143.2: Daniel Bosch:: To Lis- & Maturity 143

Daniel Bosch's work shows us that experiments in poetry almost always imply experiments in form. The two poems published here, "To Lis-" and "Maturity," speak to and about Lisa, a beloved who is sometimes distant and cold, sometimes dear and familiar, and sometimes the winner of Delta Delta Delta wet t-shirt contests. "To Lis-" is written in the form versos de cabo razos, made particularly famous in the opening to Don Quixote, in which a dash substitutes for the last syllable of every line. The effect is reminiscent of l337 speak, a typographic gesture that simultaneously conceals and teases with obfuscation. The dash stands in for Lisa as both metonym and metaphor: at once the registration of unfulfilled desire and of the ineffable, the dash marks both absence and presence.

"Maturity" explores a form originally introduced by Louis MacNeice with perfect and slant end-rhyming. Though Bosch maintains a reserved, even casual manner throughout the poem, he occasionally discovers moments of philosophical compaction reminiscent of the finest metaphysical poetry: "But the muscle does not pause as / Losses accumulate," Bosch says of affection. "Its beating does not lessen / Lessoned by fate." Unpaused muscle. Accumulating losses. Lessens, lessons. In such moments, Bosch reminds us of the strange sympathies that words (and feelings) can have through effacement and juxtaposition—wisdom that is the hallmark of poetic maturity. Ryan Winet

To Lis-

     after Saavedra

D-cupped star ath-,
hair in golden bangs; Ama-,
bright luna moth tat-
on her soft left in-
thigh; biochemist and altru-;
inventor of a prophylac-
treatment for pernicious anemi-,
the complete chemical formu-
for which came to her at thir-,
under a duvet, in a cano-
bed in suburban Little Rock dur-
the gubernatorial administra-
of former Rhodes Scholar Wil-
Jefferson Clinton; who wears only Birken-;
who reads only The Wall Street Jour
and certain flashing “WALK” sig-;
who was graduated from an expen-,
private, all-girl preparato-
school and takes frequent, explic-
advantage of her high socie-
connections; grommet-nippled win-
of Delta Delta Delta wet t-
contests; cotton-mouthed drain-
of frigid wet liters of Moun-
exhumed from ripped white styro-
ice chests; eager completer of de-
financial statements; certified wa-
safety instructor; fan of arc-
cold; two-time loser at love, twice di-
from the same man, twice refus-
of alimony, twice paparaz-
favorite, fang-bearing tab-
bitch who expressed no inter-
in obtaining custody of her chil-;
lover of country-style Crisco bis-;
Yahtzee maven; carbo-loading cy-
who never even wants to own a cook-;
proud co-salutatorian; wooden-leg-
bar hopper who found the audiocas-
edition of As I Lay Dy
tedious; compassionate evangelic-
who pays her tithe to a Dutch Re-
Methodist Congregation in Michi-
and planned her sweet six-
around a barbecue rally for the N.R.-;
Lisa, to my sun a passive so-
cell; hot-house flower; delicate cross-stitch-
of egregiously implausi-
aphorisms; keen swing-
of a mean, two-fisted back-,
who never naps and who wears sensi-
shoes; Lisa, who can nei-
sketch nor paint nor even take a good photo-,
and who yet believes in Pan-As-
unity, in an American meritocra-,
and that finally, after all, haute cou
may look hot but is infeasi-;
O yes, Lisa, bullish on space trav-,
Homeland Security, spar-
the rod, and the Ruskini-
curriculum; who sniffs e-
at clean, convenient mass transporta-
and who thinks elaborate fire-
protect every electronic transac-,
especially love poems; Lis-,
my Kalishnikov, my Winches-,
my freshly cleaned and reassem-
Uzi with a full clip; pumice eve-
callous on your ruddy palms, reap-
that patriotic French mani-,
throw away your plastic sand-filled bar-
and your Sega gameboy, ba-,
unbind your feet! Dad-
home! That’s me stamp-
gravel with a light blue Melt-A-
glaze from the soles of my black, steel-
boots; I’m home to write poet-
about Lisa, my muon and my centripe-
force; my vortex and my ver-;
speaker of my house and my secretar-
of health and human services desig-,
eligible for a lifetime appoint-;
my pointillist’s stipple, every-
tick this versifier’s tock de-:
my penultimate and my ultimate sylla-.


     long owed to Lisa

Odd to admit now Brighton
Frightened me: the ‘B’ line; the wet snow,
Weightless as in a globe;
Nobody interested in the poem,
“Maturity: An Ode,”
I was so proud of writing.

What I thought courageous
Ages less well than love; the reservoir
We circumambulated
Hated being my metaphor
For how to safely store
A childhood’s griefs and rages.

Odder still to remember
December in San Diego:
Anesthetic palms, green-fingered scrub
Troubling the soil’s chocolate-slow
Flow into a faux
Hand a fault dismembers.

I had no way of knowing,
Owing to loves past,
That our new undertaking—
Our breaking, our holding fast—
Might yield, at last,
A love so thorough-going.

But the muscle does not pause as
Losses accumulate;
Its beating does not lessen,
Lessoned by fate:
Darkly blood moves; lungs oxygenate;
A pulse answers for causes.

And if maturity’s billion synapses
Lapse after firing
Only to light the path again—
Against desiring—
Against such pathetic wiring,
Logic, not love, collapses.

Oddest of all how writing
Frightens me still,
That losses accumulate
Late, and ever will,
Yet now the reservoir is filled
With love, and the world brightens.