OffHand, OffSet, OffSides, OffWritten

[inspired by Morningglory's poem, "Offrhyme"]

 

"What metaphor describes him so that none will scoff?

In a deck of cards he would qualify to be the Knave of Off?"

---Depley Dewer, Turbulences Schlepped By A Schlemieling Schnook, Act IV, Scene 11

 

He had taken in mind the comforting notion

that the poems that best express emotion

must seem to be improvised, first-drafted,

unartistic, and undercrafted;

they must always sound unrefined,

end-stopped, unenjambed, misaligned;

and (most promininently) unplanned

in a tangle of lines that cannot be scanned.

 

He feels that constellated variety

is too extensive for his poetry---

which, like his repetitious personality,

is wholly devoted to the "Woe is me."

 

This pattern uncannily replicates

his unexistent love-life and unsuccessful dates:

all of them inchoate, uninformed, and chaotic

(the effects are like his dry dreams, all of them unerotic);

and so he returns to his home alone,

the night like a shriveled cob, or a fragment of stone;

not flames of romance, but dying cincers unfanned:

and he, underwhelming, is once again unmanned.

 

Starward

 

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

The play cited in the epigraph appears in the poet's collection, The Cling To Mellow, its contents much influenced by both Wallace Stevens and Robert W. Chambers.  Depley Dewer's essay, "The Notable Traveler, Boating Through The Sound Of Phrases" explicitly explicates the play and discloses its various sources of reference.  While the poet has properly used the term "Knave of Off," that same card, in American usage, would be called the "Jack."

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