Original poem reprinted online here: "In Ripe Wilderness" by Bill Rasmovicz
Originally read: September 11, 2013
More information about the Poet: Bill Rasmovicz
There's different things the speaker references and addresses in the poem: body, "you," self, speaker. There is also mix of image, rhetoric, and tone which ties with shift of who is addressed.
"There is blood so red it is black, horns / that double back to pierce their fecund animal source." With this opening sentence the speaker addresses a setting -- color shift to a darker shade and the word phrase of "double back" used for scene and a foreshadowing device. The speaker addresses the Wilderness.
"Outside, workers dig a pit / exposing the infrastructure, the hairline fracture and rusted main." Then the shift is not necessarily only people, but people in nature and it's a nod toward structure: "infrastructure," "hairline fracture" "rusted main. Know that the descriptors are on the macro level.
"If you concentrate, can you feel yourself in / your sinuses, your spine?" These lines, like the previous one, doesn't necessarily address the body, but individual descriptors asking the "you" if he or she could feel individual aspects. The shift is slightly here -- however, the macro is the feel, while the micro is the individual parts.
"Made of alabaster the body would be lighter." Play on language -- color/weight. A shift of focus in language continues.
"In ripe wilderness (and I remember this clearly) where a man / slices his finger in the field amidst / the hare's entrails & bloody mess certain greens" Note that these three lines are more image centeric, also note that the line "In ripe wilderness" indicates that the previous lines reference the setting, now the speaker is describing withing (note the strength of the verb upcoming).
"emerge from other greens, truth / from THE TRUTH distinguishes itself." High rhetoric here. What is the difference between "truth" and "THE TRUTH"?
"Underfuckingestimated: the czarina in her brittle white coat, / loosestrife to propagate the tire tracks." Note the hug shift in language and tone here. The shift is on language. Who is the speaker addressing here? The tone of anger continues to build in obvious and subtle ways.
"Liquids heavier than water pool on the ocean floor / so that, while submerged, further submergence is possible." Rhetoric but note the only reference to liquid here is "blood" which could equate to "THE TRUTH" and note the violence of the language and the imagery has toned down. But this image is separating two different ideas. The submerged.
"Years a person could go on with the head / sub or even unconscious." The motivation to go without a mind, "At 20 below the nose hairs freeze into icy little slivers" Language of preservation in the most violent images.
"Dear intimates of the past and present, sorry for not loving you / more. Sad sunset, your melancholy here." And emotional core is note the truth, rather the admittance of something personal, but look at how the language twists a bit to the cynical by making fun of the same emotion from a "you" perspective with "Your melancholy here." This language, the focus on the micro, the violence comes to a head at the end stanza:
Equip us with feathers, hollow out the bones until they become
meager enough to float.
A man ventures into the world with a jacket and keys
and thinks that world his.
The key is "float" in the first sentence -- there's the expectation that from parts the whole can float. But this idea is turned with the second sentence where the key word for me is "that" the specificity of the world the speaker created and the idea of the man, only with simple things, could claim ownership, Is this the truth. Probably.