REM Stage 6: A Poetry Blog || julie niklas

07/03/2012, 10:36 AM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , ,

Apartment walls closed over like a lily.
The fragrant stamen needing to be dusted like a fan blade.

Flowers like this cannot be painted.
In the morning it opens white light over the sleeper sofa.
Needing to be dusted like a photo frame.

Translucent and full of narrow hallways.
Outside there is a city of thick stems.
It would be too easy to emerge.
Too easy to pull the petals away one by one.

The endtables taste like pollen and sea salt.
Strongholds of dew and grass rooting it to the floor below.

Something when it blooms.
Small comforts in messes of luggage on the carpet.
A coffee pot gasping in the yellow center.


11/20/2011, 8:40 PM
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The street curls downward like an eyelash, or the tendril of a blackberry vine who has remembered the humidity. This is perceived—I am not allowed to draw these sorts of parallels.

Katie asks for more soap to stretch over her hands, which now reek of chlorophyll. This is heard and smelled.
There has been no mention of a bubble wand. This is forgotten.

She is a keeper of junebugs. This is known.
Their pastel shells (sunbleached hematite) drift like a thousand blown jewels of zirconia from a dandelion. This is a mirage. I have never seen this before.
It’s the second summer day she has shaken them from her hair. This is also known—it is pattern.

Heat blooms into membranes of dishsoap. This is seen.
They are filled with something more than air, enclosed by colors that are more than light tricks. This is what we would like to believe.

The Kinetics of Fishman Returning to Earth
10/20/2011, 10:47 PM
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And he seemed confused
that the sea was so far away
and immense stretches of sand
the kinds of volumes that
can’t be counted in handfuls

sprawled between him and the water

when years later
after spurting from the waves
like a bloated flying fish
he awoke in an unmown pasture
with nothing but green
and a senseless portrait of the sky
chigger-bitten and the only
still thing in tall grass.

06/14/2011, 6:15 PM
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They are more of a testament to the clock
than a race against it,
which is attributed to the duality
of the word hands in this case.
Here, your scrawl, there, the tick,
and somewhere hidden in your chambers,
is whatever caused them.

What we would imagine to be your signature—
a sort of trademark like a sunset
or your certain brand of brainwave
is found falling off the bottom of a page
dated back to April of last year,
never torn from its binding,
never addressed or destined to ride
in the front seat of a dingy mail truck
like the letters the rest of us have written.

This way, left unstamped and
sewn into a composition notebook,
they have the solidity and weight of memory
like a gravestone,
and you walk away holding the chisel
you pried out of your own hands.

Dream No. 3
05/30/2011, 12:53 PM
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The morning after the world ends
all the sighs left on the tundras
and savannas and plateaus
will converge and rehearse
like an entire brass symphony of
white elephants

and the sound will be deafening.

Acoustics will never have been
so good.

Jupiter will lean back in his ancient
sulfurous armchair
and applaud,
hawing in baritone about how he
didn’t see that clincher coming.

The Irony of Prose: Chemistry and Poets
05/21/2011, 7:09 PM
Filed under: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The basis is reaction, equilibrium, stability, maintenance of a potency-per-word-per-line ratio, trial and error and error and error to find something pleasing. Structure: can two words collide with the required orientation and energy and form something that will evoke feeling in the reader or listener? Smoothloomingly? What did e.e. cummings know and not tell us? Inspiration is the root of synthesis, the midnight craving and the spontaneous lurching into a notebook.
The line is in constant tug of war to propagate mood and connotation and syntax. An ill-fitting word or syllable can render a poem useless—it can combust unexpectedly and leave the writer blackened in the face, dignity bruised. On the other hand, controlled combustion is what we’re looking for. We pay to watch flares light up night skies, we pay to have endorphins and ideas dislodged from the mucky parts of our brains and rushed through our bodies. We pay for the “oh my God” moment and the breath of air when all of the energy contained in the bonds between the poem’s stanzas, lines, words, concepts is released, and the products catabolized on the tips of our tongues like coughdrops.
The poet seeks stability and solidity and precision in their language. Occasionally a neutralization, when something has to be “just-so.” Play with a poem, read it thirteen different ways, turn it upside down and observe its flow. How words can waterfall into one another(cadence), drop you off of cliffs (enjambment), or leave you nowhere (limiting reactant).
The metaphor is the optimal muck-up tool, the disruption of order that branches your mind into smaller and smaller capillary networks and soon there is nothing but vast space and thermal barriers. Inspiration is also the root of decomposition, the other end of the spectrum where the poet wants to destroy, confuse, rearrange, edit. Clinchers—we purposely stick those in at the ends to appease our little electronegative whims, to create that dipole so somebody somewhere will pick it up and read it (those are the kind of bonds that matter).
The premises of poetry and chemistry are the same as the premises of life. Survive, maintain homeostasis, keep in equilibrium with your environment, have a dipole moment, get into heated arguments with your fellow reactants, react, form relationships, disturb the universe (do you dare?), keep up with trends then break them, synthesize something beautiful, give someone a reason to live.

03/21/2011, 8:22 PM
Filed under: Poetry, Writing | Tags: , , , ,

Blue street animal-mad bus stops
wait open-mouthed for us to return
from fog with our umbrellas
shaken out, half-sprung like the death
statue of spiders
which we have carried stuck to our jean cuffs
since morning.
We feel them out in gray,
these overhangs, the outlying
dry patches and we could list
one thousand reasons
to stop and sit
pour water out of our boots
pull our hoods back.
So they wait while we pass by
in hordes of tumbling vapor,
breathless, timeless.
Or somebody will pause a moment to admire
the colgate smile ad and move on.
The next day all the sighs in the world
echo like white elephant trumpets.
and the quiet spots wait
have always been waiting
will always wait
for a damp traveller without his shoes
to slump his back
against the plastic wall
taking no notice of the ad
or the newspapers or the rain.