Saturday, March 16, 2013

Crackers





















Somewhere among the Olmec heads
that weigh ten tons and the axes smooth as water

and the little masks with faces you want to talk to,
if only you could travel–briefly, with a guaranteed

uneventful germ-free return––across the millennia
to admire the chiseled features and perfect

enameled teeth of the living models,
you no longer have to wonder what the subjects

would say to you, because they begin talking,
or mouthing murmurs from their pedestals

and plastic cases, lit from above or below
for maximum dramatic effect. Crackers, they say,

through their eyes, in perfect English, the words
emerging from their frozen features.

––That’s what we want. Crackers, the gluten-free jobs
with sesame seeds. A slice of cheese. Even a lowly

tortilla would do. And a cup of that fermented juice
whose formula has been lost to the jungle.

Crackers, they all say, lighting the shadows that hover.
The voices have spoken. As their emissary,

I head home to my pantry, on a sacred search
for crackers and some acceptable fermented substitute.

                                                                –Will Walker

We have a poet in our writing group named Will. This is the first poem I ever heard him read––and it was right after I had gone to see the Olmec exhibit at the de Young. (By the way, the title CRACKERS was a Round Robin prompt from two years ago, and that's how the poem came to be.)

6 comments:

Gina said...

Ha! Love it.

mary ann said...

wonderful!

booda baby said...

Oh.

It's wonderful. I'm interested how your group reacted to the word 'emissary.' Is it that kind of group? A group that's encouraged to encourage revisions, word changes, picture refinement?

Or the kind of group that says 'no matter what, we love that you write.' ?

Linda Davick said...

Gina, hi and I miss you.

Mary Ann, I believe you know this man.

Booda, the group doesn't HESITATE to RIP TO SHREDS the stuff we bring. Well, what I really mean is, we definitely make suggestions and people revise over and over and over. No one wanna be in a group that says 'no matter what, we love that you write.'

No one called out the word "emissary." What do you think about it? Please say!

booda baby said...

I'm really happy to hear you're in a group that cares enough about writing to care about how it's done.

Wait a second. Let me read it again.

Okay. In the end, I love the word choices ANY of us knowingly make. This is just true and I don't think mine are better. But ... in a 'let's test this out' phase? I'd have suggested that 'emissary' - with 1) it's sibilance and 2) its denotative formality - might have lost some of the lovely playfulness.

Of course, it's not just the word emissary, but the phrasing, the 'as their emissary' ... with IT, the cadence almost HAS to resolve itself with something like 'acceptable fermented substitute' when there are such other possibilities. Juice, for instance, could be reprised

Blah blah blah. I love fun writing.

booda baby said...

pft. its sibilance. Not 'it's' - good thing I don't care about shit like that. Ha.