Monday, June 27, 2011

a hum dinger

What I like about TR Hummer's poems is that he writes like he hasn't yet figured out the poem was going to end, or what he would wind up thinking as he arranged his line breaks and dashes. His tone is vernacular, characteristic of a true voice addressing you directly.   There is no flatness here, no monotonic hum droning on in a pretense of everyday speak. We have poet who frequently presents his narrators as being in the middle of something, in the thick of things that do not make sense just yet. There is a suggestion that he likes to ponder the nature of what he doesn't know in such as way that he seemingly departs from earth's gravity and skips , instead, on the rings of some oblivion bound orbit, as I believe he is doing with "Ooo Baby Baby", a poem I like quite a bit. That context and set up isn't furnished in the poem are not important here, the glory and grace of the poem begins after the opening line, two people, a speaker and his girlfriend/wife/lover, staring at a blank, black vastness after dark, he speaking in an all allusive way along a string of what-ifs and why-nots, the edge of nothingness seeming to made concrete . There is a sensation here, a mixture of exhilaration, fear, attraction and vertigo as the speaker dispenses with his knowledge of the given--this is a lake we are looking at after dark, those are paper lanterns, you and have history --and I would say that what Hummer is considering are the kinds of seductions that commence once the active mind is t taken with an incredible , unthinkable idea.

Hummer has emotion aplenty, and the sense of longing and yearning for less nuanced times is tangible; he is, however, an artist, and combines a writer's restraint with the emotion he is trying to convey. This, I think, gives the reader more to discuss--the art of what was almost, the art of what was skillfully suggested--than a boiler plate expression of unremarkable poesy would.

This is very much a poem of over thinking a situation but that, I believe, is precisely the point, as these thoughts are not an argument made with metaphors to support a supposition toward a metaphysical construct, but instead a fluid stream of associations that are precisely liquid, seamless, seductive in their idea that just as we can imagine that what we know of the world might, in some twisting of the language, can be made to be composed of materials other than what's assumed to be the fact, it is equally as powerful to conceptualize existence being constructed on nothing what so ever . This world, Hummer's narrator appears to be getting at, is composed of those comforts and solaces we find and remember and manage to construct a life worth living out of it, paper lanterns, beach sex, Smoky Robinson and all. This poem is a nicely contained abstract of an imagination that seems entirely capable of being seduced by its manic swerves into the illogic of  a less interesting conundrum/

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