Braking Break

waves, their sonority.

Via Marcus McCann adapting some lines (quoting with variation), I took to looking at Mark Doty “Notebook/To Lucien Freud/On the Veil” collected in School of the Arts first appeared in the London Review of Books (Vol. 27 No. 2 · 20 January 2005).

          aspects of flesh breaking here,

the way we say waves break —
      become visible at the instant
          of their descent.

“the way we say waves break —”

becomes in Marcus McCann’s “Three” in softwhere

the way. We say waves break,

McCann has an ear for assonance and alliteration. He often builds a set of lines from repeated and related sounds.

pleasure — libido, fluorescent
heart of an onion — in
the way. We say waves break,

The image of the onion and the allusion to layer upon layer influences the appropriation of the Doty lines. The punctuation brings prominence to the pronoun (not to be unexpected in a poem entitled “Three” which is in part describing a menage à trois); “we” becomes a kernel where once it was part of the waves of way and say. The italic emphasis on break is lost, the whole line becomes emphasized and enmeshed in enjambement: the break broken away.

And so for day 1166

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