THIS IS AN ORANGE
Maybe, instead, there is a basset hound here, all sad eyes and baggy. Or a piece of luggage. One black speck on a white page. A classic car. Whatever it is, it is singular, complete in itself.
Anything you infer, you infer from the thing and what you know about things like that.
Now, in proximity, there is a second object. Maybe it is a pear. Maybe a video of someone running in the rain. Whatever it is, it isn’t the first. Can you think of either without your thoughts being influenced by the pairing?
Okay? Here we go then.
Begin with an abstract, meaningless title. Composition #1. Something like that.
Write a five-line stanza. Complete in itself.
Then write a second, also five-line, stanza (It would be nice if the lines were of a similar length, but it’s unnecessary). This is the apple to the orange. Or the basset hound to the orange. Other than the length of your stanzas and the fact that they appear under one title, there should be no apparent connection.
Can you do this in such a way that a reader wants to make connections? Takes pleasure in the individual poem-stanzas, but more in the process of thinking about how they might relate? Doesn’t want to wring your neck?
This is hard work, but it is—really, when you think about it—what you are always asking your reader: connect these two words, these two ideas (come on, you idiot, what do you mean you don’t see the connection—it is plain as day. To me)
You want to be aware. Of what you are doing. Of what you are asking of your reader. This exercise is to make it plain to all of us that we aren’t just doing what we do for the pleasure of making squiggles appear on the screen/paper.
We will come back to this exercise. Yes, my pretties, we will.