Audio

Poem

September 10, 2018

Claudia La Rocco: I’m Claudia La Rocco and this is Poetry Now. I find I’m often writing poems for particular people. In this case it was both the wanting to give something to a person who was struggling, and also knowing you can’t really do anything in that situation. A poem helps and it doesn’t help at all. I wrote it fast on the train after seeing JS and thinking about the passage of time as the train went underground and you went up and there’s the sun again. The world’s the same but it’s also totally changed.

 

Poem

 

For js

 

You were laughing no you weren't she was she was she wasn't

These aren't the right words

 

The people are waiting on the platform and the decisions are being themselves as usual 

You could take this silver cord and wrap it around all of your ideas 

You could you could

What is the way to make meaning

You're less busy than the machine has time for 

 

I poured the world in for you 

All the sun on that block

Or at least I wanted to:

Everyone is leaving but this would be an arrival your torso is a drum people come through and then they die you see the obituary in passing as the man next to you folds the paper and all these people at all these parties that cannot be the answer but what

 

Back above ground and it's the same sun different block same world different world 

 

Your friend is lying down with the thing he is carrying

Everybody is somebody's family you think you forget the sun keeps going still you keep going the world rearranges itself just so

False alarm you say and then you don't know what to say you wrap yourself in the future you wrap yourself in the past the woman gets in the taxi just in time

 

Everybody is it's not an easy thing to understand

False alarm you say and then you don't know what to say the sun keeps  going.

 

Claudia La Rocco: I really like juxtaposition and I’m often writing about urban landscapes and how somebody is having the worst day of her life and next to her somebody is getting the best news of his life, and then all of the mundane things in between. There’s a way in which the cinematic quality of cities is of interest to me. Everybody is both an extra and the main character.

 

you wrap yourself in the future you wrap yourself in the past the woman gets in the taxi just in time

 

Claudia La Rocco: The poem is definitely thinking about how inadequate words are. Sometimes that’s frustrating, but more often than not I find that to be one of the most beautiful things about language, the gap between how much we want it to mean and how little it can really accomplish in the end. There’s a lot of stuttering in this poem. It’s not frustrated so much as maybe seeking or helpless or looking for something and not finding it. But I think it’s okay in the not finding.

 

You were laughing no you weren't she was she was she wasn't

These aren't the right words

 

Katie Klocksin: That was Claudia La Rocco and her poem “Poem”. I’m Katie Klocksin and this is Poetry Now, a production of The Poetry Foundation. For more information about this series, go to poetryfoundation.org/poetrynow.

 

Claudia La Rocco writes a poem as a gift to a friend experiencing a difficult set of life circumstances. Produced by Katie Klocksin.

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