Monthly Archives: January 2009

A Poem About Passion (With Commentary)

SIGNIFICANT OTHER

your love is a blur
it tunnels through me
tripping my wires
neurons buzzing glee

and I will never forget
how you came undone
your body a bundle of nerves
on the tip of my tongue

crashing my hard drive
your love is a surge
fluid fast and fantastic
it streams like a vivid dream

and I will never forget
how you came undone
your body a bundle of nerves
on the tip of my tongue

it ruffles my feathers
all up in my face
your love is a windstorm
swaying my treetops

and I will never forget
how you came undone
your body a bundle of nerves
on the tip of my tongue

lit like a bottle rocket
craving sweet release
it shoots me sky high
your love is a blast

and I will never forget
how you came undone
your body a bundle of nerves
on the tip of my tongue

***

This poem is more like a song to me.  I don’t know how to compose music, but I’ve always felt like I could write lyrics, and this piece fits the bill.

You’ll notice the chorus repeats after each verse.  It’s difficult to devise a strong, effective chorus that won’t bore readers as they go over it multiple times; I believe that this chorus does a good job of conveying the central meaning of the poem, which is a description of the speaker’s passion for his/her “significant other.”

Notice, too, how in each verse there exist four types of lines, all of which are distinguished by their first word.  We have the “your love” line, the “it” line, the “-ing” line, and the line that begins with an adjective.  By the time we reach the end of the piece, each type of line has occupied each spot, one through four, over the course of the entire four verses.  Getting this to work was not easy!

As for the chorus, you may have uncovered some sexual overtones.  These are, of course, intended; however, I’d like to think that this piece is more about wanting to be close with someone rather than merely the act of “being intimate.”  It’s as though the speaker desires his/her lover so much that nothing, not even sex, can satisfy the passion.

The desire is so intense, in fact, that the speaker can barely express it; not only is the lover “on the tip of my tongue,” according to the speaker, but so is the speaker’s capacity to formulate the words to describe the passion, like a word or phrase that dances on the tip of one’s tongue.

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Falling In

I was born twice.

Of course, I endured my natural birth and made it into the physical world, but this was just the beginning.  Some seven years later, I experienced my cultural birth.

Let me explain.

When I was a kid, our next-door neighbors had a swimming pool in their backyard.  It had a big deck with a fence.  This pool had been an immense source of joy to numerous kids in the neighborhood, but I was deeply afraid of it, considering I wasn’t a very good swimmer.

One day, while walking around the deck, I stepped on a loose board and proceeded to fall–clothes and all–into the water.  I wasn’t in for very long because my teenage neighbor was nearby on the deck; he jumped in and saved me.

Embarrassed and soaking from my head to my shoes, I ran home without thanking my savior, who was glad to see I was okay.

This entire ordeal, as I look back now, served as my entrance into reality–my cultural birth.  My falling in forced me to become aware that there are numerous dangers in the world and that I am extremely vulnerable.  I saw myself in relation to others and began to judge my strengths and weaknesses against theirs.

I also got a sense of my body and its position(s) in space-time.  If I had just missed that wobbly board or had a moment to catch myself before falling in… My young mind went through all the various ways in which I could have prevented this disaster by being more aware of my body and its surroundings.

But that’s just it.  I wasn’t fully conscious of my body until after I fell in the pool.  The fact that I was wearing all my clothes when I hit the water made matters worse because of how uncomfortable I felt, both in a physical and emotional sense.  Wet clothes are a drag on the body and so is the embarrassment of entering your house with them on.

In general, I felt stupid.  But I also felt real.

See, we all have to fall out of our isolated selves and into culture if we wish to participate actively in the world.  My cultural birth occurred at age seven and I haven’t been the same ever since.

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Filed under Culture, Life, Philosophy