The exercise was to write a poem that enacts or embodies spring.
Not a poem “about” spring, that’s easy. A poem that is spring, be’s spring, bees spring, in its flesh, its bones. How do you write a poem that’s green, that’s growth, motion, variance, blowsiness, or whatever spring is to you – no, in you – such that it comes across, takes root in reader, flowers and seeds there?
Many fell into the trap of subject matter, and that’s okay, it’s a good where to start from. By the time we were done talking of Williams’s Spring and All they got, I think, what it is to meet spring, eyeball-to-eyeball, a gist of it anyway.
And for sure our talk of the supreme importance of the spectacle
an elderly man who
smiled and looked away
to the north past a house—
a woman in blue
who was laughing and
leaning forward to look up
into the man’s half
and a boy of eight who was
looking at the middle of
the man’s belly
at a watchchain—
passing namelessly landed for me, and that was them teaching me, I learned more about the line there as such, its supremacy (if that word might ever be rescued for re-use) and ephemerality.
More than one did get what it was to enact spring but only one gave me hers back to post. This is by Hannah Bender and it’s made of joy –
—doublemint cars dusty ceramic roses unpainted fingernails white underwear white undershirt white ankle socks nineteen fifty seven chevy bel air in pink and cream leather pearly cocaine pears and game hen hospital wall green punch bougainvillea bunny teacup airplanes red velveteen movie theater milk chocolate strawberry gift wrap hair throw up cake mice tv saint francis bambi’s mother anne frank donald duck orange juice baths buttons—
I asked her about it, she said something like, you don’t have to wait for spring for it to be spring. You just take any moment and look at it close enough – spring is coiled in there. I hope I have that right; I think she put it better.
Anyway she put it beautifully – she got the intention of the assignment better than I ever did when I came up with it. Those em-dashes, I imagine reaching into any moment of perception, physically prying it open, and those dashes are the beams I prop in to keep it from slamming closed on me while I walk among the moment’s occult contents.
Look topside. My “featured image” removes the boxed from the box. Why’s that feel like an injury? But it does. When’s sampling a denaturing? It is, sometimes. Spring couldn’t spring had it no winter to push off from.
Almost forgot the title of Hannah’s but you see how it matters. The whole poem’s a synonym for its title yes?