portion of the artwork for Jen Schalliol's poetry

Jen Schalliol’s Comments

  I enjoy writing the occasional warped love poem.  I use a lot of martial conceits in these pieces, a lot of violence.  This poem contains the idea of the weird effects we have on each other, turns it into damage, and suggests that whoever destroys more, wins.  Ah, l’amour …

I wrote this poem back when I was doing lots of dance, and I was working a bit with landscapes, especially the one surrounding me at the time (what up, Kenyon!)  The grounding is what gives the height, or the capability to move upwards—I like that.

When I wrote this, I had been preparing a sizable manuscript and was writing primarily about the body—I think you can find it in basically everything I write, still.  I had all these pieces talking about the regenerative properties of the physical, the resilience, etc., but it was really satisfying to write this piece to pair with those, because that’s the other side of it, isn’t it?  Some of us get better.  Some of us crash out.

“You don’t want to read this”
The best part of this poem is that the person I wrote it for no longer remembers this incident, which I get a kick out of, because it illustrates just what I was getting at, the idea of transference of memory, of giving someone something like that, which gets carried forward in their little internal catalogue from then on out.  At the time, the people involved were super-disturbed, and the way they told the story was horrifying.  I don’t think I resented them telling me by any means, but I know there have been times when someone will share, say, a particularly grim news story with me, and I’ll think, great.  Now I can’t un-know that.  Now I have that forever. What bothered me was how the human element—the fence, primarily, but also the people walking through the woods—killed the animal, and those impositions are so minor compared to, say, construction and hunting and pollution, etc., etc., the whole gamut.  I had very recently lost a wonderful friend in a horrible accident involving a train, and the response was similar in a sense—I was mad at trains, even conceptually, at how our life was now able to move so fast it was lethal, even in these small ways:  by walking out on the wrong bridge, walking through the woods, by, you know, being a part of the world at all.  It wasn’t a matter of railing against technology, but just a grieving—our lives are loaded.  It’s dangerous.

“First Step Triolet”
The form of the triolet is so simple, just paring down to basic parts and repetitions, but then, ideally, becomes more than the sum of its parts.  Same with breathing, same with focusing on that function before taking on anything more demanding (sestina, anyone?) 

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011