So begins the weekend of poetic extravagance. We arrived here at around 7:30, checked in, and had the orientation for the weekend… there are many workshops and events to be had over the next couple days, and I will do my best to keep up with blogging in the meantime. (Follow me on Twitter at @jhpoet for updates from my phone. Modern Life!) Trying not to neglect prompt sites either; this one is for dVerse, which is asking for some “karousel” poems, a form invented by David James. On the trip down, I was very taken with the empty scenery of the Pine Barrens (which, hey, I haven’t been through at night in years), the treetops suggesting a dragon draped over New Jersey. This is just an initial poem to try and get at that impression… probably I can do something better with the image of it. The karousel is an interesting form, but forcing the rhyme without meter still doesn’t really bring out the best of what I want to say, I think. (But there’s a pun in the phrase “long mythologies”, since “long” is Chinese for “dragon”; I’m kind of proud of that.)
Guys, I met Donna Vorreyer tonight and she’s super nice!
The low trace of Jersey pines
keeps quiet and close to the ground
like a mournful midnight animal.
A thousand thousand bracken needles
breathe salt and break parallel lines.
I believe in the long mythologies
gone broken-toothed and cannibal.
A dragon survives on beetles
while he melts into the muddy sound,
rumpling the horizon with old biologies.
What happens to a storied beast
whose threat paints the lips to wheedle
children into bed, a force of nature crowned
with names, whose mandible
kills like the nightfall watering the east?
He is laid to half a dreamless sleep
while airplane stars wink around
his head. The centuries grow so rational
while he waits to wake, his curl fetal,
his shadow a city skyline deep.