a poem

by jdavidcharles

Riding off of the high of You Find Yourself Staring I decided to continue to explore its themes of what poetry is and what metaphors are good for. Rather than pursue how we appropriate people with our language and metaphors, I decided to consider the poem itself as a place of meeting another. A poem functions not only as a world, with its own language, nooks, norms, open spaces, etc, but also presents a “who.” When we encounter a poem we encounter a “who” who is separate from myself and from the author, the “who” of the conversation as an object, the “who” of the poem itself. Enough pseudo-philosophy: the point being this poem (hopefully) explores that space and what it means to feel one’s way about a poetic world and come to grips with who we encounter in it. Enjoy!


a poem


could I say dry leaves blown across the

balcony, brown with autumn?


could I say the warmth of the body beside

me in the cool of night?


could I say lovelorn, mystic and blue?

could I say mortal and therefore


beautiful passing, the melting of snow cap

to riverbed or early showers?


could I say like the child shaking,

shaking, the rattle of toys


or clothes from one end of the glittered,

bowed box to the next?


what if I said it glows with the heat

of a tea-kettle, steam down


pouring over its sides, running up

kitchen walls? if I said


a certain internal consistency would

it help? if I said it dances


or called it the dancing girl, flesh

and red in rhythmic


twirl, would you finally understand?

and what if I split it, top


to bottom and buried it long ago under

a box of sheet music at your


great aunt’s, behind the electric organ

that smelled of her mid-


summer lily blossom-scent?