Friday’s Poem 11/20/2009: The Body’s Hunger

21 Nov

* poof *


3 Responses to “Friday’s Poem 11/20/2009: The Body’s Hunger”

  1. Mark Olague November 21, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    Joanna, I like the poem a lot. It reminds me of a Louis Gluck poem I read in the New Yorker once, about a bunch of teenagers exploring/starting their sexuality but her’s takes place at a watering hole in upstate New York, but it has some of the same sentiments.

    I have a few technical suggestions (you can take them for what they’re worth–not much–but what the heck): in the third line, I think the poem reads better if you keep with the infinitives”…to drink and to fuck and to drill…”

    The phrase “geography and ambition.” I’m not sure if “geography” (though fine) is as semantically rich as perhaps another word. Since it seems that for some of the subjects in the poem, ambition will compel them to leave the place in the poem and the moment these new lovers are sharing, geography is not really a “cause” of their leaving each other but an effect. In other words: their ambition will create geograpical distance, geography is not really paired evenly with ambition. Also, geography is concrete while ambition is abstract. “Distance” seems to be what I’m thinking but perhaps you were thinking something different with the phrase though.
    As for the ending, I think it’s perfect. I like the image of the cigarette butts mapping the spot. Maybe, though I realy think it’s fine as it is, you might substitute a more for the word “mark,” something more suggestive of the entire poem. I don’t know what that would be but it seems whatever it is has the potential of underscoring the a lot of the sentiments of the poem. I kept hearing the word “survives” but again, maybe you had something else in mind.
    But I think the poem is great, really. I really enjoyed reading and thinking about it.


    • thatjhoanna November 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

      Thanks for the comments, Mark. I like your point about “geography” not being the right word–I’ll take a closer look at that line. I wrote this poem about a year ago, spurred on by a trip outside of Manhattan to visit a friend, and I just loved the experience of riding these old train lines. There’s something almost haunted and eerie about the way they cut through towns, how these graffitied passageways filter past the train riders. I’ve been doing a lot of revision lately, cutting words and whole lines from poems, so your thoughts are really helpful.

      • Mark Olague November 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

        I think the train, distance, and travel motif is definitely there. The parallel imagery and phrasing of the “trains gripping the rails” with sex is perfect, brilliant really. For some reason, I thought of all these old Blues songs which always have this metaphor for lost love as trains departing stations. Well, that’s what I thought about.

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