Monday, January 19, 2015

Analysis of "The Long Hand Wishes It Was Used" by Jackie Clark

Poem Found Here:  "The Long Hand Wishes It Was Used" by Jackie Clark


"Sometimes I wish I didn't think in words".  For me, this is a powerful opening line that holds potential emotional weight: wishing for something so mundane as words, but so complex as thought.  But instead of words, what?  The following three lines add a cumulative effect, not only how to think, but also the technique of repeating "and" to put a simple addition:

     and that instead for each thought I thought I drew upon an image,
     and that I was able to organize each image in a linear way that would be like sort of like reading
     and that instead of trying to describe the edges around something
     I could just think of the color around the edges of the image to be darker,

So the cumulative effect focuses on the concept of lines -- the border of the image.  To "organize each image in a linear way that would be like sort of like reading" adds to things that builds: 1) The linear way of thinking about things -- the lack of multiple signified and signifiers, just singular, and the phrasing to not be concrete -- like reading -- as thought there is something more or less in this process.

Which is actually both, only thinking about the edges and focusing on the tint (darker) edges gets the concept down -- a simple outline, but not the complexities like, "For instance, instead of saying love, I could just think watermelon / I could just think of a watermelon cut in half, lying open on a picnic table."  So far the connection seems personal with the idea and outline of a watermelon -- something open and public, "The inside would be just as moist as it was pink" and then a heavy implication to another signifier.  This is inescapable as the mind, or at least this speaker's mind, continues to assemble edges:

     I could picture cutting up pieces and giving them out to my friends.
     It wouldn't have to be sunny
     It wouldn't have to be anything else then just that
     It would really simplify my walk home at night

The definition verbs don't really add together, unless the speaker refers to images as something to cut up in pieces.  The transition to time doesn't flow with the poem.  And I understand that this might be a transition to images with the negation of the prerequisite of "sunny" or "anything else," but what does this add to the concept, nothing, this adds to the speaker who is then able to "simplify" a simple task -- walking home at night.

And what wouldn't be on the speaker's mind, "every thought I think is contrived line I repeat over and over to myself."  An unending cycle of just words -- words not images, "Words are always just replaced with new ones."  Language, no matter how open, are just static images and not, "The pictures would never need to know otherwise" -- alive, moving, something that elicits the emotions.  Words, when thought on repeat, are just repeated words.

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