Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Poem of The Week 9.16.15

" There is a button on the remote control called FAV. You can program your favorite channels. Don’t like the world you live in, choose one closer to the world you live in. I choose the independent film channel and HBO. Neither have news programs as far as I can tell. This is what is great about America—anyone can make these kinds of choices. Instead of the news, HBO has The Sopranos. This week the indie channel is playing and replaying Spaghetti Westerns. Always someone gets shot or pierced through the heart with an arrow, and just before he dies he says, I am not going to make it. Where? Not going to make it where? On some level, maybe, the phrase simply means not going to make it into the next day, hour, minute, or perhaps the next second. Occasionally, you can imagine, it means he is not going to make it to Carson City or Texas or somewhere else out west or to Mexico if he is on the run. On another level always implicit is the sense that it means he is not going to make it to his own death. Perhaps in the back of all our minds is the life expectancy for our generation. Perhaps this expectation lingers there alongside the hours of sleep one should get or the number of times one is meant to chew food—eight hours, twenty chews, and seventy-six years. We are all heading there and not to have that birthday is not to have made it. "

 from Don't Let Me Be Lonely: “There is a button on the remote control called FAV...”
I recently stumbled upon Claudia Rankine poetry while waiting for a member of the Glee cast to sign my copy of his fairytale book at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. I haven't yet read his fairy tale book but I really liked Glee and I wanted to hear if he had something to say about its horrible ending. He didn't. However, while standing in line behind mostly children and tired parents, I leaned on the "Writers You Should Know" table and there was Claudia Rankine's book of poetry, Citizen. The poem above is not from Citizen, but that's mostly because I wouldn't have been able to pick just one. However, Don't Let Me Be Lonely is just as good. I chose this poem to share with you all because of its form. I love a good stanza but there's something about this break-from-the-norm block poetry that excites me. It's almost as if this is all one linear thought in the speaker's head. For example, while riding the train and watching people stare at the subway map, I often wonder: Where are they going and where are they coming from and although it starts there, rather simply, it ends with complex thoughts about world peace. I'm not sure how but this poem operates in almost the same way. What does it mean to begin with "There is a button on the remote control called FAV" and end with the brevity of life? 

I don't know man, I don't know. 


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