Poemblot (as in inkblot) is a new feature where a general reader (i.e. someone who does not have an educational or professional background in writing or literature) is shown a poem and asked to offer an immediate impression. The reader reads the poem no more than twice and is not given any instruction on how to read it or information about the author. One of the purposes of Poemblot is to explore the different perceptions and assumptions readers bring to a text. The readers' full names will not be shared to protect them from rampaging, ego-bruised poets on social media. Instead we'll offer some basic background information and a representational photo provided by each reader as a framework for who they are.
Occupation: Title Insurance Agent
Favorite Book: Franny and Zooey
Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction
Favorite TV Show: Chef! [old BBC comedy]
Favorite Song: “Boogie Street” [L. Cohen]
Snow-White in the Sky with Diamonds
Or, what was in that apple, anyway?
BY BRENT TERRY
Once upon a time, I awoke from a sleep enhanced
by animators. Ghosts, I think, and green goo
on my pillow—ectoplasm, possibly, or maybe just snot.
It was so dark in there! Fairy lights like electric spider-
webs spanned my synapses, making more festive
those scary swinging bridges. Dwarf-sconces glow-
wormed the cataracts my thoughts got lost in, hi-ho,
and in the orchards the low-hanging fruit had all
been plucked, but higher up, the trees
were still festooned with sweeter glories. I sang
just to see the echoes: Mott the Hoople, and all the young
dudes covered with Stardust: androgynous dandruff
headshook from the gods of glam—lightning bugs
blizzarding the conga-line like sentient gemstones.
Little blue-bird. Little Miles Davis. Little lustrous hue.
The houseboy is called Mescalito. He brings
me porridge and espresso, wears a serape, a lysergic smile.
The dwarves, one for each day of the week,
think he’s a hippie, but dig his café, then dig like little
motherfuckers. Each Care Bear is a color of the rainbow.
Do they really exist, my Dwarves? Does it matter?
They sing, they bring me emeralds; rubies; my dreams
starhung with amethysts, and someday my Prince will come.
My purple reign, my pretty paisley pillow.
Diane C.’s Immediate Impressions
1. What strikes you most about this poem? Does reading it bring up any thoughts, emotions or sensations?
My first thought was “Hey, that’s a Beatle line!” Then I realized that the poem is a disjointed mix of memories from the 70s, set in an acid trip. I don’t like Care Bears so my feeling of connection with the trip was screwed when they entered. I tried to get over it, but I really don’t like Care Bears.
2. What do you like most about this poem?
I liked visualizing the inside of her brain on acid. She made me hear the little riffs and see the lights.
3. What do you like least about this poem?
The rainbow Care Bears.
4. Before reading any poem, do you come to it with certain expectations? If so, does this particular poem meet those expectations? Does your expectations affect your opinion of this poem?
Well, I do come to all poems with the expectation of word craft. I like word as an art form, but I don’t think I’m snobby about it. I felt bad because this poem was disappointing and I had hoped to like it. I like poetry and rarely find a poem I don’t enjoy. I just didn’t see word craft in this piece. The poem reads like morning notes jotted down to remember a dream. It was an interesting dream, but not a good poem, in my non-poet, but like to read poems perspective.
5. Does this poem make you want to read more poems?
I’d like to read a few more poems from this poet just to see if this piece was a fluke and maybe I’d like some other work. In general reading any poetry makes me want to read more poems.