Poems are never completed— they are only abandoned.– Paul Valery
So as I begin this one— vowing as an experiment not to give in to the vice of revision, that sumo of manipulation I so try to apply to my life— I wonder where I’ll leave it. Will it be in some sun-warmed clearing, a rocky outcropping in an old pine forest? And will I have set out earlier this morning with getting there in mind? Or will it perhaps fall out of my pocket along a downtown sidewalk and blow a few feet until it lodges under a parked car, the puddle there and the dark intensifying the metaphor: a poem’s being abandoned? Thus bookended by country and city, both speculations in future tense, the claim neglects the unfolding— as if completion weren’t every word as it emerges, means and ends at once. The cone is not container of future tree. It is cone. Nor is an old cone empty.
D. R. James
D. R. James’s latest of nine collections are Flip Requiem (Dos Madres, 2020), Surreal Expulsion (Poetry Box, 2019), and If god were gentle (Dos Madres, 2017), and his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project. He lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. https://www.amazon.com/author/drjamesauthorpage