NOT ABOUT MAPS
I was just reading Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Map”
and remembering a former lover who wrote a sestina
about a topo of Greece, then tangentially recalling a colleague
who dashed off a sonnet about an aerial of the Sudan,
when I started thinking that I
should write about a map
or, hell, a bushel of maps, an atlas even,
one poem for every county/state/country
border by border, route by route, road by lane by byway,
latitudinal by longitudinal degree. A lifetime’s work.
It occurred to me, however, that cartographical verse,
whether penned by demigods or the guy du jour
who has the combo to my panties,
couldn’t be more bland, right?
the two-dimensional letters/words/lines
the two-dimensional dots/dashes/rivers/mountains
that are obvious
somebody set fire to the map poetry industry.
longing/pining/agonizing shit (of which I’m guilty, plenty)
while you’re at it. And the whiney and self-referential poems after that.
Stick ‘em all in the burn bin so none of us ever again
have to hear about the road from St. Lucia
to your bleeding heart,
or weeping ego.
– Kirstin O’Connor