Original poem reprinted online here: "feeder" by Beth Bachmann
Originally read: January 8, 2013
More information about the Poet: Beth Bachmann
After re-reading this poem, I thought why did I pick it? It's a kind of strange feeling where I didn't see what was going on (this is before reading my notes). I think it starts with the opening line, "The mouths of the dead are always / open" in which I comment "good first line." I actually see it as meh right now. It's not that the sentence is bad or cliche, it's the line break that comes in heavy handed like "expect a surprise -- right now".
I do think the single line "open. Quit" has linguistic implications. Past me wrote, "The line by itself is interesting because it seems that the dead are saying this -- then the line break completes the line." So I like the line for different reasons now. I don't think the dead are saying "quit" rather being open about the topic "quit" looking for other things in the poem.
Also the line brings on a tone shift which constantly changes throughout. "Quit / running your trap" (aggressive command) -- "Lean / back" (command but I feel a shift from aggressive to cold) "symbiont: / mistletoe" (a shift of the personal to the religious [even if it is mockery]). The tone shifts occur at line breaks which I find chaotic but interesting.
The last line of the poem has a sinister visceral tone, "Come rain. It's the perfect / stopper" Now the line refers to the open mouths and how the healing "water" imagery turns into a suffocation one. I wrote this down in my notes, "This last line is so visceral. Seems like a strong end to an unapologetic 'perfect' ending."