Codger, old maid or bone-dry instep, a stagnant silence over cloud
Interior remains sneaking under—yes, me, yes, my polite
Infertility—uncooked acedia, never invulnerable frost
Protects a circle-bare sky or dank reverie of useless yttrium
Yields free under these asses, cool, must remain.
*here, an inversion is a poetic exercise in which one takes a poem (or some portion of a poem) and reforms each word, image or concept into an opposite. so, plainly, black may become white, water morphs into a photograph, or (in the above example) brimstone transubstantiates by way of the mirror to scaly, despairing yttrium, and so on. one must strip away the limits of reason: black does not need to become white, etc. there is no 1:1 relationship in the practice, and, frankly, anything goes: the platypus has no pure opposite. to apply an inversion on a word is usually a trifle, a line can be more difficult. still harder, a stanza or an entire poem as singular unit for reform. one should first thoroughly grasp connotation, denotation, implication, tone, musicality, color, volume, breath, etc., before one is able to charge ahead. the inversion is particularly helpful as an exercise to help break through writer’s block.
above, is an inversion of a work in progress called “Sexualizing Picasso on the Cross”
It’s a gift, reading your smells, the
Oils on long green fingers, distinguished
From the chemical thin residue
Leans, waiting to be pleased
Across yr brow, the sudden spike
Of cheekbones. There’s no
Smell there, despite — Yr hair, swamp alive
& long ago wet, precious &
Fragile. You, an unprintable man
Loved at an impossible distance & when
I close my true brown eyes
Turn my back
Memory like steam flies
Seeping into every crack.
I don’t give a shit
About the jungle
Or your long trek
To profitable madness
As I sound out that place’s strange name
Sweating, mosquito-thick, blood green
Impossible to itch
The machete blade
Turns to coin.
Reminding my shrink of this story
He hands over a live freshwater trout
I really can’t compete.
The thing is wide & white
But bearing a ring of amber
Which carries across memory
_like a whisper-washed hair or
Blade, but I think back on her question
And yes, I am killing myself adoringly
Melting my body to the mat
For this knuckle of pint. When I think
Of her the follies rise,
Precepts enjamb in pain, a sweet round
Aftertaste stalking the long dark nap.
Don’t change a word. You
Are wise & wind torn & yr ears are tuned
Frequencies — the grass whimpers above each follicle
Lip quivering by truth-run conceit. We have
Suffered, but in my ocean, beside your ocean, …