Monday, May 16, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #27

In which Your Humble Blogger takes on the idea of foreign language interpretation, and somehow gets hot dogs involved, in a prose poem:

"The Interpreter"

They say that every seven years or so, a person's skin is completely renewed. Because of the age of the musician's interpreter, I think of the interpreter as a castoff from the old musician himself, a photograph in breath and flesh of the creative mind at seven. His words are the musician's words, his pauses are the same. And yet, no one else but this boy born in the same windy corners of the borders of state knows the language, so it's a trip to imagine that what he is telling us bears absolutely no relation to what the musician intends to communicate, that what we're hearing instead are the daydreams and thoughts, the very beliefs, of the young interpreter. To him, still wearing some of what he was born in, belong the opinions on God and the sadness for man; when he says, “Think of this child in a world at war,” what he's really saying is, “I already have.” To the musician, then, old enough to have been reborn several times over, belong memories that go undelineated and unappreciated. They are of his earliest friends, of the way the stars look in his homeland. Of the first time he tried a hot dog.

* * *

Not much to say about this one, except I couldn't imagine it with line breaks or rhymes or any of that; it was a prose poem from the start. I do remember that early on the day I wrote it, Wes had been listening to a podcast, and the interpreter for the person being interviewed on it sounded like she was about eight years old. And the translations she provided were long, long blocks of speech! At some point, I recall thinking something to the effect of, "Man, for all we know, this old guy's talking about the Slurpee he just had at 7-Eleven, and the girl's just making stuff up to make the interview go more smoothly." And lo, a poem was born.

1 comment:

  1. Inasmuch as I liked yer "proem", it is the anecdotal info that adds to the piece itself. I got a little sidetracked by the musician part of it, not realizing that it was a musician who was speaking through an interpreter. not sure why I had that difficulty, but the anecdote certainly helped!