Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Advertiser: A Sestina

The eyes have it

I grew up and left my mother's home
when my gnawing pangs of hunger 
grew too strong for me to bear. The light
that burned inside was too hot to warm.
It seared. To move, to edify was my desire.
Of wet newsprint and foam peanuts I built that house.

Glassy-eyed you stare at your wide screen in your house.
Your name is on your door, but it is not your home.
The embers in your belly I blow into a desire
for a bigger screen, a larger house, a hunger
for a more fashionable me. I wink. To warm
your sudden chill, you draw closer to my cathode light.

I wore tight jeans. I was like Andy Warhol, only a little light
on talent. Girls paid for my wine, took me to their house
and I found I could sell them on my image. It was warm
a little, for a while, and I almost didn't miss my home.
It turned out I couldn't be a painter, only a hunger
artist, of your pangs, not mine. My brush and paints: desire.

A toddler unwrapping a gift, I taught you to desire
box after box, wrapped in bright paper, by light
of pale LED candles on a dying tree. Your ordinary hunger
lovingly I watered. It grew into a jungle that would house
hungry ghosts and demons. You too left your home
driven by their goads.  Why is it never warm?

You gotta put food on the table. To save time you can warm
it in a microwave. I designed the package. You desire
the nourishment that's on it, the cosy kitchen and the home.
The fashionable you is thin, so I wrote on it: "Light!"
Well, there is no fat, only chemicals and salt. Your house
needs a bigger kitchen. Only then you can cook to sate your hunger.

They call me a sell-out behind my back. Their hunger
is no more the same as mine. Fuck them. Let them warm
their hands by burning manuscripts. Such a house
as they live in is a chilly one. I think I desire
to while away another night by the bright light
flashing in a club. Perhaps someone else will take me home.

My gnawing pangs of hunger I feed to your desire.
The fire is out. I warm my hands by neon light
at the window of a house that is not home.

This is my second attempt at a sestina. This one turned out rather different from the first one. I wanted to see what would happen if I let in contemporary language and let the lines flow freely, without paying too much attention to rhythm.


  1. Wow, nice! It reminds me a little bit of Kerouac's and Ginsberg's style. Hippie beatnik shit, grrrreat!

  2. That's interesting, because I've never actually read either of them. They've been on my "to read, urgent!" list for about 25 years now...

  3. They're worth reading, the Beat icons--but I like your own style. This is indeed much less formal in language than your first, a bit more diffuse. I like it, especially the beginning and the tornada.

  4. When a poem is long and you are still able to read it, that just shows how good a poem it is

  5. The insidiousness of it all...enjoyed this!

  6. this brings a song to my mind...i can't get no satisfaction by rolling stones...the hunger, the need, the attempts and never getting warm...excellent write i'd say

  7. You were able to breach my A.D.D. Bravo!

  8. Love the energy and bristling attitude of this, in a "classic" structure. Excellent.