with my new poems, or with my attempted new poems anyway. My advisor, instead of working on the girl show manuscript as/is this semester, has suggested we should work on new work to get me out of my little rut. I agree, especially since the girl show poems eventually have become sort of formulaic, which is alright for the collection, maybe even a plus since it gives it a very unified feeling, but now that I'm moving on to new poems and I need to take off in a different direction no doubt. I don't want to become Sharon Olds, after all. Book after book writing the same handful of poems. Though some would say you're just writing one poem over and over.
I've always been of the opinion that those first two books are vastly different,from each other both subject matter, scope, and formally. They just FEEL different, too, though that may be me. girl show looks more like the fever almanac at first glance, but is crisper, cleaner, tighter, like in the bird museum.
So there are two trends in poems I've been writing since I got the sideshow poems done, one more contemporary, urban, more autobiographical poems (well as much as I'm willing to get), and the other the booklength poem that used to be a novel (narrative, more goddamned birds). Since I know bringing pieces in from the latter would definitely still get static as being too much like what I already do, I've been using the experiments given to me in writing poems that fall into the former, that are apparently STILL too much like my other work. It's like I can't escape my own voice. Sure, I try something different and wind up not liking it. I was trying to think of poems/poets I really love who sound nothing like me and there aren't too many. I mean, I guess we like the poems we do, write the poems we do, because an aesthetic pleases us in some fundamental way. There's work, of course, vastly different than mine I find interesting on a cerebral level, but can't say I really love it. Not the way I love other poets who are up/in my alley. I write something odd, foreign and it's not right. I hate it. I rip it to shreds and get so frustrated. Or it's boring, uninteresting to me. I wouldn't read it, I'd burn it.
And she's totally right, there are dangers in becoming known as a certain type of poet who writes certain types of poems. She's worried about this in regard to her work (though I adore her work and would love more of the same). I'm worried about this. Or then I think, should I be worried about this? Or should I just let the work comes as it comes and be happier and not beso neurotic. I don't know. So tonight, I tried to sound like another poet, and still wound up sounding like me.
On Thursday, I wear a red ribbon around my throat and am capable of the most serious damage. I wash my hair with old beer and make paper clip chains while he fucks someone else. A Katherine, whose name means torture. Who hangs out in wine bars and yoga studios and calls at 3am . Her syllables clicking like a bicycle tire, a pack of cards.
Arielle, whose name means lion of god, says to write ugly poems. You know you’re there when the poem really makes you worry. I worry over car wrecks and falling in the shower. Crying on buses and wearing bad shoes.
I try to write a poem I wouldn’t want to sleep with. Would kick to the curb, wrap my thumbs around her slender neck and snap. This one’s still babied, blinking, wondering if it wants to be a skirt or a tire iron. Licking the perimeter of opened envelopes for a tiny bit of sweet. My nouns go awry every time I stop paying attention. Fall pretty like dimes on the sidewalk. My friend Melissa, whose name means bee-like, has a theory about systems. For every change in variable, the outcome shifts toward constant decay.