone can do when writing poetry, in my opinion. If you have nothing to say, then for fuck's sake don't try to say it in poetry! The resulting work will be tripe. Check the previous versions of Love Poem #3 to see this truth being demonstrated.

So anyways the comments I got back on the previous drafts of this poem forced me into a very stark choice: whork out what this poem is supposed to be doing and redraft accordingly; or junk it.

I chose the first option, and this is the result - now ready to undergo another few rounds of the comment-revise cycle.

Love Poem #3

You promise me treasure, offer
your body as the map that leads
to riches. I search for symbols
in the folds of your skin; intercept
clues on tasks to perform morsed
by white eyeflags, semaphored by curls
and angles at the edge of your mouth.

Your hands challenge translations -
they fly to investigate the world.
I have to vector them, pin each digit
with a symbol: here be dragon lairs,
unicorn trails, wells of gold coin.

I observe soft mounds around henges,
uneven cream pegs cradled between your lips.
"The map is not the thing", your tongue
hints. But I know this - I dismiss
the adipose spoils midriffing you,
mere landscaping that can't disguise
the designs sketched in your marrow.

I could finish exploring this map,
or choose to excavate. Instead
I let you fold me tight inside
your elbows, watch you build a map
of me in the pits of your eyes.

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