Saturday, April 21, 2018

On Narrative


















On Narrative

Some don’t like it in a poem. Would have
you chase inspiration like bloodhounds
a hare, skirt the bogs of sad stories. Even
I grow tired of telling you these old tales.
The past not even what happened. More
a burned out apartment with a few rooms
mercifully intact filled with not tenants,
but rumours. Tell us about the sun’s red
skirts. Dusk’s box of ashes. The delicate
pastel blur of a hummingbird’s wings,
although it reminds me of the first time
I saw Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Its haunting
soundtrack. The protagonist flying high
above a cloudscape in a winged suit of
shining armour. Huge dark pillars erupting
from the ground, blocking out blue skies,
creating a maze he must navigate to find
his dream girl. I watched it dozens of times.
The message life is more than drudgery,
mere work, conformity, irresistable to
eighteen year old me. It was sublime,
but already I have forgotten this poem
was not to be about me, was supposed
to be all clean line breaks, aesthetics,
images only. Every new idea, thought,
followed down the rickety mine-shaft
to the vein of ore below. These lines
talk about the seamless elegance of fire,
street pigeons like grey sacks of sorrow,  
a wallpaper’s patterned hopelessness
without mentioning my inwardness,
stories that are personal, and add up
to nothing, like dreams. Sam escaping
in his mind to live with Jill in the country
at the end of Brazil. The interrogator
Jack Lint unsatisfied, stating, “He’s gone ”.
Sam strapped to a chair in an old gas
and coal-fired power plant, his smiling
a sanctuary, pure narrative, a bliss.

By Chris Banks

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