Thursday, October 25, 2007

you being in love

I hesitate over calling E. E. Cummings one of my favorite poets because of his popularity (I'm the same way with everything elseAmelie and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are two of my favorite movies, but I don't like admitting it because they're everyone's favorite), but he is.

I'm not sure how exactly I stumbled upon Cummings—maybe in my creative writing class in high school with Mr. Garfinkel (who I credit with setting me down my writerly path. He wrote my college recommendation and I snuck a peek and it almost made me cry)but my love for poetry started around then. Stylistically and to a lesser extent, thematically, Cummings inspired me. Looking back at my earlier poems, this was very obvious with my parentheses, line breaks, spacing and hell of a lot of enjambment (thank you, Henry Shapiro).

What appeals to me about Cummings, in general, is just that—instead of following the typical line breaks of a sentence or breath as Charles Olson did, Cummings' relies on more factors: the way it sounds, the way it looks and the way the words are broken up. I always think of his work as visual poetry, or "look-at" poetry and I describe my work the same way (though, this might not be the case anymore). Looking at subjects, he fed my fascination with spring and the abstract action of wishing. I even used a line from "when faces called flowers float out of the ground" as my senior quote:

and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it's april(yes,april;my darling)it's spring!


It's difficult, I think, to write love poetry, but in "you being in love," Cummings offered a nice, different (in my opinion) perspective as to what love is and entails.

Here is "you being in love," from is 5:

you being in love
will tell who softly asks in love,

am i separated from your body smile brain hands merely
to become the jumping puppets of a dream? oh i mean:
entirely having in my careful how
careful arms created this at length
inexcusable, this inexplicable pleasure—you go from several
persons: believe me that strangers arrive
when i have kissed you into a memory
slowly, oh seriously
that since and if you disappear

solemnly
myselves
ask "life, the question how do i drink dream smile

and how do i prefer this face to another and
why do i weep eat sleep--what does the whole intend"
they wonder. oh and they cry "to be, being, that i am alive
this absurd fraction in its lowest terms
with everything cancelled
but shadows
—what does it all come down to? love? Love
if you like and i like,for the reason that i
hate people and lean out of this window is love,love
and the reason that i laugh and breathe is oh love and the reason
that i do not fall into this street is love."

2 comments:

Olga said...

I love love the last two lines of this poem. I would have liked to have met him and seen all the love in his eyes.

...You think wishing is an abstract action? Wasn't it Cummings who wrote "and wishing is having?"

norrbu said...

"...Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ... favorite)" - I slept the two times i tried to watch it. but I'm sure it's good. (haven't seen pulp fiction for teh ame reason)

but cummings i definitely have to take a look. i've heard a lot about him.