Poetry Experiment: The “Overflowing” River

An assignment from class this week:

Write a short work, and then write its “overflowing,” providing a kind of poetics that circulates around, extends, and amplifies your text, while being part of it (a text that isn’t separate, without which the “central” text would function completely differently).


Dragging the River

Dragging the river of memory—

In search of her younger self

It’s already too late.

Her life was her torture.

She was capable of imagining

a life outside of housework.

That sense of youth and immortality disappeared

in the destruction of the old familiar.

The river hurtled toward the sea

Inevitable

Don’t look back

or lose her forever


Overflowing River

Dragging the river of memory—

 Dragging the bottom for dead bodies. Dragging on a cigarette. Dragging and slow, they crept forward.  He dragged his accomplishments into every conversation.  The parade dragged by endlessly. It’s a drag having to read this. He was often in drag. The committee often dragged their feet.  Dragging the river.  The bottom.  The muck. The mire. The memory. A time within memory. Improve the memory. Search the memory. Increase the memory.  Lose the memory.  The flow of degeneration swallowed memories like lozenges.  No one can steal your memories.  No one except dementia.  The long good-bye.

 

In search of her younger self

Searching for answers. A searching glance. A searching mind. A searchlight.  A search party searching for the fountain of youth. Freshness. Vigor. Vitality. Her better self. Self-service is payable to self.

 

It’s already too late.

 Let’s go already.  They had already arrived. Entirely. Previously.  No longer possible.  The late great life of youth.

 

Her life was her torture.

The life of the family depended on her obedience to the patriarchal systems in place in their subcultural milieu. Chained. Beaten. Surrendered. Defeated.

 

She was capable of imagining / a life outside of housework.

 The feminist ideal was foreign. But her imagination was strong. Imagining.  Image-ing.  Imagination was a gateway to the outside. Homemaking wore thin.  She didn’t.

 

That sense of youth and immortality disappeared

A faculty or function of mind relating to the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit, and characteristics of one who is young.  Our immortal souls.  The immortal words.  The Immortals vanished into mythology.  Perhaps her life would, too.

 

in the destruction of the old familiar.

 The wanton demolition of ancient, well-acquainted activities and thoughts.

 

The river hurtled toward the sea

The current of death.  Flowing lava.  Creeping glacier.  Calving icebergs.  The barren waste of the north.

 

Inevitable

Certain.  Necessary.  Unalterable.  Unable to escape. Foreshadowed. Foretold. Forewarned is not necessarily forearmed.  The inevitable end of life is death.

 

Don’t look back

Avoid casting a glance to those things past.  Don’t look it straight in the eye.  Looks can be deceiving.  Even the look of love.  He has the look of an honest man.  Look after your own interests.

 

Or lose her forever

An existential crisis.  Losing the pillars of her life.  Crumbling beneath the weight of patriarchy.   To die?  Or to be set free?

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