— after Chris Lofting, for Edwin Torres
What visible corporeal form does this poet present?
In what traditional nuances does she come “dressed”?
Does she suggest a hidden half-life of carefully maintained traditions?
Or does she eschew these nuances,
in favor of breaking off relations with the past?
If so, do earlier assertions lose their verity?
If not, is there a fraught relationship with the past?
Does this poet successfully express “commence”?
Does she stand up without weakness to say her piece,
ignoring criticisms or challenges to her origin story?
Does she demonstrate the ability to successfully streamline
the long history of prosody into the treasured figure
of a golden human woman with kitten hands?
How does this poet reveal her basic nature,
her mortal wound?
Is it through her choice of dog?
And does that choice reveal (perhaps unwittingly) that, at nightfall,
her mind is too-often beset with danger and blame,
and wondering about that wavering light behind the viaduct?
Does the inclusion of a viaduct support an as-yet-undeveloped
theory of beauty?
If so, what is her relation, if any, to beauty?
From what mud has this poet arisen, or
from what known or as-yet-undiscovered star has she descended?
How does she “sprout”?
How does her dog “sprout”?
Does her dog “sprout”?
Are there inevitable entanglements with syntactical intention
that this poet successfully manages to avoid?
If not, what are the unfortunate consequences?
Is she so deeply in disagreement with her own sentience
that she fails to teach social skills, the patience for opportunity,
the ability to recognize and negotiate subtle gateways?
How does she compromise/express uniformity, or at least meet halfway
the need for the establishment of such gateways?
Does she successfully compete in free-market fashion
while keeping the engine of her competition hidden?
What is her relation, if any, to beauty?
Does she seem to suggest the quantifying of such an unstable,
unreliable (and even vilifying) property as beauty?
First of all, does she even suggest an instability?
Does she lay personal claim to unquantifiability?
Are any properties at all suggested?
Or does she automatically devolve to mirroring?
If so, is there a hidden meaning in the mirroring,
and by what methods (grounded in the text or otherwise located)
can it be accurately gleaned?
Does she suggest the presence of a body crown?
and then provide specific guidances about how to ground,
frame, and then leverage that body crown for greater gains?
Can she adequately assess, then communicate —
in normative syntax, with a clear purview —
the purpose and worth of her own (markedly obvious) body crown?
And can she successfully balance that crown against the pure gold
of tradition, spun from air?
Does she make small gains that can be noticed, tracked?
And is this because of some carefully preserved piquant fragment
of a fraught past?
Does this fragment allow her to provide, without fanfare, and little preparation,
her own humble supper?
Does it confer the ability to traverse a thorny path carefully, gracefully,
and, while navigating, maintain balance and harmony
in the midst of sudden, irreversible — even tragic —
changes to the landscape?
Can this poet’s many obstacles,
so obviously and firmly set, and working against one another,
maintain a unified field, or at least work to neutralize unexpected attacks
from hostile, outside sources, on the poet’s core beliefs?
Can these obstacles, through their own natures and mortal wounds,
express empathy with readers both hostile to and in sync with \
this poet’s basic aims?
Does this poet insult, consciously or unconsciously, the like-minded?
Can it be suggested that she try to prevent this?
If so, what form would the suggestion take?
Since something is to be accomplished, is it necessary
that she have “friends”?
Can these “friends” suggest judicious choices regarding
the density of a center,
and the successful deploying all “ghost words” cleverly
from that center?
Can they suggest that this poet’s center pragmatically oversee all
“ghost word operations,” successfully managing antithetical stimuli
so that these stimuli push the poet’s ideology forward effectively,
without giving offense, so that nothing
How do these ideas identify as “friends”?
Especially as relating to a fraught past (if any; this has not yet been determined).
Would a clear-cut ideology of friends allow words to accrue
(naturally or unnaturally) to actual facts?
Can these ideas-as-friends-as-facts successfully riverboat all ideologies
without exception, and additionally, with appropriate breadth, purity
and sustaining power,
affirm that the poet’s innate enmities will not froth continually forth against
her principle expression?
In spite of these innate enmities, does this poet manage to find, express,
and celebrate a faith?
And if so, what is that faith?
Can the faith be expressed succinctly, gracefully in dependable,
Or is it a “faith” counter to the essential principles of forward-moving time?
Does the “faith” question chronos? Elevate kairos?
If no, or if so, how does the poet correct this corruption?
Indeed, does she even successfully express this kind of dichotomy
as a corruption?
Is this poet “successful”?
Is this poet “beautiful”?
Does this poet express “value”?
Does she acquiesce sufficiently to the low,
defer appropriately to the high?
Reflect precise cognizance of her station?
Does this poet actively elicit admiration,
or passively attract by innuendo, association?
Does she “housekeep” properly,
clearing chaff before incorporating wheat?
Are those fragrant boughs on her threshold?
Do those boughs “add value”?
Does this poet engage in a non-located, disembodied spiritual ethos,
providing little or no solutions to our lives’ demands?
Is this her way of expressing — indeed experiencing —
states of mind that are exceedingly seductive, even addictive?
Is this poet “addicted”?
And, if so, is she successfully “addicted”?
Will this poet move politely beyond what is required?
Or will she “showboat?” “crow?” “grandstand?” “badger?” “preen”?
Can she express her excess per established mainstream conventions?
If no, how might she ultimately assert containment/control?
And will she add normative, recognizable value to that control?
If so, does her work let slip the idea that she believes that control
to be “beautiful”?
Does this poet “woo” you with a restrained enticement?
Or does she draw you in, potential compeer, by enticing with
a practiced, crafted insouciance?
Is this poet lying to/using/exploiting you?
Is she asking too much of her interlocutor, her responder?
Or is her interlocutor/responder projecting personal issues neither contained
nor addressed by the poet,
but rather issues related to, for example, an untended relationship
with a needy parent?
Does this poet bring something — anything — into the light?
And is this light a fair trope that can be described, pointed to, aimed at?
Would you say that the phrase “Omni quae sunt, lumina sunt”
is a valid assessment of the light’s role vis a vis the poet?
Does the poet know how to protect this light if the light feels
it lies unprotected as it has not yet come into its time?
Does the light exit the precincts of the poet insulted?
Why has the poet violated the light’s role?
Does the poet believe that insulting her (admittedly) chosen, fair trope of light
adds normative, recognizable value?
Can these missteps — if indeed they be missteps —
be successfully corrected?
Does this poet have the ability to gracefully deploy rigid structure
as a form of surface tension release?
Can she “mirror” or effectively deal with opposition?
Does she obstruct, go against, stand up to, the general flow?
What is her position with regard to the flow?
(And the flow’s position regarding the poet?)
Is there a stand-off?
Is the stand-off obstinate? Flawed?
Or a necessary enhancement of value?
Can the stand-off be pressed upon to yield?
Or should this poet ultimately be forced to release the stand-off
through a faux-relaxed structure plan, attainable within, say,
three or four stanzaic elements?
And can the stand-off be asked to track changes
in the poet’s will-to-change?
Is the will-to-change too much to expect of this poet?
Does this poet exhibit a will-to-change?
Will this poet ever achieve normative, recognizable value?
Will she someday “seed” her meanings successfully?
Is she fated to always become overly entangled with something/someone?
Can she learn to remain integrated within her own context,
either by the subtle hand of craftmanship
or strenous slave-master boundary effort?
Is the life of this poet already delimited?
From where does she get her nutrition?
How does she express conversion from the raw to the cooked,
vulgar to sacrosanct?
Has she ever genuflected, bestowed roses?
How does this poet express discernment, gradual development, maturity?
Has she expended her energy too soon?
Is her natural exuberance completely shot?
What happened to her original radiance, her abundance overflowing?
What complications dictated her choice of dog?
What complications were the result?
Did this poet express her goals too intensely?
Did she standardise?
Did she fail to express empathy?
Did she not successfully protect a soft core by fronting a hard exterior?
If so, has this poet “failed”?
Did this poet ever, at any point, “get it right?”
And if she does, does she do so by engaging in focused, framed self-sabotage,
rejecting the work of making things clear,
eschewing her (purported) goal of revealing the roots of foolishness
by gently dispeling the cloud of unknowing?
Despite her flaws, her wrongs, her sins against convention and taste,
can she still cultivate a reader and become, ultimately,
through a “Pontius Pilate’s mosquito” sort of notoriety, influential?
Is the value of this poet simply that she enables engagement?
That she demonstrates the capacity to be present and open,
not grasping at or rejecting either presence or the transcendence of presence,
and thus her openness remains (and retains) a natural adjectival sublime?
Should this poet continue to strive for success
despite her aggressive actions against agency,
her obsessive reanimations of highly personal pied moments,
the consistent shifting of her attentions away
from an immediately visible, comprehensible form
to a postponed instress of questionabily pleasurable shock?
Should she blame herself for her failure to cause a bear to appear,
her lack of a proper dog?
And if that failure indeed rests upon the lack of a proper dog,
what dog would be the right dog?
From what kennel, if any, would it come?
And can that lack be remedied?
Ultimately, could it be?
In a final assessment, should it be?