mardi, octobre 18, 2005

A Series Idea, A Rough Draft

I’m thinking of spending next year exploring a theme in my poetry. Not that I would write only within the theme, but more that the theme would be a retreat for me – a talisman against writer’s block and droughts.

I'm interested in the real or imagined dichotomy between conformity-driven corporate life and the creativity and artful expression that are favored in poetry.

A recurring character within the theme would be an unnamed “middle manager.”

If the series yields fruit, I might consider a chapbook assembling the best pieces.

Here is a rough draft of a poem that could be included as part of this thematic exploration (emphasis on “rough," emphasis on "draft").

The Middle Manager as Candidate for Advancement

a yellow stripe is painted
down the middle, and
on every seventh run
the words: “walk”
(to the left) and (to the right)
“stand.” The middle
manager always stands
even though it’s called
the moving

To him,
standing seems candid.
You can choose your directive,
but you should obey. Or not.
You could run
or dance; you could crawl,
but only a dishonest lieutenant
waves the white flag without

the middle manager
likes surrender. To him
it's as familiar as
an airport.
And so
he stands
and is pulled forth.
He stands
amid the claptraps
and commotion.
He just stands,
and as he does,
he vibrates,
he floats...

a voice comes down –
it is the same woman
who voiced the tram
and maybe the light
rail train. She was
in the paper. She sings
with the local opera
and has a softened accent:
British or Australian –
saying “Caution.
you are reaching the end
of the moving

And only then
does he start
to walk.