Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Gymnopédies No. 2" - Adrian Matejka

In NYC, we stalked fishes
          in filets of sounds: delivery
          engines & ashy doors

clapping shut, vendors
knuckling fin & silhouette -

          shaped words into salty
expectations. My daughter

& I walked down a couple
          of slim-bricked blocks
          that smelled like snapper

& afro sheen with no afros
in sight. On snaggletoothed

streets, we double-took the wet
alleys where things jumped

off the hook like smart seafood
          before lunch. We parted

the perfect & abundantly wintered

streets. My daughter said, I know
these parts like a tired pianist
          resting on her bench.

This is the second time I've posted a poem of Adrian Matejka's, and the second of his poems I've posted to be based on the titular Erik Satie piano piece.  Much like my thoughts on this first poem, I cannot understand a connection between the content of the music and the poetic content.  This isn't to say I don't enjoy the poem; on the contrary, I find the images fascinating, with a real feeling of life in both the city and the fish!  I'm not sold on the final stanza, but I like the way Matejka explores father daughter relationships in his poems, because it treats the child with intellectual respect that adults so seldom give.

Again, I feel that the titular connection to a famous piece of music detracts from the poem itself.  As a result, I keep trying to read things into the poem which are simply not supported by what is on the page.  I can read the poem with that piece on as background music, but I find that it does nothing to enhance my understanding of either work.

Still, it's a lovely piece of music, and an intriguing poem, even if I do not feel I understand it fully.

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