My Desire For Oranges

Prose tends to flow freely like a brook, bunching up a bit before a rock,  churning a bit in a whirlpool, or slowly circling in a backwater.  But the meaning is usually clear.
A poem, on the other hand, can be more like a plank of knotty pine.  It may run straightforward and freely for a while in a clear grain – and then bunch suddenly in a knot of quite complex thought or be lost suddenly, and for a while, in a vacant hole of revelation.  For this reason, I’ve sometimes used the first or second take of a recording, rather than a more practiced later version.  Like a buzzsaw, in the initial take you can feel the mind labor as the voice gears down to cut through a hardened knot of particularly opaque meaning, or fly freely as the minds sawblade spins wildly through a vacant hole of illumination.  I enjoy hearing this dialogue between the poem and reader.
Photo by Carl Nelson / Poem by Carl Nelson / Voice by John Ruoff

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4 Responses to “My Desire For Oranges”

  1. fish Says:

    carl this is a prose poem right here! excellent work, friend!

  2. fish Says:

    oh, there’s a poem being read! oh, nice! i like it very much–is it yours?

    here’s a thought: i think of a poem not as the opposite of prose, but as a song, and i like to hear a singer whose practiced her craft on the chosen piece. there’s something raw and exposed about a first reading, but i don’t know, i kind of like a somewhat more polished _song_. just a thought.

    i like your poem a lot. you got every single sense in there! way to go, carl.


  3. fishclamor Says:

    5 years later, returning to the scene of the crime, having, very often by this time, worked for many years revising a poem only to decide in the seventh year that the first or second version is by far the better poem–now I’m with you here.

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