Explaining Various Poems

The past two posts in this blog make up Nineteen Poems, a set of twenty-one poems I wrote over the course of the past month, numbered and named 1. Hooklet, 2. Escape, 3. Left for Encore, 4. Ninety-Seven Pitches of Silence, 5. Chainsaw, 6. Chartreuse, 7. Pus from a Knuckle, 8. Eraser’s Edge, 9. Dawn, X. The Sanctum of Shredded Souls, 11. Rift, 12. Adrift, 13. Resonance, 14. Radiance, 15. Irradiance, XV. The Mausoleum of Headless Souls, 16. Resilience, 17. Real, 18. Rebirth, 19. Irreal, and XIX. Rex. In this post, I will explain what several of the poems (1, X, 14, and XIX) intend to mean and tell. If you haven’t read the poems yet, you may want to right now to avoid getting spoiled on interpretation. Poems can definitely be interpreted multiple ways; I often write poems intentionally interpretable in many ways and definitely encourage the exploration of alternative interpretations.

1. Hooklet is a poem about looking back at things that were and are now lost. When vim is opened and the poem is typed, The words “This too has passed.” are built on screen and then slowly destroyed back to the blank file that the poem started at. The poem reflects on the second interpretation of the adage “This too shall pass”, that nice things eventually fade as well. Only at the moment that “This too has passed.” is displayed does the screen display something elegant and meaningful, and it quickly decays into rust and eventually the original void. While executing the poem, the entire process of creation and destruction passes by one’s eyes, and on a reflective glance at the indiscernible original text of the poem, one realizes that even when memories are passed on, they still cannot suffice in expressing the feeling of a moment, and deep meaning and feeling at one point may likely decay to the mists of time or be unrelatable to future generations.

In X. The Sanctum of Shredded Souls, the narrator takes a stroll on a bridge and notices a suicide phone, with a placard saying “There is hope.” Taped over the phone is a handwritten sign saying “Out of Order”, suggesting that the phone is no longer operational. The concerned narrator tries to find what’s wrong with the phone, and discovers it to actually be functional, upon which (s)he notices a self-congratulatory note written on the back of the “Out of Order” sign, indicating that it was placed there by someone who finds joy in helping to drive people to suicide.

The three lines of 14. Radiance comprise a sign put up by the owner of the cruelly beaten dog in 11. Rift, not believing that (s)he has ever done anything unjust to the dog, and tragically unaware that the dog may have purposefully escaped its torturous life with the owner, and believing that the obedient dog is just lost and awaiting reunion with its owner, who considers him/herself a source of loving radiance.

The poem XIX. Rex explores how a worldview defines an individual. It comprises what one wishes people think of when they hear their name, and it could build what makes one feel like a beast, achieving convictions outside of the rules of mankind. Sometimes, though, one reflects on them and how incompatible the surrounding world is to them or is unable to fathom them, and leaves one an emotional wreck. Looking back at the title of the poem, one realizes that “Rex” can describe a mighty beast, can be a name, means “king”, and sounds like the plural of “wreck”, while titling a poem that has a structure that is like the structure of the poem numbered “X”, again.

There are twenty-one poems, and yet the set is called Nineteen Poems. Upon this, one might realize that it may be that the collective set of poems really doesn’t want two of the poems to exist. The title of “Nineteen Poems” reflects on how one often finds clear signs within a group that they are unwanted, that there are hints of denial of one’s existence. I actually originally wanted to write a set of 24 poems, and in a sense this is a set of 24, three of which forgotten and two of which unwanted.


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