Carbide and Carbon

Carbide and Carbon
by Kate Bucko

Along the lakeshore, something’s moved
and thumbed against me,
into the kidneys. Considering
we liked the dead flowers
more and now we’re back
to March. The longest coffin I ever saw.

Today, we’re held over
cut loose and touching
walking shoulder to shoulder
faces caught in the twisting light

all winter’s edge and coming up too soon.

0 thoughts on “Carbide and Carbon

  1. Let’s do some research on the title, ‘Carbide and Carbon’:
    “The Carbide & Carbon Building is a Chicago landmark located at 230 N. Michigan Avenue. The building, which was built in 1929, is an example of Art Deco architecture designed by Daniel and Hubert Burnham, sons of architect Daniel Burnham, and was designated a Chicago Landmark on May 9, 1996. Originally built as a high-rise office tower, the Carbide & Carbon Building was converted in 2004 to the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The building has 37 floors and is 503 feet (153 m) tall. The exterior of the building is covered in polished black granite, and the tower is dark green terra cotta with gold leaf accents. According to popular legend, architects Daniel and Hubert Burnham designed the building to resemble a dark green champagne bottle with gold foil…The top of the building was the filming location for an opening shooting scene in the 2008 film ‘Wanted’ starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, and Angelina Jolie.” [Wikipedia]
    hmm. Interesting. At first it seems very difficult to make any literal sense of the poem or make any connections to the info on ‘Carbide and Carbon’ building. I suspect this is a very personal poem from the poet’s own subjective perspective. But here’s some impressions i get: The building might remind the poet of a coffin and since it was used for business offices the poem may be a comment on the sure death that ‘being a slave to the grind’ (i.e. Capitalism in general?)awaits an individual. The building is also of the ‘Art Deco’ persuasion which to me seems worldly and upbeat (perhaps another comment on the ‘superficiality of being’ or pretension?)…and yet the poem is very Gothic.
    So…there is a very contrasting element to this poem with the building that looks like a champagne bottle (celebratory) and then the body of the poem itself containing words like: ‘dead flowers’, ‘coffin’, ‘held over’, ‘faces caught’–very restricting and even nightmarish. For a moment i’m tempted to believe the poem may speak from the point of view of a perinnial emerging into Spring after laying dormant (coffin) for so long. hmm.
    In any case, this poem certainly has tickled my artistic bewilderment in a good way. And it was put together with a good eye too. Poem begins with ‘lakeshore’ in first line and ‘winter’s edge’ in last line–nice! Thanks for sharing Ms. Bucko!

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