literature

Cetus

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fauxgravity's avatar
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Literature Text


a seething crop of whales in the distance: our sirens
and underneath it all the ebb and swell of a sick wind
have you ever felt stranger than when you said that word; 'wound'?

the stars were our panic buttons. we fanned our fingers like that
and morse-coded the bear, his daughter and the painter’s easel.
“In ten years we will call our son Cetus” -- I can’t pretend to understand

how we could have been so stupid.
how through chapped lips we forced our words to rhyme, as if
somehow, that would save us.
how we even first learned to use that language.

I have never felt stranger than when you said that word; ‘soon’.

I was waiting for you, Perseus. I was not the rock,
but the shape that veiled it. How could you have mistaken me
for the ghost of a gentile when you have been inside me?

deliverer? saviour of this house?
the hospital walls felt wet to us, we mistrusted our senses
gave in to the blind panic and slept.
I nearly swallowed my tongue.

I walked home beckoned by the light that maddened me.

ten years later we do not call our son Cetus. I imagine wild “what ifs”
and semaphore them in clinic sheets to bewildered patients.
at rest and in error I almost look winged -- the way you said I would be.
<p>

//
© 2008 - 2021 fauxgravity
Comments8
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krissie's avatar
this poem is so clever, and i'm in love with the whales / stars / Cetus connections and also the idea of the shape veiling the rock. i don't know how to read poetry any more, but this touched me.
salshep's avatar
"ten years later" seems voice-overish.

I agree, a lovely piece.
getbeneathmebird's avatar
i feel like this is about me. how stupid of me to assume that it would matter so. lovely poem.
epimetheus's avatar
I don't know why, but I consider this a companion piece to your last poem. I doubt they're related historically, but stylistically I feel they're cousins in the way that they're confessions, veiled in myth and allusion.

Both poems feel like torn sheets to me, sheets of what, I'm not sure, but it's as if there was a single narrative that you've torn holes in and now something unexpected strikes through where I expected only white. I imagine it as though the bed sheets were hanging out to dry, and through the holes I glimpse the heavily forested mountains beyond.

I like the poem because it unsettles me. It's not my definition of 'good poetry', but that shows you what good my definitions are. I think there are two things I would change to improve the poem. The first is to give the 'wound' line its own stanza, since I feel it's a hard downbeat of the poem, matched by the other two single lined stanzas in the verse. And the second is that I find the phrase "ghost of a gentile" to be lacking, as though it somehow slows the poem down. I think there's more you could do with it.

Again, great work. I love to read your writing.

A.
fauxgravity's avatar
i find it sad that it's not your definition of 'good poetry', but then again, as i don't know what is, i can hardly be offended. i feel your definition of this piece as a confession quite interesting. i'd like to move away from a confessional style - perhaps not soon, but at some point. as long as you love to read it then i suppose there's not much more i can ask for.
Aereis's avatar
The third stanza is my favorite, to be sure. Nice piece.
nonculture's avatar
Same as above, I haven't commented on any lit for a long time. I sign on today to tackle some of them, and there's a piece by both you and Utro. Lucky day.

I really like this - esp. the first 3 stanzas. I was slightly confused by

how we even first learned to use that language.

In the context I didn't follow it, but I've only had 1 cup of coffee so far. Overall, great piece E.
zphoenixdownz's avatar
it seems odd to me that this is the first piece i've read in months, and you've only just submitted it.

kinda makes me wonder why i let myself get away with not reading submissions for so long.

i know the real answer to that question, if i'm being honest with myself, but you can be certain it has nothing to do with you.

i guess that's my roundabout way of saying "bravo."
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