Original poem reprinted online here: "For Mac" by Jack Spicer
Originally read: May 12, 2013
More information about the Poet: Jack Spicer
This is an elegy. The references to death are high, but the execution of how death is looked at shifts with each line. I feel this poem is dependent on line breaks.
I guess a little on line breaks. When I think of line breaks, the usual stance is to break ideas to either over emphasize the last word or the beginning word. Both would be great, but over doing emphasis, perhaps, could unfocus the poem. However, every line here shifts the focus of death and the personal.
The first line, visually, focuses on a dead starfish on the beach, then on the five branches -- then the speaker does away with subtle metaphor and goes direct with, "Representing the five senses / Representing the jokes we did not tell each other."
Past me wrote, "5 jokes," and still, I find the line wonky. However, it's not the actual that's the focus rather the tearing apart the symbol into the direct. Yes, the stream of consciousness leads to this conclusion, but note how personal and direct the poem gets, and then the next line goes further out as if to forgot.
"Call the earth flat / Call other people human / But let this creature lie" Note that the line continues with the thread of of science here. Regardless of belief, or fact or fiction the line wants to let the person himself left alone, but the sentiments shifts.
"Flat upon our senses / like a love" See how the line goes back to the earth, and note how the simile is like a temporary emotional anchor. There's the affirmation that there was a close connection there. And the poem could've stayed in this direction to solidify itself as a definite elegy, but then the line shifts the context again.
"Prefigured in the sea / That died / And went to water" Yes, the poem circles back to the idea of water, but also note that the lines define love. Not the personal kind of love mind you, the kind that washes over like death when expanded upon.
Then the emotions becomes symbolic with "All the oceans / of emotions." A period. The period stops the stream-of-consciousness with "emotion" which symbolizes the tone fluctuations with each line. And within a sentence, the speaker asks sort of a dual question
[...] All the oceans of emotion
are full of such fish
Is this dead one of such importance?
The "one" can refer to Mac. But I would like to add that this is the first mention of fish which is defined as a tumultuously emotional and swims through different emotional meanings and definition -- why is the oceans of emotion full of this type of fish.
Why is this dead one (fish/Mac) of such importance? The speaker tries to peel away the metaphors, but then it's too rough and switches subjects to put new metaphors that are not emotionally stable. Why is this dead one of such importance? Because it's death makes the speaker act the way he does.