Sunday, November 23, 2014

Poem of the Week- by Alex Lemon

I stumbled across this poem by Alex Lemon on the Poet Academy website earlier this week, and was perplexed, amused, and inspired by his technicality and form. This poem was written in 2014, and as much as I love poetry I must confess: I am almost addicted to poetic antiquity. I often leeringly view contemporary poetry and often do not know what to expect from it. However, Lemon proved me completely wrong. This poem, titled All Us Beautiful Monsters is a beautiful testimony to modern uncertainty and society. His content is equally as inviting- and is often very universal yet incredibly detailed. Before I say more, I will share his poem:

All Us Beautiful Monsters

by Alex Lemon

The entire world wants

To pretend to be a foreigner

In a big box store & wander

The aisles shouting, endlessly—

But I am pretty sure that today

Is my day to not just be a guy

But to be the guy. A baby grows

In each drawer of the million-

Drawered cherrywood cabinet

That is my head & to keep

This army of tender brutes warm

Before heading to the strip mall,

I put on your coonskin hat.

I swallow a fist of stones

You stole from the Alamo.

It is like it is each time—not

Just like returning to the womb—

It is as if the womb sucked me up

Into the starlight like a spaceship.

Nothing came before us, I suppose.

Tonight, we will once again forgive

Ourselves for the people that have

All gone missing while under

Our care. Fireworks will splash

The sky with a pink wave & we

Will both jump back, feigning

To look at what we’ve done, exactly

In the same way. Like lobsters

Hammering missives back & forth

With claw & rock, when it goes

Black, we will bang our fists

On whatever’s closest to speak

To each other about

The loveliness all over us.

Upon finishing this poem, I was struck with a solid jolt to my emotional stronghold. The tone in which Lemon is writing is so effortlessly conversational, it exudes an almost casual environment for the poem to exist within. His imagery is personal and accessible- we find ourselves within this poem in an extremely relatable space.

Lemon speaks of "big box stores" and "cherrywood cabinets," images readers can grasp and attach meaning to.

Lemon then delves further into the interwoven connection between all individuals and humanity- and what this means or does not mean.

He seems to be musing on the actual effect of being human, its beautiful meaninglessness and melancholy all at once. I am also incredibly amused by his choice of enjambment and lack of punctuation. While punctuation is included, it is sparse, and thus leads to what appears to be a few long, run- on sentences. I adore this formal choice in poetry, since I believe poetry is often an emotional, living digression. It is a series of thoughts or images, carefully constructed to make sense- or on the flip side to ban all sense.

A particular series of lines that I'm drawn to are as follows:

"Like lobsters

Hammering missives back & forth

With claw & rock, when it goes

Black, we will bang our fists

On whatever's closest to speak

To each other..."
       This quiet, yet poignant image parallels humans to the lobster- an animal ruled by instinct and survival (as humans are much of the time). Even more powerful is the image of these lobsters (and humans) smashing away at what's next to them- whether out of frustration or communication.
I hope to read much more by this emerging poet, and I hope to write a casual, yet prophetic poem similar to All Us Beautiful Monsters .

Have an awesome week, English Lovers!

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