Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Mailbag #12

Dear Tribal Hack:

I'm tamping the well-worn path of personal spiritual epiphany in a poem I'm currently composing. I'm trying to compare a monarch butterfly's wings with hope and lightness, but I'm afraid of the cliches and bathos in my attempts so far. Any ideas?

-- Ida B. Free



Dear Ida:

Didn't you write in a few months back requesting info on monster truck rally poem anthologies? In any event, what you need is, indeed, to deflect attention away from that most boring of poetic themes: the state of the speaker's (read: poet's) spiritual progression. Unless you're writing scintillating lines. Then it doesn't matter, and almost anything goes. But from the little you've given me here, I'd say to go for the jug, and then the jugular. Violence could be the way forward. The colonial madness of the Monarchy; Micrococcus brewing for decades to release the black death; cardenolides killing mice and grackles who think a thorax a non-threat; the long migration to San Luis Obispo where priests paste patterns of dusted gold over vestments. Whatever wayward direction your effort takes, at least kill the urge to transform the butterfly into an intercessor between you (if first-person speaker) and God. And remember the butterfly's first, and real, transformation. What? You thought you weren't enlightened?