Reductions Introduce Nuances

In a type of braiding experiment, Brian Henry weaves a poem where the lines that appeared in five-line stanzas get carried over in a different order in four-line stanzas and the repetition continues through three and then ultimately in couplets. The location of the repeated lines adds a different coloration to each of the lines given the new locale and change in neighbouring lines. I am quite taken by how these two ended up side-by-side.

Some days the tongue needs a prophylactic
Medusa could use a snaky excuse

First to appear was the Medusa line in the initial five-line stanza:

Decide on deciduous or remain ever green
My love     for envy is not your color
Today     un dieu des mauvais cheveux
Medusa could use a snaky excuse
Hotwired straight to the stripping point
Vanishment in ravishment will produce a

And some five-line stanzas later our line about tongue and prophylaxis begins another — do note how much has got stripped away to produce the couplet quoted above.

Some days the tongue needs a prophylactic
Contusion me blue     confluence of lung-
Less bodies     less impact than palaver
Stupefy the progeny     do it for prosperity
The children frying in cast iron skillets
Beachfront propriety so up this season

What happens when the lines are uprooted and recombined is very much a combing out of the snaky stanzas into couplets that remind one of ghazals and serve as a kind of reminder of the malleability expressed in a stripping away. Progression by a sort of regression.

Brian Henry. “The Stripping Point” in The Stripping Point.

And so for day 1142

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