Hooked

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Hooked

A woman uptown
comes home to two children
stabbed.  All the next day I hear, silently,
her screams.

Then think, as I see caught fish pulled
onto the esplanade–of how we ache
for silver linings–slitted gills grasping desperately
at thin air, metallic iridescence belly-flopping
on stone–something to be made right, fixed,
bearable–and how, to a fish,
all upper surfaces must
seem silvered – ripples plated by sun
or mist, until whipped
into the sky, it finds
that the world is not as it
has known, that there are vast portions
where neither body nor
instinct can protect, can even
function.

So we too
forge ahead, with or against
the current, but still in the comfort of luminous
viscosity until some terrible ‘suddenly’
when we are pulled
onto a stone slab of rending gasp and bootless
throttle, where the grey of sky is at best
mercurial.

If lucky, we are thrown
back – and though our breathing may labor,
accordion halation un-keyed, we float at last lopsidedly, slither
at a slant.

But sometimes, some one of us
is trapped in that sharded air until, seemingly, the end
of days.

We gasp, spin, in the eddy
of their reverberating
pain, then, gratefully, guiltily,
swim on, faster,
faster.

*******************************************
Hi–many of you know that I’m a denizen of New York City, specifically Battery Park City, and have been evacuated a couple of days.  This poem is not really about that, but something I’ve been mulling over since last week, a terrible terrible tragedy in which a nanny seems to have killed two children and then attempted suicide.  (I’m sorry; it’s a very sad story; my thoughts and prayers go to the families involved.)   I am linking it to dVerse Poets Open Link Night, hosted by the wonderful Tashtoo.I appreciate the concern of all about the New York storm.  We still haven’t gotten home but have been very well taken care of and feel immensely lucky.  The city is also in a good mood, friendly, relieved. 
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34 Comments on “Hooked”

  1. brian miller Says:

    goodness…ugh, what a thing to be dealing with on top of the storm…you hooked me right up front…i think we do look for silver linings though sometimes that is just hard…i like the extended metaphor as well…when the sudden happens it can throw us pretty well…and sometimes we try to just swim faster…

  2. Mary Says:

    Yes, I did hear about that nanny. What a horrible thing:

    ” there are vast portions
    where neither body nor
    instinct can protect, can even
    function.

    So we too
    forge ahead, with or against
    the current,

    Well, I think oftentimes this is all we can do. Just forge on as best we can, damaged, but moving forward somehow. There is no other alternative.

    On another note, I have been watching television and have seen scenes of Battery Park. Such a lot of damage incurred..but I hear you when you say that NY is in a good mood. They do seem to be able to roll with disasters somehow….. Be safe.


  3. glad to hear you are safe k. – and what a tragical story, even more haunting with the image of that fish… ugh..i’m lost for words..

  4. PJF Sayers Says:

    Karin, wow! I thought this was about the storm and then reading your process notes was very shocked to find out what it is about. I am glad you are safe, dry and warm. This is an intense write.

    Pamela

  5. ayala Says:

    Glad to hear you are safe. The news last week was devastating…such heartbreak!


  6. Life is so messy. Pain is horrific and we somehow gloss over it–I am always stunned by violence and yet another part of me wonders how we could not be violent–how that angry, desperate part of us cannot hope by find escape somewhere. Great write and I am glad that you are ok.


  7. Well I read about that bizarre tragedy, and also glad you have been evacuated and are safe. Another haunting write and a good read thanks for sharing.

  8. apshilling Says:

    in my experience (sheltered as it is . . . ahem . . . ) In attempting to poeticise the unbelievable, that is to take notice of the hook, we may become better swimmers in the long run, Therein lies the grace . . .
    (that sounded better in my head, but there it is . . . )

    A tough subject to render readable but Imho . . . You do – stay safe and take care 🙂

  9. Margaret Says:

    Some terrible “suddenly”. Those moments in our lives where we have no control, are the most vulnerable to cruelty and hate… You certainly brought it home with this write.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Margaret. I kind of think the actions involved here stemmed from insanity – no one really knows – but the whole thing is just inconceivable to me otherwise. Thanks much for your comment. I loved your son’s poem by the way – so great for him to let you post and you to post. k


  10. Chilling and terrible…your verse is riveting

  11. hedgewitch Says:

    What a poem, karin. Your fish metaphor which ought to be familiar comes across as such a slap of cold, bitter reality, the alien quality of a totally inconceivable perspective, as the one such madness has to be to us on the other side of that sliver dividing plane, so thin, between the ocean of reason and the poisonous air of insanity. Fine work trying to plumb the un-understandable. That horrific event has been on my mind as well, surrounded as it is by so many questions of how it could come to be. A fine and difficult bit of writing on a very unpalatable topic–all the more valuable to tackle it.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. Mainly trying to get to this silver lining business though interesting to see how it is read. Hope it doesn’t come across as unsympathetic – so terribly painful. I had more about just the pain of it – it really shook people here, especially women, I think, but it was too long really (within the framework of poem.) Thanks so much for your helpful comments. k.

  12. David King Says:

    OO-er… this is terribly good, awfully great, mind twisting and tummy wrenching. I love it. I don’t think anything could follow it, though. I’m off to lunch!

  13. janehewey Says:

    fish metaphor, I wondered how this would spin out. it is luminous in itself as you keep the silverlining alive. metallic iridescence, ripples plated, viscosity. beautifully done!

  14. beckykilsby Says:

    Some stories just won’t let you go. You do a beautiful job here of building the emotional force of your metaphor…well don K.


  15. This immediately took my breath. Masterful conceit and an intense emotional core combine for affecting and impressive poetry.

  16. Grace Says:

    I am glad you are safe K ~ This poem of yours is chilling and darkly narrated…great work on the pacing and action but yikes to the killing of the children ~

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Yes, just the most horrible thing. Honestly, it’s meant to be about any big loss – there were more children killed in the storm, and the impossibility of silver lining is probably as true there. This particular incident was just such a horrible one that it really raises those questions for me. k.


  17. Karin, excellent piece, from title to current shift, to last words here, fantastic. The visually striking second stanza is so strong, and the fight to move on, to fight the current and the depths, really remarkably illustrated. Fantastic read. Thanks.

  18. ladynyo Says:

    K. such a visceral, visual poem….layered in such a way that the top ‘theme’ could be deleted, and it becomes more of an ecological statement, but hell, the power and punch of that killing of the children and the (silent) screams of the mother, constant…well, it ‘adds’ to what is to come. I found this very hard to read, knowing the tragedy of what happened, and there are no silver linings, either for anyone, and not for fish. We just hope and live for them.

    Ugh. You tackled something that in the very least was a hard and heartbreaking theme, but you expanded it outwards, and then…inward to a amazing finish.

    I keep reading this over and over because it really is a difficult poem, and I felt it was like an accordion. You really do some mean layering here of great impact.

    Chilling poem, but with a deep philosophical thrust that shines forth.
    There is not an extra word that would push this off track.

    And the title? Perfect, k.

    Lady Nyo

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much, Jane. I just worry that it (poem title) seems unfeeling – and of course not meant to be. The hooking being us onto silver linings primarily, and not really someone caught in insurmountable tragedy though they too are caught. But not in anyway trying to minimize that. thanks. k.

  19. Archna Says:

    I’m glad that there is some sort of cheer in the mood, considering. Such a sad story told in the most delicate and magical way. I am happy for the sense of endless spirit in this piece.

    Wishing you well.

  20. vb holmes Says:

    Sensitive analogy–well done.

  21. Gay Cannon Says:

    Sorry I’m late to come a-reading and I don’t have any excuse except that life gets in the way of doing the “poetry thing” much as I love it. The language in this poem is mesmerizing – speaking to itself in sound and in subject reeling the reader in and unveiling the disorient, the lost, the displaced and the dying. Brilliant stuff!


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