Tuesday, May 15, 2012
It's been years since I've written a poem, new or even sketch...truth is reviews are the main focus of my literary life. I haven't lost the drive for it but there still remains such a need for critical analysis for the arts that there I remain, "the critic". Nonetheless, I was inspired today to post a poem (February 2005) called BEAUTIFUL CHAMELEON.
The title is based on the state in which poetry is received and the poet him/herself. In this case, it's inspired by Kei Miller, after a reading I followed him to at Poetry Society that year. A poet has to be a chameleon, like any performer, especially when reading their work. Personally, I've never enjoyed that part of the process...I much prefer the reader to open up a magazine and interpret for themselves the words. For i feel once you read it, its meaning to you flies through the air and deposits unto minds with its own new, twisted meaning. It is also a one-time thing, unlike in print where it can be revisited.
Kei, or as most of us call him, Andrew, has the gift for live speech. I wanted to capture that as well as the willing audience in Jamaica: they came to be charmed because his star was ascending and the poetry was secondary to that rising star. The poetry was but the excuse to bring them together. Imagine their faces when they find out that amid the spectacle that they've actually been 'touched'...that poetry really affects them in ways they were not prepared to be affected.
That night reminds me so vividly how Jamaicans receive the literary arts and how, in turn, the literary arts receive Jamaicans. May both thrive for many, many years...
I remember: those locks shook noisily
when rain fell on the encircled arena.
by the dug-out there's a tree, unnamed Muse,
yet you wrap its leaves around your fingers still,
fresh with the scent of your joint.
Hidden from view by growing grass,
the chameleon has gathered the witnesses
making little circles in their seats.
Rainy night at the open yard session,
incense snafus on the air,
on the chipped mike
the chameleon is raw.
Nervously his smoke sinks in the pit
of bellies a-quiver for more smoke,
The lingering, torn duplicity
that graces them all finds flight, rolls over.
I wonder: are they into a new meter and
forever metamorphosed now?