Wednesday, March 08, 2006

fish into six

[adjustment: b & b have persuaded me into admitting that the prose-form of this poem is better than the form-form of this poem, so skip to the good bits.]

i dreamt that my goldfish gave birth
to four red fish and two white fish.
they shared the ten gallon tank
and swam laps around each other.

i was being accepted. you persuaded me
to take a hotel shower with you before
the dinner reception. you forgot your socks
when you stepped in under the rainfall
of hot water, you were distracted i guess.

we passed the tank full of fish on our way
to the hall where i will be given a token
of some refined sort; where we'd eat carrots
dressed as flowers and rare deli meats
folded like beach towels over wasa bread
and finish with sips of sparkling drinks
that stain even the straightest teeth.

in the dream we speak like poets to each other.
you mention rainbows and it brings up history.
we tried dancing to a slower song,
but your feet fell too clumsily onto mine.

i was given a statuette of a young woman
holding a pen and book in gold leaf.
you carried her up to your hotel room,
passed the tank filled with baby fish,
and set her down on the vanity,
facing her own reflection.

you apologized to my toes for
your terrible dancing before climbing
into the orchestrated hotel bed.
then you tried to explain to me
just how impossible it is
for one fish to give birth to six.


or


i dreamt that my goldfish gave birth to four red fish and two white fish. they shared the ten gallon tank and swam laps around each other. i was being accepted. you persuaded me to take a hotel shower with you before the dinner reception. you forgot your socks when you stepped in under the rainfall of hot water, you were distracted i guess. we passed the tank full of fish on our way to the hall where i will be given a token of some refined sort; where we'll eat carrots dressed as flowers and rare deli meats folded like beach towels over wasa bread and finish with sips of sparkling drinks that stain even the straightest teeth. in the dream we speak like poets to each other. you mention rainbows and it brings up history. we tried dancing to a slower song, but your feet fell too clumsily onto mine. i was given a statuette of a young woman holding a pen and book in gold leaf. you carried her up to your hotel room, passed the tank filled with baby fish, and set her down on the vanity, facing her own reflection. you apologized to my toes for your terrible dancing before climbing into the orchestrated hotel bed. then you tried to explain to me just how impossible it is for one fish to give birth to six.




[[notes: brian sent me an email (just like he said) and this is what was in it (see above-prose poem formatting for fish into six. honestly, i had thought about putting it into a prose form. why didn't i then? not sure. to be honest, i'm torn with this piece. the rhythm is carried through into the prose form (it doesn't lose anything). does it gain anything though? does the stanza-format hold any leverage over the prose? other than the "oh it's a poem" reaction of first looking at it? i guess i have been doing my share of ranting lately and didn't want this piece to get swashed into the bucket with my rants and poetic endeavored. i will leave it up to you, the individual, which you prefer. the story is the same, it sounds the same, but what does it do for eyes?]]

8 comments:

Brian Boutwell said...

E-mail sent.

Brian Boutwell said...

Well for my eyes the prose-poem block is beautiful.

And this is a prose-poem in my eyes. I don't think the line breaks/enjambments offer a rhythm or meaning that doesn't already exist in it's prose quality--its prose quality is what draws out it's poetic quality.

Brian Boutwell said...

I'd take out "i guess." My feeling are that he was distacted. I'd have been distracted.

katy said...

okay, brian, you like the porse-poem format better. i think that means i'm not doing the traditional (modern-traditional?) format right.

if i can do prose though, then so be it. for now though, i'll leave both versions (both visions) up.

and i've struck out "i guess" because i think you're right. and thank you. (taking it out works for the prose poem more than the ... stanza-ized version though, see where we're leaning?)

B Blue said...

miss katy

take it from someone obsessed with form, i prefer the prose-poem structure. i enjoyed it as a poem, but i think that the block of text brings an intensity to it, an urgency, that is missing in all the line breaks of the first version. not that the piece is urgent exactly, but i think it is more satifying to finish the second version. does that make sense?

anyway, i like it. i like 'stain even the straightest teeth', thats good.

katy said...

thank you blue. i think what this is all pointing towards is that the poem in form is not doing anything spectacular (if anything, perhaps, detracting from the content--is the content that good?), whereas the prose form is satisfying (thanks for the word blue). thus i declair! let the prose poem flourish!!

arch.memory said...

I hate prose poems! There is no such thing as a prose-poem! You're either prose, or you're a poem; pick one! I do not like hermaphroditic existences; they end up being neither. Therefore, I, the individual, prefer the form-form (whatever that means). That is why I like poetry, because, in its breaks, it is easier on the eye; the mind grasps it one bit at a time; it flows at the tempo that the poet decides in her line breaks. There could be poetic prose, but then it's prose. And this isn't. This is neither! Poem, poem, poem!

The Trouble-Maker

katy said...

ha! tell that to gertrude stein, oni-san.

this is definatly something we're going to have to address on po'et'ship. the prose poem (a thorn in your side dear?). call it flash fiction if you want.

while i agree that line breaks are very helpful for the digestion of a poem, when the line breaks add nothing (when the poem doesn't need digestion) are the line breaks really necessary?

and to be fair, prose-poetry is an accepted and widly practiced form. will have to do some research for you as to it's history, but i know that miss stein was very influential.

trouble maker indeed, but at least you're keeping me on my toes!