Reviewing old poetry / by AB Mann


Re-reading my old journals is hard and not in an emotionally difficult way but in a “what the hell was I trying to say” sort of way. So much of it is flowery language without a specific point. Good poetry has a core concept, a point or two it is trying to make, or some comparison between two things that make a compelling image.

Which is to say that I've written a lot of bad poetry and I was too caught up in my own... something. Pompousness? Pretention? I was too caught up in something to see both the good things in each poem and how unnecessarily obtuse they were.

I would have called it abstract back then as a shield between my writing and your understanding. "It's not my fault you don't get it. I am an artiste."

I don't understand half of what I wrote in 2004.

I think that's telling. But there is some stuff of value. I still like the idea in a poem I wrote about Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen on 08/05/04:

Superhero Story

I only listen to Manhattan -
who can ignore a doctor that scars himself out of respect for
The gravity of his creation
destroys the gridwork of a city.
No one expected this trouble,
that he finds in both sexes.
Do not change your exterior;
It can never fix the future inside of you.

-- But.. like.. that doesn't really mean anything... “It can never fix the future inside of you”?

Sounds good. Not much substance.

BUT! There is a useful image in there: scarring one's self in deference to perfection. So maybe I can rework this one?