Meeting the Bar: notes on conflation

he has no sheet to score the piece, trembling he
unbuttons– takes off his shirt, dots notes, spills
heavily vibrating tunes on fair-trade cotton ‘til his hands
stop shaking, breath gets stable and the walls
fall from him, wrapped

in black – Lausanne, a small café, skinny figure
in the corner, just a shade, bent atop paper, pencil stub &
scribbles, scribbles tiny gnomes, grimaces & skulls, black, BLACK &
SMALLprint, it’s– LSD they say, he didn’t make it back, etching
angst on tables, ceiling ‘til his pain is emptied and my fingers

caught, curled in your chest hair, squeezing into you on fine
carved lines, eyes restless under flickering lids, i’m tracing
trickles of wet ink, achingly de-script  those mural marks, burnt
by hand on flowstone cave walls and my screams break primal
as you’re wading deep

.

Emmett Wheatfall has cooked up quite a challenging Critique and Craft prompt over at the dVerse Poets Pub and is raising the bar high tonight… gates open 3pm EST..

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45 responses to “Meeting the Bar: notes on conflation

  1. That cat will also add his two cents, very very intense. Wait! That’s already be said, I guess if it works intense is intense..haha great verse.

  2. what’s most interesting, is that you speak of composition and yet, we get no feeling for the music…just the process. it’s like, the music doesn’t exist, just etching the notes. that’s eeery. all that work, all that toil, and no beautiful sounds.

  3. ooo you dance us around quite a bit in this…the music writer, the angst filled man and the lover, perhaps each writing their own brand of song..easy on the chest hair there…makes me wince just thinking about it…ha…very visual and engaging….

  4. Claudia, the piece is wonderful, and better helps me understand the challenge. Emmett has indeed set the bar high this week. I know how hard it must have been for you to take these seemingly unconnected words…intentions…and weave this spectacular write.

  5. Claudia, I’m not sure I entirely understand the premise of conflation, but I love this poem. I really enjoy the final lines of the middle stanza: “he didn’t make it back, etching / angst on tables, ceiling ‘til his pain is emptied and my fingers”. Very thought provoking.

  6. A beautiful write. I love the fact you wrote about scoring music. The way you paint life poetically always moves me. And the conflation in your poems is perfect, especially the transition to it. Beautiful!

  7. It’s like I’m inside his mind, rebounding from one level to another till I’m dizzy!
    In a good way 🙂 I like getting dizzy 🙂
    I love the statacco style in the middle of the second stanza…”scribbles, scribbles tiny gnomes, grimaces & skulls, black, BLACK &
    SMALLprint, it’s– LSD they say, he didn’t make it back”
    Fantastic!

  8. I really concur with the statement that “you speak of composition and yet, we get no feeling for the music…just the process”…that’s what also struck me.

  9. Great job here Claudia, this is an exceptionally written piece- love watching the transitions between each stanza and how they unfold. Great read, thanks

  10. i’ve etched angst on tables. i was here! i was here, dammit!
    you know it’s true:)
    but i can only dream of my markings burnt by hand on flowstone cave walls.

  11. I was about to mention there were two distinct things going on here that you wove together masterfully, but you did it on purpose! That’s even more amazing. Excellent writing, Claudia, to a challenging prompt.

  12. Excellent use of literary devices to round out this very strong piece: “scribbles, scribbles tiny gnomes, grimaces & skulls” and
    “caught, curled in your chest hair, squeezing into you on fine
    carved lines…” Hard hitting and dense with feeling. Wonderful.

    Namaste………cj

  13. Truly stunning write, Claudia. Glad I wrote mine before looking at others. You mentioned lsd, which I hadn’t thought about / heard about i a while. I wonder if it is still around or if people have moved mon to other things. The last stanz was intense, so vividly intense. Whew!

  14. I love how effortlessly you seam the parts into what feels like (even if it isn’t in the strictest sense) one story. The images, the way it moves, the intensity…

  15. Claudia,
    Chilling in all its reality. Reminiscent of all of the flower people and its ever present LSD and pot of bygone days. Though then it was a novelty but now a tragedy of weed and ice taking apart innocent young brains. Excellent verse!

    Hank

  16. Claudia,

    I read this yesterday on my cell phone when you posted it (of course, commenting with tiny phone buttons is a nightmare), Initially, I was reading your work and watching for clues as to the prompt. I admit it. Then I stepped back and read it again because the blending of story lines created a depth that had me exploring further. Incredible work, as always.

    Beth

  17. The first stanza is like a crossroads the next two take in two directions — on a lunacy, the other the mania of love; all three though are the poem of it, conflating three in one. Great job, Claudia — Brendan

  18. I like this: “etching
    angst on tables”

    And, oh my, is your ending strong: “i’m tracing
    trickles of wet ink, achingly de-script those mural marks, burnt
    by hand on flowstone cave walls and my screams break primal
    as you’re wading deep”

  19. I am here after so long. Ah, your space makes me dreamy happy. It inspires me to write. Now I shall go read up some of the other gems I seem to have missed from this space.