Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chris Gilpin Reacts To Poetry Slam Slams

From the "Poetry Is Dead" online mag, Poem Slammer Chris Gilpin responds to a Betsy Warland whine in Geist. The Warland piece spends most of its woe and type on the supposedly underpublished state of CanPo. A bizarre segue then emerges regarding Spoken Word as a blight on the poetry scene, without having the courage or clarity to tie it in with her larger (and ridiculous) point. Finally, the piece waxes heartful about poetry's "primary source for any culture to express and investigate its vision of what it aspires to be". Now, this last wince-inducement has been a staple of Canadian poetry-polemics for decades. Irving Layton summed up the precious bruised vanity involved in the sermonizing club-building when he stated, in 1967 in a lecture, that it reminded him of a teacher "in a hushed tone try[ing[ to persuade the poor suffering children about the glories of poetry. But, for heaven sake, who are we trying to convince? I mean, most of us are poets or semi-poets, and the rest of us would not be here if you didn't feel that there was something to poetry." Gilpin's answer in PID ("The Living Language of Spoken Word"), despite its partisan opposition, is just as juvenile in argument and tone.

"In “The Shrinking Space of Poetry”, Betsy Warland claims that “Spoken word has grown in leaps and bounds; to my ear, however, the majority of writing performed is not deeply rooted in poetry.” I take exception to this backhanded compliment.

Warland is not the first page poet to disparage Spoken Word in this way. George Bowering declared that the poetry slam—which continues to be the grassroots engine of Spoken Word in Canada—was “crude and extremely revolting.” Paul Vermeersh wrote a long rant about how Spoken Word performances at slams contain no actual poetry. Such attacks from the literary establishment are widespread, and Warland’s comment is right in line with the rank and file of Canadian page poets."-- Gilpin

What is there to argue in the quotes? Spoken Word is rooted in poetry? It's not crude? (There are always exceptions -- I once saw a line dancer who transcended the "art form".)

First, the spelling is "Vermeersch". When an elementary mistake is made, it makes one wonder how closely he read the blog post. Second, the rant wasn't "long", it was quite clipped. ("long", here, suggests that it was unfocussed or irrelevant because of emotional overkill.) Third, Vermeersch's "no actual poetry" is harsh, but I sympathize with the conclusion. He's obviously been to a hell of a lot more of these events that have I. From my experience, it's a rather (there's that word again) crude affair. To parallel, while paraphrasing, Stan Laurel's death-bed wish to the nurse -- Laurel: "I'd rather be skiing right now." Nurse: "You don't ski." Laurel: "Right, but it's probably better than having all these needles stuck into me" -- I'd rather take up canasta than go to another slamfest.

"Warland offers no reasons why Spoken Word should be excluded from the realm of poetry, other than her ears, her aural impression. Why should we trust her ears? Is it because they have heard more “true poetry” than ours? Perhaps because they are refined ears, sophisticated ears, ears that can detect verse better than your average layperson. In deference, should we shelve our own impressions and accept the verdict of her superior ears?"--Gilpin

Ah, yes, the old "elitist" argument, without coming right out with the dreaded word.

I know nothing of Warland's poetry, or her competence for judging it. But her brief argument here is on the mark. Of course poetry is for the ears. And slam poets are all about creating special effects in the collective tympanum. Gilpin's argument in the brief byte above amounts to "Yeah? Says who?" (More on that later.) Extrapolating on sound, I hereby declare Haydn to be truer music than Eminem. But then, hey, that's just my "refined, sophisticated" taste.

"The point here is that page poets, subtly or brazenly, champion their education as the tool which allows them to write and understand “true poetry” while Spoken Word, filled as it is with ordinary folks, is not deeply rooted in the study of literature (which is what I assume Warland means when she writes "not deeply rooted in poetry")."--Gilpin

No. Warland discusses, elsewhere in the piece, her deisre to bring poetry to a broader public. Commendable, surely. And by what means? Education. I think her stance much too ideological (she clearly has designs on poetry as social tool), but it contradicts the claim that her approach somehow goes against the wishes of "ordinary folks".

Let's investigate those ordinary folks. (When "folks" are evoked, one can usually be confident that the speaker is assuming a stance of the patronizing spokesman for the downtrodden masses.) Click on Gilpin's home page, then hear his videos. It's ideology at its crudest. And it pushes all the populist buttons, giving "the ordinary people" what they want to hear. Corporate excess is railed against in "humourous" caricatures. It's about the message, no different a procedure (though different in tone) than the Sunday scolder, the ideology being the real focus. And the cruder the message, the more it goes with the crudest of representation (shouting, screaming, bombastic diction, shallow psychology). What's worse is when the only thing going for it -- the pamphleteering simpleness -- is wrong. Listen, if you can, to his satire (all the videos listed here are smirking, juvenile, simplistic satires) of T. Boone Pickens. Gilpin mocks him in the Texan bigger'n-the-world-accent for his orgasmic glee in successful oil speculation, yet Pickens was one of the first prominent oil tycoons to ring the bell for the harsh realities of Peak Oil. I'm sure Pickens has mud and blood on his hands (on more than one issue), but a more complex view of the man wouldn't have elicited as many smug applause haw-haws from the "ordinary folks" at the slam event. Of course, I'm being too kind. 3 to 1 says Gilpin wasn't even aware of his subject's history, on record.

Education shouldn't be championed? Look. Most people, here and in the U.S., read zero or a handful (at best) of books a year. Not books of poetry. Any book. Is that an elitist statement? No. It's a statement of fact. So if you want to reach a wider audience, you'll have to (ironically) enter the marketplace. Not the marketplace of ideas, but the marketplace of performance, which has more to do with that revolting consumer mania Gilpin and his audience decries than its opposite: economically profitless reading, reflecting, and yes, writing. Can commerce and art meet? Of course. Shakespeare made a few bucks. And good on Martin Amis for going for (and getting) the half-million advance. But that's not the driving force behind the art.

"Each old guard tries to expel the work of the avant-garde before inevitably embracing it. Ginsberg was castigated as a madman, and then canonized a few decades later with the rest of his bohemian friends."--Gilpin

Yeah, yeah, the performance poets of today are the "avant-garde". A quick comment. If you think you and your horse are the "avant-garde", you're not the avant-garde. The definition means that no one knows who the so-called breakthrough artists are, or where they are coming from. The artists are just as deluded as anyone else, actually more so. Poets are the worst judges of their own worth. It's obvious. And necessary. They have to have a thick skin to keep going. If one thinks of him- or herself as just another mediocrity, then what's the point? Others are always the judge. For every confident Pound, there are a million-and-one-plus who think they're on the cutting edge, either singly or as a member of a school.

Ginsberg's friends were canonized? Isn't that so .... oh I don't know, un-avantist? What, then, do we call former poets of the avant-garde? Oh, that's right. The establishment. Gilpin's argument is reversed. The old guard doesn't quibble about who's in, who's out. They're already dead. And their supporters have nothing to lose by heralding a new flavour. It's the new kids on the block who have that sense of outraged and outrageous entitlement. Who in the canon does Gilpin denounce? Well, that would be too "sophisticated" to descend to (note the dangling prep). Also, it would mean crafting something substantive. (Crickets.) Education?

"Robert Frost dismissed free verse as playing tennis with the net down; now it is the dominant form."--Gilpin

Frost was a grump. That doesn't abolish his argument. The larger point regarding free verse is that free verse is more difficult to do well than s0-called closed forms. As one jazz enthusiast said to another, overhearing some electrifying experimental sax player: "You have to get real good before you can play that bad!"

"Look farther back and the same story repeats itself over and over again. Even Keats and his Romantic cadre were at first written off as being little more than uncouth “Cockney School” youth whose lush whinings could not be considered proper poetry"--Gilpin

Ergo, Keats equals Koyczan.

"The great irony here is that although Williams warned that poetic forms must change with the times it is his modernist poetry (along with Wallace Stevens’ and T.S. Eliot’s) that has become the most mimicked by academic poets as a quick and easy route to publication. Donald Hall gave a name to the results of this academic mimicry in his wonderful essay “Poetry and Ambition”; he called them “McPoems.” He was right to point out that McPoems impress no one except other McPoets. They are inside jokes whispered in the back stairwells of the ivory tower, out of touch with today’s society. Yet they flood our literary market, tyrannizing our imagination with their outdated, exploded concepts."--Gilpin

In other words, "page" posts are mostly shyte. Ergo, performance poetry is the way forward.

But "page" poets have always been mostly shyte. A sense of elementary history would perhaps avail the mic-in-hand caller of some perspective.

"This is why Spoken Word audiences continue to grow. The 2009 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word featured 12 poetry slam teams—the most ever. For a week, the Victoria Events Centre was sold out every evening, 200 people inside, with a long line-up of people waiting to be let in—for the chance to listen to poetry! The finals were held in front of a crowd of 500 yelling and cheering fans."--Gilpin

World Wrestling Federation, or whatever they call themselves, make Spoken Word competitions look like a bunch of huddled basement kids screeching into tin cans, if that argument is followed to its logical conclusion. Monster truck rallies are also more popular with the "ordinary folks." The bells and whistles seems to be as garish and formulaic, as well.

"Is Spoken Word poetry? Of course it is"--Gilpin

The non sequitur, friend of any and all without a rational and developed line of thought.

"and it is rooted in the oldest of poetic forms: The oral tradition, the tradition that produced Beowulf and the epics of Homer"--Gilpin

What does Spoken Word poetry, as it exists in this time and space, have to do with Homer? If I write a bad poem (with justifiable review-pans), then enunciate it with braggadocio, is it therefore improved? And if not, why can't we reverse the process, and assess all performance poems through the written layout? Homer lives now, and is read now, because his poetry earns its way on the page. If Homer were alive today, and decided to go the Gutenburg way, the performance "poets" would laugh at him if they even knew of his existence.

"Word poets have studied these poems (three of the four of us on the Vancouver Poetry Slam Team have gone through the English Literature program at UBC, the fourth is a voracious reader),"--Gilpin

My gawd, they have BAs! (Prostrates dutifully.)

"The baby boomers of the 1960s and 1970s must wake up and realize there is a new movement afoot."--Gilpin

The boomer generation, by birth, ended in 1964, give or take two years. Even in the sub-generation (1956-1964), there's debate on how that back-half fits in with the stereotype. The increasing cynicism of the "Jones Generation" actually marks them out as being closer to the Gen-Xers. So perhaps we can coffin-retrofit the 70s into the early 50s.

The "new movement" started with Beowulf and Homer, remember? Here comes the avant-garde, again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Paul Tyler's A Short History of Forgetting

A Short History of Forgetting (Gaspereau Press, 2010) is Paul Tyler’s initial collection of poems. Here’re some thoughts on all of them in the order they appear.


The opener is in six parts. I like that the voice isn’t identified as God. As the poem develops, the insistence on naming the animals becomes a baffling, physical struggle. It ends with, “the animals leapt away”. A thoughtful explanation on the search and desire for language as both song and necessary re-enactment.


Much humour and fun. The plentiful descriptors come tumbling -- or perhaps sliding -- out: “slick oil-skinned sea captains”; “heavily-spotted gummy glutton”. I’m partial to poems simultaneously lighthearted and reverent. Tyler aces the emotional complexity, and he also implicates himself into the scene without dominating it.


A deftly contoured exploration on the dual trade between work and sex. (What? It’s just a nature poem?) I enjoyed the title link with “little socialists”, and am trying to think of a diminutive British-Trotskyist athlete.


The description here is OK, but a concatenation of images -- unless superlative-- usually isn’t enough to carry a poem in and of itself. Even so, the tight observational parade of movement would have at least kept the poem afloat absent the jarring spiritual conclusion (“which is joy”) and the inflated cosmogony (“hum/of the beginning,/which is all that ever was.”)


The naming “Adam” here is Tyler, and “the animal” is the “co-evolved wiggler”. Fun with assonance in a curt but prolific list of designations.


The successfully rendered tone is much like that in “In Praise of the Banana Slug”: warmth and worship. Here, the rhetoric is cranked a few notches, and bee applications are nicely incorporated into the attitude of gentle awe.


The tight, nervous phrasing follows the cautious movements of the eponymous bird. The compound “prairie-licked, numb-knuckled”, “wind-pounded”, as with earlier entries, reverses the subject-to-object duality, and the curious relationship is comically defined in the last line (not given here) with an implied contrast to St. Francis of Assisi.


This didn’t work for me at all. The diction is unremarkable and the images are depleted to make way for a philosophy of reaction, the watcher of the watcher. Too removed.


The same operation here as in “Silverfish”, with similar, pleasing rhythms. The hyphenated word combining of “froth-whipped”, “, ”crud-fix”, “snail-slicked”, “hop-busking” again mimics the birds’ quick movements, and it’s clear Tyler has fun with these tags, much more so than poor Adam who had to start from scratch. I just hope the author doesn’t become too cosy with representation as procedure and statement.


When the subject is pets, I’ll take the simplicity of a Roethke lyric over the overreach (and overworked sentiment) expressed here.


This disturbing poem about abbatoir and prep cruelty and insensitivity is all the more disturbing for the curious absence of its speaker. The inhumanity rendered in eidetic bluntness calls out either for contrasting intervention or anguished impotency. And it doesn’t matter if the poem was -- to use that obnoxious, reverent phrase -- “based on a true story”. Whether true or imaginary, autobiographical or other-voiced or an amalgamation, I’d rather have a troubled speaker involved in any number of conflicting and conflicted options if it meant the opposite procedure in a few other good-as-is poems such as “In Praise of the Banana Slug” where the speaker appears in a meditative relationship with the observed. Blood spills; cynicism reigns. But despite hooking the reader’s pity effectively by image and beat, Tyler’s voice choice of disembodied narrator results (ironically) in a clinical dissection ending with the oft-used, trite profundity-variant, “its smile that won’t thaw”.


The ambiguity here makes for a better poem than “Pig”. The stanza breaks enhance the shift in focus.


Some deeply etched imagery here, striking, but also subtle in several places: “Cars jerk down streets like damaged cells”; “sheets of iceless light”; “rough-skinned drum of inlet”.


The titular poem that begins section two is formed in long lines, and with twenty-five of them of similar length, the stretched-out voice (over twenty syllables in several linear unspoolings!) worked more as an obstreperous run-on than the mood (reflection) the speaker wished to evoke. And for a poem relying a good deal on a list, much of the detail was too general to be of interest or enlightenment (“things taken”, “belongings”, “pieces of the disorder”). And “no longer/recognizable” isn’t an excuse since minute surprise can still attach to indistinct objects. But after reading the poem many times, it became clear that Tyler’s objects are introduced more as stand-ins for an organizing idea (memory vs. forgetfulness). It’s a dialectic, unfortunately, in the Kantian, rather than Hegelian, sense. That is, memory has already been corrupted, but it’s certainly not true that “everything is forgotten”. To that, it’s also useful to quote E. D. Hirsch, who opposes the attitude which “mistakenly identifies meaning with mental processes rather than with an object of those processes.” However sincere the speaker or experiencer, Tyler’s objects appear as props, and have then to be inflated to achieve their transferring power.


This is the poem “A Short History of Forgetting” could have been or could have become. Rich in speculation, sharp in image, and best of all, psychologically wise in its “sequel” life to the aforementioned poem, this rumination on an old café photo pulls the reader into another world while noting the larger and present world’s indifference or incomprehension.


I enjoyed the particularities here which actually blend into a believable fatherly Weltanschauung.


Subverting the speaker’s self-assurance with the same person’s list of memory evaporation -- “and certainly not the list” -- this litany is appropriately subjective though the turn would have been more effective, entertaining, and startling with a longer (if not Whitmanesque) roll call.


An enjoyable blend of image and rhetoric, I had problems with the tone initially (speaker-inserted, yet cool), though the gathering contrast of spiritual constancy with political/religious intolerance won me over with the buried rage (“buried, wide open”?). I would have liked, however, the two countries named (if the locales are indeed removed one from the other). Afghanistan and Sri Lanka? It’s understandable that poets, at times, shy away from the temporal, but I’ve always believed that the universal is more often than not enhanced by references to the particular. It’s often not necessary, but political context would have been appreciated, as well.


Unlike the previous poem, this is situated. Images are alive -- (“fat handshakes/of flame”; “twenty men, sudden sticks of light”) -- and Tyler’s typically terse phrasing amplifies the narrative force.


Syntactic twelve-line reordering which would have benefitted from a three-quarters or two-thirds paring.


Many poems (not just in this book) are either too short or too long for what they need to accomplish. Just as “The List of What Will Last” is too brief to work as reverie or counterpoint, “House Smash” (though a shorter poem) is pointlessly detailed, and because of its bloated cataloguing, increases the egregious glare of the abstract apex -- “This is how we fail the world”.


This is nothing but catalogue, and it’s not redeemed by the vague and unearned last line, (“I’d paint this for all our dislocated gazes, for our half-intentioned lives.”)


Wonderfully evocative, exactingly shaped. I particularly liked the assumed emotion attributed to the players from the speaker/fan.


The transitions in this prose poem were difficult, perhaps purposely so. Unfortunately, those narrative segues blunted the emotion of what, at least, was a good idea. Hence -- (I can’t resist) -- the object didn’t rise.


This poem reminds me of Tyler’s titular effort in that the grasp is inadequate to the reach. I often trumpet ambition, especially so amongst contemporary self-congratulatory frippery, but if a poem fails its difficult scope, I at least prefer that it does so while going all in. “Sophisticated Sex” sets up an intriguing discrepancy, (different in each partner), between coital fulfillment and reality, but, unlike similar territory in novelist James Baldwin’s wise and fearless Another Country, the secrets droop in jarring poeticisms (“mind’s plush foyer”, “splayed plums”), dull, general revelations (“what matters shows”, “the body not a simple story”), and clichés (“The chorus hides sweetly in the wings”, “years bitterly/swallowed like stones”). The poem needed either a double shot of adrenaline or a fine psychological investigation.


Unremarkable yet effective in a character-scoring by compressed detail, I wanted more personal involvement here. What are some contrasts or similarities between and with the neighbour and the speaker?


“It’s prowling promise/to outperform desire.” Yes! And there are several other phrases almost as good. I also liked the strong, quick stresses of “near liquid slant-six pumping angel wings for/plugs.” Delightful from starting gun to end line.


The first poem in the “Urban Night Longing” section is faithful in mood to that header. But just as “If I Were A Painter” is all list, “Ante Meridiem” is all mood, and because of its narrow angle, an attempt to heighten that mood or introduce other elements into the mix could have popped the top off the perfume bottle. Instead, the result is an exercise, not a mysterious evocation, and what’s more, the too-frequent Canadian predilection for the precious first-person plural voice -- combined with the stock epiphanic diction of “moon”, “stars”, “alley”, “sleeps”, “opening”, “listen”, “wind” -- make this the weakest poem in the book so far.


Tropes were strained and murky. At times, an obvious parallel was drawn (“Glowing paragraphs of high-storeyed/buildings”). What irked most, however, was the assumption that open-endedness, suggestion, in itself, somehow equals profundity or (at least) fascination (“you are stitched by possible endings”).


Inferior to Tyler’s “In Praise of the Banana Slug”, this commemoration is overwritten, the voice unconvincing. There’s nothing wrong with burning the midnight oil for a string of fortnights, but the lamp-marks shouldn’t be visible on the page.


The word “old” in the second-to-last line ruins what would have been a good phrase (“Perky old ninety-somethings”). The similes and metaphors, I suppose, attempt to mimic humorous flights of fancy by nectar-infused recipients (“greedy little bankers”; “like a hundred drunken Hemingways”), but I just found them disconnected, unimaginative, unfunny.


Similar to “Ante Meridiem”, “Tree Faith” dispenses with development, but, in its hushed, skeletal structure, offers little in the way of elemental idiosyncrasy or surprise. “Something crawls/around in you” is supposed to echo the branches “weave into air”. It’s, all of it, suggestion without power or believable connection.


I keep coming back to that “Banana Slug”. That’s a plus here because “Manitoba Maples” follows the same descriptive profusion, and is crafted with good cheer (“bug havens, bird bramble,/messed-up misshapen bouffant heavies”). It could have been a developing minus in that Tyler has found a cupola and is mining it with the energy of the workers in Emile Zola’s Germinal. No one should be typecast after acting in his first movie. And the poet’s first-book gaze shouldn’t be filtered through a glaucomatous aperture, so its heartening to see the observational highlight, here -- maples -- er … break new ground.


A pallid, empty, unfunny sci-fi proposal.


The psychological portrait is individuated though glancing. The subject matter cries out for narrative exposition, but I’m not sure Tyler cares (or is able) to develop human complexities with the same panache he lavishes on animals, insects, birds, and natural phenomena. And even in this truncated characterization, lines repeatedly trip over one another (“nothing/touches him. Rain arcs around him on his/cruel commute that never takes him home.”)


The shorthand declaratives (“Forget it, scooter”, “Listen, lightweight”) don’t have the snap of similar aggressive voices in poems by Karen Solie and Ken Babstock, for example. And the tone doesn’t earn any force because of the inadequate context. The sound here is akin to a carefully produced cover of an original, all the informing passion and rough edges muffled in an unintended caricature.


The changing of the seasons is such a staple of the poetic landscape that to write on that theme now is to go beyond cliché, beyond kowtowing to the canon, beyond rearranging the furniture, to a zone only successfully negotiated by ironic self-consciousness or dramatic new metaphors. Tyler opts for the latter (with one three-word exception, mentioned later), but the metaphorical thrust is a maladroit list (his fallback modus operandi) which culminates in a terribly integrated mythical enactment (“Cronus eating his children. The shattered house/of Job. Kali beading her tether of skulls.”). Yes, the first snow is sometimes a harbinger for fatal accidents amd hypothermia. And that first flake -- that’s one small flake for a person, one giant mound for personhood -- contains multitudes, to mix poetic allusions. But the pathetic fallacy of the oak, the overblown proportion of “pissing/jet cold brew down chimneys”, and the self-regarding wink “Proto-poetic provocateur” bury this poem in a winter of its own making.


How far Tyler’s come from naming the animals in that strangled linguistic garden. The relentless compounds pile up like the abused spring snow the poem’s addressee -- the plow -- shoves along. I like “climate abscess” and “synthesized sludge”.


The personification of the house is much better than that of the oak in “First Snow”, though a few similes puzzle (“Ice brittles, shrinks like a clerk”; “shingles/rough as North Sea skin”).


“Rubbing snow’s grief into our flesh”. Ugh! To be grossly pedantic, snow is crystalline ice water and has never been known to harbour or express grief. Do “we” become “as snow” under certain temperatures and conditions? That insight has been logged before Eric the Red brandished his sword. If there’s grief, it’s experienced by the “rubber”, but this would mean creating characters, a complexifying and emotional challenge that is sidestepped throughout this book in favour of the “safe” route of nature-and-object personae. I realize metaphors are involved. But a successful metaphor has to work on both sides.


The first of nine poems in the section “Home” which close out the book, “Dressing Arthur” is convincingly consistent in tone throughout. There were problems with a few details -- I’ll never believe an invalid can muster the strength to let go “obscenities … from his gut” -- but their recounting in mundane sharpness (“V-neck wiped/with dinner”) is a welcome change from the proclivity outlined in the commentary of the previous poem. I also like that Tyler is a definite presence in the poem, though a proportional one.


Phyllis was nearing “the end of language”, but there’s no excuse for the clear-minded observer to cloak this poem in generalities (“Scripts, and snippets of songs/play through her”) and awkward metaphor (“the end of language,/its crumbling walls reveal her/spitting the gravel of her name.”).


After reading “Gwen Asking the Time” many times, lines and phrases refuse to be retrieved. The poem feels like it was created through a processing plant: attention to detail is exacting, but the sound is lifeless.


One of a handful of this book’s keepers, “Feeding Rena” is strong in metaphor and image, with fine summation (“her eyes, stones on a prairie road, watch everything and nothing.”). Rena will live.


The Wile E. Coyote-one-second-pause-mid-air-off-a-cliff enjambments are appropriate and highly effective. It’s not easy representing these lives, and interiors must be sought and conveyed with subtlety and clarity. That Tyler has gone three-for-five so far in this section is to his credit.


Good. I can see many things here. And with clear vision (either in experience or imagination), a transforming space is created for the reader. “[H]e staggers/toward you, ready to timber”, “tilts that boulder of a head”, are strong entries, presaging both mild fear and sadness.


Jack's an interesting person, all right, perhaps one still in the early stages of dementia, though it's obvious he still possesses a strength of character lacking in many others of sound mind and body. And that's the good news, here. The details, "as is", didn't make it as a poem.


The run-on block paragraph is the perfect form for the frantic Alzheimer’s patient in this poem. A terrifying experience, Tyler chooses wisely by letting the scrambled narrative run its course. Excellent bites include, “our hands group like fish to catch her” and “the ground a narrow beam”.


“She wants to lead/you someplace holier.” “Want” is a sublime word choice. Powerful, understated, honest, concise, “Violet” is an obvious choice to close out this very good final section.