spring/summer 2006, no. 7



In Praise of Abstraction





“You are abstract

For the sake of being abstract

And there is nothing concrete

Or lasting or meaningful

In your abstraction…”

This is what I tell myself

At the beginning of a poem;

What a way

To start the day —

Not exactly corn flakes

With skim milk

And a glance

At some headlines

On an unruffled morning paper

So there you go — a beginning

And where from here?

          A dog barking

          For no reason I can tell

          Crazy sirens on the go again

          A square of light

          On the morning breakfast table

          Between bites

These things occur to me

Between the bigger questions

Like love and death and pestilence and disaster

None of which is happening to me

At the moment…

It then occurs that abstraction

Is a way to avoid the truth;

Dodging bloodier issues with vagueness

And nonlinear jumping around

A sort of vain and artsy, word-driven denial

Skipping the weightier topics

That I mentioned

And the middling ones

Like insecurity, fear and shame —

What does a formation

Of birds now passing

Have to do with all of this?


And that is why

I mention it.





                        ........................................... Alden Marin

Alden Marin is a resident of the Pacific Palisades and Malibu, and was educated locally, as well as at Stanford and the Sorbonne. He's published four chapbooks: Paddling to Misto, Counting to One Thousand, Asparagus on Toast, and Illusions of SweetnessHis poems have also been published by LA Weekly and Stanford’s literary magazine Sequoia.


Copyright © 2006   Entelechy: Mind & Culture. New Paltz, NY. All rights reserved.