Wednesday, July 19, 2006

7. Parting Gifts

The seventh, and last, part of the sequence:
1. Hotel Peninsula
2. Daylilies
3. Clear Wrap
4. Visual Sense
5. Galapagos
6. Natural History

7. Parting Gifts

I know you told me not to get you anything from Singapore, but I really wanted to give you something…

Here’s one more for your album. Let me give you Queens,
the one borough you did not see. A boulevard
of body shops and billboards, it’s an old graveyard
abandoned by the Irish and Italians it weans

from suckling at familiar pubs and tombstone tits.
Others have moved in, with their gods and groceries,
and make (lawyers as mediums) with authorities
their various accommodations, their different debts.

In the day they maneuver, working their controls,
their bodies up the levels and around the screen.
At night they play the same game, only the scene
has changed. The pitch or maze or city is the soul’s,

in which the aim, as in the day, is mastery.
Opening bakeries or books needs a sharp eye.
Practice makes love, and taekwando, perfect. Try
again because we cannot afford mystery.

And this is why your long-sleeved shirts mean much to me.
I need not get them myself. I don’t have to change
my body or the shirts. Isn’t it simply strange,
though you don’t know my size, they fit me to a T?

5 comments:

dreamer idiot said...

This is nice, though I can't quite put my 'words' to it. I enjoyed the little rambling descriptions that try to fill in what have been missed and how the reciprocating gift dovetails it with a fittingness.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, dreamer. At some point in the future, I need to elaborate on some overly compressed parts of this, in order to clarify the argument.

Jee Leong

Billy Jones said...

Pardon me for being off topic but I'd like to invite you to submit your RSS feed to Poets101.com-- a blog aggregator especially for blogging poets. You'll find the "Submit You Blog" link at the top right of the page.

Larry said...

Jee,

It's tantalizing, the way possibilities open up and flit around; I think I was expecting a grander gathering up of themes at the ending, although I must reread the whole sequence to judge the accumulative effect of ideas.

Again I'd like to praise the language; the quatrains with the easy (frequently brilliant) rhymes are solid enough as a form to let the reader relax into the structure and take in the unforced and informal meandering - it reads just beautifully.

Thanks.

Larry

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi Billy Jones,
thanks for inviting me to submit my RSS feed to poets101. I have done so.

Hi Larry,
I agree that the ending does not gather up the themes raised in previous sections. At the moment, I am torn between rewriting the ending to make that happen and justifying (and sharpening further) the meandering structure as appropriate to a walk around the city. Thanks for reading, and telling what is working for you, Larry.

Jee Leong