Monday, April 8, 2013

Analysis of "Off Lows, Weakness Remains: Meditation #3" by Susan Briante

Original poem reprinted online here:  "Off Lows, Weakness Remains: Meditation #3" by Susan Briante
Originally read: January 16, 2013
More information about the Poet:  Susan Briante

DIY means do it yourself.  Knowing this now (rather than before when I only had a dictionary) turns the poem a bit more for me in a certain direction.  However, I want to quote what I wrote earlier about this poem:

"Reassurance of self in a parking lot - or rather 'everyone else' there is no talk of the speaker or you -- in this way -- the ambiguous advice serves as prophetic.  I wonder in a different form, maybe avant or traditional, does  (can) the same message get across ... and how or if one side dilutes more than the other an in what way?"

Well that's more deep than I though.  When I reread the poem I noted that the "you" is definitely referring to the speaker, and there's a sense of madness the more and more the speaker tries to "calm" him/herself down.  I created a narrative in my mind of a person who is tired of life -- not in the suicidal depressing way, but more of "what do I do now way."

I'll have to admit that the way the speaker is writing/thinking is the most realistic way, I feel, depicts someone at the end of their rope.  And, I've done the exact same scene once or twice before.

Anyway, the technique used here is quite interesting.  The italics mention the thought process however I found it comical the first read -- like trying to tell yourself to stay calm, but by saying stay calm you continue to panic -- it's more of hindsight humor.

But the poem sets up this type of humer. The poem opens up with, "PartyStore/PierOne/Target/Kohl's parking lot" the disarray represented here is short, and I feel, comical.  So automatically for me as a reader, I think all short list are comical.

So when I get to the end of the poem: the over-exaggeration of sound and image, "blood blister rising on your thumb."  The usage of archaic wording, "Lo!" did not prepare me for the zen like ending, "everyone crawls before flight."  And then I'm torn whether to take the zen thing seriously or not.  I'm not sure.

Also getting back to DIY.  Yes, initially I thought it was a hipster phrase like yolo or swag.  But in a serious context it's reminding the self that the self can make it.

I think the key, looking back at this poem for me, is the word "Meditation" in the title.  There's freeform thought, humor mixed with seriousness (sometimes separate, sometimes together), and there's a zen koanic ending.  This poem follows a certain pattern without being formulaic.

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