This poem is “about” mourning/doves and comprises personal memories; descriptions of mourning doves both created and stolen; some Deleuze and some other stuff.
Since I was a teenager, I’ve enjoyed hanging out in art museums. I think Frank Stella‘s 3-D collages were an early influence on my work and my interest in how poetry can be a plastic art. I remember seeing one of his small 3-D collages on the wall as a teen and reading that it was made of recycled art materials he had in his garage. For a moment, I was shocked– I took art lessons and knew something about “traditional painting” but not so much about contemporary people like Frank Stella. He got this stuff out of his garage? Then, I was liberated– you can do that? You can recycle stuff and make new art out of it? You don’t have to like, engender the paint yourself? Of course, there’s a lot of recycling in art. “Traditional painting” recycles themes and materials too. (Hear also Stella on On Point.)
Sometimes people ask, “how do you read this?” I’ll try to post a recording of me reading some of these poems later this month. But for now, if you’re reading, just let go. Let your eyes skim the page, dancing from one image to another, and try to make a composite image in your mind of what the poem is “about.” It’s not necessary to know or define the references (like Deleuze) to experience the poem, and the physical process of reading the poem is an important part of the experience. These poems aren’t going to knock you out with immediate narrative gratification; the experience may be more impressionistic and physical.