Fall 2009 / Issues / Poetry 2009 / Volume 40

How to Approach Visual Poetry — Linda Back McKay

Somebody hunkers

in front of a fireplace.

Somebody else

is knitting a sweater.

Nobody is listening.

Not to the sheep bells,

not to the blaring

angle of geese.

Not even to the fire’s

crick and crackle.

Certainly not

to each other.

In the book somebody

is reading, the letters

line up on the page

until it is shaken

and the words fall

into puddles of consonants

and vowels.

No trowel is handed

over to mop up

the mess. I guess

it is acceptable,

the letters

congealed on the floor.

Then somebody throws

a bucket of pain

into the mix

and walks through it.

Footprints in text

and texture. Stay

with me and follow

this through.

Patience is required,

as is appetite,

generosity and a great

deal of vision.

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