View Full Version : Rate-a-Poem: Woebegone

William Haskins
12-07-2005, 05:00 AM
By Yusef Komunyakaa (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/books/features/19980830.htm)


We pierce tongue
& eyebrow, foreskin
& nipple, as if threading wishes
on gutstring. Gold bead
& question mark hook
into loopholes & slip
through. We kiss
like tiny branding irons.
Loved ones guard words
of praise, & demigods mortgage
nighttime. Beneath bruised
glamor, we say, "I'll show
how much I love by
how many scars I wear."
As we steal the last
drops of anger, what can we
inherit from Clarksdale's blue
tenements? Medieval & modern,
one martyr strokes another
till Torquemada rises.
We trade bouquets
of lousewort, not for the red
blooms & loud perfume,
but for the lovely spikes.

12-07-2005, 05:35 AM
OK, I have to admit, I don't know what Clarksdale's blue tenements might be, nor do I understand anything about Torquemada rising and martyrs stroking...well, I do get the martyr part actually. Anyway, this feels like it could be a good poem if I was more clued in.:Shrug:
But I gave it a three because it compelled me to peruse further.

12-08-2005, 01:25 AM
I gave it a 5. It has what I like in poetry, pain, humor, irony, minimal, and it is real. Plus I relate to it, even though my ears are the only thing I have pierced so far. Unless you count my heart...
I think this one to be more in the style of William, I could be wrong.

12-08-2005, 01:37 AM
Sometimes the mood of the reader will sway, probably too much, an assessment. My eyes kept skipping forward and not only could I not hold the thread, I couldn't be bothered to look for it. This one didn't exert any pull on me whatsoever.

12-08-2005, 05:25 AM
This would be a 4.5 from me. Like Paint, I admire the minimalist -
probably because I'm not one. I'm leery of granting a 5 - perfection - I'm still looking. Creation is a tough act to follow.

07-08-2014, 06:17 AM
Amazing as usual, but it doesn't beat some of his others. For knowing The Neon Vernacular, it is really hard to avoid measuring his latest against Thanks, Water Buffalo, You and I Are Disappearing, and Facing It. He never ceases to be amazing.

I would pay, any day, to hear Yusef read. I would buy a concert t-shirt, if available and camp out for tickets.

William Haskins
07-08-2014, 06:19 AM
goddamn. it's been almost 10 years since i posted that...

07-08-2014, 06:23 AM
He is my favorite poet who is still alive. I hope he will travel down here soon to read. Last I heard, he was teaching at NYU.

Me: trolling the poetry posts...