Original poem reprinted online here: "I Write You This on a Train Named for an Endangered Bird" by Kyle McCord
Originally read: January 17, 2013
More information about the Poet: Kyle McCord
After rereading this, I'm trying to figure out what the name of the endangered bird is. The funny thing is is that the name of the bird is not important -- rather it's the loose end that's not answered in the poem.
However, the whole question/answer, call/response idea doesn't come into effect until after the poem is done. When I first read this poem, I felt this poem was only a stream-of-consciousness poem where the focus was entirely the directions the ideas were going. For example, "like pitting your protagonist against an all-knowing, all-seeing jaguar spirit." which I past me thought was funny.
Now I realize that this poem deals with duality not only scene wise, but within the language itself. Note how there's a separation between the first sentence and the simile. How story's can't begin and the contrast. The similes start to meld with each scene abstraction like immortality.
Then the poem brings in only middle of a stories for each sentence: Unemployed brother-in-law, Jeremy A getting a blow job, a religious reference "bread on tongue." What's "missing" here is exposition to create context for these separate stories; therefore, it's hard to see them connected at all and just jumps in the stream-of-consciousnes.
But the poem turns meta with this rhetorical question, "Why should it mean less?" "It" being an ambiguous noun could mean the scenes, the poem, or the speaker's direct experience before this line. In any case, the speaker ties up some loose ends -- "what happens next" or at least tries to. A reconnection between Jeremy A and the girl.
Then the speaker stops. This line is a strong kind of summary line, "What doe you want from any of us, reader? Elegy? Epiphany?" It's as if the speaker knew the direction he was going and wanted to stop there. I like the last line even though it's a bit aggro toward the "reader" (perhaps self as well -- but the speaker mostly addresses the reader).
The last line of the poem -- connecting back to Hamlet, is a waste for me. Past me don't write anything about the last line. It's just for me that there's a wink and a nudge within the last line referring back to Hamlet like writers have no choice but to try to connect aspects of a line together so the reader can get something out of the poem. It's a smart line that hinges on the sentimental, get's away with the sentimental but comes off overly smart.