Monday, January 09, 2006

"Yes! this car was stolen"           [dark-side sonnet #1]

[ alternate title: The Eloquent Car-Thief ]

Yes!   this car was stolen   now it's mine
from this   you might infer   I am the thief
but let's not jump so hastily   there's time
to inch our way conclusion-ward   the chief

concern I have is   please!   don't try to shout
(I'd only need to bind the kerchief tighter)
indeed   the car has doors   but don't get out!
(I'll be a keeper here   as well as finder)

this used to be your car you say?   amazing!
this used to be a face that could display
surprise at such a sudden change   it's dazing
I guess   the way a mere revolver may

evince persuasive discourse from a bloke
whose bicycle (& bank-book too) were broke

A note on origins:

The first line of this sonnet is borrowed (or if you prefer, purloined) from Jugal Mody, hereby thanked. Not just a line, the line is itself an entire story -- as he, with it, proposes to launch a genre of one-line story. The original (for the record) reads like this:
[Nanofiction] -- Car

Yes, this car WAS stolen. Now it's mine.
I noticed it's not only a one-line story; it's also written in iambic pentameter. A consequence of this second observation is now laid before your gaze. Seemingly the sonnet offers a curious medium for expressions of imagined characters from (what we may, in shorthand, call) the dark side of life & society. I'm not sure if I'll want to develop this potential literary line very far; I'm not certain what I think of it!

Nonetheless, am posting this specimen, with the notion I might at some point (as a divertissement) try some further take on the possibly-nascent, second-tier (if not to say back alley) genre.

comment: what I find rather chilling about this oddment of an exercise, is how easily the bullying & aggressive violence of the persona seems to fit into the suave glove of the sonnet's rhetoric. This fit strikes me as both curious & unsettling. Nevertheless (or perhaps relatedly), this mix of elements seems to amount to a nexus of contraditions with some comic (indeed mordant) potential. Comedy thrives, I guess, on various forms of inherent irony. In this case, the form itself -- and not merely the car (& its occupant) -- has been comandeered. Yes, the sonnet, whose essence should be gentility, has here suffered a kind of pushy takeover. But the takeover (in its exaggerations) might remind how ambiguous could seem (perhaps viewed from the wrong side of the telescope) all the elements of gentility that the sonnet itself, at best, nobly embodies (or, at less-than-best [and this may now come close to the essential point of the thing], merely purports & fondly imagines itself to embody).

On another hand, the feeling of affront (whatever amusement notwithstanding) that this eloquent [faux-eloquent? -- no, an unnecessary distinction] expression of the lower (selfish) nature perhaps (also) occasions, underlines (I'd hazard) the delight & relief one can experience if & when genuinely granted access to arenas of thought, feeling & expression that are (rather miraculously) not burdened by the dead (& deadening) weight of the ego (& all its paraphernalia). So: this is an anti-sonnet with an anti-hero. For me at least, it still illuminates (through its negative irony) the meaningful beauty of the original, -- or original possibility -- of a noble, selfless realm of loving (and lovingly eloquent) expression.

In some ways, the poem perhaps plays upon what we might call "the problem of sincerity" (though it doesn't really go any distance toward "solving" it).


Index (with links) to sonnets on this blog is here.


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