Two-minded

Serra installation

I believe one thing
in my poems &
another in my prose,
like a window that opens
onto different yards
depending on the time of day
or the presence of other
open windows, like a road
that leads sometimes into town
& sometimes deeper
into the forest, where
this morning the raindrops
glistened on every
bare twig, a ruffed grouse
throbbed in the leftover
corners of night like
a drum of war, & I pulled
a long white hair through
the eyes of my left boot
in lieu of a bootlace
to keep its stealthy tongue
from giving me away,
scout as I am for an invading
army of distractions,
believing one thing
in the morning &
another in the flat afternoon
when objects lose
their luster & fall back
into the vacuum
of anywhere-but-here.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

14 Comments


  1. I love the grouse throbbing like a drum of war. I especially love the long white hair pulled through the left eye of your boot. And then there is “scout as I am for an invading army of distractions..” I like this poem quite a lot.

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Laura. The last line gave me no end of trouble, but as usual I eventually found that the most direct way of saying it sounded the best. And I should confess that my whole approach to composition these days relies upon distraction: I bore into the poem for half an hour, than go do other things, then come back to it, over and over until it seems ready to publish.

      Reply

  2. Kia ora Dave,
    I love the feeling of Nature I get here, the rain in the forest, the ruffled grouse, and especially the feeling of two things, the here, and maybe that world of nature where I prefer to be. Kia ora Dave.
    Cheers,
    Robb

    Reply

    1. Hi Robb – Glad you liked this. It’s funny: sometimes, saying “forest” instead of “woods” is all it takes to push me out of the afternoon humdrummery I described in the poem. The hidden resonances of forest with foreign and far probably help in that, I’m thinking. Whereas woods — my usual word for the landscape out my front door — just sounds like a bunch of trees.

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  3. Beautiful, and very recognisable in its sentiments. And the match with the picture is a delight.

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    1. Thanks. But you see, I only chose that photo because I didn’t have something more obvious, such as a Janus mask!

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  4. PS – Re your comment at mine, I think you’re bloody subtle!

    Reply

  5. I was thinking yesterday how our ideas of poetry and prose bring out different parts of us as we write.

    I like the descriptions of the different times of day, and this is really quite good:

    like a window that opens
    onto different yards
    depending on the time of day
    or the presence of other
    open windows

    I love that last variable, the presence of other open windows.

    It all reminds me of Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series — different cathedrals from his window depending on the time of day.

    Reply

    1. I’m not familiar with that series, but I think you’re right: this is the kind of idea that visual artists are more used to than poets, for some reason. Maybe because the latter have too much wagered on the value of a certain kind of nonfiction? I’m also wondering if poetry’s persistent tendency to blur the line between fiction and nonfcition might help account for Americans’ general suspicion of it, but that’s taking us rather far afield…

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  6. I like this very much. Reminds me of the way bilingual people sometimes say they think differently in different languages. (Also reminds me, whenever my voice recognition software gets here, how will I think coherently without my fingers? Army of distractions, indeed.)

    fyi – I think your ‘grouse’ is missing its ‘r.’

    Reply

    1. Thanks, Leslee. I’ll be interested in hearing more about how that voice recognition software works – though I hopw you don’t have to use it that much. UNless it turns out to be really cool of course.

      Thanks for catching that typo! Amazine how difficult it can be to spot some things.

      Reply

  7. I like “believing one thing / in the morning & / another in the flat afternoon” — and the evening?

    Reply

    1. Evening is for the suspension of belief (he says sententiously). How otherwise can we enter the full magic of dreams?

      Reply

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