When the Poem Seems Distorted Like A Self Portrait in A Convex Mirror |
by Jonathan Brown

If style is a matter of one’s nervous system
like Wallace Stevens said it is, can you
take great art as a justification for the despicable life?
Kind of Blue? King of Pop? Robert Frost?
You can hold a knife to the neck
of the poem and all you’ll get
is a false confession, a phony testimony.
You can have it but you don’t have to take it.
Is there ever an adequate aperture?
A magnificent shift in the tectonic plates
beneath the mind where suddenly
space is made, and the lines
open up and allow us to
fall between the fickle years
that make up a writer’s life?
The 1st person is a fiction, an invention,
a prism that bends life towards light.
I saw you muttering into the night
I want you but I can't have you.
I didn’t know if you were talking to god
or yourself or your lover. It’s called
third person because you and me weren’t available.
Poems have their verbal surfaces.
When they can’t be understood,
they can be experienced.
Jonathan Brown graduated with a BA in Communication from the College of Charleston and an MA in Writing and Consciousness from Then New College of California. He is currently working on his MFA at The University of New Orleans. He was the winner of the 2010 and 2012 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival Poetry Slam in New Orleans. His poems have been published in the Worcester Review, Ampersand, The Nashville Review and Indiefeed: Performance Poetry. He recently received the John Woods Scholarship to study in Prague.