I Thought I Would Say

by Andrew Dufresne
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, February 2012
Judged by John Timpane

Ah, I see now, how lips shape
words, how we become soft and ripe,
spare fruit left in the bottom
of the bowl, how we engage with

time to a driven degree to be carried
out limp like sacks of so many
potatoes sprung to sprouts, how less
of us come to winter, summer, fall

each year, or the sound we make
when leaving the world, paper
thin skin rustling, like a basket
full of leaves before they burn, how

dust accumulates on objects
we don’t use, ourselves as well,
though being used we accumulate
disgust, which is never or ever

quite articulated to the degree
we feel it, or the man who wonders
aloud why this should be will
wonder until he becomes

his own sweet unnecessary blossom,
watered occasionally, how he
shapes his words like an infant
at the end, how he weeps.

A lasting lyric. Like most lyrics worth reading, it ends up being about “everything,” about, well, being. It starts with language and takes us through any life. It shrugs about the human attempt to “wonder why this should be.” Technically fascinating, too: it plays the enjambing line against the expectations of the tight (supposedly?) four-line stanza, what appears to contain against the statement that finds its own shape, length, and level: “how// dust accumulates on objects/ we don’t use, ourselves as well,/ though being used we accumulate/ disgust.” The ironies of this passage, in statement reinforced with music, is the center of what this poem does, the changes wrung across the words use and used, and the startling bringing-up-short of the dust/disgust echo. Such empathy and sadness in the man becoming “his own sweet, unnecessary blossom.” Gorgeous, just gorgeous. --John Timpane