you know that song

you know that song
by jason mashak
I remember smoking on the porch, barely
breathing in a mossy wicker chair.
You came up the steps like an old song
I’d not heard before,
the light of one lamp
on all your faces.

0 thoughts on “you know that song

  1. I love the mystery in wondering who all of the people coming up the steps are. I imagine federal agents coming to escort you to jail, thus explaining the shallow breathing and symbolism of the smoke, since it seems we all smoke in anticipation of something bad. Nice, taut little piece.

  2. I like how we interpreted the piece differently. I understood it as a single person being completely revealed to him in their entirety by the light.

  3. I was thinking the last lines more in a freeze frame sort of vision. You know, if you were sitting in the chair and someone is walking up the porch steps into the light the light may bounce, move and appear on the face in many different ways as they come towards you, thus giving one face many different looks and creating a vision of multiple faces with shadows, angle and brightness.
    Who knows though.

  4. I’m thinking it’s spirits coming to him or something to that effect. ‘barely breathing’ makes me think it’s a transition from this life to the next. Cool cool piece.

  5. I’m really enjoying the many faces of interpretation brought to light here. Fact is, each of them are well-supported by the poem itself, though I think Misener’s plural “you” fades on subsequent reads. On first glance, I read the last line strictly as metaphor, indicating the complexity of the individual encountered. Adding the visual imagery, as noted by Travis, really deepens the impact of the metaphor and the poem. Not to mention the music, both as metaphorically referenced (“old song”) and as created via word choice and an immaculate structure of lines. This is a very well written poem.

  6. Gentlemen, many thanks for the feedback. Sometimes you just never know what’s what, and you just have to go with gut & instinct. It was earlier rejected, for whatever reasons, by Beloit Poetry Journal, Kenyon Review, Lilliput Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. I’m glad it found an audience here.
    I’m also grateful to hear the various interpretations, some of which I’d naturally never considered (I can’t decide which I like best, LOL). The moment that spawned it was an illusion of sorts, a flashbackesque revelation of the many moods/masks/etc. that the subject wore regularly. That said, it’s also a mirror in the same regard.

  7. This poem seems really straight forward to me: The author was blasted by some kind of alien. He is still barely alive but his body is smoldering from the alien’s heat ray. He is on his last breath. The alien approaches. He is many headed, like a hydra from an ancient myth that the author has read about, but, of course, never actually seen in person until now.

  8. gene, i think i love you for that comment. it rules.
    this is like eraserhead. i love the discussion mystery poems prompt. it’s like laying on yr back with some friends and saying what you see in the clouds. kind of freudian, in a sense.

  9. The alien & special agent interpretations are uniquely American. Can’t recall what color the smoke was, but Wilco and other Tweedy endeavors were on heavy rotation then (and always, it seems). Cerebella, I think you just gave it a better title… “Old Movie Static” 🙂

  10. righteous you say so, jason. i like yr title tho. old movie static would be very stealthy and cheesy. like smegma.
    usually i suck at titles because i’m headstrong or something &i don’t even try. i feel like i’m summing up my ‘souvenirs of my present-time states of consciousness’ (as m.tennison would say) with a little clever metaphor and that’s low.
    know what i mean, jellehbean?

  11. “Stealthy and cheesy”??? Then it’s perfect! (what about “Stealth-Bombed Swisscapade” as a title?) 😀 I typically leave things untitled for a long time, then struggle to find a title only under the pressure of it going into print somewhere. I can understand the inclination to leave’m “untitled” but the editorial standard of using the first line in such cases motivates me to retain more control than that.

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