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<ul><li><p>What You Might Equate To, </p><p> Poems by Ben Kuznets-Speck </p><p>1</p></li><li><p>Contents </p><p>Title page 1 </p><p>Contents 2 </p><p>Poetry Through My Eyes a Critical Introduction 3 </p><p>Epigraph 8 </p><p>cataracts 9 </p><p>ultraviolet catastrophe 11 </p><p>tides 13 </p><p>across 14 </p><p>fields 15 </p><p>what you might equate to 16 </p><p>U-238 18 </p><p>found on the floor 21 </p><p>yellow is the color 22 </p><p>you are to me a poem 24 </p><p>About The Author 25 </p><p>Works Cited 26 </p><p>2</p></li><li><p>Poetry Through My Eyes </p><p> The most I can say about poetry is that it provides a medium by which the intrinsic truths, </p><p>spiritual and physical, of the world in which we dwell are allowed, forced even, to mingle and </p><p>hybridize, creating those not to be found in the deepest recesses of space or the mind alone. It is </p><p>this transcendent dialogue between the self and the gestalt collection of all selves that allows us </p><p>to see deeper and clearer into what we might call reality than without the poem. </p><p> Indeed, it is the experience and discovery uncovered in the poem which ties it most </p><p>intimately to what we might consider, at first glance, to be its polar opposite science. Hugh </p><p>MacDiarmid explores this idea in Poetry and Science, and, truth be told, it is the abstract nature </p><p>of both poetry and science which scares those in one field away from the other. Of course, math </p><p>is not about symbols on a blackboard or piece of paper, which is the impression most people are </p><p>hard put to avoid from the time they enter infant school onward, (MacDiarmid 122) just as </p><p>poetry is not just about landscapes and metaphor; rather, the two are about coming closer to the </p><p>truth(s) of the world around us in the only really rigorous (albeit sometimes a bit abstract) way </p><p>we know how the only real difference between mathematicians and poets is that one employs </p><p>symbols and the other words to describe their reality. As such, it is just another sorry instance of </p><p>the failure of most scientists and philosophers to avail themselves of the aid they could have </p><p>derived from a really thorough and up-to-date knowledge of poetry, (MacDiarmid 133) and visa </p><p>versa. Those of us who are lucky enough to have knowledge of poetry and science know that </p><p>these feed each other, and are, at most, different sides of the same coin: one that deals in </p><p>conditions (we can hardly say that the human condition is not a physical one, nor that the </p><p>3</p></li><li><p>physical conditions of nature arent closely tied to human construct). In summary, a flower is a </p><p>flower, but it derives its beauty not simply from being such, but from what we as humans give to </p><p>it, its physical and poetic composition. We might say that this flower finds beauty in its </p><p>complexion, form, and the way it sways in the breeze, or we might say that its the unique way </p><p>electromagnetic waves reflect off the petals, the topology of the petals themselves, and the </p><p>manner in which they interact individually and as a whole with all the forces of nature; these two </p><p>qualifications are one in the same. </p><p> This deeply rooted connection between science and poetry is not all that hard to believe </p><p>if we allow ourselves the simple sentiment of wishing to come out of a situation with more than </p><p>what we entered with, which is by all accounts the essence of discovery. Thus is the goal when </p><p>studying any text: to discover through experience, whether it be thinking about why we are </p><p>bound to this earth as Newton did, or standing beside Ginsberg in the shadow of dungarees and </p><p>the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fireplace Chicago. We can say then that no research or </p><p>writing is groundbreaking since it is inevitably woven from the research and writing of others, or </p><p>as Machado put it we may perhaps see the new reasons arise from the old, thanks to the </p><p>immanent dialectic of all thinking" (Machado 163). Discovery then is not singular, rather poetry </p><p>and science itself abounds in instances of unrelated research arriving independently and from </p><p>different angles of approach at identical discoveries (MacDiarmid 133). It is this eureka </p><p>moment we all strive for when the pieces fit together so perfectly they form what I would </p><p>equate to a staircase: upon which one can climb and take in a greater truth than would have been </p><p>possible from the ground. This is the stuff of junkies. This is discovery. I discover every day. </p><p>4</p></li><li><p> Moreover, I would dare to say that poetry as an experience is as continuous and </p><p>unpredictable a discovery as life itself. Picking up a good poem, even if Ive read it many times </p><p>before is like stepping into a scene, one that is at once vivid and opaque, oscillating back and </p><p>forth through time, yet seeming to encapsulate a single moment in a manner only the fondest of </p><p>memories can emulate. In this way, as Pasternak remarked, "life hasn't just begun. Art never had </p><p>a beginning. Always, until the moment of its stopping, it was constantly there" (Pasternak 24). </p><p>Life and poetry alike are nothing without experience, which forms a continuity of sorts. Before </p><p>experience, as far as we are concerned, there was nothing; in the midst of experience there is </p><p>only that, and one could say that experience to come is simply the reflection of that before it, but </p><p>abstracted and distorted so that it must be experienced again. Lorca describes the mystic and </p><p>fleeting experience the reader brings to the poem, and visa versa, as the duende. </p><p>The duende, then, is a power and not a construct, is a struggle and not a concept. </p><p>I have heard an old guitarist, a true virtuoso, remark, The duende is not in the </p><p>throat, the duende comes up from inside, up from the very soles of the feet. That </p><p>is to say, it is not a question of aptitude, but of a true and viable styleof blood, </p><p>in other words; of what is oldest in culture: of creation made act. (Lorca 29) </p><p>So duende cannot be without some sort of human interference; this 'struggle', the desperate </p><p>grasping into night is what makes us human and is nothing without humanity. Whats more, the </p><p>Duende never repeats himself, any more than the forms of the sea repeat themselves in a </p><p>storm, (Lorca 37) and so it would appear that the duende and the poem therein go through a </p><p>constant evolution of sorts. Duncan points out that in poetry as in Darwinian evolution, by </p><p>chance significance emerges: i.e out of multiple "formless" possibilities only one thing actually </p><p>5</p></li><li><p>happens, (Duncan 261) suggesting that the experience of poetry is in fact a type of complex </p><p>irreducibility. This is to say that the poem is not what mathematicians would call closed form; </p><p>you cannot simply reconcile the entity as a whole to get to a specific outcome, rather you must </p><p>follow along beside it every step of the way, the place you choose to begin leading you to a </p><p>different destination than all others in the span of all possible outcomes. Perhaps this is why a </p><p>poem always has elements of accident about it, (Heaney 274) because we must engage it </p><p>constantly. After all, [form] is not only in order to participate in the universe but also to </p><p>participate in self (Duncan 262). This participation functions as a type of searching. We should </p><p>always be searching for something, and furthermore, should be satisfied with whatever happens, </p><p>not because it was what we hoped for, but because it happened at all, and because it is the only </p><p>thing that could ever happen. </p><p> Yet, we are only human and so are doomed to a constant struggle for some greater </p><p>knowing and control. Of course such ventures are futile, if for no other reason than because we </p><p>are fundamentally separated from the natural world which we wish to reconcile because of our </p><p>humanity, which is in simplest terms to point out the disconnect between what we might call free </p><p>will and the natural order of things. So too, then, is the construct of language disconnected from </p><p>describing things as they are rather than what we should, at some level, want them to be. On the </p><p>outset, this should seem quite frightening, for all ventures dealing in the absolute are certainly </p><p>doomed, but the irrational nature of being human in the first place, I believe, provides a struggle </p><p>to which we can hold on to. It is this constant pushing against a force that will inevitable win and </p><p>that we will never truly understand that embodies what poetry is to me, and, as far as Im </p><p>concerned, is demonstrated no where more vividly than in Allen Ginsbergs Howl. I say this </p><p>6</p></li><li><p>because, in this piece, Ginsberg deals in perhaps the only void larger than that between human </p><p>and nature, human and human; for what is more of a struggle than pleading with ones fellow </p><p>people for understanding or even simply to have ones ideas recognized. Yes, I would say there </p><p>comes a time in all of our lives when our minds are lost, or close to it, when we climb to </p><p>rooftops waving manuscripts, only to be dragged off (Ginsberg 228). And I would go further to </p><p>say that if we have not been lost to a fate far worse than misunderstanding indifference then </p><p>we, at some time or another will all be Carl: not safe, and lost to the total animal soup of time, </p><p>only </p><p> to recreate the syntax and measure of poor human prose and stand </p><p>before you speechless and intelligent and shaking with shame, </p><p>rejected yet confessing out the soul to conform to the rhythm of </p><p>thought in his naked and endless head (Ginsburg 229). </p><p>This is really what poetry is to me: the searching, the admittance of futility, the searching, again. </p><p>7</p></li><li><p>What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning. </p><p>-Werner Heisenberg </p><p>8</p></li><li><p>cataracts </p><p>cloudy mirrors work best, I think Im not really one for reflection but time seems to be so I guess if I am I should probably see before me, behind me, chasing bright </p><p>light cascades from god knows where comes up along the front collides with lips, high cheeks hollow eye sockets take the brunt of the photons who never asked to be here, looking into whites of eyes overwritten by ink dark pupil swallowed up and spit out the cataract forgives what I see, scared scared that maybe that was me. </p><p>its all used up its all been spent that blue grey outlines all thats left to see </p><p>there is a struggle in that glass, I know, this image lying before me </p><p>blurred around the edges, boiling off into dense night </p><p>9</p></li><li><p>Process Note (cataracts): I wanted to keep a non-uniform structure for this poem, so I decided not to break it solely into tercets (which is a practice I have taken up elsewhere). There were places where transformative line breaks could have been executed better (i.e. cascades from god) so that was an obvious change. Other than that, and the addition of a few words here and there to help with the flow, the major change I made to this piece was omitting most of the original 5th stanza since its rhyme scheme felt a little too forced for the tone of the poem as a whole. </p><p>10</p></li><li><p>ultraviolet catastrophe </p><p>dusk is falling on you faster than I expected </p><p>and its not the first time but weve known each other too long not to know this time is different </p><p>from when wed lie for hours, four legs meshed under a sole magnolia. </p><p>madness would mingle with sweet spring air and soft buds swaying </p><p>in the winds resonance lapping on the shores of our island. </p><p>much time has passed, real and imagined time weaving currents and intersections </p><p>suggesting that we resist the flow second by second; frame by frame a constant molting </p><p>away from the field it looks like the flow diverges here its winter and the seconds are getting longer </p><p>the airs cold and thin now, but I wouldnt call it bitter anyways, there are some clocks you cant fix so we try not to think about it </p><p>instead, we stand, lean really on the rust-trimmed body of once deep blue Cadillac, now faded and stark, staring at a white plane, single tree in the distance </p><p>11</p></li><li><p>I thought I saw something move just for a second, but no it too has passed. </p><p>for a moment, we wait still traveling on those silent notes coursing through night infinite harmonics undulating in that black box </p><p>as the snow melts, the ground glows white hot and then nothing for us to see anyway </p><p>only noise has that field now as eyelids drift closed heavy with our burdens </p><p>and the sweet song of your surrender sill rings in my ears </p><p>Process Note (ultraviolet catastrophe): In revising this poem, my number one priority was to add a little clarity, or remove those lines which took away from the potential clarity with their abstractions. This still acts as a stream of consciousness piece, but I believe that establishing the regular pattern of tercets and fiddling with original line breaks hear and there puts forth the structure needed to get the point across without excess punctuation and melancholy fluff. </p><p>12</p></li><li><p>tides </p><p>I cannot think of this tide now that it has crashed down too many times </p><p>I have drowned in the waves, the crests and troughs etching interference, turning pulp </p><p>to coral. A brain stem holds dearly to its tree its earth or ocean reed swaying softly, under all water both deeply rooted </p><p>in being. Through the motions the reed undulates, dances even, to a beat coming from somewhere far out. </p><p>Down here, everybody knows the moves but few appreciate the lighting refracted through the surface </p><p>taking something in return for the calm that a tree on shore will never know </p><p>least of all think, or react to, when the storms start blowing in </p><p>Process Note (tides): Ive paired down my first draft of this poem as to give it some structure. I would hope that this structure is enhanced by the use of punctuation to divide the work, although continuous, into individual thoughts. I hope that the transformative line breaks leave some ambiguity, but not so much as to loose sight of the path the poem takes from beneath the water to dry land and back. </p><p>13</p></li><li><p>across </p><p>I glance from time to time across the canopy that lies between me </p><p>and you, searching for something to transcend what will be found beneath soft dirt. </p><p>in that place below the surface light could lift your pale skin </p><p>up from two way mirrors to the highest branches and rustling leaves of your disguise. </p><p>through you dont much care for now, you grow tired of symmetries in the dark, and its easy </p><p>to see you too think of that forest often trees grow beneath trees </p><p>Process Note (across): I thought it might be a good idea to add some structure to an originally very abstract poem. Although I hope their remains some abstraction, I wanted to make the transiti...</p></li></ul>