Was That Poetry?
By Bryan Newell
His father told him that story.
He read the verses backward but that was not poetry.
A batlike soul waking to the consciousness of itself in darkness and secrecy and loneliness.
This race and this country and this life produced me,
I shall try to fly by those nets.
A face looking two ways, the oozing wall of a urinal
It thrilled him to think of it in the silence.
He suffered time after time in memory.
Through them he had glimpses of the real world about him
As if he really sought someone who eluded him.
Perhaps they had taken refuge in an ecstasy of fear.
He began to taste the joy of his loneliness.
He heard what her eyes said to him, he had heard their tale before
Feigning a still greater haste,
Battling against the squalor of his life and the riot of his mind
He seemed to have put himself beyond the limits of reality.
A cry for an iniquitous abandonment.
The echo of an obscene scrawl.
The stars of heaven were falling upon the earth
Nay, things which are good in themselves become evil in hell.
Amid peace and shimmering light he made a covenant with his heart
To say it in words
The idea of surrender had a perilous attraction
At once from every part of his being unrest began to irradiate
Pink tinges of suffocated anger
His destiny was to be elusive.
Mirrored perfectly in a lucid supple periodic prose across the deserts of the sky
The first phrase of apprehension.
His anger was also a form of homage:
A symbol of the artist forging anew.
A priest of eternal imagination
What kind of liberation would that be?
Was that poetry?
*The above is a poem comprised entirely of Joycean phrases from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man