Thursday, August 19, 2010

Esprit d'Escalier


Step one is denial
an astonished disbelief
swirling through a silent stupor
like a bronzed and blustered leaf

step two is the anger
boiling blood across the face
in a riled mix of rancor
and resentment and disgrace

step three’s a rush to bargain
with the words that aren’t there
trying to plead them to their places
as they whistle through the air

step four – a pall of sorrow
creeping like an early frost
from the tongue still tied and frozen
for the moment that was lost

and finally, acquiescence;
a surrender to defeat
at the bottom of the staircase
chewing answers down the street.

9 comments:

Terresa said...

Love the progression of this poem. The last stanza, "chewing answers down the street" really speaks to me. Excellent work.

utopianfragments said...

I agree with Terresa up there
the last lines really hits hard...

Karen said...

What a clever look at the stages of chagrin at not being able to devise a clever reposte! Your equating this to the stages of grief is superb! That is exactly how we feel when we're chewing on that regret!

I love this!

Julie said...

Oh, yes! I can surely relate to this one. With a keyboard in hand and a minute to think, I can come up with all sorts of sassy comebacks. In person, on the spur of the moment, I'm the silent stupor (emphasis on the word stupor).

That line is fantastic, and I love the "bronzed and blustered leaf." That describes the feeling perfectly.

I agree with everyone about the progression. It is excellent that you equate it with the stages of grief. I also love "chewing answers down the street." Ain't it the truth?!!

I love how you come up with a unique angle for a human emotion, yet the angle works so perfectly. Karen's awesome at doing that, too. I love your individuality, Joaquin. It always shines through.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

step four – a pall of sorrow
creeping like an early frost
from the tongue still tied and frozen
for the moment that was lost

This is the greatest stanza! It is just what I love - a dark and edgy simile!

I really want to memorize this whole poem and recite it at Dori Water's Cafe on open mic night! (Giving you the credit, of course.) If I can't memorize it, then I will read it - with your permission.

Great thrust here - rhythm, beat, measure, rhyme, meter et. al. Then combine it with that powerful vision of yours...it becomes an eloquent distillation of experience.

swatinair said...

"step three’s a rush to bargain
with the words that aren’t there
trying to plead them to their places
as they whistle through the air"

I think I go there often. Too often. Great poem and I absolutely love the title.

signed...bkm said...

Wonderful piece on how we deal with life and death as humans...I believe emotion life itself - it encompasses who we are, all good, all bad ...all...bkm

Nevine said...

Mmmmm... love the play on the word "escalier"... and your view on how we attack emotion... and experience. This brought back a hint of "On Death and Dying" by Elisabeth Kubler Ross... the steps of emotion we take to come to terms with our own death. And isn't everything we experience in life like a small death for us? One step closer we come... every day. And here are my favorite lines:

and finally, acquiescence;
a surrender to defeat
at the bottom of the staircase
chewing answers down the street.

You never fail to leave me in awe, Joaquin. Never!

Nevine

joaquin carvel said...

terresa - you've been there too, huh? :) thank you - much appreciated.

u-frag - thank you! i need to get over to your place and see what you've been up to....

karen - thanks! someone mentioned "the spirit of the staircase" to me recently - i thought about it, and the two just kind of fell together.

julie - you and me both! if i captured the feeling it's probably because i know it too well. thank you - your comments always make my day.

k. - are you kidding? that would be awesome! i just wish i could be a fly on the wall to see/hear it. thank you - and i seem to recall a rather brilliant little poem of yours regarding similie :)

swati - me too. thank you - and i agree - things just sound better in french.

bkm - thank you - emotion is kind of the pulse of our lives, isn't it?

nevine - i'm embarrassed to admit i only knew about the stages - not the amazing woman whose work made them part of our vernacular. thank you for pointing me in her direction - and for your comments - yes, step by step - every day.