Copy Cat - Poem by gershon hepner
Seduced by other writers, I repay
their compliments, and attempt seduction by
completing, in my own near-loving way,
the works they have abandoned, as I try
engaging them, although they’re unaware
that I exist, and put my words into
their mouths. It is my tongue I make them share:
creating an erotic rendez-vous
between their words and mine, producing
responses to their works that I hope would thrill them
as much as theirs thrilled me, seduced, seducing
harmlessly––what they don’t know won’t kill them.
Drenching like the drips from leaky faucets,
my words top up the inspiration that,
since unrestricted by linguistic corsets,
provides the copy for this copy cat.
Inspired by Janet Maslin’s review of Billy Collins’s “Ballistics” (“Tripping To and Fro, Happily Skewering Poetry, ” NYT, October 2,2008) :
“January in Paris” finds erotic possibilities in the daydream of seducing one of Valéry’s abandoned, unfinished poems and finishing her. (Never mind how. “It is enough to know that I moved my pen/in such a way as to bring her to completion.”) This act leaves Mr. Collins satisfied enough to be “blowing smoke from a cigarette at dawn.”..
Among poems about language here, the pièce de résistance is “Tension, ” which takes off from a writing manual’s advice that the word “suddenly” should not be used arbitrarily to create tension. So:
Who could tell what the next moment would hold?
another drip from the faucet?
another little spasm of the second hand?
Would the painting of a bowl of pears continue
to hang on the wall from that nail?
Would the heavy anthologies remain on their shelves?
Would the stove hold its position?
Suddenly, it was anyone’s guess.
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