Original poem reprinted online here: "Once" by Michelle Gil-Montero
Originally read: September 7, 2013
More information about the Poet: Michelle Gil-Montero
Literal. The first stanza is literal, "Once again begins / with once." But this is not a poem about showing things as they are -- the poem is too short for that sort of statement; rather, the poem plays with the idea of "once," not the meaning, but usage which is also used one more time in this poem.
Meanwhile, note how "once" continues to operate, "Then crunches underfoot / The always" not the sonic attribute attached to the once, and then, "Unseasonable yellow / Leaves / And restlessness" here's the trick look at "Leaves" more of the pun than the image. Here the "way" once is used in the poem -- to de-synchronize images and meaning here through images and colors that lead to nowhere, but note this -- these images and techniques are used only once.
And once again
Like charts accruing moons
At different degrees
Note here that the instance of the simile here has more attention to as a focus, but it's another way of describing "once" through a simile that gives more of a times reference which is followed through with the lines, "It is a time of many / Half -thoughts / Quick-edged as cut-outs" and here is a play of rhetoric in which the simile affirms a sense of repetition and how they end up going nowhere or "half-thoughts" or in this case half-techniques.
The last three lines are the more relatable lines since this is the only place in the poem that refers to the speaker:
Once my window is a book
Of esoteric recipes
Past me noted the lack of punctuation here as well. And here is also another note about how the last "line" is a metaphor. The recipes is an interesting word to place here because there is the separation of technical ingredients to make this poem. I'm probably one to not understand a poem like this, so the esoteric can refer to me as a reader, or the speaker and the relationship to the recipes.
In whatever case, the idea of once is explored here on multiple levels.