Again I cheat and re-post something from my Facebook notes. The cheating is because I’m coming to the end of some vacation-like time right now—but all-new content will be returning very shortly (probably next post)….
by my sister Lydia
a poem i wrote to the younger
so i thought you deserve one too
i’m inside listening to thunder
today i studied and went poo
i am so very boredy bored
you aren’t because you’re with flamly
serina and elisa are leaving for home
and i’ve studied so much i’m dreaming of it
that did not rhyme
even though i have the time
now i will ryme every line
i’m chewing halloween gum
you are a gum
4 plus 4, what is the sum?
Brief Analysis of Lydia’s “(untitled)”
In deconstructing “(untitled)”, one finds that the most pertinent underlying binary is that of busy/idle; the poem is delightful and charming, yet indicative of psychological stresses that tug at the proverbial fabric of the piece. Structurally, the binary takes the form of a pendular movement between the two states, often within the very same clause(s) and/or phrase(s). This can be found, for example, in the lines “serina and elisa are leaving for home / and I’ve studied so much I’m dreaming of it”.
The key to Lydia’s poem is motion: physical, emotional, intellectual, as well as degree of motion, presence of motion, type of motion. The states of the speaker are not only inconstant, but unstable. This instability—of not only state of activity but state of mind—manifests itself stylistically: it may be found, for one, in fluctuations of tense, such as in the lines “…i wrote to the younger / so i thought you deserve one too”.
The speaker is clearly oscillating between idleness and, if not actual activity, then the desire for it. Lackadaisical use of language, such as incorrect and inconsistent spelling (see “rhyme” in line 9, and later “ryme” in line 11), seems to imply a certain disregard for regulation. Yet this disregard is countered to some degree by the obviously purposeful playful and rhythmic changes in spelling: see “boredy bored” (line 5) and “flamly” (line 7). Slant rhyme, such as “time” and “line” in lines 10 and 11, or “younger” and “thunder” in lines 1 and 3, performs this double (deconstructive) function as well, by at once flippantly undermining traditional metrical elements and employing clear rhythm and assonance. In fact, slant rhyme is used to reinforce and to carry out the assertion made in the last stanza: “that did not rhyme / even though i have the time / now i will ryme every time / sort of”. It is the mark of a postmodernist, no doubt, to simultaneously be urged away from the formal register and toward writing itself as the chosen form of expression.
The crowning postmodern glory is the overall tone of nonchalance. That is, the reader is given the impression that the speaker is hardly aware of the dichotomies being built by the poem, and yet is strongly guided by them; we are left unsure as to whether the poet is immensely amateur, or immensely clever.
The apparent deterioration of relevant content into mere associative rhyme—as found in the last few lines (from “i’m chewing” in line 13 to “8” in line 16)—only serves to reinforce the whole point: that there isn’t one.