Amy King: I’m The Man Who Loves You

Posted by @ 1:38 pm on May 28th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to write about Amy King’s poetry for some time now and plan on a longer post at a later date. (Click here to go to her blog.) As a non-poet, I find writing about poetry intimidating and as a reader of poetry, I use very loose guidelines in my judgement of poetry. Here are my reasonings, and an Amy King poem:

While discussing my difficulty in judging poetry with my husband, he said something to the effect of “poetry is more like the visual arts in that it’s very subjective and more abstract, whereas fiction is, usually, a narrative and less object like. ” Now, this is a generalization and there are many exceptions. But I said, “exactly”! Thanks husband, for saying what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it because I was half drunk and confused and had a cigarette in my face. So there is that.

Then there is a thread from ages ago where a writer talked about looking at Van Gogh’s paintings to see how he put paint on a canvas. I responded in the comment thread something to the extent that I look at Van Gogh’s painting to experience a gush of the vast beauty and  awe and suffering that is our short lifespan on this mysterious planet. When I read a poem, it is with a similiar eye. This is perhaps because I am not a poet. If I were a poet, I would maybe want to know how, why,  and so forth, the poem is constructed as it is. I do read fiction that way (but not always, I still read with my heart instead of my head quite often). But poetry- it’s just an emotional bath for me for the most part. Just a dip into the soul, a slight massage of the mind, a moment of not watching tennis. And with that, I present you a poem that I like very much:

Our Spirit Animal Shapes

The nails of an honest masculine hand come

to grip beer in a bag with porcelain figure mentality

that others smash across the head

of a beating body, so it’s impatient of me to lethal

and legitimize alone time in your closet

where the evidence is flushed, fondled,

marveled at in cruel fashion & turned into sculpture

for therapeutic benefits. Then hush the blind finger

bandit in that drunken abyss,


I also made some found poems from

Hurricane Katrina because I really just copied down

a few quotation marks and broke them into lines

that abuse the sterile use of deadly events,

minor or major moments American

in peril and complete nudity on the big ticket,

a special economic zone that compounds

personal bias for our spirit animal shapes

to cash in on when you finally come to recognize

the ways in which you pretend and exist on

the same plane, where the remaining us lie to sleep.