Once again, a little late, but here it is: the fourth in this series of ‘revisited poems’.
As noted in the first three of these ‘From the Vault’ posts, I’ve always been a compulsive revisor of poems. Lately, I’ve been consciously re-visiting (and subsequently revising) a number of older poems.
In some cases, the revisions are as minor as a punctuation change; others involve different physical presentations like a new breaking of lines or an overhauled stanzaic pattern / approach. There are also pieces that underwent more substantial renovation.
Below is an updated version of a poem (from a series of WWI-inspired poems) that first appeared in a number of the early manuscript versions of A Ruckus of Awkward Stacking (Insomniac Press, 2000), but which was excised from the final version of the published collection. That’s all to say it’s perhaps been published in a lit journal at some point, but may also be completely unpublished, aside from an appearance (in a quite different form) in my UNB thesis.
The re-writing here included major alternations of both content and rhythm, not to mention substantiallty different line breaks. Truthfully, it’s a completely re-designed piece on the same theme, with the same title.
it’s all a rough magic, this
rifleman’s trick. this cool stepping
down behind curtained clay, shoulders
coated in folds, momentarily. it’s a false
ducking, of course; a coarse
duck-boarded crouch. a dank, tailored
mess; a consumption, for show.
so: close up: camera one…
cue the lights, hold your breath :
appearing now at stage centre, or right,
and/or left: the overhead antics of
near-human confetti that’s utterly
peerless. (save the ticker-taped encores
they’ll stand for at home, while
we houdinis lie khakied – plank still, all
decked out – and wait to out-do ourselves,
once more, yet again; to shed these,
our boxes. to emerge, wholly men.)