Eleven Summer Salts

Eleven Summer Salts
by Halifax
Stapled hallways packed with lines crooked forming
Flush red and sweet saline tells of exertions
Recessed, distressed new minds & bodies working
Lead press passes portals to other stages.
Glancing back on final weeks of big August sun
Residue of freedom wasted in repose
Pours rich off the thin skin, scabs, and fetored hair
All-consumed consuming the tips of clipped wings.
Paper blank waits to join the digesting feast
Made to still, they make lines from ranging thought
Pure and filthy bind into concrete words
Ink-scented or graphite hard, the paper yields.
Numbering success and valuing process
Leaders lead through portal stages and scissors
Clipping tips to feed minds and tired bodies
Stapling the bound result to hallway walls.
Loving process sees the furnace sun dying
Neat pigeonholes wait for well-grounded thinkers
Papering their box and walls, more freedom sworn
Weekly to other marked paper and stages made.
A change in nest makes for less rest to work through
Stapled walls fall to bannered walks and members
So savvy saunters to cafetorium
Still in lines, work scrutinized by cutting peers.
Essays lay claim to time, fighting chemistry
Stapled paper to page, making hand held walls
Blurring by the passage of summer suns flight
New flush stages give the sense of moving still.
The light this season seems so bright and fleeting
Well-fed, grown over the edge of the paper
Words so known they find themselves, freeing up hands
Clipped and groomed, the members strut like proud pages.
Summer work becomes the harvest of the year
Trimmed and shaped, the bonsai minds forget flying
Waste paper crumpled and made to fly in wads
Freedom is measured in moments caught unseen.
Flightless flapping on asphalt seems so silly
Paper earned and traded for paper to move
Lettering worn on garb meant to show freedom
Tastes change from wingtips to hearts, meat, and escape.
Last year and summer here to preen and fall alone
Unaware, the flightless watch the jumping games
And spend the best last days not caring toward ground
The courses set already before they knew.
Lines form without cutting, order decided
Jesses cut and paper traded for their time
Bounded in full paper, soured summer past
So undone the trail of tips and lessons learned.

0 thoughts on “Eleven Summer Salts

  1. I have to admit, I have a difficult time concentrating on this poem – my mind wanders when I read it. I don’t know why precisely. Maybe all these couplets seem sort of passively stated, descriptive, or maybe its because what you’re getting at is very densely layered in here somewhere. I don’t know. I’ll read it again sometime soon. I can say I loved the word “cafetorium.” Also, the numbering is interesting – a refutation of both title and actual count. There’s a sort of dissonance there that I assume is also played out somewhere in the poem’s content. Unfortunately, the content is currently going over my head.

  2. I read it again. I think it makes me very thirsty for grammatic articles. sure, there’s a few occurences of “the” here and there, but the relative absense of any more than that makes it hard for me to focus. strange. my mind is apparently addicted to the lowly article.

  3. Halifax [the zodiac poet]. You’re poem is tripping me out dude! In the first read, i felt like Fogman, but then began to see some things…the numbering is indeed interesting…there are 12 ‘divisions’ demarcated in the poem, and yes that (12)is a refutation of the title, yet the number of syllables in each line is not…17 lines out of 24 all end with 11 syllables! 2 lines are one syllable short of 11; 1 line is 2 short; and 4 lines are 1 syllable more than 11…thus remarkably working out to 528 syllables (the deficits and surpluses balance each other out so all 24 lines average 11!
    What tipped me off in the first couple reads was: length of each line appeared same length; syntax/grammar read like metered poetry (except no discernable rhyme scheme)[which also explains the omission of the article ‘the’ to shorten sentences to 11 syllables] {and explains plethora of 1 syllable words which was more than usual/ordinary}*and lots of infinitives..to + verb*; the sentences/stanzas had an aphoristic quality and ‘self-containment’ that reminded me of haiku (or anti-kus); and poem read like a riddle.
    i began counting the word ‘summer’ and references to and thought i might come up with eleven, but only made it to 7…wrong lead. The words (and variances of)’paper’, ‘stapled’, ‘clipped’, ‘stages’, and ‘lead’ also pop up thruout poem. The poem also seems to talk directly to reader at times: “Still in lines, work scrutinized by cutting peers” (yeah, i’m humoring myself/unless ‘cutting’ means over-critical;). I’ve spent most of my time looking at structure and need some help from others with the meaning…”So undone the trail of tips and lessons learned.”…yep, i think this poem is part riddle. I’m gonna spend some more time with this sucker; if i figure more out, i feel i will either: 1) enter the 8th Gate with Johnny Depp; 2) become employed by F.B.I. Poetry Division; or 3) win a trip to Legoland California!
    Cool Poem! Alexander Pope would be breakdancing in his grave if he read this…oh yeah, restrainer belts…

  4. Oops…it’s 40 out of 48 lines that have 11 syllables…and 17 of 24 couplets which are uncorrupted 22 sums…my feux-paw…Ich bien scheizerkopfen..Mach schnell, gebe sie mich eine bleistiften!

  5. Fogman got bored reading it. That made me smile. From my direction, this poem is about the public school experience. It was worth writing for the smile in my cheeks. Thank you Fogman. Thank you Quasimofo also for seeing the time I spent on structure.
    Eleven in the title refers to the eleven summers that mark transition from one school year to the next. That twelfth summer (for me and I think most people) is a different transition altogether.

  6. I reread my comment and realized it could have been taken the wrong way. Let me rephrase.
    I just became an elementary school teacher. I wrote this poem to compare what I saw coming through school as a student with what I see now as a teacher. In many ways, I am trying to reconcile with my younger self.
    The structure is my attempt at structuring the poem to reflect the difference between what I thought school was as a child and how I know it to be as a teacher. As a child you expect that the whole sum is the goal but in fact it is the daily line by excruiating line of goals mapped out in weekly lesson objectives.
    I love the Alexander Pope reference. I can’t begin to think he would attempt dancing on my behalf though. As I understand it, he had a bad back.
    The “cutting peers” line Quasimofo mentioned is meant to be read three ways; as the reader, as the student, and as the teacher.
    The “undone trail of tips” is telling of how quickly after graduation from highschool those literal years of trials are rendered pointless and irrelevant. Recognizing that with graduation it had all been just a long boring experience is the closest thing I can get to toward reconcilling with my younger self. That Fogman was bored by it too made me smile in a way I haven’t smiled in years. I will make an article enriched poem for you Fogman.

  7. SCHOOL! I should have seen that! I almost had a caniption while researching this poem. I Googled ‘Summer Salts’ to find any significance…and there near to the 11th result was the link for this poem on HandH! Actually it ended up being like 8-9 so i calmed down and stopped looking around…i didn’t know HandH did that (google entries). Anyway, I wanted to say this in earnest, but my ulterior motive was to get the ‘comments’ up to 11 so that Life, the Universe, and Everything Else would align if only for a Brief Moment in Time/Space.

  8. Quasimofo, if there is a master plan that ties everything together like that- it’s not one I made. I’m lucky if my socks match.
    Finding significance in structure is like seeing the back of your eyeballs; your head must be completely up your ass to do it. You are ogling your jejunum…turn back now.

  9. HeHe, you got me there. I don’t really get that anal-retentive about it all, which is not to say that i don’t sometimes have my head up my ass…it’s how i get alone time these days. Yep, that Jim Carrey movie ‘Number 23’ did freak me a little though…astrology, predestination, ogling jejunum (hey, that’s a good title for a poem!)…all these dwell in the nutshell…and we are smirking nutcrackers with Groucho Marx mustaches [hey, that sounds like a Misener poem!]. A toast to Pope and the ‘eternal sunshine of our spotless minds’.. salu’.

  10. Today being the eleventh day of the eleventh month on my thirty-third year of life, eleven years after I started college to become a teacher, I would like to explain my poem more succinctly.
    Most children know of one somersault. Adults only have ten. They are also called Potassium Salts. They are: potassium bromide, potassium carbonate, potassium chlorate, potassium chloride, potassium chromate, potassium cyanide, potassium dichromate, potassium iodide, potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate. Most of them are very nasty things.
    …for Quasimofo.

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