Thursday, November 3, 2011

Latin & Soul (Victor Hernández Cruz)

Latin & Soul

I like this one because it's a good example of written poetic form actually being relevant and important for what the poem is about. This is a poem about dancing, and the words are dancing on the page. When I read it my eyes move back and forth, rhythmically, organically. All the distinct fragments make me think of the way, when you're dancing, you sometimes move to a position and hold it, just for a split second, before you move on. Or you don't really mean to hold that position, and maybe you don't actually stay there for longer than you've stayed anywhere, but it feels like a moment. When you're twirling someone outwards with your arm, right when they get to the end of the twirl so that both your arms are outstretched, and then they rebound - right before the rebound, that's what I'm talking about. There's a moment when you feel yourself being at that point, being at a place of changing direction, though you haven't actually changed direction yet. (Think of points on a graph.)

I also love this:

a piano is trying to break a molecule
is trying to lift the stage into orbit

There's something about the language of effort here, like you can picture the piano groaning under the strain of  being played so furiously, so enthusiastically. That's one of my favorite things about going to see live music; when you can see that the musician is so into it, it just brings this whole other level of excitement to being there. A musician can bring a certain type of joy to a performance that just heightens the joy of the audience.

And I like the repetition of "dance" in the first bits of the poem. What that makes me think of is the way dancing can be very zen, the way you can get lost in it. It drowns out everything else and the music takes you "away-away-away" and all you know is dance-dance-dance. All you are is a dancer (sometimes not even a dancer, but just the dance).

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