Prose freaks me out. I expect prose to hide its seams and mine doesn’t. My poetry, however, massively more succeeds in this arena. Poetry feels fun, a playground of rhetoric and prosody; prose feels like failing at thought. I recently wrote the draft of a review of two books of poetry. When I look over the results, it’s hard not to think--wow, what a lot of work for rather paltry results. They’re paltry even if they are initial; and they’re not really initial: I’ve been making little adjustments all along the way.
With prose, I feel the need to decently prove what I posit. This, at times, surely makes me a village explainer. I don’t relish that witticism, but would rather risk being tedious than reveling in authority. Authority is a dynamic I both adore and distrust; this state is to the degree that my entire being is compassed.
For some ridiculous multifoliate reason, I expect my prose to encompass as much analysis of a text’s structure as can be articulated with a sufficiently streamlined quality that another party may comprehend the attempt. This is a tedious process, this fitting of evidence to perception through logic which can sufficiently prove connection.
For me, composing poetry is all about glide. Glittering thought seems to so often be a swift state, so it makes sense that poetry can compass realms. Poetry can efficiently do what I want prose to when put this way. This may in-part explain why I believe poetry as much as any book of prose can assay. I do believe this; I also know my draft of a review of Karen Volkman’s Nomina and Sandra Simonds’ Warsaw Bikini is another matter.
The crucial difference, I believe, is the matter of foregrounding self. Poetry is the self saturated selfless, an ecstatic stream, so suppression of the personal is minimized. In my case, though, prose is a matter of knowing my self is informing my analysis, and trying to rave in favor or against or to be puzzled at a composition as if this stance is solely logos. I do not quite get why I, someone who prides themselves on being capable of assessing something with logic readily (if only hypothetically) accessible to a third party, insist on such different standards for poetry and prose or, rather, or rather in attenuation, for my praxis regarding these great arts. The disjuncture is especially pronounced when, as has hopefully been pointed, the standards may be at cross purposes for my prose.
A boy once told me the heart has an exegetical discourse attached to its art. But isn’t it bad to lie in purportedly plain prose. No boy said anything remotely like the opening sentence. I don’t know how I’d feel if I overheard somesuch verbiage or, juicier, if such a statement were directed to my attention and its supposed delectation. Although I may not be schooled in prolepsis, I can readily imagine I’d feel embarrassed that such a sentiment would go public, live, from mouth to, well, if we’re still assuming me, probably agape.
Of course, attenuating circumstances could prove decisive. Let’s say, for example, this scenario is happening with someone quite sexy, and by sexy I mean aesthetically. If this is the scenario, then I would be chuffed to be in relation to such a speaker. A qualification is necessary: I’d be chuffed if the speaker’s a sexy gay guy, or a gal, or transgendered, but not plain Straight. If he is Straight and he speaks to me thusly, I will abstract him into a portentous dude in some sentence or another. If I am expected to pay for every second of the pleasure, then I’ll pass.
What makes any of the above not be a Prosepoem! Poems are language which is; they have to happen, but are not restricted to that which has or really will happen. Well I don’t feel out of one mode and wholly in the other is for sure. Perhaps perversely, I see this as a failure: to be plain prose, efficient as a rose a spring morning, strikes me as the most desirous stance. And OMG, let’s not even get started on--oh, no, there’s sufficient logic; I feel ok not justifying what by now is a growing elision.
I, to use a figuration I don’t even like, am too anorexic for prose; I want to go quickly, traverse continents in a line-break. But that’s so colossally skittery. And aren’t anorexics the focused, type A dispositions! Thankfully, it stands to reason that as I get more adroit at prose, I will come to relish its realms. Currently, I’m afraid of getting boggy. I might very well mean some scenarios are too sad to go slowly through. I love the irony of that “very well,” that syntactic flourish, that rote emphasis and minor clarification.
Here’s a sad scenario. It’s been me all Summer. The New Boys at the bar I go to on Sundays are adorable: they’re early to mid twenties, handsomely cutie-pie, and appear friendly. I am totally intimidated. I was not able to tell one of them in particular how cute I think he is. It’s really too bad for me I don’t know how to line-dance. So much of my identity is predicated on not having superb motor skills, thus such an activity registers to me as So Delicious but impossible. Absurdly, I love the figuration delicious--it certainly exceeds felicitous--but qualm that it ties in, and makes a bow from, the opening disease.